Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Off-Season Pays Off:Spa Hopping in Scottsdale/Phoenix


When everyone else heads to the beach, I head to the desert. Why? Because as a spa connoisseur,  I look for any opportunity to indulge in luxury pampering. A true spa-aholic knows that the best time to visit a spa is when it is not crowded. The atmosphere is more civilized with a sense of peace, tranquility and a serene feeling of exclusivity. Best of all there are summer specials so you can indulge more for less! Not only are the tony hotel rooms offering special packages, but the most extravagant award winning spas may also provide the most inviting offers, especially for the staycation set.Summertime is the most popular season for most jet setters to get out of town. Many have vacation homes in exotic locals but not everyone has the luxury of a second home, yet we all want to beat the crowds. With vacation plans in action, embarking on a sojourn to near and far away places is one of the top rated pleasures. Summertime is the most popular season for most jet setters to get out of town. The lucky few have vacation homes in exotic locals but not everyone has the luxury of a second home, yet we all want to beat the crowds. With vacation plans in action, embarking on a sojourn to near and far away places is one of the top rated pleasures. 

One of the best places for five star luxury pampering is in Scottsdale/Phoenix, Arizona. While temperatures may rise over three digits daily, there are many upscale destination resorts with top rated spas.  Indulging in these spa treatments are like a gourmet banquet for any spa aficionado. Escaping to a desert oasis can be challenging, since there are so many choices. Not content to just try one, the avid spa goer can sample the buffet by spa hopping to experience the best with the most-exclusive packages. In addition, for the locals this is prime time staycation season. For the incurable romantic soul, there are couple’s treatments that will send you into another dimension together. Many of the spa rooms have their own outdoor plunge/spa pools, soaking tubs and waterfall showers. In the realm of the senses, getting pampered at a Five Star luxury resort spa is the ultimate sensual experience to share.

“Nothing truly compares to the experience of a resort spa in Scottsdale. The city has more spas per capita than any other city in the country. To say that you have your choice of luxurious, relaxing and pampering spas is an understatement. And the fact that each one offers something unique to make it stand out from the rest, well it’s just one more reason to grab your friends for a girls getaway or your significant other for a romantic rendezvous and head to Scottsdale for an unbelievably tranquil retreat.”
Tatum Luona, CONFESSIONS OF A SPA-AHOLIC

After a long drive through the drought California desert, we arrived at our first spa sampling at The Phoenician, a luxury resort collection, at their Canyon Suites Five-Star Resort which is top rated. The Centre for Wellbeing is a world class spa surrounded by tropical landscapes, a
rainforest of palms, waterfalls into lily ponds, lush vegetation and an oasis pool complex for all ages. The most stunning is the “Mother-of-Pearl” pool, which is a swimmers dream. This is the best one for lap swimming with glistening mother of pearl tiles. The pool was empty at 10 am! “Youngsters (and the young at heart) can share the thrill of a 165-foot water slide and Surge Splash Pad.”

We went on the slide six times in a row (lead by another five year old guest) and got our thrilling workout before heading to the spa! This 22,000 square-foot spa had a hint of intimacy which reflects the aptly named place for wellness. The spa menu includes “ signature experiences thoughtfully crafted with the finest, hand-selected products that have solidified The Centre’s international reputation as an unparalleled sanctuary for healing.”

Most Exclusive: BLISS
The ultimate spa indulgence, with a relaxing 50-minute body treatment; rejuvenating rhythms of a healing 50-minute massage; and the restorative song of a nourishing 50-minute facial – all of your choice – combined with a luscious manicure and pedicure. Remember, Time is on your side! A scrumptious lunch, prepared by The Phoenician’s culinary artisans, completes your experience. Tip: You must add on the miraculous effects of the intraceutical infusions! These are a revolutionary skin care treatment simultaneously infusing moisture, vitamins and anti-oxidants into the skin via cooling, calming topical hyperbaric oxygen. Best for getting Red Carpet Ready for your special event.


The next stop on our indulgent spa journey was the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa. After seeing the dreamy photos of the alluring infinity pool in the finest haute publications, this was our first choice! The spa uplifts the small luxury resort standard of luxury. But seeing the uber decor in person was much more exhilarating than the photos. Sophisticated design with relaxed refinement, the resort is most photographed for the color therapy infinity pool. This is definitely a world class design hotel.  Ranked in the top hotel spas overall and the Top 5 Hotel Spas for Travel and Leisure’s Continental US 2014 World Best, it is a must for any spa aficionado.

From the “distinctive architecture, an array of lavish spa amenities, and an extensive menu of Asian-inspired services in twelve indoor and outdoor treatment rooms and outdoor Watsu® pool,” this place is a winner.  Defining the elements of casual elegance, you can luxuriate amidst a tranquil Zen meditation garden and soothing reflection pond — renew your spirit at this ultimate spa retreat in Scottsdale.”

The minute you enter the spa/fitness 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 framing the outdoor zen water garden. The elements of elegance such as the starkness of the stone hardscape and hard edged water feature are contrasted with the surrounding water reflecting pools reminiscent of a museum of modern art Zen meditation installation.

