Girls Weekend in Scottsdale, AZ
For the ten years following college, we had over a dozen weddings to bring us together since going our separate ways. Now, with most of the nuptials behind us, there was nothing on the calendar for the foreseeable future to look forward to (and thus an excuse for a reason to get together). So it was time to make time for putting friendship first (as so eloquently put by this amazing Huff Po article). For what we hope will be a regular affair, we wanted the inaugural girls trip to be easy. Not only for everyone to get to for a quick weekend (ie direct flights and domestic) but also keeping logistics involved to a minimum (just show up).
So I suggested Scottsdale for its proximity to Pheonix Skyharbor (10-minute drive) and specifically the Hotel Valley Ho for a perfect mix of relaxation (ie pool & spa) arts and culture within walking distance and delicious food and drinks. All with the desert backdrop for taking in all the fun in the sun. Within a day, flights and hotels were booked and it was just a matter of counting down the days (and coming up with a hashtag).
Hotel Valley Ho
With the time difference, we arrived early with plenty of time to take in a full first day. Enter the lobby and you're immediately transported back to 1960's Palm Springs (in a good way). In fact, the hotel is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and was recently renovated for the occasion. Swanky decor, swaying palm trees and vibrant pops of color throughout.
All the hotel rooms are accessible via outdoor halls and have private balconies. Inside, the walls are adorned with local landscapes and rooms are filled modern amenities (walk in marble shower, plush bath robes, adorable mini bar). We were on the ground level right by the pool which was oh so convenient.
Speaking of pools, there's the main OH Pool with full-service bar and food and an OH- asis pool which is more chill and less crowed. We opted for the OH pool for some prime spots and people watching. Cabanas are difficult to come by on weekends, so we reserved one for Friday that was waiting for us when we checked in, complete with hummus platter, veggie tray and chips and salsa.
There's also an on-site spa but in our " oh, just show up" mentality, we didn't get to take advantage due to being "fully committed" for the weekend (cue, sad trombone). But while there, we did scope out the cruisers available for rent and stock up on sunscreen in the boutique gift shop.
Eating in Scottsdale
Friday night we went to Diego Pops, an eclectic upscale taqueria down the street. And with a motto "Peace, Love, Tequilla" you know it's going to be good (and boy, were my Brussels sprouts nachos to die for!).
In addition to craft cocktails and savory bites by the water at Hotel Valley Ho, there's also an upscale, sit down, open air restaurant ZuZu adjacent to the pool where we had brunch (pictured) both days and fresh seafood Saturday night.
On Saturday afternoon we ventured out into Old Town for some southwestern food at the infamous The Mission (reservations necessary even for lunch!) Tableside guac and mouth watering sweet corn dip with chile paprika, aji rocoto, cilantro & cotija. Yes, please!
After lunch we wandered through the historic area and what looked like the set of a Western movie. Adobe architecture, kitchy Cowboys and saloon-like watering holes.
On that note, no trip to Scottsdale would be complete without a cold beer from the oldest drinking establishment in town. The Arizona equivalent of our old favorite from Austin: Cain & Abels. They even had the UT fight song on the juke box (and yes, we played it and sang along like there's no tomorrow).
All in all, it was an amazing 72 hours (however would have loved to spend more time there to check out Frank Lloyd Wright's house, the Desert Botanical Garden (with Chihuly at night) and maybe a museum or two. With that said, Arizona, you are amazing and can't wait to come back.