Spacious Condo-Style Suites near Sonoran Preserve
Nestled in a valley of the Sonoran Desert, Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve makes up one of the world’s most ecologically diverse desert environments. More than 60 miles of trails wind past stunning red-rock formations and towering saguaro cacti that harbor exotic wildlife from collared peccary to quail. Located just 4 miles from the preserve's main trailhead, Scottsdale Villa Mirage also capitalizes on the surrounding desert beauty—not to mention the more than 300 days of sunshine the region enjoys annually. Buildings are painted in a desert-sand beige, and palm trees and other flora provide shade on the property.
Like a desert oasis, Scottsdale Villa Mirage welcomes travelers with a sparkling swimming pool, a spa, tennis courts, and attractively landscaped grounds. Each condo-style suite contains a partial or full kitchen with utensils, with dishwashers in one-bedroom units. Balconies or terraces extend beyond the eaves of Spanish-style tile roofs, offering places to soak up rays or shout orders for hamburgers to guests grilling at the barbecue pit below. When it's too hot for an outdoor jog, feel free to work out in the resort’s air-conditioned fitness center.
Scottsdale, Arizona: Stucco Mansions amid Rocky Desert Landscape
Located just northeast of Phoenix in the Sonoran Desert, Scottsdale once served as ranch land where farmers grew oranges and lemons and cowboys kicked up dust in the fierce, dry heat. That era earned Scottsdale the nickname of “The West's Most Western Town.” Today, it is an affluent city landscaped with lush green grass and lined with stucco mansions. For a glimpse of the city's Old West roots, head to Old Town Scottsdale, where wooden boardwalks and hitching posts sit in front of a retro ice-cream parlor and rustic specialty shops.
Upon arriving in Scottsdale, you know you're in the desert—cacti and tumbleweeds dot the landscape, and dry shrubs and gnarled trees cover the McDowell Mountains in the distance. To get a closer look at southwestern flora, head to the Desert Botanical Garden. There, themed trails wind past huge cacti and other moisture-hoarding succulents, best seen in the cooler early morning or twilight hours.