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 and mind/body/spirit treatments to delight all of the senses. There are a few familiar treatments and also medicinal healing modalities such as “Luk Pra Kope-Meaning: to massage with medicinal herbs. Luk pra kope begins with soaking your feet in a fresh lime and essential-oil bath. After your feet are cooled and exfoliated with fine, white Thai clay and fresh lime, a blend of steamy, organically grown herbs is rolled, massaged and pressed into tight muscles and onto problem areas and energy pathways. Along with Thai massage, the heated compress soothes sore and aching muscles, enhances circulation, reduces joint stiffness and refreshes the skin.”

Most Exclusive:Bodhi Body Contouring Treatment
“This traditional contouring body ritual will help achieve a firmer, more refined body tone. A gentle scrub is applied to prepare the body for the spicy warming mask which will stimulate blood vessels for better circulation and help with the removal of toxins. While you are wrapped in this exotic mask, a facial/eye contouring massage is applied with a warm herbal poultice to help tone the skin. Afterwards, an invigorating massage with black pepper and clove buds is performed to help break down fatty deposits, eliminate toxins, and increase lymphatic drainage.” While most choose a massage, body treatments are actually more indulgent because they give you a massage while applying all kinds of potions and elixers to delight all of the senses.

“Less is more,” describes a new demand for experiences that are low in impact, high in comfort. 2015 Trends Report, Spa Finder

Driving out to the more remote destination on our Super Luxe Spa Indulgence week was the 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 know for it’s casual elegance and more organic accommodations and services with a world class setting of natural beauty. Designed by one of the greatest twentieth century modern architects, John Lautner (student of Frank Lloyd Wright), this mid-century architectural landmark is now undergoing a facelift to meet the demands of the twenty-first century sophisticated traveler. Known for environmentally sound landscaping, the surrounding terrain and plant life have been left virtually untouched – allowing indigenous flora and fauna to thrive. “In acknowledgment of our eco-friendly design and practices, the Boulders Resort & Spa has been awarded the Urban Land Institute's Environmental Award of Excellence and the Valley Forward Association's Crescordia Award of Environmental Excellence.”
Although under new ownership, the high end standards of the previous Golden Door Spa are still evident for the ultimate in spa pampering and offerings. The locals and spa members are also loyal to this unique locale because of the utmost fitness and spa offerings. Yoga enthusiasts can beat the heat this summer with some cool stretches and body contouring. This is the perfect anti-dote to stiffness the day before or after you hit the early morning hikes into the rugged terrain with breathtaking views of the 12-million year old boulders. The fitness center is state of the art and they offer other complimentary classes.

The 33,000 sq. ft. spa offers au courant treatments and packages in a remote setting which is still considered the ultimate in spa getaways. The facility incorporates the elements of feng shui and a Zen-like ambiance staying true to the natural environs and Native American influences of the region. “It is the paradigm of a Zen Desert Lifestyle--luxurious, yet simple; contemporary, yet rooted in timeless traditions of healing and connection to the Earth. Here, global traditions of healing and spa find expression through the essential simplicity of Zen and the unique essence of desert living. Each treatment features a rich abundance of aromatic scents, organic ingredients and most importantly, therapeutic intention. The treatments are arranged into three distinct intentions: Desert Zen, Global Shaman and Radiant Oasis.”



Most Exclusive:Desert Rose Radiance
Experiencing this head-to-toe pampering treatment that focuses on the anti-aging properties of rose and pomegranate seed extracts is a must! This is the most indulgent use of indigenous elements such as the jojoba and desert rose exfoliation. This is followed by a soothing aloe mask - particularly beneficial for sun damaged skin. Then, wrapped in a soft cocoon and feeling the naturally lifting facial massage with prickly pear and pomegranate, this is an extraordinary treatment. With many layers of treatment, it finishes with a hydrating massage application of  the signature Desert Rose body lotion. What is most unique is feeling the prickly pear potion which is a local delicacy and has many benefits to the skin and body, both externally as well as internally. After experiencing the amazing natural wonders of this desert gem, you will reap the benefits for your hair, skin, nails and even great for weightloss! In addition, book a session in the Hydrotherapy Tub that provides lymphatic drainage with 80 jets to soothe tired muscles and assist with detoxification.The Native American Inspired treatments are also a real treat for a unique blend for mind/body/spirit and traditional herbs and potions.

The final destination for this whirlwind spa getaway was the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. While the name speaks for itself, this Four Seasons luxury destination resort and the Sonoran Spa is offering “2015 Value Periods.” Some have called this place the “Jewel of Scottsdale” but don’t be fooled by the casually elegant decor and exceptional ratings by haute travel connoisseurs. Guests can indulge in deep discounted treatments during Spa Happy Hour, featuring the refreshing scent of grapefruit basil. This is a destination resort that appeals to all ages, especially with the great summer deals. Don’t forget movie night at the main pool where kids and adults mingle to watch movie favorites that appeal to the kid in us all.



Most Exclusive:THE PINNACLE FACIAL

What is more decadent than indulging in both the face and the body? Having this luxury pampering for 110 minutes! With this intensely stimulating facial that uses the anti-inflammatory properties of gold, you are not only bringing radiance to the complexion, 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 as the healing and rejuvenating properties of the prickly pear to smooth and moisturize. Don’t forget to buy some to take home. You probably won’t find it in your local store 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!

If you’re ready for a healthy escape, now is the time to visit off season to get the best deals and beat the crowds. Remember off-season lasts a long time in the desert!