Photo Credit: Royal Palms Resort & Spa
With its intimate alcoves and romantic fireplaces found by walking along private, quiet cobblestone pathways, Royal Palms Resort & Spa, a Destination Hotel, is an ideal getaway for couples looking to kindle, or rekindle, the flame. Perhaps this heightened sense of romance comes from the steamy setting in Phoenix, Arizona, or more likely, from the history of the property. Built originally in 1929 as the Spanish-style winter retreat for New York City financier Delos Cooke and his wife, Florence, who’s health required the pair to move to warmer climates. The duo decorated their home with art and antiques from their travels together, much of which can still be found in the hotel’s guestrooms.
From the moment you pull up to the property you know you are somewhere special. Look through the gorgeous mahogany and iron double doors to the circular courtyard and at its center, the 250-year-old fountain, and you are instantly transported to a romantic respite that still has the feeling of a couple’s private and intimate residence. Sprawling across 9 acres, its easy to get lost walking along the winding pathways, but even if you fall off track you’ll be met with something worth seeing. Lush gardens, views of Camelback Mountain in the distance, and even an orange grove, Royal Palms attention to detail is not left unnoticed.
With 119 guestrooms ranging from traditional Estate Rooms to four deluxe villas, there is no wrong decision when choosing your accommodations at Royal Palms, however my favorite are the Valencia Casitas. The casistas are scattered throughout the Valencia gardens and feature wrought-iron four-post beds, semi-private patios, and large well-appointed bathrooms. Be sure to request a room with a gas-burning fireplace in its master bedroom and enjoy a glass of wine by the fire before heading to dinner.
Dinner and drinks become a memorable experience thanks to the on-site restaurant and bar. The Mix Up Bar is certainly stirring curiosity with its inventive and hand-crafted take on both traditional and signature cocktails, like the Mix Up Mule – a blend of Tito’s American Vodka and a house-made ginger beer that is to-die-for or the Rum Old Fashioned. After cocktails, mosey over to T.Cook’s for a seasonal menu by Executive Chef Paul McCabe. If you see the Organic Corn Agnolotti order it immediately and don’t be ashamed if you want seconds, the blend of lobster, roasted corn, chanterelles mushrooms, and brown butter melts in your mouth and truly tastes too good to be true.
While at Royal Palms be sure to head over to the acclaimed Alvadora Spa for a treatment that will leave you refreshed and renewed. The eight Mediterranean-style treatment rooms are warm and inviting and many offer outdoor courtyards. Relax by a fountain or outdoor fireplace before your treatment, indulge in an 8-foot waterfall outdoor shower, or go for a steam in the Eucalyptus steam room. Book a massage together or solo and let the stress melt away.
After you unwind, head out on the town to see some of the sites Phoenix and Scottsdale are known for. Rich in art and culture, Scottsdale’s Art District is a must-see, especially on a Thursday evening when the ArtWalk takes place from 7-9pm. This 30-year old weekly event allows member galleries to open their doors to show off some of the work of the Southwest’s well known and emerging artists. In addition to galleries, just taking a walk around allows you to see some of the fabulous public art structures that have been placed around the courtyard and throughout the city, such as The Doors by Donald Lipski and the Soleri Bridge and Plaza by famed architect, urban designer, artist, and craftsman Paolo Soleri. At noon each day the sun shines through the middle of the two metal columns, hits the Soleri bells, and illuminates the red line that runs down the length of the bridge. To see more of Soleri’s work and to bring home some of the Soleri bells, visit Arcosanti for a guided tour. Architectural lovers would be remiss to leave out a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West where you can book a tour to see Wright’s former winter home, studio, and current architectural campus in the Sonoran desert. Nature lovers should make their way over to the Desert Botanical Garden, a fixture in the community for more than 70 years where you can truly learn about all the desert has to offer. Explore the 140 acres and over 50,000 plant exhibits by walking along the trails, but be sure to bring water along as it gets hot in this desert garden.
When hunger strikes stop for a healthy bite and a Kale Aid at True Foods Kitchen in Biltmore Fashion Park, where you can also do a bit of shopping, or pop into one of Postino Wine Cafe’s locations for some seriously killer bruchetta breads with variations like Brie and Apples with a Fig Spread, Prosciutto with Figs and Mascarpone, or the Ricotta with Dates and Pistachios!
Wherever your Phoenix/Scottsdale itinerary takes you, it is sure to be a getaway to remember!
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