Paradise Valley, Arizona

Photo: Sanctuary Camelback Mountain
Photo: Sanctuary Camelback Mountain

It’s not only Friday, but it’s the Friday of a holiday weekend. The office is quiet, the phone isn’t ringing, and you’re hoping to sneak out a little early. Most people are thinking about egg hunts and church services anyway. But you’re ready to get out of town. You’re going to spend the weekend—and Easter—enjoying the beautiful scenery in Arizona.

You’re going to Paradise Valley, just outside of Scottsdale. The resort town is known for its red mountains, endless sunshine during the day, and pitch-black sky at night. Prickly cacti dot the desert landscape. Hiking trails wind through the canyons. Cottontail rabbits and little lizards live in the scrub. Rattlesnakes, too. While the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, a relaxing resort, sits on the north slope of Camelback Mountain.

Everything at the resort is focused on its beautiful surroundings. The casitas are built into the hillside. The infinity pool looks like it runs down the side of the mountain. The terraces and the decks have fireplaces and built-in heaters, so you’ll never feel like running inside. Plus, the large spa is meant for you to not only decompress, but meditate, reflect, and reconnect with nature. It truly is a sanctuary.

Photo: Sanctuary Camelback Mountain
Photo: Sanctuary Camelback Mountain

Your first morning at the resort, you wake up with the sun. Make a cup of herbal tea in your casita. Watch the rocks change from gray to purple to red as the sun’s rays reach them. Then head out for an early hike while it’s still cool. Camelback Mountain, a sacred prehistoric site, is shaped like the hump and the head of a kneeling camel. Pass wildflowers, saguaro cacti, and Harris’s antelope squirrels as you climb the Cholla Trail’s steep grade. Loose gravel slips beneath your feet. Huge boulders obstruct direct paths. But the obstacles are worth it. The view of the valley, the canyons, the nearby mountains, and the silhouettes of rock climbers on Praying Monk are stunning.

Back at the resort, lounge by the pool and eat roasted eggplant and black bean hummus since you skipped breakfast. Walk through the meditation garden, stare into the reflecting pond, and stretch in the watsu pool at the spa. Treat yourself to a Step into Spring pedicure with pineapple and coconut scrub. It’s paired with a spring breeze cocktail.

Return to the pool for a late afternoon swim. Almost fall asleep on the goose-down feather bed in your casita after a hot bath. Watch the rocks darken as the sun sets from Elements as you eat blistered shishito peppers, an apple and daikon salad, and Korean BBQ short ribs. Sip a pear cocktail from a couch by the gas fireplace outside Jade Bar and watch for shooting stars. Then return to your casita to find flickering candles and the scent of lavender. You’ll sleep well tonight—and probably be the only one who feels refreshed from the holiday weekend on Monday morning.

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