Photo courtesy of The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
The relatively youthful Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, with its fountained plazas and Mexican colonial–style architecture spread over 65 self-contained acres in North Scottsdale, doesn’t have the history some of its neighboring resorts do, as it opened in 1987. But when people dream of vacationing in the sun, whether to drive a ball down a fairway, stretch beside a pool, or give themselves over to the indulgences of a spa, this is the kind of place they often have in mind. It’s big and it’s busy, and there is always something for everybody to do. Which is one of the reasons it's popular for family events such as reunions, school holidays, and weddings. Some rooms, especially the casitas, are so far from the main buildings that walking between them practically requires hiking boots, but a call to the concierge will have a golf cart on the way.
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There’s little within walking distance of the resort, but downtown Scottsdale, with its restaurants, shops, and entertainment, is only a short ride away. In the other direction, and no farther distant, are the McDowell Mountains, with 130 miles of hiking trails. Up against the mountains is Taliesin West, once the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright. Although still functioning as an architectural school, tours are offered to the public.
Need to Know
Rooms: 508 rooms, 140 suites. From $149 low season, $499 high season. Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Celebrity chefs, or at least their concepts, are in no short supply at the Fairmont Scottsdale. Michael Mina, known for his bold flavors, created Bourbon Steak, which offers contemporary American fare prepared over a wood-burning grill. And Richard Sandoval, a world ambassador of modern Latin cuisine, is behind La Hacienda, which takes a lighter approach to Mexican classics. Wearing a different chef’s hat, Sandoval also oversees the breakfast and lunch menu at the resort’s main restaurant, the Ironwood American Kitchen. Spa and gym details: The Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa, which also houses the fitness center, has an extensive menu of treatments and activities, including—for those who think they've tried everything—aerial yoga.
Who’s it for: Golfers love the resort’s TPC Stadium Course, which every January hosts the PGA’s Phoenix Open. And families love that there’s plenty for kids to do, from rocketing down two waterslides to fishing in an on-property lagoon. Our favorite rooms: Because the resort is so big and lively, the casita suites, with gas fireplace and mohair throw to warm things up when the desert nights get cool, offer a hidden-away feel that is worth the extra cost, being so far from the center of the hotel. Of course, once guests discover that the casita area has its own pool, they are less inclined to make the trek to the main part of the resort anyway. Don't forget: The Fairmont President’s Club, which doesn’t cost anything to join, offers some useful perks, including free high-speed Internet.