Hotel at a Glance: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
This 5-star resort stands out like an oasis in the middle of the desert: it has six pools, a lagoon, and 65 manicured acres of desert plants, water fountains, and fire pits. Within the resort’s extravagant complex, guests will find towering water slides, relaxing poolside cabanas, traditional Spanish-inspired architecture, and modern amenities. This confluence of luxury and fun has helped earn the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess a Five Diamond rating from AAA since 1991.
- Sunset Beach—the newest and largest of six onsite pools—spans 9,000 square feet and features a white-sand shore and a splash pad.
- Included perks: Guests receive a waived resort fee and skate session passes (for registered room guests).
- Restaurant spotlight: Enjoy cuts of Angus beef at chef Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak, one of five onsite restaurants.
- Tee off on either of two TPC-level golf courses.
- Southwestern decor adorns the plush rooms and suites, each of which comes with a refreshment center and large soaking tub.
- Get into the Christmas Spirit. Your stay includes admission for each guest to the Christmas at the Princess 10th Annual Festival. Activities include skating at the Desert Ice Rink (passes for registered room guests) or singing holiday songs during Enchanted Plaza shows.
Scottsdale, Arizona: Stucco Mansions amid Rocky Desert Landscape
Scottsdale once served as ranch land where farmers grew oranges and lemons and cowboys kicked up dust in the fierce, dry heat of the Sonoran Desert. That era earned Scottsdale the nickname of “The West’s Most Western Town.” Today, it is an affluent city landscaped with lush green grass and lined with stucco mansions. For a glimpse of the city’s Old West roots, head to Old Town Scottsdale, where wooden boardwalks and hitching posts sit in front of a retro ice-cream parlor and rustic specialty shops.
Upon arriving in Scottsdale, you know you’re in the desert—cacti and tumbleweeds dot the landscape, and dry shrubs and gnarled trees cover the McDowell Mountains in the distance. To get a closer look at Southwestern flora, head to the Desert Botanical Garden. There, themed trails wind past huge cacti and other moisture-hoarding succulents, best seen in the cooler early morning or twilight hours.