Modern Southwestern Design in the Heart of Scottsdale
The forked-arm silhouette of the saguaro cactus is an unmistakable symbol of the southwest. Since it blends into the Sonoran Desert, it makes sense that The Saguaro Scottsdale takes its name from this iconic cactus. The hotel's interior welcomes visitors with splashes of magenta, violet, and tangerine found all over the lobby, pool area, and lounge—hues taken from the desert wildflowers that blanket the dunes after each rainstorm. These same colors can be found on the imported Mexican furniture inside.
It's all part of the hotel's recent aesthetic overhaul, which helped to earn it a place on the May 2012 cover of Condé Nast Traveler as one of the magazine's 121 Best New Hotels in the World. The Saguaro Scottsdale sits across the street from the Civic Center Mall, home to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, so it's particularly appropriate that it has been redefined with a modern look.
The hotel’s ultra-chic restaurants have been conceived by Chef Jose Garces, who appeared on Iron Chef America and received a 2009 James Beard Award. Distrito specializes in housemade sangrias and barbacoa-based tapas inspired by Mexican street fare. At Old Town Whiskey, bartenders pour more than 100 smoky varieties of bourbon, rye, and scotch, complemented by duck-fat fries, fried shrimp, and other bar snacks.
Up on the second and third floors, Stetson city-view rooms overlook the Civic Center or Scottsdale's Old Town from private balconies. Here, striped Mexican blankets and black-and-white prints of cacti further the southwestern theme. For a relaxing reprieve, head to the Saguaro Spa, where scrubs polish skin with desert plants such as prickly pear and aloe. Or visit the outdoor pools, which regularly host water aerobics, live DJ sets, and other events.
Scottsdale, Arizona: Stucco Mansions amid Rocky Desert Landscape
Located just northeast of Phoenix in the Sonoran Desert, Scottsdale once served as ranch land where farmers grew oranges and lemons and cowboys kicked up dust in the fierce, dry heat. 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.
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