A Wellness Weekend Getaway in Scottsdale, Arizona - 2 Dads with Baggage

A Wellness Weekend Getaway in Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale has always been one of our favorite upscale destinations, and we recently enjoyed a quick weekend getaway among the cactus flowers and cushy resort accommodations of this sunny Arizona playground. Like many seekers of blue skies and warm weather, we’ve enjoyed this destination many times before. But never like this. Our wellness weekend getaway in Scottsdale was the perfect combination of luxe resort chic, outdoor exploration and delicious tastes.  Of course, all of this happened while nestled among rocky boulders, a bazillion golf courses and saguaro cactus.

The rocky terrain in Scottsdale is spotted with gigantic saguaro cactus – many are hundreds of years old.

It was time to get away and dry out from all the rain and gloomy weather in Southern California. Scottsdale is the perfect distance away – only 80 minutes by air, but far enough to feel completely separated from our regular life at home. Our carry-ons packed with warm-weather clothes, swimsuits and sandals, we arrived at our resort ready to settle in for a luxurious experience.

Troon North Golf Club in Scottsdale. Credit: Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale

A Wellness Weekend Getaway in Scottsdale

The Scott Resort is Giving Havana

We love a good luxe vacation. For this wellness weekend getaway in Scottsdale, we booked The Scott Resort & Spa because of its hip design and central location. The resort opened in the 1960s and after extensive renovations it has been updated into what I would describe as Havana Chic.

After spending time in the lobby at The Scott, we want to redecorate our house now.

The expansive lobby and common areas use light colored walls and wooden accents as a backdrop, with creamy upholstered club chairs and sofas to set up a welcoming retreat. Add in big leafy plants, ceiling fans and gigantic hanging baskets with lamps inside and all this invokes a clubby Cuban-inspired environment that feels like clubby and homey at the same time.

View as guests enter The Scott lobby.

In fact, one of the design features I really love is the use of “family portraits” sprinkled throughout. The wall behind the front desk shows like a personal library, scattered with books, portraits and other collectibles that lend a personal touch. Another nice nod to the Havana of yesteryear includes the turquoise and white 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible sitting out front.

This classic Chevy in the porte cochere adds color to the Havana vibe at The Scott Resort & Spa.
The Canal Club

An environment like this is best enjoyed with a cocktail in hand, so of course we had to oblige with a visit to the Canal Club. This vivacious lobby bar is tucked at the back of the enormous lobby area, and you can’t miss its neon pink sign. Triton loved his Helen & Maude, a mojito-inspired cocktail with Puerto Rican rum, coconut, lime, mint and soda. I thought my Salt River Society (mezcal, amaro, lemon, ahi amarillo, pineapple) was so delicious it was all I could do to avoid rudely slurping it down.

In the evening, the vibe heats up at The Scott and guests gather at the Canal Club.

A quick nosh from the bar menu helped sate our appetites, and the kicker was a cute rendition of loaded fries. The Loaded Cuban Street Fries are topped with ham, sweet & sour pickled relish, chipotle aioli and cotija. It gives an obvious nod to the Havana vibe while delivering a twist on the standard Cubana sandwich, and was gone in less than 15 minutes.

The Canal Club bar serves up the Cubana sandwich version of loaded fries, and we are here for it.
Equally Inspired Guest Rooms

If I could smoke a cigar inside my room (or liked cigars for that matter) it would fit in perfectly with this atmosphere. The clubby feel of The Scott lobby carries over to the guest rooms with cream-colored walls, green velvet sitting areas and those same family portraits as accents. In fact, the cane-backed headboard, white marble sink area and brass accents evoke the Havana theme even more. Somehow it all worked together to soothe us into an instant state of relaxation and that special spark we feel when discovering a new place to explore.

Our king guestroom at The Scott Resort & Spa was spacious and even had a large balcony overlooking the pool. Credit: The Scott Resort & Spa.

Getting around the landscaped grounds is a little confusing, (no elevator to transport my steamer trunks full of wardrobe options). Somehow this just adds to the experience and forced me to enjoy the route. If that is the worst thing about The Scott, I’d say they are doing a remarkably good job. And they are.

The outdoor spaces at The Scott are just as well designed as the indoor spaces.

Scottsdale Never Disappoints

Not only the beautiful geography strikes us here in Arizona. The vibe just feels a little bit…more. Maybe it’s that frontier history and wild west heritage that fuels the atmosphere in Scottsdale. Or the historic storefronts housing chic galleries, boutiques and upscale restaurant. Perhaps it’s the well-dressed women and men, casually elegant in their wardrobe choices. But whatever they are selling, we’re buying it and happy to do so. We’ve visited quite a few times now, and each time we leave smiling, relaxed and inspired.

