Fall into Cool Temperatures, New Dining, Refreshed Resorts and a Flurry of Events in the Sonoran Desert
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Aug. 14, 2019) – While those on the East Coast brace themselves for the return of heavy coats and boots, Scottsdale is gearing up for prime time, when the mercury takes a dip and the reasons to visit continue to climb. With new restaurants, a packed season of events and revamped, word-class resorts; travelers, it’s time to chase the sunshine.
THE BIG NEWS: In honor of its 10th anniversary, W Scottsdale unveiled a collection of six new Penthouse Suites in June, featuring lavish master bedrooms, full kitchens and en-suite laundry facilities. The suites mark the first phase of a larger renovation, to include complete design refreshes of its rooftop WET Pool Deck – Scottsdale’s hottest pool scene – as well as its Living Room lobby lounge. A new AWAY Spa concept to replace the current Bliss Spa is soon to debut as well.
FIVE MORE UPDATES:
- Element Scottsdale at SkySong opened in June as the latest addition to the 42-acre innovation and technology hub. The 157-room, sustainable hotel takes a health-focused approach, offering a spacious on-site gym and natural saline swimming pool.
- Mountain views in the desert? You bet. The newly remodeled Villa Ventana at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain offers 270-degree views of its rugged surroundings, sitting as the resort’s highest guest perch and complete with two master suites, a stunning kitchen, indoor-outdoor living space, an infinity-edge hot tub and a separate studio-style guest house.
- At the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Arizona’s largest and longest-running AAA Five Diamond resort, a renovation of 458 standard guest rooms and 20 luxury suites, as well as the Princess Pool, is underway. With completion slated for next month, the new guest rooms will feature a soft, tranquil desert décor with modern lines and furnishings.
- Birdies, Birds and Beyond – a new program launching next month at the Boulders Resort & Spa – combines golf instruction with a nature journey via golf cart. Go beyond the cart path to taste desert flavors, spot indigenous birds and pick up some golf tips along the (fair)way.
- The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa has announced a transformation of its 732 guestrooms – including 55 suites – and corridors with designs that present a striking new interpretation of modern eco-luxury, to be complete this December.
THE BIG NEWS: Squidsoup, a UK-based artist studio, will bring two new massive installations to Scottsdale this season; “Mumuration,” a site-specific audio and visual artwork planned for Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and “Standing Wave,” the first artwork to be announced for Canal Convergence, a 10-day event running Nov. 8-17. “Standing Wave” will use 600 interconnected, choreographed orbs of light and sound to simulate a wave over the Arizona Canal. Notably, the artwork is part of Squidsoup’s Wave series, which includes “Desert Wave,” an installation being developed for Burning Man.
Canal Convergence is an annual confluence of water, art and light taking place during Scottsdale Contemporary Month in which visitors experience large-scale public art installations curated from artists around the globe, as well as community programming such as artist talks, music and dance. The free event is nearing its goal of becoming zero-waste and includes sustainability-focused activities like a brewing challenge featuring local beers made with potable reuse water.
THREE MORE TO SEE & DO:
- Oct. 10: Scottsdale Gallery Association’s Gold Palette ArtWalk 45th Season Kickoff will offer live music, “meet the artist” demos and a historical look at ArtWalk, a Thursday night tradition in Old Town Scottsdale for more than four decades.
- Oct. 12-13: The annual Arizona Taco Festival will celebrate a decade of tacos with 50+ taco teams competing and 10 new festivities – from a Tequila Expo to a “Millennial Playground” experience – at WestWorld of Scottsdale.
- Oct. 26: Serious collectors won’t want to miss the Larsen Art Auction, an annual event presented by Larsen Gallery, a leader in the secondary art market for over 25 years.
ATTRACTIONS & EXHIBITS
THE BIG NEWS: Just last month, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in North Scottsdale was officially named a UNESCO World Heritage site, along with seven other major works spanning 50 years of Wright’s career which were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are more than 1,000 World Heritage sites around the world, with only 24 in the U.S.
FIVE MORE NOT TO MISS:
- Now open: Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament opened in July, welcoming fun-seekers for jousting and feasting.
- Now – Nov. 3: At the Heard Museum, “Still Life No. 3: Ravon Chacon” tells the story of Diné Bahné, a Navajo story of creation and emergence into the current world, using sound, text and timed lights. Parts of the story intentionally overlap, to demonstrate non-linear storytelling which illuminates the past, present and future in a singular moment.
- Sept. 10 – Aug. 23, 2020: “Beauty Obsessed: Gilbert Waldman Collects the West” helps visitors of Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, see the West from a whole new perspective. With 51 artworks collected by Waldman, a local resident, the exhibit showcases the beauty of Arizona, New Mexico and beyond.
- Oct. 12 – May 10, 2020: Straight from Milan, “Wild Rising” by Cracking Art brings more than 1,000 striking animal sculptures made from colorful, recyclable plastic to Desert Botanical Garden and invites visitors to join the conversation on mankind’s global footprint with large-scale installation, “Elephant in the Room.”
- Ongoing: From fighting with dinosaurs to altering Mona Lisa’s makeup, “Surprise Your Eyes,” a new 3-D, optical illusion, pop-art attraction at OdySea in the Desert allows visitors to become the main character of wild and imaginary scenes.
THE BIG DISH: Los Angeles entertainment industry favorite, Toca Madera will open its doors in October, luring guests into a moody and mysterious atmosphere for a Tulum-inspired fine dining experience. The restaurant will serve up the sophisticated Mexican fare it’s known for alongside a mixology program with an extensive collection of tequilas and mezcals. Find it at Scottsdale Fashion Square, across the way from sister restaurant Tocaya Organica, just opened in May.
THREE MORE BITES:
- The Windy City meets the desert at Maple and Ash, a modern steakhouse opening Aug. 20 in Scottsdale as its first Arizona location and first outside of Chicago. There, diners will find fresh seafood, handmade pasta and dry-aged steaks.
- Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows has just introduced a new culinary team led by Executive Chef Nate Larsen and Sous Chef Chelsea Cummings, most recently serving at Hyatt Centric Park City and Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa, respectively. The team has begun rollout of new seasonal menus at Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen, the resort’s signature Sonoran cuisine concept, with locally inspired dishes like the Desert Spiced Smoked Brisket.
- Relaunching next month is ZuZu restaurant at the iconic Hotel Valley Ho. Taking a modern take on the all-American restaurant of the 1950s, Chef LaCasce will preserve guest-favorite dishes while overhauling much of the menu with a focus on small, shareable plates using ingredients from the property’s new 240-square-foot herb garden.
ON OUR RADAR
- Play with the concept of reality with “Elsewhere,” at Wonderspaces in October. The breakthrough concept opened in Scottsdale Fashion Square in April, immediately mesmerizing locals and visitors alike with, “Point of View.” Guests can expect to be equally captivated by “Elsewhere,” featuring installations from 14 artists and the chance to “see infinity.”
- Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley – a 215-room, 20-acre new-build opening summer 2020 – will offer exemplary service, sleek interiors, a 16,000-square-foot spa and sweeping views of Camelback Mountain, all just minutes from Old Town Scottsdale.
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