Insider's Guide to Spas
A treatment room at Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary at Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa

Spa News

Spa Mecca Offers Sonoran Desert Serenity


Scottsdale has been long been touted as a spa mecca. Its reputation as a place of health and wellness dates back hundreds of years to the Native Americans. Today, Scottsdale’s spas are drawing upon lessons learned by native ancestors and offering programming that seeks to not only heal the body, but also the heart and mind. And while Scottsdale has more resort spas per capita than any other city in the United States, no two spas mirror each other. Pair that with the Sonoran Desert’s timeless landscape, spirit-stirring sunsets, and crisp desert air, and Scottsdale is a spa destination unlike any other.

Sonoran Desert Serenity

Scottsdale is revered for its Sonoran Desert setting, which is said to have healing and restorative powers. Ancient Indian tribes were the first to discover the desert’s curative climate, medicinal plants, and therapeutic herbs—even transforming prickly cacti into soothing balms and sun-baked river rocks into muscle relaxants. Today, several of Scottsdale’s spas are utilizing indigenous ingredients to rejuvenate weary travelers.

For local ingredients and native traditions, the Turquoise Wrap at the Spa at the Boulders Resort can’t be beat. The resort’s signature treatment is based on the Native American belief that turquoise stone carries the vibration of protection and positive energy. Immerse yourself in a hydrotherapy bath filled with turquoise oil before receiving a dry-brush massage and a blue cornmeal exfoliation. Then, you are cocooned in ionized turquoise clay while the therapist performs a rain stick ritual to cleanse your spirit. The service ends with a warm honey mask and an application of rosehip lotion.

Scottsdale has more resort spas per capita than any other city in the United States, yet no two spas mirror each other.

Located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, The Spa at Talking Stick Resort’s Peaceful Healing treatment utilizes raw Pima cotton poultices filled with hot desert herbs during a rhythmic massage. This age-old tradition dates back hundreds of years and was used to heal farmers, hunters, and travelers.

Desert mud is one of several ingredients incorporated into the Desert Journey treatment at the Agave Spa at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. Loaded with minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and sodium, the mud is incorporated in a wrap that is said to ease fatigue and help eliminate jetlag after a long flight.

Bill Marriott often refers to the oldest resort in the Marriott portfolio, The JW Marriott Camelback Inn, as his favorite. It’s no wonder as The Spa at Camelback Inn embraces the destination’s Western and indigenous roots with treatments like The Desert Nectar Honey Wrap, featuring Arizona honey, buttermilk, and oats.

The Entire Package

If you think spas are for ladies who lunch, think again. Scottsdale spas offer traditional pampering rituals but also boast wellness initiatives. When you’re looking to indulge and improve your mind, body and spirit, these spas stand above the rest.

Activate your body’s natural deep relaxation response with So Sound Acoustic Resonance Therapy at the Well & Being Spa at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Choose the Melodic Reflexology to couple the benefits of the So Sound zero-gravity lounger and music with the energetic benefits of reflexology. For those looking for a complete wellness approach, schedule a consultation with a nutritionist and work with a trainer to develop a personal fitness plan.

Our bodies need different things at different points of the day. For that reason, Spa Avania at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch has crafted its treatment menu around circadian rhythms. During morning services, you’ll be awakened with invigorating scents during a massage that boasts moderate pressure. Midday offerings encourage balance and good digestion, and evening treatments are all about inducing rest and calm. Because natural light influences the body, the spa is positioned to receive more light in the morning and less in the late afternoon and evening, in accordance with your body’s cyclical needs.

Exotic Escape

People come to Scottsdale to relax and escape the ordinary, and these spas prove you’re not in Kansas anymore. Drawing from cultures and time-tested practices throughout the world, many of Scottsdale’s spas transport you to another time and place.

Arguably the most exotic spa in the area, the moment you step into Joya Spa at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia, you’ll feel as though you’re in Moroccan riad. Try service add-ons like the Hammam Experience, where you can enjoy Arizona’s only Hammam with a brisk scrub using traditional black soap.

Take a spiritual journey to Indonesia or Thailand at The Spa at Sanctuary Resort on Camelback Mountain. The spa menu boasts services like the luk pra kope, a massage with medicinal herbs, or the tok sen, which blends the fluidity of Thai massage with vibration therapy. To fully immerse yourself in spa, try out the new Spa House at Sanctuary. This 3,500- square-foot enclave is a resort-within-a-resort, equipped with a movement studio, private pool and courtyard, and a spa treatment room.

While you may not feel like you’ve left the country, you’ll feel as though you’ve jumped in a time machine at Hotel Valley Ho, one of the best mid-century modern-preserved hotels in the country. This Mad Men-esque property is home to The VH Spa, offering spa treatments that originated all over the world. Visit Casablanca during a Moroccanoil Hydrating Treatment or visit the shores of Hawaii during a Lomi Lomi massage.

Spa News & Updates

In April, The Phoenician opened the new Phoenician Spa, a three-story facility complete with 24 treatment rooms, a Drybar, full-service nail salon, fitness center and movement studio, and a rooftop pool.

CIVANA, greater Phoenix’s first sustainable wellness resort, debuted in March and will open its spa this December. The resort focuses on four pillars – Healthy Cuisine, Healing Arts/Spa, Movement and Discovery & Enrichment Arts and invites guest to participate in a 360 wellness experience as it fits with their lives, no matter where they are in their personal fitness and/or wellness journey.

Andaz Scottsdale opened in the fall of 2016, and Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary is a little slice of paradise on the property. It’s a smaller, more intimate spa with some great treatments incorporating desert ingredients, a nail salon, and an uber-tranquil pool with a killer view of Camelback Mountain. The spa’s wellness philosophy illuminates the natural healing powers of the earth’s most sacred resources and highlights the mission of Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa to reuse and repurpose whenever possible. The luxurious menu includes treatments using ingredients by a local Sedona botanist—providing the ideal combination for your wellness goals, in a space inspired by the artistic culture of the desert.

At the Boulders Spa, guests can unwind with their Native American-inspired treatments such as the “Journey of the Sacred Circle,” using locally sourced ingredients and ending in dance. Created using the Native American belief system as the guide, the “journey” is a series of spa services that follow a Medicine Wheel of human experiences and emulates the natural cycle of Earth, its moon phases and its four seasons.

At the mind-body-soul wellness mecca that is Fairmont Scottsdale Princess’ Well & Being Spa, travelers can find everything from Cupping and Acupuncture, to Singing Bowl Therapy, and Bod Pod assessments and aerial yoga.

At Alvadora Spa at Royal Palms, Double Gong Meditation has participants lie on yoga mats while the sound instructor begins with a variety of small movements to open the body. Designed to bring about healing through brainwave stimulation, double gong meditation is a form of sound therapy where the gong plays softly, increasing in volume as the session progresses.

You can also read the tea leaves with a Tea Leaf Reading at Agave at Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, led by the spa’s Tea Leaf Reader/Astrologer and Intuitive Consultant or try the Golfer’s Massage using warmed golf balls and stretching techniques to knead tight muscles and ease golf-related stiffness. At Agave, the signature ritual is the Burden Basket. The baskets are handcrafted by Arizona’s Tonto Apache tribe and at the beginning of each treatment, the therapist will invite guests to place their worries inside the basket, before removing it—and the stress—from the room.