4 “It” Resorts in Scottsdale, Arizona

by Brook Benten on May 21, 2024 in Travels,

Scottsdale, Arizona, is a map dot for some of the best spas, golf courses and hotels in the world. These gems dazzle in rare ways.

Being a city known for its opulence, there are dozens of world-class resorts in Scottsdale, Arizona. (To name a few, The Phoenician, Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, The Scott Resort & Spa, Hotel Valley Ho + Mountain Shadows, and JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa.) 

I went searching for the properties that ace an unexpected element with such panache that they can be classified as “It.” I’m naming and claiming these four (and backing it up!).

Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North partners with REI to offer customized activities. A few examples include e-bike hiking tours, private airplane rides to Sedona for hiking and Arizona wine tasting and “Path of the Ancients” hiking tour through 2,154 acres of diverse, rugged upland desert. Photo courtesy Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North.

The Up-and-Coming “It”

The Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley, The Palmeraie

The Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley, The Palmeraie is located at 7000 East Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, Arizona 85253. Room rates are not available at this time. (Image is a rendering.) Photo courtesy Five Star Development.

The Ritz-Carlton, one of the world’s most venerable brands, has been buzzed about in Paradise Valley (the most affluent, desirable area of Scottsdale) for over a decade. Jan Bracamonte, President of J. Lauren PR, an agency regarded among the upper echelon of hospitality public relations firms, said that she has been working on The Palmeraie since 2010 – before even founding her firm!

Lucky for Jan and extra lucky for us, the time has long last come (almost). Opening date of The Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley, The Palmeraie will be announced this summer. The much-anticipated resort is expected to be substantially completed in 2024.

The Palmeraie is a $2 billion master-planned community that spans 122 acres. At the heart of the community is a 215-room Ritz-Carlton resort that will be surrounded by 80 single-level Ritz-Carlton Residences Villas, and 32 single-family Ritz-Carlton Residence Estate Homes

Resort guests have a lot of “it” factors to look forward to. The main pool, spanning nearly 400 feet, will be one of the longest resort pools in North America. The Palmeraie will also incorporate a variety of dining destinations led by best-in-class, celebrated local and international chefs. Mott 32, one of the world’s most acclaimed Chinese restaurants, will be the resort’s signature restaurant.

Triple threats for wellness travelers include The Palmeraie’s 16,000 square-foot spa with indoor and outdoor treatment areas, expertly curated fitness equipment in the 2,500 square-foot health center (including cutting edge recovery modalities and services), and a grand lawn with lush walking paths and focal water gardens surrounded by mountainous views.

Owned and developed by Five Star Development, The Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley, The Palmeraie is almost certain to earn its “it” status with five stars that shine like the Scottsdale night sky.

The “It”

Caesars Republic Scottsdale

Caesars Republic Scottsdale is located at 4747 North Goldwater Boulevard, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251. Standard guest rooms start as low as $200 per night. Photo courtesy Caesars Republic Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Fashion Square, Scottsdale’s premier luxury retail destination, has a fashionable new next door neighbor: Caesars Republic Scottsdale. This ultra-modern, 11-story landmark was constructed from the ground up. It opened its doors in April 2023. 

High on the 11th floor is a 2,281 sq. ft., 2-bedroom Caesars Suite. This penthouse suite features white marble tile throughout, 3 bathrooms, a full kitchen and spacious living area. Allegedly, a superstar was first to stay in this suite. To protect her privacy, we won’t name names, but if you stay in this suite, you’ll be living in the same space where the most famous female rapper of our time called home. Photo courtesy Caesars Republic Scottsdale.

This is the first non-gaming hotel from Caesars Entertainment in the United States. Everything from the rich textures, soft curves and bold accents of the interior design to the signature restaurant, Luna by Giada, one of two restaurants by celebrity chef, Giada De Laurentiis – everything about this hotel has It-factor swagger. 

For a workout, join one of the pop-up fitness classes on the rooftop or Life Time members with any-club access can take a GTX class at Life Time Scottsdale Fashion Square, directly across the street. (Caesars Republic Scottsdale partners with Life Time Scottsdale Fashion Square for spa service offerings for guests.)

The Always-Been “It”

Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia

Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia is located at 4949 East Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale, Arizona 85253. Standard guest rooms start as low as $200 per night. Photo courtesy Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia.

This campus-style property features 293 guest rooms amidst 35 acres of lush desert landscape. The panoramic views of Camelback Mountain will take your breath away. There is no greater serenity than wading in Joya Spa’s private pool with the camel silhouette view of the mountain. 

Joya Spa is the resort’s 31,000 sq. ft. jewel – “joya” is, literally, “jewel” in Spanish – that features a cascading cold plunge, hot therapy, a private Spa terrace, the private spa pool, 19 treatment rooms, and luxurious day beds in a quiet room for post-service relaxation. Photo courtesy Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia.

A lot of modern resorts talk a good game about being “wellness properties,” but the walls are hollow, the curtains don’t close completely, the bathroom has a shower or bath (not both), and the bed is nothing remarkable. Where is the wellness in that? To truly serve the wellness traveler, resources should be pumped into the guestrooms.

At Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia, they are.

The solid concrete floors and ceilings provide airborne sound insulation. The walls are insulated, too. This sound-mitigating expense is not something we can see, but we experience. Our nervous systems absorb either peace or cacophony, depending on the construction of the guest rooms. Solid construction of the walls, floors, and ceilings is the cornerstone of a good night’s sleep. 

