Insider's Guide to Spas
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain

Resorts

Sanctuary On Camelback Mountain

Rima Suqi


I love staying at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain because it’s like living in an apartment complex, with quiet neighbors, killer views, and amazing amenities. This time, my 1,000-square-foot Mountain Casita room (#249) was set up like a one bedroom apartment – with a kitchen, living/dining area, bathroom with Red Flower amenities, a spacious bedroom, and two outdoor spaces. The rooms feel a bit dated in terms of décor and use of color; those who want more luxe accommodations should check into the spa casitas. The view won’t be as good, but the overall design is more sophisticated and current (I personally will take a view over a marble bathroom any day, but that’s a personal preference).

There’s only one drawback to having a room at the top of the property – anywhere you go is a bit of a walk. I live in New York City and walk everywhere, so for me, this was not an issue. And to be fair, you could call for a golf cart. But just know it is a trade off.

If you should decide to walk down to the spa, you descend a series of stairs, taking in the Arizona flora and fauna along the way. At night it is especially magical, as the sky is a blanket of stars, and the view will have you thinking you’re in the hills of Los Angeles.

The spa itself, as mentioned, is at the bottom of the stairs and near the property’s main building and pool. There’s a generous locker room, staffed by some of the most helpful people I’ve ever met in this setting. The waiting area is small, but there are dried fruit and nut snacks as well as a variety of beverages, and plenty of reading material to keep one entertained. There’s also a lovely view of the Zen garden, which you’ll also see from your treatment room, should you opt to keep the door open. I was told that most out-of-towners choose the so-called open-door policy, while most locals don’t.

If you should decide to walk down to the spa, you descend a series of stairs, taking in the Arizona flora and fauna along the way. At night it is especially magical, as the sky is a blanket of stars, and the view will have you thinking you’re in the hills of Los Angeles.

The gym is in the same area and can get crowded during peak workout hours, as it is very popular with locals who buy memberships. Classes range from water fitness, to a variety of yoga options, indoor cycling, Pilates, and Zumba. I passed on all that and went on an off-property hike instead (booked through the spa).

Twenty-four-hour room service is a blessing to anyone feeling antisocial, but it would be a shame to eat every meal in-room since the Elements restaurant and Jade bar have floor-to-ceiling windows with great views, service, and menus, as well as outdoor seating.

The Jade bar program was recently revamped to include the type of crafted-with-many-ingredients-by-a-guy-with-a-beard-and-a-vest cocktails that others have been doing for a while. Hey, better late than never, and they were all very well done (try the Anejo Manhattan).  I was pleasantly surprised to find that four, non-alcoholic, “Lifestyle Elixirs” were offered as creative (and tasty) alternatives to booze. Jade bar is also a good option for those who don’t want a drawn-out meal, with a good selection of small plates including Blistered Shishito Peppers, Old Bay Poached Jumbo Shrimp, or a simple bowl of Edamame.

That said, I had small plates at Elements restaurant, as well. A delicious Octopus a la Plancha (which I also ordered through room service – mistake) and rich, Fire Roasted Oysters, made a meal in themselves. A bonus: charred Edamame, a dish I’ve only seen in one other restaurant – they were light and perfect.

 

 

 

Rima Suqi

Rima Suqi

An avid world traveler raised in an international home, Rima has explored and covered emerging destinations in the Middle East and Africa, far-flung luxury resorts in French Polynesia, as well as those closer to home, and the burgeoning arts scene in Marfa, Texas. Rima has traveled to over 30 countries, writing about the trends and tastemakers for leading travel and lifestyle publications, and subjected herself to innumerable spa treatments — sometimes under very odd circumstances — all in the name of journalism. A weekly contributor to The New York Times Home section, Rima held the envious position of Best Bets Editor at New York Magazine for six years, and is regularly published in national magazines including T Magazine/The New York Times, Departures, Architectural Digest, Elle Décor and American Way. Her last book American Fashion: Designers at Home (Assouline) in partnership with CFDA, sold out three printings.