Scottsdale is the land of mega-resorts: big, sprawling properties that stretch across the desert floor, with acre upon acre of golf courses, tennis courts, restaurants, lounges, cabanas, luxury casitas and multi-room suites. For a more intimate (and affordable) experience, consider one of the five boutique hotels below. Rest assured, you’ll find the requisite swimming pools and immaculately landscaped grounds of their colossal brethren, but you’ll also enjoy a cozy atmosphere with unique, only-in-Arizona character. These are the properties that I recommend to my family and friends visiting from out of town. In fact, I frequently enjoy a cocktail at the Hotel Valley Ho’s lounge and rave about the Bespoke Inn’s celebrated Virtu Honest Craft restaurant. If you develop any big-resort curiosity during your stay, not to fear—you can easily pop over to The Phoenician or Arizona Biltmore for a round of golf or treat-yourself spa day.
Hotel Valley Ho
The Hermosa Inn
Cowboy artist Lon Megargee built this adobe hacienda as his home and studio in the 1930s. Today, the intimate, 34-room boutique resort features Southwestern furnishings and artwork painted by its former owner. The desert landscaping, popular restaurant, Camelback Mountain views and prime location near Phoenix’s Camelback Corridor make it a well-loved destination.
You can’t beat the Saguaro’s Old Town locale. Big, bold pops of orange, pink and lime green inject this mod property with a bit of Southwestern color, and the weekend pool parties, “Nuevo Latin” spa and José Garce’s Distrito restaurant ensure there’s plenty to keep you busy.
El Dorado Resort
Palm Springs cool meets backyard fun at this retro boutique property with a casual atmosphere, from its poolside bar and fire pits to the outdoor movies, weekend DJs, and bocce ball in the courtyard. Guests who take advantage of the hotel’s barbecue area may run into the hotel’s permanent resident, Phil the peacock.