|Courtesy Royal Palms|
If you want southwestern style and Native American influences, stay somewhere else. This 119-room hotel offers something rare in greater Scottsdale: romance with a Mediterranean accent. It occupies a Spanish-colonial-style home built in the 1920s for a globetrotting steamship executive and is an enclave of rambling paths, flowery courtyards, and orange-blossom-scented air. The Alvadora Spa has a similar romantic, residential feel, as its ten treatment rooms occupy a two-story villa with fireplaces, gardens, fountains, and balconies at every turn. Earlier this year, the hotel debuted six spa-suite guest rooms and one spa villa, but I say skip them. Their look is could-be-anywhere Zen, and their emphasis on the chakras (green lights one day for the heart chakra; blue for the throat the next) is goofy — and so at odds with the rest of the place. Instead, stay in one of the Designer Casitas, each decorated by a different local design team, which ooze character and charm. They're on the opposite side of the grounds from the spa, but the walk between them winds through some pretty dreamy territory. — A.A.