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Scottsdale: A Wellness Sanctuary

Scottsdale has been long been touted as a spa mecca. Its reputation as a place of health and wellness dates back hundreds of years to the Native Americans, who took into account the body and spirit when assessing overall health. Today, Scottsdale’s spas are drawing upon lessons learned by native ancestors and offering programming that seeks to not only heal the body, but also the heart and mind. And while Scottsdale has more resort-spas per capita than any other city in the United States, no two spas mirror each other. Pair that with the Sonoran Desert’s timeless landscape, spirit-stirring sunsets and crisp desert air, and Scottsdale is a spa destination unlike any other.


Scottsdale is revered for its Sonoran Desert setting, which is said to have healing and restorative powers. Ancient Indian tribes were the first to discover the desert’s curative climate, medicinal plants and therapeutic herbs – even transforming prickly cacti into soothing balms and sun-baked river rocks into muscle relaxants. Today, several of Scottsdale’s spas are utilizing indigenous ingredients to rejuvenate wary travelers.

For local ingredients and native traditions, the Turquoise Wrap at the Spa at the Boulders Resort can’t be beat. The resort’s signature treatment is based on the Native American belief that turquoise stone carries the vibration of protection and positive energy. Immerse yourself in a hydrotherapy bath filled with turquoise oil before receiving a dry brush massage and a blue cornmeal exfoliation. Then, you are cocooned in ionized turquoise clay while the therapist performs a rain stick ritual to cleanse your spirit. The service ends with a warm honey mask and an application of rosehip lotion.

Located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, The Spa at Talking Stick Resort’s Peaceful Healing treatment utilizes raw Pima cotton poultices filled with hot desert herbs during a rhythmic massage. This age-old tradition dates back hundreds of years and was used to heal farmers, hunters and travelers.

Desert mud is one of several ingredients incorporated into the Desert Journey treatment at the Agave Spa at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. Loaded with minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium and sodium, the mud is incorporated in a wrap that is said to ease fatigue and help eliminate jetlag after a long flight.

Bill Marriott often refers to the oldest resort in the Marriott portfolio, The JW Marriott Camelback Inn, as his favorite. It’s no wonder as The Spa at Camelback Inn embraces the destination’s Western and indigenous roots with treatments like The Desert Nectar Honey Wrap, featuring Arizona honey, buttermilk and oats.


If you think spas are for ladies that lunch, think again. Scottsdale spas offer traditional pampering rituals but also boast wellness initiatives. When you’re looking to indulge and improve your mind, body and spirit, these spas stand above the rest.

Activate your body’s natural deep relaxation response with So Sound Acoustic Resonance Therapy at the Well & Being Spa at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Choose the Melodic Reflexology to couple the benefits of the So Sound zero-gravity lounger and music with the energetic benefits of reflexology. For those looking for a complete wellness approach, schedule a consultation with a nutritionist and work with a trainer to develop a personal fitness plan.

Our bodies need different things at different points of the day. For that reason, Spa Avania at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch has crafted its treatment menu around circadian rhythms. During morning services, you’ll be awakened with invigorating scents during a massage that boasts moderate pressure. Midday offerings encourage balance and good digestion, and evening treatments are all about inducing rest and calm. Because natural light influences the body, the spa is positioned to receive more light in the morning and less in the late afternoon and evening, in accordance with your body’s cyclical needs.

Situated at the base of Camelback Mountain, The Centre for Well-Being at The Phoenician offers private guided hikes up the iconic mountain. After a few hours of traversing, return to the spa for a treatment, followed by an hour-long guided meditation session in a zero-gravity chair.

Exotic Escape

People come to Scottsdale to relax and escape the ordinary, and these spas prove you’re not in Kansas anymore. Drawing from cultures and time-tested practices throughout the world, many of Scottsdale’s spas transport you to another time and place.

Arguably the most exotic spa in the area, the moment you step into Joya Spa at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia, you’ll feel as though you’re in Moroccan riad. Try service add-ons like the Hammam Experience, where you can enjoy Arizona’s only Hammam with a brisk scrub using the traditional black soap.  

Take a spiritual journey to Indonesia or Thailand at The Spa at Sanctuary Resort on Camelback Mountain. The spa menu boasts services like the luk pra kope, a massage with medicinal herbs, or the tok sen, which blends the fluidity of Thai massage with vibration therapy. To fully immerse yourself in spa, try out the new Spa House at Sanctuary. This 3,500-square-foot enclave is a resort-within-a-resort, equipped with a movement studio, private pool and courtyard, and a spa treatment room.

While you may not feel like you’ve left the country, you’ll feel as though you’ve jumped in a time machine at Hotel Valley Ho, one of the best mid-century modern preserved hotels in the country. This Mad Men-esque property is home to The VH Spa, offering spa treatments that originated all over the world. Visit Casablanca during a Moroccanoil Hydrating Treatment or visit the shores of Hawaii during a Lomi Lomi massage.