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2 weeks ago

The Best Hotels in Scottsdale

Make the most of Arizona’s 330 days of sunshine at these luxurious desert retreats.

By Ellys Woodhouse

When he purchased a stretch of Arizona desert in 1888 with the vision to transform it into a haven for agriculture and tourism, even Winfield Scott could not have expected what would become of the city that would later bear his name. Over a century later, and Scottsdale has transformed into a vibrant city renowned for its luxury hotels, vibrant arts scene and dynamic community. 

It’s easy to understand the appeal: with a dry and warm year-round climate, the city boasts 330 days of sunshine – it’s not nicknamed the Valley of the Sun for nothing. Surrounded by the desert and the Camelback Mountain range, yet a mere 12 miles from Phoenix, Scottdale is a laid-back outdoor oasis and the suburban alternative to the state capital. 
Today, the ‘West’s most Western town’ still proudly displays its agricultural roots. But while you’ll still see many a modern-day cowboy strolling around Old Town, it is far from the cattle town it used to be. Now, sprawling wellness resorts and golfing greens stand where cattle pastors used to be, and boots and spurs are seen just as often as hiking boots and yoga mats.

Elite Traveler has selected the best hotels in Scottsdale to explore the city’s outdoor beauty, sample the celebrated culinary scene, or find the next adventure.

[See also: The 10 Best Hotels and Suites in Chicago]

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Sitting on a 65-acre resort, The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is an Arizonian intuition / ©Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

The state’s largest and longest-running five-star property, The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess proves sometimes bigger really is better. Spread across 65 acres of immaculate landscaped gardens, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess stands as a beacon of luxury in the Arizona desert. Spanish-inspired architecture, with terracotta tiles and stucco facades, recalls Arizona’s colonial heritage and creates a sense of timeless beauty that seamlessly blends with the surrounding desert landscape. 

Even within this epicenter for golfing enthusiasts, few hotels can hold a flame to the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess’s impressive reputation. Guests can tee off on two championship 18-hole courses, including the Stadium Course, which hosts the annual PGA TOUR WM Phoenix Open.

For those who prefer something more serene than the green, there is a choice of six pools – with two being adults only – and the massive 44,000-sq-ft spa. Even for dining options, guests will be spoilt for choice; from the upscale traditional Mexican, La Hacienda; to farm-to-table dishes at Ironwood American Kitchen; or Bourbon Steak which puts a contemporary spin on the classic American steak house. 

Top Suite: The Presidential Suite

Among the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess’s 750 guest rooms and suites, the Presidential Suite is the ultimate in private and luxurious living. The suite boasts a huge living area – totaling 2,100 sq ft alone – a pantry, kitchen and a full bar, while two private covered patios make the best use of the unparalleled views of the TPC golf course, lagoons, and mountains. 

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The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort

The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort / ©The Phoenician

Dramatically placed at the base of Camelback Mountain, The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, is a striking property. Inside, looking out, the views are just as good. Originally opened in 1988 on a no-expense-spared budget, this heavily marbled resort reemerged from a huge three-year renovation in 2019 and still feels fresh from it.

That renovation included the addition of a spa, a fitness club and a golf course, all three of which come as standard in this part of the world. Overlooking the Sonoran Desert, The Phoenician’s lush green lawns, palm trees and dotted pool make it feel like an oasis.

This is, put simply, a Scottsdale resort through and through. The service is attentive but relaxed, the vibe is casual and families are well catered for with huge pools and an impressive kids club. The restaurants also focus on doing the simple things well. Nowhere is this more true than at J&G, a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant delivering high-end steaks and daily fresh fish catches.

Top Suite: Presidential Suite

The Phoenician boasts 645 rooms and suites and amongst its most desired is the Presidential Suite. Standing at a colossal 4,000 sq ft, it’s one of the biggest suites in the state. The contemporary interior exudes a sense of calm with a muted color palette and mix of natural textures that pay homage to the resort’s desert locale.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North

Four Seasons Scottsdale
The Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North blends into the surrounding Sonoran Desert / ©Four Seasons Scottsdale

Nestled against the foothills of Pinnacle Peak, with dusky-pink rendered casitas that blend into the surrounding Sonoran Desert, pulling into the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North feels like you have stumbled onto the set of Dune – although thankfully there are no sandworms in sight here, just five-star luxury. With 210 camouflaged casitas and suites scattered over 40 acres, guests can enjoy a feeling of seclusion and sanctuary for the ultimate escape into the outdoors.

