Family Holiday Trip AAA Five Diamond Fairmont
Since it’s situated in the middle of the desert, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess could be mistaken for a mirage of an oasis: it has five pools, one with twisting 200-foot slides and two with relaxing poolside cabanas. But the pools are just part of the AAA Five Diamond–rated resort’s extravagant complex, which also has a TPC-level golf course, five tennis courts, and the Well & Being at Willow Stream spa. The hotel's Spanish-inspired architecture even garnered praised from Frommer's, which said "the Fairmont offers an exotic atmosphere that will delight anyone in search of a getaway that doesn't entail learning Spanish or spending euros."
The deluxe rooms open onto covered patios or balconies equipped with tables and chairs, where you can get a view of the resort grounds, lagoon, or TPC Scottsdale Golf Course. These luxury rooms have warm desert accents and contemporary Southwestern architecture. And each room has a wet bar, refreshment center, and oversized bathrooms with two sinks, a separate shower, and a large soaker tub.
Fairmont has numerous restaurants, including chef Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak, where you can use your $75 credit on organic cuts of beef and handcrafted cocktails. At La Hacienda, the onsite restaurant from celebrity chef Richard Sandoval, you can try one of 200 tequilas from the bar or sample the chef's contemporary Mexican dishes. The resort is also well-equipped for families. Parents can drop off youngsters aged 5–12 at Trailblazers Kids Club, which holds scavenger hunts, fishing derbies, and behind-the-scenes hotel tours.
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.