JOURNEYS

Reconnect and Rejuvenate—A 4-Day Spa and Nature Experience in Scottsdale

A woman in a bathrobe looks out over the Scottsdale mountains

Simply being in Scottsdale can help you unwind and make you feel better. The sun that shines more than 300 days a year will warm chilled winter skin, and you can breathe in dry air that often carries the fragrances of creosote, sage, and other desert plants. Cool nights under star-filled skies provide perfect settings to slow down and relax.

This itinerary takes the magical, healing atmosphere of the Sonoran Desert and improves on it. Activities here have been selected to create a rare opportunity to unwind and leave the stress of the world behind. You’ll stay at CIVANA, a new wellness resort destination that opened at the beginning of 2019. With fitness classes, an enormous spa, and restaurants that serve delicious, healthy cuisine, you’ll likely check out a different person than the stressed-out one who arrived. Outside the resort, a sunrise hike up Pinnacle Peak, shopping, dining, and some world-class golfing are highlights.

A woman sitting on a bed

TRIP HIGHLIGHT

Sacred Time for Two

A two-hour treatment for two at CIVANA’s spa includes a 30-minute foot treatment, hour-long massages, and a soak in a private couple’s tub.
Carl Grupp, a smiling man with a goatee. He wears a blazer and tie. His slicked-back hair is slightly greying on the edges. A telephone pole is visible amongst greenery in the background.

TRIP DESIGNER

Carl Grupp

Carl Grupp of Coastline Travel Advisors in Scottsdale has more than 20 years of hands-on experience in luxury travel planning and a proven track record in exceeding client expectations. Few travel consultants know Scottsdale better than Carl, who can customize this itinerary around your interests for a truly bespoke vacation.
A plate of sushi on a table

DAY 1Check-In to CIVANA

Arrive in the afternoon and head north through Scottsdale, to the edge of town. The new CIVANA resort, which opened in 2019, embraces a different approach to wellness, viewing it as a combination of health and happiness. While other resorts may emphasize the health part of the equation, CIVANA wants to give joy a more central role, whether that’s in the form of the pleasure that comes from a sunrise walk or the satisfaction from a good, flavorful meal.

You’ll find joy, or perhaps some blissful serenity, in CIVANA’s contemporary, spacious rooms that emphasize light woods and a soothing palette. Many have mountain views, as well as generous patios or balconies.

You can spend the rest of the day exploring the resort, enjoying some time poolside, or joining one of the 75+ classes offered weekly to resort guests. In addition to yoga, meditation, and weight training, you’ll also find some more unexpected choices that embody CIVANA’s innovative approach to wellness: watercolors, a healthy cooking class, or perhaps even one focused on Native American spirit animals.

Tonight you’ll dine at the unique Pan-Latin restaurant, Toro, at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, where you can sample South American and Chinese-Peruvian influences in menu items like the “suviche” bar—a combo of Asian sushi and Latin ceviche—or the miso black cod. And don’t miss trying at least one of the 151 rums they serve.
Bright wildflowers on a hill at sunset.

DAY 2Count Your Steps

Start the morning with a hike up Pinnacle Peak. While the trail does have a moderate elevation gain of 1,300 feet, it’s still relatively short, at 1.75 miles each way. You won’t be able to climb to the very top of the mountain, but even as you make your way around its base, panoramic stops have stunning views of the Valley of the Sun.

After your hike, head out to Scottsdale Quarter, a favorite north Scottsdale shopping center. This open-air mall includes both outposts of familiar brands (Apple, lululemon, Design Within Reach) and other brands you may not know from home (like Elan Style and Albion). Scottsdale Quarter also often has special events, like outdoor concerts or cooking demonstrations and tastings.

When you’re ready to take a break and get some lunch, True Food Kitchen (located right at Scottsdale Quarter), is a popular healthy option. The menu changes seasonally, but whenever you visit, you’ll find salads and bowls that emphasize the best fruits, vegetables, and nuts from local farms. Vegans and vegetarians have a wealth of options, though there are also beef, chicken, and turkey burgers.

After you’ve had your fill of shopping, you’ll still have time to join one of the late-afternoon or evening classes at CIVANA before you leave the resort for dinner. You’ll be eating tonight at Palo Verde, at the Boulders resort, less than a 10-minute drive from CIVANA.

The alfresco setting on the large patio includes opportunities for some wildlife spotting, as rabbits and quail occasionally wander by. The indoor dining room is a warm but restrained space with hardwood floors and furnishings in tans and taupes. The menu here, on the other hand, is the opposite of restrained. The Southwestern-inspired dishes incorporate flavorful ingredients from za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend, to housemade chorizo verde. Select a premium tequila from the restaurant’s many choices if it will add some happiness to your evening.
A woman in a bathrobe looks out over a hotel pool

DAY 3A Golf and Spa Day

Golf is one of Scottsdale’s big draws: There are more than 50 courses in the city itself, and more than 200 in the larger metropolitan area. Needless to say, you won’t have time in one weekend to play rounds on more than one or two of them. Troon North is an excellent choice if you can only tee up at one, and it’s convenient to CIVANA.

The two 18-hole courses at Troon North were designed by Tom Weiskopf, a British Open champion. They make the most of their setting, incorporating the foothills and ravines of the area, while nearby desert mountains like Pinnacle Peak loom above both courses. The saguaro cacti are ubiquitous and delightful reminders of your desert location.

In addition to the courses, a highlight of Troon North is the enormous, 37,000-square-foot clubhouse. The Dynamite Grill there is an appealingly casual restaurant for a beer and a burger overlooking the 18th hole of the Pinnacle course.

After your meal, head back to CIVANA for an afternoon enjoying the resort’s spa. It’s one of the showpieces of the resort—the 22,000-square-foot facility includes a hydrotherapy circuit with hot and cold pools and 27 different treatment areas. The spa menu includes massages from Swedish to Thai, facials, scrubs, and other therapies. The Sacred Time for Two is a two-hour journey that will leave you thoroughly relaxed; it includes a 30-minute foot ritual, custom massages, and a soak in a private couple’s bath.

If you end your spa time feeling so relaxed that all you want to do is return to your room to order dinner in, we’d understand. If you can rally, however, and muster up the energy for a final Scottsdale dinner at Cartwright’s Modern Cuisine, you’ll be glad you did. The menu is dedicated to Arizona’s history and agricultural bounty, with many ingredients foraged by the restaurant’s chefs. You’ll find prickly pears, saguaro fruit, banana yucca, and other ingredients from the Sonoran Desert incorporated into dishes. Venison and bison are on the menu, and if you opt for a steak, pair it with some only-in-Arizona sides like mesquite flour and desert herb risotto or a roasted chili and potato relleno. There are also many sushi and ceviche options, and a vegan/gluten free menu.
Syrup-covered waffles

DAY 4Enjoy CIVANA Before Heading Home

Feel free to sleep in this morning, then enjoy a leisurely breakfast and some more time enjoying the resort. After you check out, you’ll start the journey home and leave Scottsdale behind—and along with it the tension in your shoulders that you brought with you from home. Ideally, you’ll be taking some purchases from the Scottsdale Quarter with you, along with a new sense of wellness—one that combines health and joy—that will last long after your brief escape to the desert.