By Jeff Ficker
December 10, 2014
Credit: The Spa at Camelback Inn

There’s something inherently romantic about the desert. Its Technicolor sunsets, sculptural plant life and sweeping vistas create an evocative setting—and Scottsdale’s resorts make the most of this magnificent backdrop. You’ll find rooms with a mountain view, as well as concierges who can arrange sunrise horseback rides and hot air balloon excursions. The city doesn’t offer much in the way of historic hotels or bed-and-breakfasts, but its resorts can be just as satisfying, with luxurious amenities like five-star spas and award-winning restaurants. How to select the best romantic spot? Well, it really comes down to style. Couples can choose from Western-inspired adobe ranches, desert hideaways, and hip-and-sexy boutique hotels. No matter where you check in, though, I’d recommend popping into a few properties during your visit to enjoy their individual charms. The only other Scottsdale to-do: a prickly pear margarita under the stars.

Royal Palms Resort and Spa

Unlike Scottsdale’s large, sprawling resorts, the romantic Royal Palms is understated, elegant and intimate. The Mediterranean-style hideaway, which sits at the base of Camelback Mountain, features stone courtyards with potted flowers and tiled fountains, and its casitas and villas are decorated with Old World accents. The former private estate is the ultimate couple’s getaway.

Omni Resort & Spa at Montelucia

The Andalucian-themed Montelucia makes a convincing aesthetic tie between the Sonoran Desert and Spain’s arid landscape, with an elegant mix of dark woods, Moorish geometric patterns and intimate courtyards. The real attraction, though, is the extraordinary views of the red-hued Camelback Mountain, particularly at sunset.

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch

JW Marriott Camelback Inn

Since 1936 this Paradise Valley institution has been a beloved desert getaway. Original adobe bricks, timber-beamed ceilings and beehive fireplaces create a romantic, Western setting, while the world-class spa and BLT Steak offer a bit of indulgence. Play golf at Camelback Golf Club’s 36-hole course or hike Mummy Mountain’s desert trails.

W Scottsdale

Couples looking for a hip getaway that’s got a little sex appeal will appreciate the modern (and slightly flashy) W hotel. Take in the scene at the indoor/outdoor lounges and rooftop pool, or retreat to Bliss Spa and the sleek Sushi Roku, a tour de force in contemporary Japanese dining.