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Attractions

Spa hopscotch in Scottsdale

Warmer climes and extravagant comforts await at these eight Arizona oases. Let TripExpert help you select the perfect one.

by Judy Kirkwood

There is no drought in this desert community when it comes to glorious healing spas with their pools, fountains, Vichy showers, plunge pools, and water treatments. In fact, the Phoenix/Scottsdale area has more spas per capita than anywhere else in the U.S., making it a spa destination extraordinaire: a no-brainer for a girlfriend getaway, holiday alternative, an energizing and relaxing break, a jumpstart to health, a spiritual journey.

Expect salon services, yoga and fitness classes, classic and hot stone massages, and anti-aging facials – but these spas each have a unique identity. Any one of these spas would make a memorable vacation, but put two or three together and you have a spa odyssey.

1

Sleepytime Services include the Dreamweaver Massage, which begins with guided meditation and utilizes restful aromas like lavender, vetiver, and ylang ylang for deep relaxation; and a Nighttime Repair Facial with rejuvenating gold drops.

One of the glories of Four Seasons Troon North is the hiking in adjacent Pinnacle Peak Park, particularly at sunrise. The philosophy is that the landscape itself is a “spa without walls.” A Healing Hiker Massage uses mountain arnica and sage to ease inflammation and soreness, placing special emphasis on the leg muscles.

Don’t miss the new Aroma Design Bar Experience, guided by an “Alchemista”: guests can make their own body butter or polish with essential oils based on their owns senses.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
2
Sanctuary Spa
Paradise Valley

Most of the treatments here are Asian inspired. Tok (a tapping technique) Sen (energy lines throughout the body) is a combination of vibration therapy that helps with energy blockages and compressions and stretching to help break up toxins and pain in the body. Luk pra kope is a medicinal herb massage with organically grown herbs that are steamed, rolled and pressed along the energy pathways of the body. The Spa also offers Watsu, a water therapy in which the body is submerged in a pool and cradled, rocked, and stretched.

Sanctuary is a contemporary, chic resort with a stunning backdrop of  Camelback Mountain. Consider staying in one of the Spa Suites, which have floor to ceiling windows, a glass rock fireplace, private patios, and outdoor tubs - truly your own private sanctuary.

Don’t miss the opportunity to have an astrology chart based on the place, date, and time of your birth.

Sanctuary Camelback Mountain
3
Agave, The Arizona Spa
Scottsdale

As the name suggests, this spa incorporates the desert’s native Agave plant in its healing treatments – and other indigenous plants. The Rain Massage uses warmed rain sticks made of polished saguaro ribs filled with cacti needles and small stones. The swish-swish sound of the rainstick rolling over muscles is hypnotic.

Agave offers Eastern massage therapies like Tui’ Na, which uses a variety of hand techniques to stimulate and calm acupressure points and meridians, Table Thai massage, where you may find your therapist walking on your back or using elbows and knees to loosen muscles, and even acupuncture to restore the body’s innate ability to balance its systems and heal itself.

Don’t miss the Rollersage, a proprietary brand developed at the Westin Kierland that uses warmed round gemstones to stimulate different chakras (energy points in your body).

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa
4

A total spa experience, music, snacks, tea, and aromas at Spa Avania are orchestrated according to the body’s journey from awakening in the morning to rejuvenating mid-day to calming toward evening. The idea is to align the senses with the body’s daily rhythm.

The spa offers a comprehensive array of services, but the newest excitement is the recent opening of its Himalayan Salt Room. Breathing in pure, dry, micronized salt air particles can help absorb bacteria and pollutants in the lungs. It’s a sort of respiratory detox with anti-inflammatory properties, as well as a boost to the immune system.

Don’t miss relaxing in the mineral pool beside the lily pad pond.

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch
5

Joya is the only spa in Arizona that has an authentic hammam experience, the traditional bathing ritual of Northern Africa and Moorish Spain. Relax in the warming room, with iridescent heated seats that fit the body’s contour to address pressure points, have a brisk scrub with black soap, then steam, stand under a cold waterfall (and scream), and relax in the whirlpool - as many times as you like. All this and a massage with argan oil, spices, Moroccan mint, and Spanish citrus.

Spa suites are available for comfortable treatments for couples, friends, and family, including the Grand Palace Suite, which features a king size bed, an infinity bath, and doors that open to a rooftop pool available only to spa guests, with views of Camelback Mountain.

Don’t miss the Whisper Room, with individual beds for napping or resting.

Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia
6
Well and Being
Scottsdale

Plenty of fabulous juicy body treatments here, like the Hacienda Retreat, which incorporates yellow corn and lime body polish, shea butter scented with lime zest, spearmint, and lemon, desert rose moisturizer, and Mojito body butter.

But what is distinctive about Well and Being is the attention to a health program you can take home with you. Nutrition for Active Living is a customized program to meet lifestyle goals that includes a “Bod Pod” diagnostic tool to measure lean and fat body weight, weight management strategies, pre- and post-workout nutrition, grocery checklists, how to read nutrition labels, a recommended workout schedule, supplement recommendations, and goal setting.

Don’t miss the aerial yoga class, in which silk slings are used to support yoga positions.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
7

The Spa at The Boulders has a particularly ambitious agenda for its Journey of the Sacred Circle treatment, which involves four 75-minute spa experiences based on the Native American medicine wheel and the four directions. East signifies awakening and this massage provides grounding, connection, enlightenment, and clarity. South indicates deep introspection, integration of the truth, and burning away of illusions through cranial sacral body work and a warm desert sage body wrap. The West is renewal with its cleansing release, helped by exfoliation and an aloe body wrap. North is full integration and a full-body massage with warm stones.

The Boulders is a prehistoric landscape. Everywhere you look boulders have been balanced precariously for eons. There are great possibilities here for gaining perspective on being a human in the greater scale of the universe - and for photography.

Boulders Resort & Spa, Curio Collection by Hilton
8

Located on Gila River Indian land where Pima and Maricopa tribes live, Aji offers authentic Native American-inspired spa services. Given this background, it would be foolish not to choose services from the Indigenous Collection. Everyone should have a session with Native American healer Belen Stoneman, who begins with a consultation, performs healing massage, then relays to you what your body and spirit communicated.

Guests love the Blue Coyote Wrap (Bahn) with Aji’s proprietary blue Azulene mud, leaving the skin radiant and soft, followed by a hydrating cedar and sage oil massage. And you get a copy of the legend of Bluebird and the Coyote.

Don’t miss Kioho, the burden basket meditation, that teaches how to let go of your stress.

Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass
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