6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale; 800-888-8234 (thephoenician.com). Rates: $195-$1,750 (rooms); $2,800-$3,500 (villa suites).
This is the retreat where five-star amenities and services are second only to pampering and gracious living. Besides twenty-seven holes of desert golf, there's a full-service spa and fitness center, tennis, swimming, lavish villa suites and top-drawer dining, all within the confines of a dazzling mountain foothills setting. Check out the four-day, three-night Masters package, which includes daily breakfast, unlimited golf and a one-hour private lesson with video analysis.
Royal Palms Hotel and Casitas
5200 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix; 800-672-6011 (royalpalmshotel.com). Rates: $159-$395 (rooms/suites); $189-$495 (casitas).
Following an astonishing $27 million renovation and expansion in 1997, the historic Royal Palms is back after years of neglect. Inspiring Spanish Mediterranean architecture and lush tropical foliage are complemented by deluxe casitas festooned with wrought-iron chandeliers, nickel-plated bathroom fixtures and private patios with bubbling fountains. Ask about the two-night Troon Vacation package, which includes continental breakfast and a round of golf for two at some of Scottsdale's finest venues, including Troon North and Talking Stick.
Dining in Scottsdale is as diverse and eclectic as the city's casual- cowboy, sophisticated-city image. Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Southwestern and Moroccan are all well represented, each handcrafted by some of America's finest gourmet chefs.Top Gourmet Restaurants
Cafe Terra Cotta
(Southwestern) 6166 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale; 480-948-8100. $$$
Trained at Paris's famed Le Cordon Bleu, owner and chef Donna Nordin has earned widespread acclaim for an innovative and delectable regional cuisine. Each entrée is lavishly presented, many featuring fresh salsa, chipotle sauce and incendiary habanero chilies.
(American) Marriott's Camelback Inn, Scottsdale; 480-948-1700. $$$
Distinctive and intimate, Chaparral is a special-occasion experience. The table d'hôte is engrossing, boasting zesty cheese fondues, fresh-fish appetizers, aged Angus beef main courses and chocolate soufflés worth unbuckling your belt for. The Chaparral also boasts a twelve-thousand-bottle wine cellar and more than forty wines by the glass.
Malee's on Main
(Thai) 7131 E. Main Street, Scottsdale; 602-947-6042. $$$
At Malee's on Main, cravings for killer Asian cuisine are satiated with consistency. Start your meal with tom ka gai, a savory coconut cream-infused soup, and follow with one of owner Deirdre Pain's legendary house specialties, poh haeng—fish, shrimp, squid and scallops with Thai herbs in a spicy red-curry sauce.
(French) The Phoenician, Scottsdale; 480-423-2530. $$$$
Mary Elaine's is the consummate dining experience, famous for cream of lobster soup and garlic-and-herb-crusted rack of lamb niçoise. Time and again ranked as the very best in metro Phoenix. Lavish service, striking desert views and a master sommelier further define Mary Elaine's. Jackets required.
(Amer-Asian) 6204 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale; 480-998-8220. $$$
Only three years old, this is where Scottsdale chefs come to chow. Co-owner and chef James Stacey was listed in Food & Wine in 1999 as one of "America's Best New Chefs." Try the delectable five-course chef's tasting menu, trust your server's daring sake and wine recommendations, and take a taxi home.