Thick, heavy curtains draw to a complete close, giving the room blackout darkness. As a highly sensitive person, any light disrupts my sleep. I often find myself getting the pant hangers from the closet at hotels and resorts to bind the curtains together (great hack). No MacGyver tactics necessary at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. The curtains bound and blocked all ambient light, which is saying a lot since I had an east-facing, pool-view room!

Bath and bed will please wellness-conscious guests. Each room offers both a sunken tub and a walk-in dual-head shower. Each bathroom also has a digital scale. A scale is something I appreciate to ensure I don’t tip the delicate balance of delight and discipline while on vacation. (Without an in-room scale, I find myself weighing in a public gym or spa. Awkward!) The rooms also feature ultra-luxurious Divine Beds and Egyptian cotton 300-count sheets.

Spanish inspiration isn’t limited to architecture or room decor at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. Prado, the resort’s Spanish restaurant, is a premier destination for fine dining in Scottsdale. Prior to my visit to Prado, I hailed Corrida in Boulder, Colorado, as the best Spanish fare in the United States. After my meal at Prado, I humbly must say that I’ve changed my mind.

The Shhh “It”

The Scottsdale Resort & Spa

The Scottsdale Resort & Spa is located at 7700 East McCormick Parkway, Scottsdale, Arizona 85258. Standard guest rooms start as low as $150 per night. Photo courtesy The Scottsdale Resort & Spa.

I visited The Scottsdale Resort & Spa in 2011. When my Uber driver pulled in to the fountain roundabout, the memory came back to me: “Hey! I’ve been here!” But, whoa, what an upgrade from the place I recalled! 

The textured winter white walls with leather accents and ample open space give the resort a welcoming and airy feel. I remembered it differently. Come to find out, this was one of the largest rejuvenations in the Phoenix-metro area in 2024! The resort recently completed a $40 million renovation.

Upgrades touched all parts of the property, encompassing guestrooms, villas, Luna Spa, fitness center (the expanded fitness center is now 3,000 square feet! It includes Therabody Muscle Relief station with multiple massage guns and recovery tools!), restaurants and bars. But the reason this resort is the Shhh It is the secret passageway to a speakeasy. Behind a beautiful wood bookshelf, a surprising turn gives guests access to a bygone era. Enter: The Madam.

Teetotalers may pass on the classic cocktails, but enjoy a tonic water at the library-turned-bar in a Scooby Doo-type twist. Zoinks! Photo courtesy The Scottsdale Resort & Spa.

The Madam was among the features added with the resort’s renovation project. It invites guests on a clandestine journey to the Roaring Twenties. Keep calm and undercover as you pretend to escape prohibition. The Madam keeps a watchful eye.

Here are some of the Ittiest ’It’ things to do in Scottsdale.

Your resort will be so warm and inviting that you may be tempted to lay low on property for the duration of your stay. That would be a mistake. In addition to “It” lodging, Scottsdale, Arizona, offers a multitude of arts, activities, and entertainment. 

An excursion to kayak The Lower Salt River in Tonto National Forest was the best kayaking experience (anywhere!). Teri Carlin, owner of Riverbound Sports, led my tour and brought all the gear (including waterproof phone cases, sunscreen, water bottles and a “snacklebox!”). Photo courtesy Riverbound Sports.

Riverbound Sports, Arizona’s award winning paddle shop offers equipment and tours

Scottsdale Selfie, photography studio + party venue (a content creator’s paradise!)

Hot Air Expeditions, hot air balloon flights over Scottsdale

Western Spirit, Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (“#1 Western Museum in the USA,” 2023)

Arizona Boardwalk, an entertainment destination the features eight marquee attractions

Desert Botanical Garden, the world’s first collection of arid-land plants from around the world in an outdoor setting

McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, 30,500 acres of hiking, mountain biking, and ecological education (Tom’s Thumb hike recommended for adventure-lovers)

Uchi, “house” in Japanese, is founded by James Beard Award-winning Chef Tyson Cole. Non-traditional Japanese cuisine, sushi and seasonal omakase earn the restaurant its “It” reputation, but mark my quinoa-crusted lips: desserts are absolutely not to be missed at the Ittiest “It” restaurant in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. Photo courtesy Hai Hospitality.

Uchi, Austin’s favorite upscale non-traditional Japanese restaurant just opened its first Arizona location in Scottsdale

Musical Instrument Museum (MIM)*, an immersive music experience that offers 250 concerts each year *“MIM” was ranked number one attraction on TripAdvisor and in the top four best museums for families nationwide by USA Today Travel.

Stellar Adventures Hummer and ATV Tours, a fun and diverse experience of outdoor adventures, ranging from Military M1009 (M-10-oh-9) Blazer off-road rides to Night-Vision nocturnal wildlife sightseeing

Camelback Mountain, the most notorious and glorious hike in Scottsdale

Scottsdale Arts, formerly known as “Scottsdale Cultural Council,” this nonprofit has been creating diverse, inspired arts experiences and educational opportunities that foster active, lifelong community engagement with the arts since 1987

40 top travel journalists from the United States and Canada gathered at Taliesin West in April 2024 for a farm-to-table dinner, hosted by award-winning immersive event agency, Cloth & Flame. Photo Brook Benten.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Arizona home, which he called, “A look over the rim of the world” is open daily for tours

What do I love most about Scottsdale, Arizona? All of it. Photo courtesy Riverbound Sports.

 Cover Image is a rendering of The Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley, The Palmeraie. Photo courtesy Five Star Development

Brook Benten, M.Ed., is an author and athlete. She models healthy living by daily movement, sleep, nourishment, stress management and an alcohol-free lifestyle. She teaches these practices as a professional life coach and personal trainer. Follow Brook’s adventures as a traveler, triathlete, mom and philanthropist @BrookBenten.