Peanut butter and jelly, gin and tonic, Scottsdale and a winter wellness vacay – some things belong together, ya know? While I’ve enjoyed traveling in The Grand Canyon State during all seasons, there is nothing like leaving my home in Colorado bundled up only to land in sunny Arizona, peel off my outer layers, and pop on my sun hat for some rest and rejuvenation during the winter months.
This past December, I escaped winter’s icy grasp early, spending some time enjoying the warm weather, great food, outdoor recreation, spa treatments, and luxurious Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows for a few days. The resort offered the perfect balance of upscale and sleek while still feeling down-to-earth and relaxing – just what a weekend snowbird wants in a resort.
Drawing inspiration from iconic designers and mid-century artists, Andaz is ideal for focusing on wellness and spurring creativity as the new year begins with inspiring surroundings, luxurious amenities, and several pools to enjoy a cocktail beside (because, hey, sometimes that’s the self-care we need). Here is what I loved about it, and why you will too:
WHY IT’S AWESOME:
The thing you’ll notice first when driving onto the Andaz Scottsdale property is the aesthetic. It’s the kind of place that doesn’t have an Instagram “spot” — rather, the entire property is the spot. But it’s not cheesy; the lines are sleek and modern but timeless. The landscaping around the property is southwestern but minimal, with cacti dotting the well-manicured meandering paths.
The interiors are mid-century and artistic, with inspired details and large, light-filled bathrooms. For lack of a more exciting word, it feels truly like a retreat – but it’s conveniently just minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and Old Town Scottsdale.
IN-HOUSE FOOD AND DRINK:
Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen at Andaz Scottsdale is a restaurant I’d highly recommend regardless of whether you are staying on property – the highest praise for a hotel or resort dining option, if you ask me. The evening vibe is dark and sleek, often with live music, a lively bar, a chefs’ exhibition kitchen, and a gorgeous patio with views over Camelback Mountain.
The Meditteranean menu at Weft & Warp is just eclectic enough and incredibly well curated, with inventive cocktails made using fresh local ingredients. On my last visit, I enjoyed the Half Roasted Chicken with endive kale salad and lemon thyme vinaigrette, with a side of Potato Purée – made with Yukon gold, mascarpone, gruyere, chives and topped with truffle butter that I’m still dreaming about.
I’d stay on the property for brunch and head back to Weft & Warp to sit on the patio, enjoy a Froot Loops Cappucino (with Froot Loop infused milk that is much more nuanced and elevated than you might imagine), egg white omelet, or a Chilaquiles Verdes.
Food and drinks are also available at the stunning Turquoise Pool. The poolside service was truly exceptional and a great way to spend some downtime as the year begins. I’d go for a frozen Rise of the Phoenix – mango-habanero-infused vodka, mango, with a prickly pear swirl – and the chicken shawarma wrap on a lazy pool day.
- Private entrances
- Private patios
- Outdoor showers in select rooms
- Fully stocked bars in the room
- Access to Cattle Track Art Compound and individual artists’ studios
- Yoga, meditation, and fitness classes
- Seasonal welcome beverage
- House car service within a three-mile radius
- Filtered water bottle refill stations
- Electric vehicle charging stations
- 24-Hour Fitness Center
- Access to resort bicycles, recreational center activities and lawn games
- Evening turndown and daily housekeeping
- Three pools
Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary
While wellness isn’t all spa days, massages, and hot tubs – they definitely contribute to my overall wellness plan. So, of course, I was excited to visit the award-winning Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary at Andaz Scottsdale. I spent an entire afternoon lounging at the spa pool with some sparkling wine and a magazine after one of the best massages of my life. The staff was incredibly helpful and courteous, and the vibes were clean, sleek, and artistic, with luxurious amenities and beautiful views.
I can’t wait to go back for another treatment.
There are several room types – and 185 bungalows and suites for guests to enjoy. While the property feels expansive, at the same time, it doesn’t feel crowded, with ample parking, green space, and amenities dotted throughout it.
One of the main accommodation types on the 23-acre property is the bungalows with mid-century modern decor, ample space, high ceilings, and natural light. Inspired by design icons Charles and Ray Eames and Florence Knoll, bungalows offer outdoor patios and local art.
I loved spending time on the private patio of my Saarinen Studio King Suite at sunrise and sunset with a drink, watching the light reflect on Camelback Mountain in the distance. The suite was inspired by legendary architect and industrial designer Eero Saarinen, who famously designed the Gateway Arch in St. Louis (now a major US National Park) and the iconic Womb Chair (that’s in each Saarinen Studio King Suite). The bathroom is a stand-out, with a large skylight, a huge shower with multiple shower heads, and a spacious countertop with luxury amenities. Other suites offer private Turquoise Pool cabanas, outdoor showers, multiple bathrooms, in-room Tonal smart-gym systems, and cruiser bikes.
For a more private “resort within a resort” experience, 20 bungalows and a villa are situated around a private pool in The Retreat section of Andaz. The bungalows in The Retreat mirror those in the other portions of the resort but in a more exclusive area ideal for large gatherings, or wedding parties. Also in this exclusive enclave is Albers House, a sizeable residential-style villa inspired by artist Josef Albers that boasts two main suites, living and dining areas, an in-room gym, retractable walls, cruiser bikes, two bathrooms, soaking tub, outdoor shower, and outdoor firepit and grill.