The sunsets in Scottsdale are colorful beyond compare.

Like any world-class destination, there are plenty of fun things to see, do and eat in Scottsdale. On this wellness weekend getaway in Scottsdale, we aimed to mix discovery with mind-clearing relaxation. Our intinerary left plenty of time for relaxation and contemplation. It also hit some energetic high points.

From our experiences, here’s our recommendations if you would also like to enjoy your own wellness weekend getaway in Scottsdale.

Facials, Massages and Spas – Oh My!

It’s really not a wellness weekend without some form of spa treatment – at least in our book. We planned ahead and booked massages at The Scott’s in-house spa, La Vidorra. Located in a tranquil corner of the resort grounds away from the splashing pools and thumping beats, La Vidorra Spa offers a long list of treatment options.

Lobby at La Vidorra Spa at The Scott Resort & Spa. Credit: The Scott Resort & Spa.

A couple of stand outs include:

  • La Vidorra Experience – A detoxifying soak in a copper tub, followed by an exfoliating scrub and then a full-body massage
  • Havana Herbal Salt Stone – Full body massage with warm salt stones and a Cuban-inspired aromatherapy treatment with essential oils

We opted for the relaxing deep-tissue massage for 80 minutes of bliss.

Outdoor Activity

eBikes for Smooth Sailing

Our big outdoor adventure on this trip was a super fun eBike tour, guided by a local gentleman who was deeply knowledgeable about Scottsdale and its history. The tour is one of many organized by REI Coop Experiences that offer experiences more strenuous or more paced, depending on skill and motivation for a challenge. We chose relaxation mode, and our bikes were equipped with electric motors to boost our speed if we did not feel like pedaling much.

Our eBike tour of Scottsdale with REI Coop Experiences was a great way to spend time outdoors.

We pedaled nearly 20 miles along winding paths that took us from the outskirts of North Scottsdale to the city center and back again in about 3 hours. Along our route, our guide shared some details about the terrain, the town’s history, the flora and fauna and his favorite restaurants. He was chatty in a good way. We enjoyed the banter as we rode through neighborhoods, parks and along waterways. We even stopped halfway for an iced coffee and bio break. Great way to start the morning.

REI Coop Experiences: 17465 N. 93rd St., Scottsdale, 480.945.2881

The REI Coop Experiences is stocked with bikes and other cool adventure equipment for all kinds of outdoor experiences.
Off Road Adventures

On another trip, I had the opportunity to experience a sand buggy tour with Desert Dog Off Road Adventures. It was super exhilarating to drive this vehicle through the sometimes-rocky-sometimes-sandy desert pathways. We wandered along dry streambeds, up hills to take in the gorgeous views, and by enormous saguaro cacti hundreds of years old. I called it my “Shake, Rattle & Roll Tour,” and it was far from relaxing but I loved it so much.

The sand buggy adventure in Scottsdale is an adventurous way to tour the Sonoran Desert.

As part of the experience, you are given a helmut with windshield to wear and you soon find out why. The windshield is 100% needed because of the dust and dirt you kick up. Again – totally fun and worth it but not for the prissy. I did get dust bath on this tour. (If you’d like to try something tamer, they offer other options too.)

Desert Dog Off Road Aventures: contact for locations; 480.837.3966

Golf If You Must

For some friends (not us), golf is a relaxing experience that they qualify as a wellness activity. Because I am a total hacker, for me golf is far from relaxing. Even so, Scottsdale is widely known as heaven to golfers because there are more than 50 courses sprinkled through its 184 square-mile city limits.

Hole 15 on the Raptor course at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale. Credit: Bill Hornstein.

According to Experience Scottsdale and other sources, the best public golf courses in Scottsdale include:

Green fees vary, so hit up their websites for further details about tee times, etc.

Dine for Days

On this wellness weekend getaway in Scottsdale, we defined healthy meals as eating what makes us happy. This was definitely not a kale salad/tempeh patty/green cleanse kind of food weekend. We dined well, we drank well, and we slept well. Come on, we all define wellness in our own ways!

The food options in Scottsdale are tremendous, and yes it is possible to feed your body only the most healthy of things. And we did eat healthy with locally-sourced ingredients, organic when possible, and all served in style. Sometimes pampering yourself qualifies as wellness.

Margaritas in Scottsdale, Arizona at Diego Pops in Old Town Scottsdale.
The margaritas at Diego Pops are next level, with rims dipped in Tajin.

