A Scottsdale Adventure Part 3: The Ultimate Couples Getaway

By local contributor
Stina Sternberg

A Weekend to Remember

Courtney Scott and Djordje Radovanovic know a thing or two about taking romantic vacations. As a travel blogger, YouTube travel star and Expedia’s resident on-air travel expert, Courtney has journeyed to every corner of the world for her job. Her husband Djordje, a professional handball player and freelance videographer of Serbian descent who met his wife on a bus ride from Washington, D.C., to New York City seven years ago, is also a travel fanatic who serves as his wife’s camera operator on many of her trips. So where do travel pros like Courtney and Djordje go when they want to take a break from it all and spend a fun-filled long weekend together to recharge their batteries? Scottsdale, Arizona. “This area is the perfect mix of R&R and cool activities,” said Courtney, as they checked in to their home for the weekend, the sumptuous Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa.

Famous for its uncompromised mix of luxury and intimacy, the Sanctuary is a favorite hideaway for everyone from East Coast lovebirds like Courtney and Djordje to award-winning Hollywood celebs looking for secluded pampering and five-star dining in a spectacular desert-mountain setting. Our couple couldn’t wait to hit the Sanctuary Spa for side-by-side signature “In Harmony” massages followed by lazy lounging by the Sanctuary’s breathtaking infinity pool while munching on Portobello mushroom katzu wraps and charred edamame from the innovative pool menu. The couple’s first night in Scottsdale was spent dining al fresco at the Sanctuary’s award-winning elements restaurant, where executive chef and Food Network star Beau MacMillan wowed them with a display of unique, farm-fresh American cuisine with Asian accents.

The Best of the West

For travel junkies like Courtney and Djordje, one of Scottsdale’s most attractive features is its bustling food scene. Renowned chefs from across America have settled in this area, where farm-to-table cooking is uncomplicated and wholesome ingredients thrive. Courtney and Djordje made time to visit a couple of their favorite local eateries, starting with the renowned El Chorro, which is nestled between Camelback and Mummy Mountains and offers innovative American fair. Much of El Chorro’s seasonal menu pulls generously from organic ingredients grown in the private garden right outside El Chorro’s kitchen window, and cozy indoor-outdoor dining spaces with fire pits and lounge areas add to the charm. The Spanish-influenced Prado at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia offered our hungry travelers a fine-dining spread of lobster and clam casuela, roasted cauliflower and tasty lamb chops with mint crème fraiche.

Exploring Downtown

The Radovanovices share a passion for arts and architecture, which adds to Scottsdale’s appeal. With a rich Southwestern history and a high concentration of art galleries, studios and museums—most of which can be found in the scenic Downtown area—Scottsdale offers something for everyone, and Courtney and Djordje took advantage of the cultural riches. The newest museum in town, Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, proved the perfect playground for the two photography buffs, who couldn’t stop snapping pictures of all the evocative Native objects, riveting personal stories and creative pieces from the best artists in the American West. 

After stopping at a few galleries, the couple made their way to the Soleri Bridge, which connects pedestrians from the Scottsdale Waterfront area with Downtown Scottsdale and serves as an awe-inspiring piece of public art. The bridge, which opened in 2010 and features two 64-foot pylons that sit at a true north axis and serve as a giant solar dial, was commissioned by the city from famed Italian architect Paolo Soleri.

World-Class Golf & More

As new but enthusiastic golfers, Courtney and Djordje chose Scottsdale for their vacation partly because of its reputation as one of the most golf-rich areas of the country with some of the best instructors and golf schools at visitors’ fingertips. The acclaimed Grayhawk Golf Club served as the perfect backdrop for the couple to immerse themselves in their new passion, with a mix of play on one of Grayhawk’s two 18-hole layouts and a couples lesson with Director of Instruction Paul Trittler’s team at the Grayhawk Learning Center leaving them wanting to come back for more. Saving the best for last, Courtney and Djordje rose before dawn on their final morning in Scottsdale, put on sneakers and sunscreen and drove out to the desert to meet with Patrick Stevens from Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Company. A bucket-list item for both travelers and a well-known “must” for Arizona visitors, watching the sun rise over the valley from a 1,500-foot perspective is the perfect way to cap off a romantic journey to Scottsdale.