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Scottsdale Raises the Bar with 3 New Resort Gems

Rub your eyes and blink twice. It’s not a desert mirage. Scottsdale, already royalty when it comes to luxury accommodations, is adding three new resort properties to its impressive portfolio, the first new builds since 2008. Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Mountain Shadows and Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley – all within 3 miles of each other and just minutes from downtown – will debut by the end of 2018.

But the new properties aren’t the only draw to the destination. Several well-established powerhouse resorts, like Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Boulders Resort & Spa, Hotel Valley Ho, Hermosa Inn and Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch, have undergone major, must-see renovations.

New Kids on the Block

Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa will be the first of these resorts to grace the destination. Opening in November 2016, Andaz will feature 201 rooms and 46,000 square feet of meeting space. Its mid-century desert-inspired interior will pay homage to some of the formidable architects and artists who shaped Scottsdale, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Alexander Girard and Paolo Soleri.

Andaz Scottsdale is one of nine resort brands in the United States, and as with all Andaz properties, it will feature indigenous art, culture and cuisine. In fact, the resort has announced a partnership with Cattle Track, a Scottsdale artist compound just minutes from the resort and from downtown. Cattle Track has and continues to be home to some of Scottsdale’s greatest minds, including the founder of Phoenix Art Museum, Phillip C. Curtis, who lived there for 53 years before his death in 2000, and current resident Mark McDowell, one of the top artists in Arizona today who specializes in bold retro-style art created with colored pencil drawn on birch wood panels.

Hotel guests can expect to see live art demonstrations from Cattle Track tenants on property, and they’ll be invited to tour the offsite studios of the exclusive art compound. Additionally, Cattle Track artwork will be featured throughout the property and goods from the local creative hub and other local artists will be available for purchase in the gift store.

In early 2017, just 3 miles southwest of Andaz, Mountain Shadows will open. The plot of land where the resort will exist has a colorful history. Marriott Mountain Shadows, the original resort at this location, was built in 1959 and set a high bar for Southwest luxury, attracting guests such as Bob Hope, Liz Taylor, John Wayne and Sammy Davis Jr. Elements of the original resort will remain, such as sunscreen blocks, postcards and vintage photos.

But this iteration is being rebuilt from the ground up by Woodbine Development in partnership with Westroc Hospitality, which manages two other famed Scottsdale resorts – Hotel Valley Ho and Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain. The design of Mountain Shadows will be distinct – a blend of current style and mid-century modernism. An abundance of floor-to-ceiling glass will be intertwined with classic design and neutral colors. Expect an energetic vibe and a strong fitness component, which includes guided hikes of Camelback Mountain, a juice bar and a 5,000-square-foot, high-tech fitness center.

The site, which rests between Camelback and Mummy mountains, will feature 183 rooms, 37,500 feet of meeting space, a lounge, restaurants, a coffee shop and a specialty grocery store. 

Good things come to those who wait, and by the end of 2018, the Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley will open its doors less than a mile north of the Andaz resort on Scottsdale Road. The Ritz-Carlton brand is synonymous with world-class accommodations, and with the recent rebranding of its Phoenix property, the Paradise Valley locale will be just the second Ritz-Carlton in Arizona, and the only one in the Phoenix metro area.

The resort itself will be the centerpiece of a $2 billion residential and retail development and will include 200 suites and bungalow rooms. The aesthetic impact of the Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley will be felt immediately upon entering its Grand Lobby, which will offer sweeping, unobstructed views of iconic Camelback Mountain. Water features will cascade from the Grand Lobby, leading to the resort’s spa.

If that’s not enough to drop your jaw, consider this: Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley will also have a pool that would impress even Michael Phelps. At more than 400 feet, it’s being touted as the longest pool in North America.
Even better, all three new resorts are within 5 miles of downtown Scottsdale and its top restaurants, buzzing nightlife and abundance of shopping options.

Makeover Madness

The shiny new resorts aren’t the only ones worth seeing in Scottsdale. Several major resort properties have undergone extensive renovations and remodels; it’s like seeing them again for the first time.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, a AAA Five Diamond resort, added 102 rooms to increase its total to 750, more than any resort in Scottsdale. If that weren’t enough, it also brought in a sixth pool, Sunset Beach. The pool is surrounded by 830 tons of imported white sand on the 9,000-square-foot beach.

Hermosa Inn, a classic Southwest resort celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2016, unveiled a new entryway, a 24-hour valet service, a resort lobby with a fireplace and renovated guestrooms. Six casitas, all part of the original hacienda for cowboy artist Lon Megargee, were fully renovated for an enhanced luxury experience. The hotel has a total of 34 hacienda-style casitas, complete with stunning views of the desert landscape at the foothills of Camelback Mountain.

Boulders Resort & Spa celebrated its 30th birthday in 2015, and it decided to give itself a multi-million dollar makeover to celebrate. New furnishings adorn its 160 casitas, along with a new palette of desert tones and upgraded fixtures. The resort added a 5,000-square-foot Latilla Ballroom and opened Discovery Lounge, complete with its relaxing social atmosphere and stunning views of its ancient boulder formations. The resort’s restaurants, Palo Verde and Bakery Café, were also spruced up and modernized.

Keeping the theme of anniversaries going, the mid-century Hotel Valley Ho in downtown Scottsdale is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2016. To commemorate the milestone and its 10-year reopening date, the resort put $4 million into upgrades of its 239 guest rooms and suites. The rooms now feature new décor, 49-inch HD televisions and custom-built designer furniture. A favorite retreat for the Hollywood elite, Hotel Valley Ho attracted guests such as Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman in the 50s and 60s, and Hugh Jackman and Katy Perry today.

Not to be left out, the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch had its 40th anniversary last year, spending $10 million on a hacienda-inspired makeover to the classic property. Upgraded dining and bar options, in addition to pool access and outdoor patios for many first-floor rooms and suites, gave this timeless resort a more modern feel.