SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – As is usually the case in Scottsdale, there’s no shortage of new things to see and do, nor sunshine this season. Travelers looking to trade in their snow and parkas for a little R&R under the sun, or maybe just seeking a fun winter escape as they slide into the new year, can look no further than this desert destination, bustling with new ways to kick back and relax, or turn up the party – vacation-style.
THE BIG NEWS: Scottsdale is the sunny place to visit in December, when the perfect weather resembles that of peak season February, but with a 30%+ lower average daily rate. A trip during this “secret season” packs in all the holiday fun and warmth travelers could ask for, with special events like the Christmas at The Princess – a winter wonderland complete with a Desert Ice Rink, Santa’s Secret Headquarters and a Princess Express Train ride through the resort’s twinkly lit lagoons. Vacationers can find all the best rates and activities not to be missed at HolidaysInScottsdale.com.
FIVE MORE UPDATES:
- W Scottsdale unveiled six new Penthouse Suites in June, in honor of its 10th anniversary and as the first phase of a larger renovation. In October, the hotel debuted AWAY® Spa, offering a variety of customized treatments ranging from massages, to makeup and hair, plus a Spa After Dark concept, with cocktails, glow-in-the-dark treatments and a DJ.
- At the Royal Palms Resort and Spa, a complete interior design refresh has been completed at the 11,000-square-foot Alvadora Spa, along with the introduction of an in-house herbalist. The new botanical program and on-site apothecary will use plants, herbs, flowers, roots, berries and citrus foraged locally as well as from the Mediterranean.
- Old Town Scottsdale’s charming boutique hotel, The Bespoke Inn, added two new suites in the fall, growing the property to 10 guest rooms. Located on the Penthouse second level, both the new Terrace Suite and the Gio & Maria Suite have their own luxurious private patios and feature the Inn’s signature “Phone Booth” walk-in rain showers.
- At the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Arizona’s largest and longest-running AAA Five Diamond resort, a renovation of 458 standard guest rooms and 20 luxury suites, as well as the Princess Pool, was completed in September. The new guest rooms present a soft, tranquil desert décor with modern lines and furnishings.
- The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa has announced a transformation of its 732 guest rooms – including 55 suites – and corridors with designs that present a striking new interpretation of modern eco-luxury, to be finished in December.
THE BIG NEWS: Known as “The Greatest Show on Grass,” the Waste Management Phoenix Open sports the largest crowds on the PGA Tour and will return to Scottsdale Jan. 27— Feb. 2, 2020. The event has gained legendary status with attractions like the 16th Hole – one of the most famous and well-known holes on the tour – which is transformed come tournament week, into a stadium entertaining 15,000 fans. When the golf game ends, the party heats up at the Coors Light Bird’s Nest, where some of the biggest names in music like Kid Rock, Tiesto and Dierks Bentley have performed.
FIVE MORE TO SEE & DO:
- November —December: Holiday cheer abounds with a full calendar of events like the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Breakfast with Santa at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia; Winter Waterland at OdySea Aquarium; Las Noches de Las Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden and Christmas Camp at The Phoenician.
- 27 + 28: College football fans get in the center of the action when the best of the Big 12 and Pac 12 face off at the Cheez-It Bowl, and continue the fun for the College Football Playoff at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.
- 11-19: Established in 1971 and based in Scottsdale, Barrett-Jackson, The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auction, is where the most sought-after, unique and valuable automobiles cross the block in front of a global audience.
- 15-19: Now in its 20th year, Russo and Steele Collector Automobile Auctions soon returns to Scottsdale, bringing another one of the most exciting collector car auctions around the world to the Valley of the Sun.
- 22 – March 22: Scottsdale is the Spring Training home of the San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks, drawing thousands of baseball fans for an annual tradition started in the city 70+ years ago.
ATTRACTIONS & EXHIBITS
THE BIG NEWS: Play with and question the concept of reality through sensory installations that rewrite the laws that govern the physical world with “Elsewhere,” just opened in October at Wonderspaces. The breakthrough concept opened in Scottsdale Fashion Square in spring 2019, immediately mesmerizing locals and visitors alike with its first show, “Point of View.” Through the thoughtful use of light, sound, touch, smell and even virtual reality, the works of 14 artists will captivate visitors into 2020 with the latest exhibition.
FOUR MORE NOT TO MISS:
- Just opened this fall, The Merchantile of Scottsdale is Old Town’s new boutique marketplace where designers, makers, artists and local businesses come together under one roof to offer one-of-a-kind goods and services.
- Squidsoup, a UK-based artist studio, brought a new, light- and sound-based installation to Scottsdale in November, to remain on display through May 2020. “Mumuration,” a site-specific audio and visual artwork installed at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, uses networked data systems to connect hundreds of lights and audio sources, to create a responsive data swarm that changes based on the time of day.
- The Musical Instrument Museum‘s newest exhibit, “Congo Masks and Music: Masterpieces from Central Africa,” showcases a collection of over 150 rare masks, instruments and costumes from the late 1800s to early 1900s.
- This summer, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in Scottsdale was officially named a UNESCO World Heritage site, along with seven other major works spanning 50 years of Wright’s career which were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are more than 1,000 World Heritage sites around the world, with only 24 in the U.S.
THE BIG DISH: Los Angeles hotspot Toca Madera opened its doors at Scottsdale Fashion Square in October, luring guests into a moody and mysterious atmosphere for a Tulum-inspired fine dining experience. The restaurant serves up the sophisticated Mexican cuisine it’s known for alongside an expansive collection of tequilas and mezcals.
FOUR MORE BITES:
- Prep & Pastry opened at the Scottsdale Waterfront early fall, bringing sophistication to the trend of boozy brunches, with fine breakfast and lunch fare, and an extensive menu of craft cocktails and organic fair trade coffee beverages.
- ZuZu restaurant at the iconic Hotel Valley Ho relaunched in September, taking a modern take on the all-American restaurant of the 1950s. Chef LaCasce preserved guest-favorite dishes while overhauling much of the menu with a focus on small, shareable plates using ingredients from the property’s new 240-square-foot herb garden.
- Tomaso’s Italian Kitchen, a new concept by Valley restaurant legend, Tomaso Maggiore, opened in September as a modern-casual take on the local Italian institution, Tomaso’s, focused on handcrafted pasta and classic Italian cocktails.
- Now through April 2020, Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows is hosting a seven-course Artist Dinner Series under the stars. The monthly events showcase some of the area’s best culinary and cocktail offerings al fresco, and celebrate the resort’s ongoing collaboration with the nearby Cattle Track Arts Compound, through music, custom plates and hand-drawn menus by Cattle Track artists themselves.
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