Set in the Sonoran Desert, The Fairmont Scottsdale is richly landscaped with cactus, foliage, and flowers. The resort even provides guests with trail maps to help them identify the almost countless variety of plants. The property features five pools, including the Sonoran Splash, which has kid favorites like zero depth entry, a basketball hoop, and two long water slides. Other recreation activities include fishing in a stocked lagoon, tennis, basketball, and fitness center. There’s a kids club, available seven days a week, which is free to all families staying overnight, and a hangout just for teens, with, TV, internet, and XBOX games.
The surrounding Sonoran Desert provides unique recreation opportunities. Take a hot air balloon ride and see the landscape from a different perspective. Get close (but not too close) to cacti by hiking the trails on nearby Camelback Mountain. Visit one of the ranches and ride a horse through the desert. Scottsdale is also home to some of the most highly rated golf courses in the country. Or visit Scottsdale’s next door neighbor, Phoenix, and try out the Arizona Science Center or the Phoenix Zoo.
The innovative National Geographic Explorers Camp for kids. National Geographic celebrity scientists work with kids and teach them about their specialties. When we visited, Dr. Brady Barr, host of Dangerous Encounters, introduced campers to an 18 foot python, an alligator, and a crocodile. Also as part of the Explorers Camp, kids get to use GPS units to solve puzzles throughout the resort, and go on “photo safaris.”
For adults, the standout feature is the Willow Stream Spa. From the rooftop pool with stunning views of the McDowell Mountains, down to the Waterfall Treatment Room, where you’re massaged by walls of water, the atmosphere is indulgent and serene. If you’ve ever wondered if you could truly relax and stop fretting about the kids, the answer is: yes. Just recline in the “Inhalation Room,” and breathe in the relaxing aroma of Eucalyptus. Or treat yourself to one of the over 40 spa treatments, including Arizona Aromatherapy Facial and a Desert Moonlight Massage. You get the idea.
Good to know
If you’ve never been in Arizona before the two most important things to have on hand are water and sunscreen. We were there in June and the locals were crowing about how we came at such a great time, because it was unseasonably cool. It was 95 degrees.