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Arizona Spa Resorts Rock

by Susan Campbell / Photos by Photo: The Boulders, Photo: Arizona Biltmore, Photo: The Boulders, Photo: Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain, Photo: www.experiencescottsdale.com, Photo: www.hotairexpeditons.com

It pains me to write this when it’s so frigid outside as my memories of a recent week-long Arizona spa-hop was so luxuriously hot and pampering that I wish I could wiggle my nose and magically return this very instant.  However, I do encourage my fellow frozen Montrealers to consider hopping the next plane to the sunny Sonoran Desert and check-in to one of these three awesome Arizona spa resorts guaranteed to rejuvenate a winter-weary spirit in no time.

Waldorf Astoria Spa at the Boulders

Located in the aptly named region of Carefree, Arizona, The Boulders is most famous for having some of the world’s best golf courses, but the surreal topography of the area and the way  designers have carved the accommodations into the natural environment really sets it apart. This unique resort is also well-known for its comprehensive stand-alone complex Waldorf Astoria Spa at the Boulders. It is set among the impressive boulders with a dedicated spa pool (adult-only) cresting an organic herb garden, a huge tee-pee, and a massive meditation circle for their many healing arts programs- some of which incorporate ancient Native American traditions. I opted for their signature LaStone Massage using both hot and cold stones along your spine at the same time, and surprisingly, the duel temp combination did not evoke any discomfort. In fact,  it was both invigorating and relaxing all at once. The stark, tranquil and haunting beauty of the surrounding desert there will do wonders for your soul.

Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain

This relaxing refuge lies in the shadow of impressive Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona- so named for its humps- but the outcropping that one would think is the tail is actually named “The Praying Monk” since it resembles a priest kneeling at prayer. The resort consists of multiple levels of charming casita-style abodes cresting an impressive infinity pool and water circuit. Below that is their massive Spa Sanctuary that was intelligently designed so that wherever you look outside you see the “monk” to aid in your mediation. Beyond typical spa treatments they offer a wide range of Asian-inspired offerings including aquatic massages in a Watsu pool and a private retreat called The Inner Sanctum. I chose their signature Wild Lime Blossom Massage that includes a vigorous scalp rub and ambrosial essences that left me feeling euphorically relaxed and light as air.

Arizona Biltmore

This legendary compound is a historic landmark that has hosted countless celebrities and heads of state through the ages and is considered Phoenix resort royalty. It boasts great golf and picturesque grounds with swimming pools and gardens dotted throughout an impressive labyrinth of rooms, but we stayed at their boutique hotel within the hotel called the Ocatilla as it is just steps away from the spa grounds, cabanas and water circuit. Just being at the Biltmore makes you feel like a VIP- the vibe and the service is incredible- but if you really want to feel like a million bucks try their Dream Catcher Aromatherapy Massage. This Native American inspired treatment includes hot stones, essential oils and even a thorough foot massage. It was so heavenly that I did really think I was dreaming.

Additional delights: If you can tear yourself away from the pampering, fine dining and superb accommodations at these resorts for even a day, there are additional delights to explore in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. I enjoyed a celestial sunrise hot air balloon expedition over the desert, and touring the charming town of Scottsdale and its many art boutiques and trendy dining spots is also highly recommended. And of course, Phoenix proper is chock full of cosmopolitan adventures, museums, and shops. For more information check out www.visitphoenix.com and www.experiencescottsdale.com.