It’s one of the USA’s lesser-known gems and less swarming with tourists than neighbouring state California. What Arizona lacks in beachfront, it makes up for in breathtaking desert scenery and exudes the rustic charm of the Old Wild West with plenty of saloon-style bars and live music – not to mention cheery, welcoming locals who will happily advise you on the best places to visit during your stay.
Our room at the Hotel Valley Ho (once frequented by the likes of Natalie Wood and Marilyn Monroe) in Scottsdale felt like we were in a scene from Mad Men, with its bright 1960s-inspired furnishings. Built in 1956, the hotel is steeped in mid-century modern design (the palm tree-lined pool is great for posing by!). It also has a fantastic spa offering a relaxing Myofascial treatment, using honey and ginger to plump and revitalise the skin.
…the Sonoran desert viewed at sunrise from a hot air balloon. Few things beat sailing across the arid landscape bathed in morning light.
…foodies – it’s no understatement to say that Scottsdale is a haven for fine dining. I went on a Destinations Food Tour where we got to sample fantastic fare in the Old Town including ‘brisket biscuit’ at The House Brasserie as well as mouthwatering guacamole and tacos at Distrito (with a wall of painted Dia de Los Meurtos skulls to welcome you at the door). But the jewel in Scottsdale’s crown has to be the New York Times-accredited restaurant FnB, which serves a variety of seasonal dishes and an impressive selection of Arizonian wines (the state joins neighbouring California for being famed for its vineyards). We enjoyed crispy pan-fried chickpeas sprinkled with smoked paprika and lemon juice, plump shishitos (mild Japanese peppers) with spinach and a yoghurt dip as well as carrot socca (a special chickpea flour pancake) with dates, butter and honeycomb.
- For reservations visit hotelvalleyho.com or call +1 480 248 2000.
- More information on Arizonan hot air balloon rides can be found at HotAirExpeditions.com.
- For details on the Destination Food Tour visit destination.tunestub.com.
- For reservations at FnB restaurant visit fnbrestaurant.com or call 480-284-4777