An elegant chandelier sparkles above Amaro Italiano Ristorante open kitchen, but it?s rarely the first thing that guests notice. They are too engrossed by Pizza Chef's delicate dance as he flings discs of pizza dough high into the air, careful not to get them caught in the chandelier?s net of crystal beads. The culinary team pull their own mozzarella and top their Neapolitan pizzas with such creative ingredients as shoestring onions, oven-roasted artichoke hearts, and shaved ham. Pizza is hardly their only specialty, however. Their dishes run the gamut from house-made pastas to a bone-in pork chop with a Dijon and mustard glaze. 70 wines complement the complex Italian flavors, as do the artworks on the dining room?s walls and live musicians who have strung their guitars with resonant spaghetti al dente.
It's nothing new for a spa to claim to be an "oasis," but Revive Spa means it literally. Set in the midst of the Sonoran Desert, the crown jewel of the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort is truly a sight for sore eyes?or sore backs, shoulders, and legs, for that matter.
Water symbolizes restoration, healing, and relaxation, so Revive Spa weaves it throughout its decor. Water flows directly beneath the lobby's skylit rotunda. It forms the centerpiece of the Spa Sanctuary Pool's ring of palm trees and billowing cabanas. It mingles with the fresh desert air in the second story's Zen Loft. Even so, Revive Spa doesn't shy away from incorporating Sonoran influences in its treatments. Flora indigenous to the desert are used to make the deep-cleansing masks for facials and the lotions used during massages are made with ingredients from the spa's own herb garden.
While the award-winning treatments attract visitors from far and wide, fireplaces and private patios in the relaxation rooms make it easy to linger in a zone of almost unmatched serenity. The same can be said of the spa's bistro, which crafts sophisticated dishes using organic ingredients and herbs from the garden.
Versed in vintages from around the globe and down the block, Vino 100's aficionados personally curate the shop’s collection of more than 150 wines. Blond wood shelves display bottles stacked into tidy pyramids and sporting labels from wineries such as Oberon, Coppola, and Toad Hollow. In addition to gracing home wine cabinets with new vintages, the shop rewards oenophiles with membership to the grapenutz Wine Club, which unlocks perks including discounts and complimentary bottles. In addition to special events such as live music, wine-pairing dinners, and Bartles and Jaymes look-alike contests, Vino 100 invites patrons to informative wine classes covering topics ranging from tasting tips to wine-production secrets. In the spirit of Dionysian goodwill, the shop helps support a roster of community partners such as schools and animal rescues.
American cuisine has a pretty broad definition, so the chefs at Stonegrill narrow their focus to the specific flavors of the Southwest. Located in the award-winning, AAA 4-Diamond JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, Stonegrill offers expected staples such as huevos rancheros or the mini taco appetizer, and also puts a Southwestern spin on other classic dishes. They dress up their bison burger with chipotle mayonnaise and fire-roasted poblano peppers. They pair apple-wood-smoked chicken with a glaze of sweet onion barbecue sauce and an ancho chile corn cake. They pair any meal with signature drinks, such as the prickly pear margarita, and finish off the evening with fudge blocks made from the milk of local goats and the cocoa of local chocolate bunnies.
As they stroll along the green, undulating grounds of the Marriott's Wildfire Golf Club, guests watch as a fire pit slowly comes into view. White sand golf hazards slope along the grassy surface, and rows of palm trees sway. Then, they arrive at their destination: Meritage Steakhouse. Inside, spotted cowhides cover chairs beneath cream-and-burgundy ceilings high enough to allow room for a black-tie food fight. Expansive windows complement meals with natural sunlight and landscape views.
All of this is the setting for the restaurant's main draw: steaks. Filet or porterhouse, dressed with b?arnaise or white truffle butter, paired with lobster tail or scallops, the steaks are filled with a soft textured tenderness that only comes from using the best aged, marbled cuts. Meritage operates on an organic, sustainable philosophy, and partners with a largely local community of farmers, fisheries, and artisans. All of the steaks hail from just two ranches?one in California and one in Colorado?that pride themselves on their cattle's vegetarian diets.
From the patio, twenty6 lounge guests take in an expansive view of the McDowell Mountains as they sip their signature cocktails. Savoring cheese plucked off the charcuterie plates, or spooning sweet dollops of gelato, visitors are encouraged to calm their minds and exist in the moment. In the words of its staffers, the lounge "has perfected the art of unwinding." Live music on Friday and Saturday nights make the task of unwinding as easy as retaking first grade after you've earned your PhD.