Family Holiday Trip AAA Five Diamond Resort
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 equipped with twisting slides, including one with zero-depth entry. But the pools are just part of the AAA Five Diamond–rated resort’s extravagant complex, which also has two championship golf courses, five tennis courts, and the Well & Being at Willow Stream.
The resort is well equipped for families. In the winter, the Fairmont builds its own 5,400-square-foot ice-skating rink as part of its Christmas at the Princess celebration, which includes a 45-foot musical tree and more than 1 million lights strung throughout the property. Parents can also drop off youngsters aged 5–12 at Trailblazers Kids Club, which holds scavenger hunts, fishing derbies, and behind the scenes hotel tours.
Among the rooms, the deluxe rooms open onto covered patios equipped with tables and chairs, where you can get views of the resort's lagoon or golf course. The open-plan casita signature rooms have a bedroom with a sitting area in a 700-square-foot space.
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.