AAA Four Diamond Resort near Downtown Scottsdale
About a dozen miles northeast of downtown Scottsdale, private homes gradually give way to thousands of saguaro cacti. It’s in this secluded area that you’ll find the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort—a sprawling, modern-day oasis set against the backdrop of one of North America's largest deserts.
Depending on which side of the building they’re on, the hotel’s standard rooms look out on the McDowell Mountains, the resort's two outdoor pools, or a championship golf course. Stop by one of the pools for a dip or to kick back in a lounge chair, or head to the Amethyst Spa & Health Club for a stone massage or hydrating facial. Groupon users are entitled to a 20% discount on spa services during their stay.
Five onsite eateries serve everything from burgers and shakes to traditional sushi. For a more upscale dining experience, there’s the Ahnala Mesquite Room, which has a fireplace and views of the mountains. This deal includes a $10 dining credit that you can use at any of the restaurants. For guests traveling with children, there are a number of family-friendly options at the resort, such as weekend movie nights by the pool.
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 official nickname of “The West's Most Western Town.” Today, it’s an affluent city filled with lush green spaces and stucco mansions. For a glimpse of the city's roots, head to Old Town Scottsdale, where wooden boardwalks and hitching posts sit in front of rustic specialty shops and a retro ice-cream parlor.
Further out, cacti and tumbleweeds dot the landscape, and dry shrubs cover the McDowell Mountains. To get a closer look at southwestern flora, head to the Desert Botanical Garden. Themed trails wind past huge cacti and other moisture-hoarding succulents, best seen in the cool early morning or twilight hours.
About 12 miles from the hotel is Taliesin West, the winter home and architecture campus of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Take a guided tour of the grounds to see how Wright's design echoes the landscape, with gently sloped roofs that recall the mountains and a southwestern color palette of oranges, reds, and browns.