Here are some of the places where we experienced “Pampered Dining”. (This is a new term coined here, so remember this day as you read about our experiences.)

Diego Pops

A lively Mexican restaurant on the edge of Old Town Scottsdale, Diego Pops serves up a collection of favorites with some of the tastiest margaritas we’ve had in a long time. Not big on reservations, this place is popular with locals and visitors alike so show up and put your name on the list. You will be well entertained in the bar with your liquids of choice and the colorful crowd. (We loved the Watermelon Mint Margarita and the Fresh One Margarita with muddled cucumber.)

So many delicious tacos to mix and match at Diego Pops in Scottsdale.

For dinner, we started with the tangy Aguachile. It was a generous serving with just the right bite of spice and jalapeńo. We ordered several different tacos as mains, and all were fresh and delicious. The standouts were the Crispy Shrimp with avocado and pickled onion, the Charred Skirt Steak with carmelized onion and cilantro, and the Al Pastor anchiote pork shoulder with grilled pineapple.

If you are wondering how this counts as wellness, let me assure you it most definitely does.

Diego Pops: 4338 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale 480.970.1007

Diego Pops is a happening spot, so just sit back and enjoy.

El Chorro

In a completely different direction, El Chorro is a dignified and historic fine dining experience set in a ranch-style layout that conjures the Old West with panache. Regularly on everyone’s top and best lists, we could see why. If there weather is nice, ask to sit outside under the stars. Don’t worry there are fireplaces to keep you warm and breezes to keep you cool, and the people watching is epic. From the looks of the folks around us the place is money, so dress nicely and enjoy the experience.

Shrimp cocktail at martinis at El Chorro were the start of a great meal.

Every single thing we ordered at El Chorro was beyond outstanding. It started with the martinis (dry, cold and up – just the way we like them) and their famous bread. Well, it’s really not bread. It’s more like sticky buns you would have at breakfast but somehow it just works here so go with it. We gobbled down the most enormous shrimp in our shrimp cocktail, you could easily call them giant prawns. And our mains were perfectly prepared Trout Almondine and Filet Mignon. It was nothing short of a feast, and we rolled out of the restaurant ready to lie down.

If you decide to take your own wellness weekend getaway in Scottsdale, you could also choose to eat very healthy at El Chorro as well.

El Chorro: 555 East Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley 480.948.5170

Even the entrance at the legendary El Chorro Restaurant tells you it’s going to be a greaet meal.

Hash Kitchen

Despite the eat-a-thon the night before at El Chorro, we awoke hungry again. From The Scott we took a short ride up the road to Hash Kitchen, which should have a location in every city. If you like brunch, this is your spot (any day of the week.) At the entrance guests are greeted by an enormous Make-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar. It’s literally the biggest and most well-stocked we’ve ever seen. I’m sure we could have made a whole meal just out of piling delicious things balanced on sticks in our drinks, but we opted for the main menu of delicious creations.

The Blood Mary bar at Hash Kitchen in Scottsdale is epic.

Like many indecisive couples, we ordered two dishes and switched plates half way through so we could both enjoy the goodness. The first dish we could not ignore because it sounded so over the top, and it was. The Banana Split French Toast was served at the table next to us, and we had to have it. Fluffy, custardy, eggy thick bread slices are topped with caramelized bananas, mixed berries, sweet mascarpone, warm caramel drizzle and a waffle cone. This is decadence you really have to stretch to fit into a wellness weekend. We justified it as a taste bud wellness treatment which seemed totally explainable.

The Banana Split French Toast at Hash House qualifies as wellness, don’t you think?

The Carnitas Hash was our second choice. This dish includes Coca-Cola braised pork, queso fresco, roasted corn, avocado, green chile sauce, fried eggs, corn tortillas and more. It was out of this world.

Hash Kitchen at Gainey Ranch: 7777 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale 480.947.3214

If You Want Your Own Wellness Weekend Getaway in Scottsdale…

There is plenty to find in Scottsdale that qualifies as self-care, as you can imagine reading about our weekend. Your version will be unique to you, and that’s what is so attractive about Scottsdale – there truly is something for everyone.

Maybe next time we’ll do a cleansing diet, take copious yoga classes, and go for a zen walkabout in the desert (all things you can find here). But this time? Our wellness weekend getaway in Scottsdale was the perfect itinerary to send us home happy… and well.

For more information on building your own wellness itinerary, check out Experience Scottsdale for a variety of places to visit and things to do.


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