While the resort’s spa is a true standout, featuring holistic rituals and sound baths among more traditional fitness classes, for those looking for some adventure in the desert, the hotel has curated a handful of unique locally inspired experiences, from a balloon cruise to a jaw-dropping private helicopter ride or a wild jeep tour of the Sonoran.

Top Suite: Pinnacle Three-Bedroom Suite

The name may be a giveaway, but the Pinnacle Three-Bedroom Suite sets the standard for luxury accommodation. Spacious patios off each of the bedrooms provide al fresco living opportunities year-round, while multiple fireplaces offer a cozy night in should desert nights become chilly. With three full bedrooms, this suite is ideal for families or groups of up to nine who seek a lavish desert getaway amidst the beauty of Arizona.

[See also: The Best Hotels in Miami]

JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa

JW Marriott Scottsdale
The JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa has been a Scottsdale institution for almost a century / ©JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa

The history of the Camelback Inn dates back longer than Scottsdale itself. Founded in 1936 and instantly popular with the Hollywood elite and political leaders, it can take credit for playing a major role in the region’s surge as a popular tourist hotspot. Despite being officially rebranded as JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in the early 2000s and undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, the resort remains in keeping with the original adobe-esque architecture, hacienda style and private casita accommodations. 

Across the five different F&B outlets available there is a strong focus on showcasing the best of authentic regional cuisines. Rita’s Kitchen offers casual servings of traditional Mexican cuisines, while the more upscale Lincoln is a classic all-American steakhouse with a 21st-century stance. Tavern 37, the resort’s clubhouse restaurant makes the ideal refueling hangout after a morning spent at Camelback’s Golf Club.  

Top Suite: Manor House 

The most pristine, and expansive, of the resort’s 453 casitas and suites, the Manor House is as grand as its name would suggest. With a maximum occupancy of ten, measuring 2,773 sq ft means you won’t be short on space in this three-bedroom, four-bathroom haven. The impressive space has been perfectly designed for luxury everyday living, with an opulent bar and private chef on hand for in-suite dining. 


Boulder Resort & Spa, Curio Collection by Hilton Exterior

Scottsdale Boulders Resort
The boulders which surround Boulders Resort & Spa are almost 12 million years old / ©Boulders Resort & Spa Scottsdale

Set against the backdrop of the iconic boulder formations, which were formed as far back as 12 million years ago, at Boulders Resort & Spa Scottsdale, the natural beauty and rugged landscape of the Sonoran Desert is everything. More than providing the hotel’s name, it is the source of inspiration for the hotel’s architecture, which appears to seamlessly merge into the towering rock formations. Even at the resort’s spa campus, guests can indulge in hot stone treatments or Ayurvedic massages that use locally sourced clay, among the many other signature spa experiences on offer. 

Guests can explore the hotel’s meticulously landscaped grounds, taking in the breathtaking vistas of Camelback Mountain and Pinnacle Peak, or relax in secluded courtyards or by one of the four pools available, basking in the warm Arizona sun.

Top Suite: Four-Bedroom Hacienda-Private Home

This sprawling 3,800 sq ft standalone home is a true Southwest retreat and provides the perfect comfort for vacationing families or big groups seeking unparalleled luxury and breathtaking views. The large living area and spacious private patio, complete with an outdoor gas grill and gas fireplace, are ideal for entertaining, while the fully-stocked kitchen and laundry room offer home-style comforts. 


Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia

Omni Scottsdale Resort
Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia is modeled after a Mederian village / ©Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa

If it wasn’t for the picturesque Paradise Valley surroundings or Camelback Mountain in the distance, you might mistake Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia for a charming village in Andalusia rather than Arizona. Inspired by Mediterranean-style architecture, arched porticos, trellised walkways, and bricked terraces offer endless servings of Old World charm while the Omni stellar service provides a side of modern sophistication. 

Guests can visit the world-class Joya Spa to enjoy a variety of rejuvenating treatments and therapies inspired by Moroccan traditions or indulge in one of five dining options, including the award-winning Prado, which serves Spanish-inspired cuisine in a romantic courtyard setting. If you can bring yourself to leave the hotel’s expansive grounds, you won’t have to travel far to discover the very best of Scottsdale. With Camelback Mountain practically in your back garden and Frank Lloyd Wright’s mid-century masterpiece, Taliesin West, a 30-minute drive. 

Top Suite: Camelback Presidential Two Bedroom Villa

Make the most of uninhibited views of Camelback Mountain with the luxury and privacy of this two-bedroom duplex villa. Guests can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding desert landscape from the private outdoor seating areas, relax in the spacious bedroom with a plush king-sized bed, and unwind in the lavish marble bathroom featuring a soaking tub and separate rainfall shower.

[See also: The Best Hotels in San Francisco]

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