The Hermosa Inn, first opened in 1936, has the kind of history that a cowboy keeps under his hat. With 34 rooms and casitas spread across six acres of Arizona desert in the upscale Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley, the inn was originally the home and studio of cowboy artist Lon Megargee. A thorough refurbishing a few years back gave the Hermosa all the requisite modernizations. It still retains a historic feel, but without the possibility of escape it had when Megargee, a welcoming host clearly uninterested in background checks, built a tunnel from the main building to the stable in case a visit by the sheriff made it necessary for less law-abiding guests to execute a quick getaway. But then, with Camelback Mountain as a backdrop, few guests nowadays are in a hurry to leave.
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The suburban location makes a car nearly a must, but downtown Scottsdale, the airport, and most sites are only a short drive away. There’s no on-property golf course, but many that welcome visitors are nearby, including the City of Phoenix–owned Papago. For foodies, celebrity chef Mark Tarbell, of Tarbell’s, can do everything from spaghetti and meatballs to Scotch beef, and he knows just which wines to pair them with.
Need to Know
Rooms: 34 rooms;from $187. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Housed in the property’s original adobe hacienda, Lon’s Restaurant no doubt owes much of the praise it receives to the inn’s managing director, Michael Gildersleeve, who began his career as a chef. The menu favors American fare, such as beef tenderloin grilled over pecan wood, and it's influenced by whatever is ready to pick from the inn’s one-acre organic garden. For lunch, try the short-rib pizza in the Last Drop Bar, where a copy of Megargee’s iconic painting hangs. (The Last Drop from His Stetson depicts a horse drinking out of a cowboy’s hat—a recurring motif on the satin lining of that headgear for nearly a century. The original is at Stetson headquarters.) Spa and gym details:An extensive treatment menu at the Blue Door Spa includes body walking, done barefoot by the spa’s director, Tod Miller. There’s no gym on property, but the inn can issue complimentary passes to a nearby fitness club.
Who’s it for: Luxury travelers more interested in authenticity than a grand scale. Couples, more than families, are happier with the slow-paced serenity. Our favorite rooms: Two private patios on each of the four 800-square-foot Grand Casitas, along with a separate living room and bedroom, each with a different Southwestern décor, will have guests feeling at home on the range both indoors and out. Just for dogs: Many resorts say they are pet friendly, but few have a pet package, as the Hermosa Inn does, that includes a canine massage and a doggie tuck-me-in, accompanied by such movies as 101 Dalmatians and Beverly Hills Chihuahua.