The Phoenician is an upscale resort equipped with a large pool complex, a 27-hole Championship Golf Course, and a 10-court Tennis Garden. It's one of those big resorts where you can relax and explore a lot of onsite activities for 2-3 days without feeling bored. We enjoyed our stay at the Canyon Suites section of the resort. It's a bit farther from the resort restaurants and facilities but more private. We did feel that the rooms were slightly outdated, given our expectation of what a 5-star hotel suite should look like. The building exterior could use a bit of a touch up too. (Update: The Canyon Suites are going through refurbishments in 2016 so expect to see improvement for future trips.)
The Phoenician (including Canyon Suites) is a Luxury Collection member of the SPG program. So if you are slaves to the SPG program like we are, you can enjoy this nice resort on points.
beautiful golf course
ducks joining in on our golf game
We decided to make a day excursion out to Saguaro Lake Ranch during our stay in Scottsdale. It is a secluded guest ranch located by Saguaro Lake, on the banks of the Salt River, in the shadow of the majestic Bulldog Cliffs. Life at the ranch is simple yet joyful. With our special guide (a good friend who works at the ranch), we adventured through a secret pathway in the cornfield, crossed the Salt River on the river stones, and explored Goldfield Mountains.
Saguaro Lake Ranch has a stable that provides various horseback trail rides around Saguaro Lake area. Our wrangler took us on the Skyline Trail with some pretty steep hills and we were surprised by how well the horses could climb the narrow path. Once we got to the top, the panoramic view of the entire area was incredible, including Saguaro Lake, the Salt River, the Bulldogs, and Stewart Mountain among others.
Sedona, which is about a 2hr drive from Scottsdale, is renowned for vortex spots where heightened spiritual and metaphysical energy can be found. We have never been a big believer in such super-natural energy but we heard great things about Sedona as a geological wonderland with multi-hued red rocks. We thought how cool and hippie it would be if we went on a yoga hike with a local yogi in Sedona! Vortex Yoga Hiking Tour was exactly like that, and we were not disappointed. The views at the Coffee Pot Rock were breathtaking and practicing Yoga outdoors felt great. However we struggled to feel any vortex energy even though our yogi guide pointed out a couple of specific vortex spots for us.