June 3, 2021by Adam Dupuis
I’m not sure about you, but these past 14 months of asking ourselves daily “what else could go wrong” has built up a stress bubble that needed to be popped.
With vaccinations flowing and travel reopening, we could not wait to burst out of our abodes and live, breathe, relieve stress, and even see something quite different than our four walls and what was outside our home office window.
We pointed our compass to Scottsdale, Arizona. Different time zone, different flora and fauna, and just something new with multiple options to pamper the body, mind, and belly.
One major misconception or points of confusion for travelers when looking for a major airport to get to Scottsdale is that they don’t know geography. Being an east coast boy, I myself always thought Scottsdale was like 2.5 hours away from Phoenix, but in actuality, they are adjacent cities. So book your flight into Phoenix for Scottsdale. You can rideshare to Scottsdale, it’s that close, but we chose to rent a car from Avis, which made some of the commuting easier and on our time and dime.
And before you travel to any destination, it does not hurt to look at the websites of those cities. Experience Scottsdale (experiencescottsdale.com) is a great site to go when planning your trip. I’ve given you some great suggestions below, but there may be more they could point you toward to make your great trip even better.
For this recap of our trip, I broke it down into Where to Stay, Where the Boys Are, Pampering, Art & Nature, and Dining. Fair warning, I ate a lot so that’s the last category I’ll mention, but overall it was mission accomplished as I came back from Arizona and had only good things to say as people realized I was much more relaxed than before I left. Scottsdale was what I needed for my sanity, body, and apparently my belly. So enjoy my pics and words below!
Where to Stay –
We were going to arrive on Tuesday and depart on Saturday so the plan was to pamper ourselves during the week and then be closer to down town for the last two nights, but still pamper ourselves.
When there is a W in town, it needs to be your first choice. Each one has its own flair, but all are the quality hotels you have grown to expect. In 2019 this property just completed a major renovation of its 197 guest rooms, 39 suites, and added 6 new penthouse suites. My room was a corner suite with its own private balcony, open concept, elegant view-through Italian closets, and a sectional couch. This rest and relaxation thing… the W helped with that immensely.
The W is known for its roof-top pool for day and night activities. The Cottontail Café by day is a great spot to grab a bite if you’re enjoying the pool or not, but at night, It is one of the most desired places to be in town as it often has some well-known visiting DJs. Artists also entertain guests in the Living Room, a rich entertaining and lounging space just off the main lobby. Great drinks there, too.
One of the reasons I wanted to go to Scottdale was to recharge and just restart some aspects of my life after the 14-month pandemic shut -in I just had. It was going to be great to have some human contact, and one way to do so is to visit a spa or two.
No, well yes, but that’s not the name of my business or my favorite past time, but it is the name of the business of Stacey Grondahl, or “Boss Lady Stace.” Meeting Stacey was one of my highlights as her whole business sense is about your skin health. Yes, that may sound like what all spas should be doing, but this is not just a spa to pump out products and treatments. It was obvious from the get go that Stacey was going to care for you and help you care for yourself and she did not mind repeating “Don’t Touch Your Fucking Face.” That took a little while to get used to as I do touch my face a great deal. But her DTYFF is a good practice, especially during a pandemic. Each of her clients will get an ear, nose and brow treatment with their scheduled session/treatment at no extra charge and we all need someone else to look out for those three hairy parts of our head. You won’t get traditional pedicures or manicures so don’t calling and asking for one. What she does offer is some other wonderful spa options focusing on the individual in front of her, not a name in an appointment book. Questions were flying about my regiment, products, and so on. What Boss Lady Stace offers her regular clients is a service where you can send in pics of products you are thinking about and she will give her educated opinion. If planning a trip to Scottsdale, give Stacey a call to set something up. I’m glad I did.
There was no hesitation on booking my 80-minute Detox Massage. Robert listened to my spots I needed him to focus on and the rest was just pure bliss, pain, relaxation, and ahhhhh. If I had more time, I wanted to get a pedicure, but the 80 minutes unfortunately flew by. The spa itself is owned and operated by the W which I always find more comforting. The detox shot to begin the pampering was nice ang got you in the mood to relax. The spa also does some night activities with glow in the dark treatments and dj. And the slippers were ours to keep.
Art and Nature –
Scottsdale has one of the largest art communities in the nation. Art can be found along the streets, galleries, and within communes, but it is also in nature and architecture.
If you don’t know Frank Lloyd Wright’s history, you may not know about his time in Arizona. Built by Frank Lloyd Wright and his apprentices in the 1930s and expanded upon until his death in 1959, this breathtaking compound of creativity, art in architecture, simplicity and complexity of style was truly a great experience and we did not know enough about the man and his art. The construction of the buildings was and remains in harmony with the natural landscape. Considered one of his greatest masterpieces, Taliesin West is presented to you in a 90-minute guided tour. I would do this tour again, just to be able to examine the grounds further.
What to do with extra space in a shopping mall? Why not use it to introduce art to mall-goers! Considered an evolving art show with art from around the world, this unused space in the nationally-known Fashion Square Mall was quite a surprise as who goes to the mall to experience art. There is a great deal of art in the shops of Tiffany & Co, Gucci, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo and more, but this art, although not able to go home with you, was more inspiring than window shopping in other parts of the mall. This idea would be great to carry to even more cities than Scottsdale, Austin, Philadelphia, and San Diego.
So if someone tells you that they’re going kayaking in the desert, they may not be pulling your leg. The Lower Salt River was to be our home for about 2 hours as we kayaked down the Class-1 waterway. The river flows from the mountains of Northern Arizona giving life to wildlife and plants that will keep you looking around to see more. Wild horses, bald eagles, mud cliffs, and more were seen on our journey. As a Mainer and an owner of a kayak here in Florida, this activity was right in my wheelhouse, but beginners would be fine on this easy coasting float. Highly recommended and I would do it every time I go to Scottsdale.
One thing I enjoy doing is eating well when I travel. Never do we try to go to a chain that we have at home, go to the popular places as unpopular are usually that way for a reason, but as well, do not forget to splurge, too. Scottsdale does not have a shortage of great places to eat. Here are most of the ones we enjoyed.