Why Arizona is the Perfect All-Season Escape
Plan your next vacation in the Phoenix and Scottsdale region. Here’s what to do, where to stay plus tips on how to beat the heat and brave the crowds.
From world-renowned golf courses and epic adventures to top-of-the-line spas and upscale restaurants, there’s a reason to go to Phoenix and Scottsdale, in any season. Plus, Hyatt has 11 quality properties in the area that offer free Wi-Fi—and seven that offer free breakfast—where CAA Members save 10% on bookings (that’s on top of the reduced prices you can expect if you go in the summer). Here are a few of the reasons you should go—now, or when winter is back.
1. Play on World-Renowned Golf Courses
Desert-style golfing or traditional links—no matter your preference or skill level, there’s a course for everyone. The Phoenix and Scottsdale area has more than 200 courses, so you could go for a week and play on a different green each day.
Go now: The deal is, there is a deal. As temperatures go up, the prices go down, which means avid golfers can play on five-star courses for a fraction of the cost.
Tip: Plan to tee off early so that you’re poolside before temperatures peak (but you would do that anyways, wouldn’t you?).
Plan ahead: Course conditions are at their peak January through March—although prices will be significantly higher, the overall experience is at its best.
Tip: Because of the popularity of the top courses, book tee times as soon as you can—many courses will allow you to book up to a year in advance.
Where to stay: Surrounded by the McDowell Mountains, the Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch sits on 27 acres, decorated with flowering cacti and tall palms. The grounds also offer top-rated golf courses—exclusively accessed by private members and resort guests. With 27 championship holes, players can choose from three different course styles. If you take the kids, there’s a 2.5-acre water playground and Camp Hyatt Kachina, a children’s program complete with Navajo bead working activities, cowboy storytellers and much more. For the adults, don’t miss the Wine Me, Dine Me experience, where you’ll indulge in incredible Southwestern fare paired expertly with wine and tequila.
2. Explore the Arizona Desert
The state’s landscape is wild and filled with Southwestern lore. With tons of hiking trails and outfitters offering everything from horseback riding to off-roading in the dunes, there are lots of ways to discover the region’s rugged beauty.
Go now: Without peak-season crowds, you’ll have the Arizona desert to yourself. Be sure to get up early, as you’ll want to be back before the heat peaks (around 11 a.m.). Then it’s off to the spa!
Tip: Do your research: some outfitters offer guided full moon or nighttime hikes.
Plan Ahead: Many of the desert flora are in full bloom during the winter months and the lower temperatures mean you can take on some all-day desert activities.
Tip: Make sure to time your outdoor adventures so that you can experience an Arizona sunrise or sunset—they are their most dramatic in the winter.
Where to stay: At the base of Camelback Mountain, sits nine acres of sweeping desert landscape—the Royal Palms Resort and Spa’s property. The Spanish colonial architecture of this beautiful resort—complete with Granada-style tiled roofs and original details from this 1929 mansion—is reason enough to book. But there’s also the pool and the lush courtyard gardens. After a full day of adventure, clear your mind with guided meditation at the Alvadora Spa, dine on Mediterranean cuisine at the upscale T. Cooks restaurant, take a mixology class and then head out into close-by Scottsdale to check out the nightlife.
3. Unplug and Pamper Yourself at the Spa
Arizona has some of the best spas in the world. With its high concentration of quality establishments delivering the best in health and wellness treatments—from body scrubs to mud baths, massages and steam rooms—heading to the Phoenix or Scottsdale area for some pampering is a no-brainer.
Go now: The lower demand in the summer means that many spas offer packages at special rates.
Tip: Seek out treatments that will keep you cool. Try a refreshing cucumber massage or peppermint facemask.
Plan Ahead: There’s a reason people flock to this part of the desert in the winter—the sunny days, the dry heat, the cool nights and the mountainous backdrop all lend to a positive effect on the mind, body and soul.
Tip: Book reservations for treatments during high season at least two weeks in advance.
Where to stay: Retreat to the artsy bungalow-style guestrooms at the Andaz ScottsdaleResort & Spa. Take in the view of Camelback Mountain from the glass-paneled restaurant. Explore the Cattle Track Arts Compound, an artist collective down the road which offers on-site workshops and studio tours. And spend some time every day at the Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary. Inspired by the Sonoran Desert culture, the spa offers a unique roster of products and services, incorporating native plants into the treatments. A local botanist will consult with you on your wellness goals to create a personalized blend of botanicals. Then it’s off to the steam rooms, relaxation areas, private spa and pool—whatever your enlightened heart desires.
Thinking of travelling elsewhere? CAA Members get 10% off at all Hyatt locations in North America and the Caribbean.