BEST THINGS TO DO/EAT/DRINK WITHIN THE ANDAZ HOUSE CAR SERVICE AREA:
A unique perk at Andaz Scottsdale is its house car service that will drop visitors anywhere within a 3-mile radius of the resort free of charge. Luckily, that radius has many attractions, restaurants, bars, museums, and shops. Here is what I recommend.
Shop, Sip & Dine In Old Town Scottsdale:
Old Town, Scottsdale’s historical and cultural district, is jam-packed with restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and attractions. The perfect place to meander and shop local at The Merchantile of Scottsdale, an indoor marketplace where local businesses, artists, designers, and makers come together to showcase and sell their merchandise, before stopping at Native Art Market, a Native-owned and operated storefront that sells only Native handmade items, and directly support the makers.
Grab a bite to eat or a drink at Farm & Craft, a healthy and sustainable restaurant that features a specific Wellness Menu, before stopping for a flight at local Arizonan Merkin Vineyards Tasting Room – owned by Maynard James Keenan, the lead singer of Tool – or The Rusty Spur Saloon, Scottsdale’s oldest bar.
Visit Scottsdale Museum Of Contemporary Art:
Browse the rotating exhibits at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in a building that was once a movie theater and reconceptualized as a minimal architectural gem. I especially loved the interactive exhibit by Roelof Knol: The Space in Between, and Christina Fernandez: Multiple Exposures, a survey of some of the artists’ work over the last three decades.
BEST THING TO DO WITHIN A 20 MIN CAB RIDE:
Hike At McDowell Sonoran Preserve:
Wellness means a lot of different things to different people, but getting out into nature is undoubtedly a part of most people’s wellness plans. A great perk of visiting Scottsdale is that despite having all the luxuries of a city, you are never far from outdoor adventure. I headed out to McDowell Sonoran Preserve for a guided sunrise hike with REI Co-op Experiences at the Gateway Loop Trail one morning and was blown away by the remote beauty so close to the resort. While the loop is easily doable for nearly anyone, the guided hike was a great choice for me to learn more about the desert’s unique history, wildlife, and desert plants.
The permanently protected nature preserve offers more than 225 miles of trails over 30,500 contiguous acres of Sonoran Desert. There is no charge for parking or access, and it is incredibly well-kept – I highly recommend spending some time here.
Explore The Desert Botanical Gardens:
While technically in Phoenix, the Desert Botanical Garden is close enough — and stunning enough – for the slight detour. The spectacular garden offers the world’s finest collection of arid-land plants from deserts worldwide. With five thematic trails to meander, special events – I loved the Las Noches de las Luminarias exhibit at sunset – and 50,000 desert plants to explore, the perfect balance of outdoorsy and laid-back makes for a very serene outing.
While there, be sure to stop at Gertrude’s for a meal – on the patio if you can – for local and fresh dining with an incredible atmosphere. I fell in love with the Elote Fritters, followed up with Chickpea Curry on Forbidden Rice. The extensive beer and wine list offers many Arizona local sips and inventive cocktails.
BED GAME: 9/10
I judge a hotel bed primarily by how much time I spend in it outside of sleeping — despite all my other options. Do I stay in bed in the morning with my coffee or go to a new coffee shop? Work from bed in the afternoon or find a wine bar? The more I choose the bed, the better it is, of course. And when I tell you I chose this bed over almost anything during this trip, you might be surprised I wasn’t the least bit sick or even tired; it was just that comfy.
The linens were perfectly cozy, and the mattress was huge and just firm enough, with a large TV ahead and all the outlets and reading lights you’d ever need at arm’s length.
SEXINESS RATING: 9/10
The sleek design of this hotel is evident in everything, with great art, clean lines, luxury linens, and a whole lot of beautiful people throughout the grounds. Andaz feels very adult, although it is not strictly adults only. Bonus points for the Let’s Stay In (The Shower) Package — which includes a dual shower in your suite.
VIEWS/PIC SPOTS: 9/10
Andaz Scottsdale was literally created with art in mind, and that’s clear when looking for views and photo ops. The map of the resort lists popular Instagram locations directly – but I’d argue it’d be hard to find a bad view here. The bungalows and suites are sleek, the rooms are thoughtfully designed, and the landscaping perfectly brings in the desert vibes.
BEST SEASON TO VISIT:
Like many warm desert locales, January – March is high season, fall and spring are still pleasant, and summer is hot, but you’ll find much more affordable rates (and if your plan is to sit at the pool with some drinks, why not?)
IF I HAD TO COMPLAIN ABOUT ONE THING:
I spend a lot of time camping in tents and my car in fairly remote locales, so you might be surprised that when it comes to hotels, I can be sort of a… bougie bitch?
But, alas, I am who I am.
With that in mind, there is nothing more luxurious to me than a room service breakfast, and unfortunately, the resort didn’t offer it, at least during my visit. On the plus side, the mini bar is stocked, priced reasonably, and offers several complimentary drinks and snacks. I also love (and yes, I know this is the complaint section, but this property is just too good) that stylish Pantone mugs and a to-go option accompany the normal coffee and tea service in the room. The aesthetic is everywhere here, and details make the place.
Book your 2024 wellness getaway here. Rooms start at $710/ night.
INSTAGRAM IMAGES TAKEN AT ANDAZ SCOTTSDALE RESORT & BUNGALOWS