Arizona Spas

Sanctuary On Camelback Mountain


Sanctuary On Camelback Mountain
Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain’s pool looks out on Paradise Valley.


Three desert hotels with spas delivering bliss in the Valley of the Sun.

Spa Suites at Sanctuary
Spa Suites at Sanctuary have outdoor soaking tubs.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain outside Scottsdale is the kind of resort one goes to find escape and unplug. Sanctuary Spa has an array of Asian-inspired treatments delivered in 12 indoor and outdoor treatment rooms. While the most requested treatment is the Swedish massage, the spa’s signature treatment is the Sanctuary Signature Body Ritual, which can be taken as a 60- or 90-minute session. The treatment, designed for all skin types, features fresh coconut blended with jasmine, vetiver and buffing grains to hydrate, soothe and polish dull skin. This ritual concludes with an application of Crème de la Crème lotion. Note: The 90-minute version includes a full-body massage.

Luxury travel advisors can contact Spa Director Robert Vance (480-607-2339), who can also tell you about the consultations the spa offers in such areas as astrology and meditation. Tip: Book treatments well in advance to secure preferred treatment times.

Accommodations are as inviting as the spa. The resort has 105 guest rooms and suites, along with seven private homes. We hear the most premium accommodations are the Spa Suites, which have distinctive features including outdoor soaking tubs, bathrooms with double sinks and lava rock fireplaces. Note: Spa Suites have patios, which surround the bedroom and living room.

Royal Palms’ alvadora spa
Royal Palms’ Alvadora spa features citrus-inspired treatments.

Top View: For the best vistas, we recommend the Mountain Vista Suites, which, because they are located on a higher elevation on the mountain, have more expansive views of Camelback Mountain and Paradise Valley. These suites also have striking design, from wood-block flooring to limestone dining tables. Note: Ask Leisure Sales Manager Elizabeth Gullickson (480-607-2347) about which Mountain View Suites have separate travertine marble showers and oversized tubs.

Getting There: Sanctuary is located 15 minutes from both Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Scottsdale Municipal Airport, which is commonly used for private jets.

With Camelback Mountain also providing the backdrop, Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix has 119 casitas, villas and guest rooms. We hear the resort’s four villas—Presidential, Camelback, Honeymoon and Alvadora—are the largest and most plush accommodations. Each has multiple private patios with fireplaces, separate living and dining rooms and even butler kitchens for discreet food and beverage service. Note: The villas carry the option of connecting to a second bedroom suite for even more space.

Ocatilla Club Rooms at the Arizona Biltmore
Ocatilla Club Rooms at the Arizona Biltmore come with access to the club lounge and club pool area.

For top views of the hotel’s courtyard and its sharp landscaping, reflecting pool and fire pits, we hear rooms and suites in the Montavista building are the pick. The 800-square-foot Montavista Suites feature French doors, terraces and deep-soaking tubs. Advisor Note: These suites cannot be booked via the GDS.

The Alvadora Spa has 10 treatment rooms and travel advisors are advised to book treatments as far as two weeks in advance. Owing to the resort’s location in the midst of a citrus grove, a menu of signature citrus treatments has quickly become most popular (think Citrus with a Twist massage, Orange Blossom Body Buff, Citrus Grove Facial and Simply Citrus Manicure and Pedicure). Luxury travel advisors can contact Spa Director Michelle Kinney ([email protected]; 602-977-6400) with questions. Note: Ask about Acqua Dolce, the spa’s villa for two, which provides several water therapies including a Watsu pool for special in-water massages.

Can’t get enough of the spa experience? Book an Alvadora Spa Terrace Suite. There are six of these and they are tailored to accommodate in-room spa treatments. Most have views of Camelback Mountain and all overlook the Montavista Courtyard. Luxury travel advisors should contact Director of Guest Experiences Sarah Escobedo ([email protected]; 602-808-3216), whose sole responsibility is handling VIP visits. Note: General Manager Pete Ells ([email protected]; 602-808-3277) can also be contacted by travel advisors.

Villa Fiore at the Alvadora Spa at Royal Palms
Villa Fiore at the Alvadora Spa at Royal Palms looks out on Camelback Mountain.

For dinner, check out the resort’s T. Cook’s, which is also a popular local restaurant. We hear that Chef Lee Hillson’s paella has been a signature dish since the restaurant opened in 1997. Dinner reservations are a must and weekend bookings should be made at least two weeks out.

The hotel can also arrange a variety of guest activities from hot air balloon rides and desert brunches to Grand Canyon helicopter tours. Travel advisors should contact either Mona Mellegard ([email protected]) or Monique Napoleon ([email protected]) to make arrangements.

Fly clients into either Phoenix’s Sky Harbor or Scottsdale Municipal, each 30 minutes away from the resort. Note: The hotel recommends booking rooms at least two months out during its high season, January through March.

The Arizona Biltmore has hosted presidents and celebrities for years since it opened in 1929. Now part of The Waldorf Astoria Collection, the hotel continues to impress with 738 guest rooms spread over 39 acres.

The Ocatilla Club Deluxe Rooms in the resort’s Ocatilla Concierge Wing are the most requested premium accommodations. Why? These rooms have their own concierge staff that will perform such appreciated functions as drawing guests’ baths and delivering coffee and juice in the morning. 

The Arizona Biltmore is known for its incomparable views and surroundings. Our insider tells us there is a room for every view.  For mountain vistas, we suggest room Nos. 2420 and 7362; for garden views, the picks are Nos. 4300, 4240 and 1419; and if you enjoy a pool look, the choicest rooms are Nos. 2410, 2112 and 7224.

Note: The resort’s Presidential Suites—Frank Lloyd Wright, Goldwater and Wrigley—are the top accommodations. We say these suites are great for groups or for hosting a chic party: all three suites can accommodate up to 30 guests. Luxury travel advisors can contact Jennifer Bullock ([email protected]; 602-954-2504) with questions.

The 22,000-square-foot spa has a total of 17 treatment rooms and, we hear, the most requested services are the Hands of Healing massage, the Bilmore Custom Facial and, the spa’s signature treatment, the Dreamcatcher Aromatherapy Massage. Tip: At the time of booking a massage, ask for either Jamie Preston or Robert Sanchez—the spa’s most requested masseuse and masseur. Note: Children under the age of 16 are prohibited from the spa. Luxury travel advisors can contact Spa Director Matt Schaub ([email protected]; 602-369-3073).

Fly guests into Sky Harbor or Scottsdale, both 15 minutes away. Tip: The hotel can arrange for VIPs to be picked up at the airport by a Rolls-Royce or Bentley. 

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