A Romantic Sojourn to Recharge, Refuel and Refresh Your Spirit
Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
What’s all the fuss about Scottsdale, Arizona?
Our travel mavens informed us that every year millions of visitors are drawn to this oasis in the beautiful Sonoran Desert, reflecting Native Indian, Spanish, and western pioneer cultures. Did we know that it is one of the nation’s top 25 art destinations, and was once described by the New York Times as the “Beverly Hills of the Desert?” Pardon our ignorance; we did not even know that it is a city surrounded by marvelous views of the Black Mountain, the McDowell Mountains, the Mummy Mountain and the Camelback Mountain, and where the sun shines more than 300 days a year. Hooked, we set out to discover what we were missing.
Brief History of Scottsdale
Scottsdale’s earliest settlers were the skilled Hohokam people, who apparently were descendents from the ancient Mesoamerican cultures (Mayan and Aztec).
From about 300 BC to 1400 A.D. they farmed the area and built some of the most ingenious irrigation canals the world has ever known. The name Hohokam translates as “vanished,” unfortunately, they disappeared without a trace.
The Hohokam’s unbelievable legacy was in their creation of more than 125 miles (200 km) of canals to provide water for their agricultural needs. In order to maintain their settlements and sustain their crops of corn, beans, squash and cotton, they drew freshwater from the Salt River.
The remnants of this ancient irrigation system were adapted and improved upon in 1868 by the first Anglo company to stake a claim in the Valley of the Sun, when Jack Swilling set up the Swilling Irrigation Canal Co.
Twenty years later Scottsdale’s fortunes began to turn sharply upwards, when a U.S. Army Chaplain, Winfield Scott, paid the paltry sum of $2.50 an acre for a 640 stretch of land where the city is now located.
Winfield’s brother, George Washington Scott, was the first resident of the town that was then known as Orangedale and later changed to Scottsdale in 1894. After retiring from the army in 1893, Winfield returned to the area, joining his brother in growing citrus and other fruits as well as peanuts and sweet potatoes.
In 1951 the Town of Scottsdale was incorporated with a population of 2000. Since then it has grown to a little over 200,000.
The Multiple Personalities of Scottsdale
Scottsdale has something to please everyone with its trendy restaurants, boutique hotels, luxurious spas and fantastic art scene. The difficulty isn’t in finding what to do; it’s in deciding which to choose, especially if your time is limited.
If your idea of a romantic getaway is combining the pleasure of golfing with experiencing vibrant cultural attractions within the environment of a small town, you are in the right place.
There are more than twenty-eight distinctive golf courses that attract some of the most well known golf pros in the world. There is, of course, the PGA tour at The Phoenix Open at the Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale.
A must experience is the weekly ARTWALK, when you can visit many of the one hundred and twenty five art galleries located along the art and shopping districts of Main Street, Marshall Way, Old Town and 5th Avenue.
Other activities you may want to experience are hot air balloon rides over the Sonoran Desert or a desert Jeep or Hummer tour.
One of the most prestigious city’s attractions is the world headquarters of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture at Taliesin West. This giant of an architect has often been acclaimed as the greatest architect of the 20th century, and his legacy has been preserved at Taliesin West.
A branch of the Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art is another must see, however, it is highly recommended that you visit the main branch in Phoenix just a few miles away. Don’t forget to check out Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. The performing arts certainly do not take a backseat to any American city, as evidenced by the various jazz and classical performances that are staged at the Scottsdale Center For The Arts.
Where to stay in Scottsdale?
The choice of where to stay in Scottsdale can be overwhelming. Do you opt for one of the brand named chains or stay in one of the timeshare properties?
If you are like us, we enjoy staying in a place that permeates a homey feel. At the same time, our idea of a romantic getaway also includes rejuvenating our bodies and spirits, where we can recharge, refuel and refresh.
With this in mind, you will understand why we chose the Interval International Five Star Award vacation boutique resort, the Scottsdale Resort Club on our recent visit to Arizona. The vacation property was also extremely convenient to the 101 freeway, which takes you anywhere in the Valley and provides a twenty minute connection to the Phoenix Airport.
Within a three mile radius of the resort there are 10 golf courses, including the adjacent Silverado Golf Course, where owners and guests of the resort enjoy preferred tee times.
First appearances may sometimes be deceiving, don’t let this put you off. Behind the plain, modern façade of the resort are high-end comfortable and spacious condos with designer furnishings and interior appointments of the highest quality. All have private backyard patios overlooking a huge swimming pool.
Each of the suites have fully appointed kitchens, fireplaces, telephones, televisions, CD stereo systems, high speed internet access, Jacuzzi tubs, washer/dryers, dishwashers, microwave ovens, and top of the line cookware and flatware.
The resort is the brainchild of Harvard Law graduate and developer Robert Hing, and according to Hing, it has been called by some of his friends as “Robert’s Folly.” It certainly is far from a folly!
Playing Tennis at the Resort
Hing indicated to us that his initial project began in the early 70s. Being an avid tennis enthusiast, Hing tried to find tennis facilities providing lighted evening hour courts. Unfortunately, none were to be found in the area, and that is when he had the brainy idea of building his own athletic club. The club would provide facilities for night tennis. The result was the Scottsdale Racquet Club born in 1971 that eventually would be succeeded in 1999 by the rebuilt Scottsdale Athletic Club.
Today, a stay at the Scottsdale Resort Club or a purchase of one of the timeshares permits guests to enjoy the best of both worlds. Resort guests or timeshare owners automatically enjoy the athletic club with its eleven lighted tennis courts, aerobic and circuit training, Tai-Chi, Pilates, yoga, meditation classes, aquatics, kickboxing, spinning, cardio sculpt, facials, massages, aromatherapy, body wraps, European spa, sauna, Jacuzzi, two swimming pools, and steam rooms. There is even a dining facility – the Club’s Eurasia Bar and Bistro – that will help you replenish yourself with delicious health cuisine.
If you are thinking of purchasing one of these timeshares, perhaps as a wedding or anniversary gift for your loved one, it is noteworthy to mention that Hing does not believe in the aggressive selling techniques so common to many of his competitors. His motto is: “no gifts, no gimmicks, just real value,” and he has pledged himself to the highest construction standards that is very much in evidence when you stay in one of these condos.
Consequently, he is able to sell the timeshares at very moderate prices reducing the standard fifty percent cost of marketing to about twenty percent and passing the savings onto the purchasers. Not a bad deal when you think about it!
Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau
7343 Scottsdale Mall