Ancient rock formations dot the landscape, framed by iconic desert plants like the saguaro cactus and edged by the deep blue sky. This vivid landscape has long beckoned visitors looking for simplicity and solitude. Located just to the north of the thriving Scottsdale area, the Boulders Resort is a five-star accommodation that distills the desert experience into one of peaceful luxury. This oasis offers visitors a mix of activities and the chance to just unwind amid the beauty of the Sonoran Desert.Accommodation type: 5-star hotel
No. of Rooms & Suites: 223
Pricing: starts at $269 for casitas, at $449 for an executive suite, at $549 for villas, at $849 for haciendas
High season: September through May
Nearest airport: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
Suitable for: couples, honeymooners, families, pet owners
- Travel + Leisure’s “Best Hotel in Arizona,” 2017
- U.S. News & World Report “10 Best Hotels in Arizona,” 2017
- Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice: “Top Resorts in Southwest,” 2015
The Boulders Resort sits on 1,300 acres of starkly beautiful Sonoran Desert. Set against the silhouetted background of spiky ocotillo, saguaro cactus and ancient rock, this resort enjoys a wonderful sense of solitude while also offering access to the sprawling Phoenix area. Each dwelling at the resort, from suites to charming casitas to the large haciendas, is decorated in subtle Southwestern style. A mix of soothing, desert-inspired colors and tribal art adorn the walls and surfaces in both guest rooms and public areas.
Four swimming pools, one of them adults-only, offer a refreshing oasis during the day, while the outdoor fireplaces provide a cozy, flickering light long into the evening. Furthermore, there are tennis courts for perfecting your backstroke and a handful of boutiques selling everything from spa products to golf necessities.
- Palo Verde and the Spotted Donkey — enjoy formal dining with the flavors of the Southwest at Palo Verde. The elegant dining room and imaginative menu offerings are paired with an extensive list of wines and spirits. The Spotted Donkey focuses on Mexican-inspired dishes and local ingredients.
- The Grill Kitchen and Bar and Discovery Lounge — From breakfast to dinner, the Grill Kitchen provides delicious casual dining, handcrafted cocktails and craft beers. The Discovery Lounge keeps the party alive late into the night with reimagined cocktails and small bites.
- Boulders Club Golf Course — set against the ancient stone formations that give this part of the Sonoran Desert its timeless beauty, the 36 holes feature immaculately maintained fairways and knowledgeable caddies able to expertly recommend course strategies.
- Spa and Fitness at the Boulders Resort — with over 30,000 feet dedicated to all aspects of beauty and wellness, this spa is a haven for guests. For example, treatments use unique desert plants and change to fit the season. There’s also a salon offering detailed attention to hair and nails, perfect for the bride or groom. The adjacent fitness center offers free weights and cardio equipment.
As part of the resort fee, all guests are welcome to attend fitness classes, such as morning stretches, yoga, pilates and barre practice, at no extra charge. Moreover, there are children-specific activities to keep youngsters entertained, and even pets receive pampering with special treats baked on-site.
Guests arriving via Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) can arrange for airport pick-up with the concierge when booking a room. The resort also features a private helipad, and arrangements for its use are also through the concierge.
For those renting a car at the airport, follow signs for I-10 West. After two miles, follow signs to AZ-51 North and stay on this highway for 15 miles. Take Exit 15-A, and merge onto AZ-101 Loop East. After four miles, take Exit 34/North Scottsdale Road. Stay on this road for ten miles, when it will turn into North Tom Darlington Drive. Continue on for one-third of a mile, and the resort will be on the right.
Main Attractions Around Boulders Resort
Frank Lloyd Wright’s impressive design melds with the stark landscape, built in 1937 and lived in until his death in 1959. While the building today is part of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, visitors can tour the property on one of the several themed tours. Moreover, behind the scenes glimpses, views of Wright’s private art collection, the grounds and the extensive gardens are all waiting to be explored. The area was once home to Native Americans, and the ancient petroglyphs they left behind can still be viewed on a tour of the grounds. A museum shop sells themed books, home decor and treats.
Downtown Scottsdale is famous for its boutique shopping, art galleries and restaurants. Enjoy strolling the streets around the Waterfront area in search of a bargain or just to enjoy the pace of Scottsdale life. Next, the Fashion Square Mall is another stop on any avid shopper’s list, known as one of the largest malls in America. At the same time, the art galleries in the area, most specializing in Southwestern design, host art walks every Thursday evening from 7-9 p.m. Visitors can peruse the works while listening to live music.
This jagged formation is one of the tallest in the greater Phoenix area and hosts a wonderful array of desert wildlife. Coyotes, gila monsters, mockingbirds, quail, cottontail rabbits and foxes are just some of the species visitors may spot. Plenty of varieties of desert plants thrive here also, from cholla cactus to mesquite to desert lavender. During the wetter seasons, the area blooms with wildflowers. Moreover, there are plenty of trails to enjoy, the summit trail, in particular, allowing views of the entire region. While some trails allow mountain bikes or horseback riding, the summit trail is limited to foot traffic only.
With a thriving art scene, ample opportunities to explore the outdoors and boutique shopping, Scottsdale is a destination perfect for any time of year. Visitors can enjoy the local culture, sample regional delicacies and savor the spirit of the Southwest. Have you spent some time in the Scottsdale area or even had a chance to visit the Boulders Resort? Let us know all about your travels in the comments below. Another beautiful resort set in the sweltering desert is the Enchantment Resort.