Luxury Boutique with Tuscan-Style Accommodations and Mountain Vistas
Located on a ridge in the McDowell Mountains, CopperWynd Resort and Club occupies the perfect setting for a serene, relaxing getaway. Fodor’s praises the resort for its “breathtaking views of mountains and the Sonoran Desert,” which the resort takes advantage of by positioning each of its guest rooms to overlook beautiful vistas. The resort's luxurious amenities seem to harmoniously exist with these intimate natural surroundings, with desert brush and blooming cacti around two outdoor pools overlooking the mountainside.
At the onsite spa, Scottsdale Spa & Holistic Massage Therapy, you can receive signature treatments that incorporate natural elements and Native American healing techniques. Inspired by the nearby amethyst mine of the Four Peaks mountain, the amethyst mind and body renewal treatment includes an exfoliation rub, regenerating wrap, and amethyst-infused lotion. Guests can also pamper themselves with a manicure or facial at the adjacent beauty salon.
A crackling fireplace helps create a relaxing vibe inside the tuscan-style boutique’s lobby. The deluxe casita rooms follow suit with warm, earthy tones and a patio that opens to views of the desert or mountains. For dinner, head over to Alchemy restaurant, where executive chef Paul O'Connor crafts a delectable menu of New American cuisine. Dining here is especially intimate and romantic—you’ll be amid floor-to-ceiling windows opened to let in ample sunlight, and an alfresco area lets you sip wine amid views of the mountains.
Fountain Hills, AZ: World-Famous Fountain and Championship Golf Courses in the Sonoran Desert
Located in Arizona's Sonoran Desert, just north of Mesa, Phoenix, and Scottsdale, Fountain Hills was a sprawling cattle ranch until the late '60s, when Disneyland designer Charles Wood Jr. helped transform it into a charming community centered around what was then the world's tallest fountain at Fountain Park. While it’s no longer the world’s tallest, you can still watch the fountain put on a spectacular 15-minute show, shooting water about 500 feet high and casting a rainbow mist against the rugged backdrop of the McDowell Mountains.
Since the 1960s, Fountain Hills has expanded rapidly, with several public parks, playgrounds, and championship golf courses sprouting up throughout the arid landscape, including the nearby We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, with two courses that are both on Golf Magazine’s 2012 Top 100 Courses You Can Play list. There's also a strong artistic community—take the weekly art walk to visit the local galleries and nearly 100 public sculptures reflecting the desert's rich Native American history.
Despite the town's recent growth, there's still unspoiled natural landscape to explore. A day trip to Tonto National Forest is well worth the drive. At nearly 3 million acres, the forest is home to ponderosa pine groves and giant saguaro cacti that can stand up to six stories tall. The behemoth cacti also surround Saguaro Lake, a tranquil spot for fishers to cast for rainbow trout and bluegill. Along the lake, double-decker Desert Belle riverboats host educational 90-minute tours, during which you might spot bighorn sheep, mountain lions, and vultures.