It’s safe to say, Arizona is synonymous with relaxation, and at the heart of this vast wellness region stands Scottsdale: the perfect self-care retreat for black girls who are looking to feed their mind, body and soul. The ritzy suburb, that is often frequented by some of our favorite celebs (did someone mention Beyoncé?!), just 20 minutes from Phoenix offers the ability to try just a little bit of everything: world class massages, feast on fine foods or hike to the top of Camelback Mountain or simply hang poolside solo, with bae or with your girlfriends. Just a short plane ride away from most parts of California, and a direct flight from the East Coast, your vacation will start in 5 hours or less.
Who said black girls don’t like the desert? Why wouldn’t we? Especially considering our travel palettes are even more versatile now, than ever. There’s an experience for every taste, from small historic hideaways, to top-notch spa treatments, to luxury hotels to glamorous golf courses.
Get into these five reasons why you need to add Scottsdale to your travel bucket list.
As soon as you step into Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, Elements will greet you like the homegirl that you haven’t seen in a long time. Centered right in the middle of the sprawling resort, this restaurant will offer scenic views of Scottsdale, that will definitely make you want to ‘do it for the gram. And while you’re there, try one of the Asian-influenced entrées like the honey five-spiced pork, the sweet-potato grits and sugar-cured pears, or even the delicious banana fluffernutter.
Who knew Polynesian could be so good? At Hula’s Modern Tiki in Old Town, prepare to delight your tummy with some good eats at this urban twist on the classic tiki restaurants and bars of the 50s and 60s. Sit on the patio and enjoy signature cocktails, while enjoying a diverse many featuring everything your heart could desire. In the heart of Old Town, this is also the place to see and be seen. So be sure to show up in some of your cutest resort wear, and enjoy a walk around town.
Looking for the well, in wellness? Farm & Craft is the place to go, with a focus on healthy and sustainable food in a community- style atmosphere. You won’t have to feel guilty after a nice hard workout with the restaurant’s seasonal Wellness Menu featuring four paths to optimal health, including an anti-inflammatory diet, increasing probiotic levels, maintaining high levels of antioxidants and reducing your overall stress.
If you’re from the East Coast like me, you probably haven’t been exposed to great Mexican food like our friends on the West Coast. Because of this, your heart will delight at a visit to Diego Pops. The stylish diner is home to a unique menu of modern Mexican fare served with a tropical and cosmopolitan twist. The botanas (snacks) menu features classic appetizers like chips and salsa, guacamole, and cheese quesadillas. But you’ll also find unique offerings like habanero hot wings and the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Brussels sprout nachos (made with corn, fresh Mexican cheese, chili, onion, the house roasted beet crema, and even a fried egg). Tacos stuffed with chicken, pork, chicken and fresh veggies are the main attraction, along with a small but savory menu of main plate entrees.
Sure, spas are great for relaxing your body from the outside, but at Second Nature Clinic, they’ll even focus on the inside as well. The wellness clinic, which is located in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale is the city’s health stop for Naturopathic & Ayurvedic Medicine. Focused on holistic experiences and services, you can get everything from a B-12 shot, vitamins that help with weight, skin and gut conditions. Stop in during the weekend, or for the weekly “happy hour” to enjoy the same great services at discounted rates.
When you’re ready for a change of pace and best in class services, Alvadora Spa, a Mediterranean-themed oasis tucked into a tranquil corner of the Royal Palms Resort is the place to be. You can recharge by a crackling fireplace in an open-air courtyard or in the minty fresh steam room before being whisked away to one of eight handsomely appointed indoor-outdoor treatment rooms. The signature scent is Neroli and you can’t go wrong signing up for any service that incorporates native ingredients like desert sage or orange blossom like the Citrus Ritual (full-body exfoliation while on a heated stone table and under a soothing Vichy shower followed by lotion application) or hot stone massage.
If Sanctuary on Camelback is good enough for Beyoncé and Jay-Z, than it’s beyond good enough for us. Vacation like the Carters at the resort where they spent their honeymoon, and experience the luxury, exclusivity and intimacy that makes Paradise Valley a celebrity favorite. Nestled on Camelback Mountain, after a few days here, you’ll never want to go home again. With breathtaking views, a world-class spa, and top notch service, this resort has ranked on just about every “best hotel” list you can imagine. The reason is quite simple: Sanctuary caters to guests’ mind, body, spirit and senses.
Opened just over a year ago, Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa is the new kid on the block in Scottsdale and already made quite the name for itself. Named one of “The World’s Best Hotels” on Conde Nast Traveler’s 2017 Hot List –this is a desert paradise oasis. The rooms are rustic, and sprawling, as they are individual “haciendas” that are featured throughout the property. Not to mention, the resort’s pool is open until the wee hours of the morning, so it’s perfect for a quick late night dip, in the Arizona heat. Guests will see this brought to life at Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa through bright colors, folk art and cultural patterns incorporated into the resort’s architecture and design.
For the sistas’ who can’t get enough of the outdoors, the Desert Botanical Garden offers the world’s finest collection of arid-land plants from deserts around the world in a unique outdoor setting. Get your cameras ready, as you’ll definitely want to capture a few moments which this beautiful landscape. The garden has more than 50,000 accessioned plants throughout its five thematic trails, which illustrate topics such as conservation, desert living, plants and people of the Sonoran Desert and desert wildflowers.
Regarded as one of the best hiking trails in the country, you’ll want to experience a hike at Camelback Mountain. The hike is tough—but once you make it to the top, all of the sweat (and maybe even some tears) will seem worth it. Don’t fret however, if it seems to strenuous or frightening, Camelback Mountain’s offers trails for those of us who are beginner hikers.
Not quite the “adventure” you’d imagine, but Topgolf is certainly a good time for those looking to explore some of the activities and nightlife that Scottsdale has to offer. Grab your girls, and head there for a fun (and even sometimes competitive) round of golf, cocktails and even live music that will get your night started on a Friday and Saturday evening.
For my adventures girls that want a bit more excitement outside of hiking, there’s plenty of outdoor adventure to be offered in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Want to go rafting? They’ve got it. Kayaking? Got that too. Even a guided mountain bike tour? You bet. Arizona Outback Adventures is the place to start when trying to plan your wellness vacation of a lifetime.