The Hidden Wine and Culinary Scene in Scottsdale, AZ

A view from the Sanctuary Resort Spa

Several representatives from Experience Scottsdale and its luxury hotels met with Luxury Travel Advisor to talk about goings-on in the Sonoran Desert. Among other things, what we learned: Scottsdale has a flourishing wine and culinary scene. 

In downtown Scottsdale, four vine-to-table tasting rooms have opened up. Here, guests can sample from the nearly 100 award-winning wineries in the state – many of which boasting 90-point wines as recognized by Wine Spectator. The soil in the region is reportedly similar to that of Argentina, which means one of the most popular varieties of wine produced is Malbec. 

The four tasting rooms, LDV Wine Gallery, Aridus Wine Company, Salvatore Vineyards, and Carlson Creek Vineyard, in addition to Su Vino Winery have joined forces with the Scottsdale Wine Trail will be hosting a Harvest Festival this spring. The event will be celebrating the opening of Su Vino Winery. Along the trail, guests can enjoy food, stomp grapes, and sample plenty of wine.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa runs a “lunch & learn” program, where guests can interact with executive chef Beau MacMillan and a guest chef as they prepare their meals. The resort will also play host to Nirvana, a culinary festival. From April 27-30, international (Robert Irvine, Todd English, Scott Contant, and more) and local talents (including MacMillan) will come together for demonstrations and competitions. Also available are Mixology 101 classes, held on Saturdays and led by Sanctuary’s top bartenders.

Additionally, the hotel has unveiled the $2 million renovation to its Spa Casitas (guestrooms), Spa Suites and Spa House (opened in 2016). The casitas received new beds, as well as indoor and outdoor furniture; the suites were given new sleeper sectionals, dining tables, and upholstery, while the patios were updates with daybeds, soaking tubs; and the new Spa House has its own treatment room and movement studio.

The Hermosa Inn, a boutique hotel in neighboring Paradise Valley, recently completed the second phase of a $5.5 million renovation. The renovation included the addition of 10 new deluxe casitas and updates to 12 historic rancho casitas. LON’s Last Drop, the restaurant (run by ninth generation Arizonian Jeremy Pacheco) and its exterior patio were doubled in size, as well. Pacheco’s farm-to-table restaurant highlights local farms, including his family’s – the source of wheat for his gnocchi and beer, Seven Wives Saison. On April 27, guests can sign up for the Farmer in the House Dinner, where LON partners with Duncan’s Trading Company and Carlson Creek Vineyard for a five-course meal.

While excavating during the renovations, a 1,000-bottle wine cellar was discovered. Hermosa Inn is also embracing the wine culture with a Mimosas & