Summertime is the most popular season for most jet setters to get out of town. But while most head to tropical, beach locales, I head to the desert. Why? Because a true spa-aholic knows that the best time to visit a desert facility is in the heat of the season, when most are heading to cooler places. The atmosphere offers a sense of peace, tranquility and a serene feeling of exclusivity. Best of all there are summer specials from some of the most extravagant and award winning-spas in the area.
One of the best destinations for five-star spa pampering is in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. While temperatures may rise over three digits daily, there are many upscale resorts with top-rated wellness retreats that are ready to cool you down. Many of the spa rooms have their own outdoor plunge/spa pools, soaking tubs and waterfall showers. Here are five of the region’s best spas and recommended treatments at each:
Photo Credit: Canyon Suites at The Phoenician
Canyon Suites at The Phoenician
After a long drive through the California desert, we arrived at The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician. The Centre for Wellbeing is the property’s world-class spa surrounded by tropical landscapes, a rainforest of palms, waterfalls, lily ponds and an oasis pool complex for all ages. The most stunning is the Mother-of-Pearl pool, which is a swimmer/s dream, and is the best one for laps. The pool also features a 165-foot water slide and Surge Splash Pad.
The 22,000-square-foot spa had a hint of intimacy which reflects the aptly-named place for wellness. One of the most relaxing therapies is the Bliss package which comes with a 50-minute body treatment, a 50-minute massage, 50-minute facial plus a manicure and pedicure. A scrumptious lunch, prepared by The Phoenician’s culinary artisans, completes your experience. Be sure to add on the intraceutical infusions. These revolutionary skin care treatments simultaneously infuse moisture, vitamins and anti-oxidants into the skin via cooling, calming topical hyperbaric oxygen.
Photo Credit: Royal Palms Resort
Royal Palms Resort
Named one of the best spas in Phoenix by USA Today, Alvadora Spa at Royal Palms Resort & Spa is a charming, secluded haven for romance and intimacy. The signature SPA DEHP goes beyond the traditional body treatments by including the dēhp wellness therapy, integrating the body’s innate intelligence to heal. This is a wellness therapy with evidence-based results beyond just pampering. The balancing massage infuses essentials oils such as citrus, eucalyptus, juniper and lavender. The after effects of this mind, body and spirit pampering is a long-lasting effect with visible changes.
What sets this little gem apart from the rest of the spas in the area is its European-style service and attention to detail. With all the raves, it has become a preferred go-to-spot for weddings and special occasions.
Photo Credit: Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa
The next stop on our indulgent spa journey was the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa. After seeing the dreamy photos of the alluring infinity pool in magazines, this was our first choice. But seeing the décor in person was much more exhilarating than the photos; its therapy infinity pool is even the most photographed by publications. Ranked in the top hotel spas overall and the Top 5 Hotel Spas for Travel + Leisure’s Continental US 2014 World Best’s list, it is a must for any spa aficionado.
The minute you enter the enclave you are surrounded by a bamboo garden which subtly blocks the harsh rays of the sun. Stepping out of the bright sunlight, the entry to the spa is dramatically designed to allow a small ray of light to frame the outdoor Zen water garden. The spa menu offers unique Asian-inspired body treatments with sumptuous names such as the Sumatra Coconut Body Ritual or the Golden Lotus Balancing Ritual. There is a full spectrum of exotic elixirs, therapies and medicinal healing modalities such as Luk Pra Kope (to massage with medicinal herbs). Luk Pra Kope begins with soaking your feet in a fresh lime and essential oil bath before cooling and scrubbing them with fine, white Thai clay. Next, to focus on problem areas, steamy, organically-grown herbs are rolled, massaged and pressed into tight muscles. Finishing with a Thai massage and a heated compress, the result is a soothing experience for aching muscles and joint stiffness.
Photo Credit: Boulder's Resort
Driving out to the more remote destination, we made our way to Boulder’s Resort and Spa in Carefree, Arizona. The name itself evokes an experience of freedom, fun and tranquility. Nestled in the Sonoran Desert, this retreat is known for its casual elegance and more organic accommodations in a world-class setting. Designed by modern architect John Lautner (student of Frank Lloyd Wright), this mid-century architectural landmark is now undergoing a facelift to meet the demands of the 21st-century sophisticated traveler.
Although under new ownership, the high -end standards of the previous Golden Door Spa are still evident. The 33,000-square-foot spa offers au courant treatments and packages in a remote setting. The treatments are arranged into three distinct intentions: Desert Zen, Global Shaman and Radiant Oasis. One of the most exclusive therapies is the Desert Rose Radiance, which is a head-to-toe pampering treatment. It focuses on the anti-aging properties of rose and pomegranate seed extracts as well as jojoba. Guests are treated to an aloe mask, particularly beneficial for sun damaged skin, before being wrapped in a soft cocoon. With many layers of treatment, it finishes with a hydrating massage application of the signature Desert Rose body lotion. Don’t miss the Hydrotherapy Tub that provides lymphatic drainage with 80 jets to soothe tired muscles and assist with detoxification.
Photo Credit: Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale
Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
The final destination for this whirlwind spa getaway was the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. Some have called this place the “Jewel of Scottsdale,” but this is a destination that appeals to all ages, especially with the great summer packages. The 110-minute Pinnacle Facial uses the anti-inflammatory properties of gold, and not only brings radiance to your complexion, but your body is also treated to a gold-infused sugar scrub and shimmer oil. One of the best perks is that they use indigenous elixirs such the prickly pear to smooth and moisturize. Don’t forget to buy some to take with you, you probably won’t find it at home. This has one of the most unique spa menus in the area with so many indulgent packages to choose from, so make sure to study the offerings carefully before choosing.