My trip to Scottsdale couldn’t have presented itself at a better time. Last month I began to slowly emerge from a post-break up gloom and personal funk that had been lingering since late 2016 and managed to spill well into 2017. For the past year, I haven't been feeling social, upbeat, or psyched on life, as everyone knows me to be. A trip to some place warm and restorative was exactly what I needed to recharge my spirit. I wasn't sure what kind of magical powers I’d tap into while in Scottsdale, but I knew that being in the desert yet again, particularly in the Southwest, would elevate my vibrations in ways I so desperately needed. If you find yourself in a position where you are seeking a retreat or time away from your everyday stresses, Scottsdale Arizona, particularly this resort, is an ideal atmosphere. There's no excuse when it's only an hour and a half flight from Los Angeles or six hour drive if you appreciate a good road trip.
I was invited to experience the brand new Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, a luxury hotel in Paradise Valley that Conde Nast Traveler named to their 2017 Hot List of hotels. Initially I was invited to attend a Food & Wine Magazine event on the newly designed property and there was no hesitation to say yes on my end, as a party under the desert moon is always appealing to me. What I didn’t anticipate is that this Scottsdale adventure would become one of the best press trips I ever took – I must give a special shoutout to the women on this trip who I had the pleasure of spending my days with. I was reminded yet again of the beauty in walking into experiences without expectations, a recent lesson I learned, which has only been confirmed countless times over the past few months. When I boarded my flight to Arizona, my mind was open, and before I knew it, I was experiencing an unforgettable trip, with the Andaz Scottsdale at the center of it all.
When I arrived at the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, the warm welcome from the bell men immediately set the tone. There's very few things I appreciate more than genuine friendliness and a smile. I walked into the lobby where I was greeted with an ice cold glass of freshly brewed peach tea. At the Andaz, you can find ice tea awaiting you in the lobby every day of your stay. My check-in was easy breezy and before I knew it, a German woman grabbed my luggage and so began the tour of the property and our journey to my casita. I am in love with the various style elements of the Southwest and the Adobe meets mid-century modern bungalows looked serene situated across 23 acres of desert landscape. I looked up at saw Camelback Mountain, a beautiful view to be surrounded by and so lovely to wake up to in the morning. One of the first things I noticed on my walk through the property where the intricately designed and maintained rock lawns, with calming swirls, reminiscent of a Japanese Zen garden. I had to ask – especially after walking across one and messing it up – were these raked every day? The answer was yes. The utmost attention is paid to the rock designs and that was one of the most impressive things. I believe that how you do one thing is how you do everything and the Andaz's attention to detail was impressive.
As with any hotel stay, I’m obsessed with the pool. The first thing I ask at check-in is always “is the pool 24 hours?” I'm usually prepared for a property to say no, but at the Andaz, it was enthusiastic yes! You want to impress me? Treat your guests like grown ass adults and allow them to swim antime day or night. You can best believe I was taking a dip at 3am under the palm trees and desert sky. Even better is that is was with a date I met in Arizona with plenty of late-night kisses (more on that later). Completely rejuvenating. If lounging by the pool is your vibe, you can post up in one of the 13 private cabanas at The Turquoise Pool. Hit the bar to enjoy boozy punchbowls and spiked popsicles. Are you looking for a girl's getaway? This scene is perf.
One of the most interesting elements of the hotel is its connection to local artists. Upon inception of the property, the Andaz Scottsdale made a conscious decision to work with Cattle Track Arts Compound to create artwork to adorn the lobby, restaurant, and in various nooks across the property. In each of the 201 casitas you can also find prints that were made at the compound, which I had the great pleasure of visiting.
I ate many meals at Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen, the restaurant located on the property. This naturally well lit and airy restaurant serves contemporary Sonoran cuisine with an emphasis on small, shareable plates. While enjoying dinner one evening, I ate a Blue Cornbread muffin baked into a cast iron skillet that had me obsessed; Southwest flavors can truly awaken the senses if executed well, and Chef Adam Sheff, formerly of the Park Hyatt NYC, made some memorable dishes. The show stopper of all our meals was an incredibly prepared Whole Trout from the Plancha, accompanied by grilled lemon, cauliflower, and pecan romesco. It’s not every day you can shout out trout but my goodness the flavor was incredible! Also not to be missed, the Compressed Watermelon Salad paired with Crow's Dairy goat cheese, crispy chicken skin, and basil. Any time I see "chicken skin" it's an automatic yes, so don't miss this. I had the chance to meet the farmer from Crow’s Dairy, also located in Arizona, while at the Food & Wine function, and it’s always really cool to meet the person behind the food. He was so delightfully affable, people had assumed we were old friends by the way we were chopping it up. His cheese curds are something else I must add!
The restaurant is well-designed without feeling pretentious, the menu thoughtful and devoid of trendy hype beast dishes. All of the dishes I so happily consumed at Weft & Warp were reflective of the Arizona vibe, none of them leaving me with a heavy feeling, but rather nourishment. The waitstaff was friendly and not faking it, which is so uncommon these days. One night our group spent hours at a large dinner table ordering plates on top of plates, multiple bottles of wine, and laughing about all the ridiculous that is everyday life. The vibes were high and the restaurant welcomed every minute. I appreciate a space where you don't feel rushed and can enjoy a good meal with loud friends.
This was one of the best spa experiences of my life, if not simply for my massage which was paired with a custom oil corresponding to my numerology. Even writing about it now my body was enveloped with total calmness. When I walked in Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary I was greeted with the softest & calmest voice I had ever heard; it was like speaking with an angel. I was then given a questionnaire on a tablet, presented to me by my massage therapist. She asked what kind of feeling I’d like to evoke from my treatment – positivity, clarity, strength, followed by the option to create an oil based on my numerology, to which I immediately said yes! The feeling of clarity or strength sounded top notch, but I am never going to pass up a New Age experience. I typed in my birthday and asked for it to reflect 2017. A message appeared describing what my year had in store and that my signature oil scents would be ylang-ylang, citrus, & rose.
I made my way to the locker room, which was brand new, like everything on the property - it's hard to beat the smell and look of new while traveling. The amenities came correct for any woman trying to relax or pamper herself in front on a mirror, draped in a cozy robe. In the waiting room, fresh water and pastries were available to spa guests, with a large glass door overlooking the spa’s pool, a much quieter vibe from the hotel’s main pool. The spa also features a salon, apothecary boutique, eucalyptus steam rooms, outdoor relaxation lounges, and a fitness center. If you’re like me and appreciate fine pampering, don’t sleep on Palo Verde. There are very few things that compare to being massaged on a heated bed which by strong hands. I say emphatically that this was one of the best massages of my life, and at this point, I’ve had hundreds.
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa | 6114 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85253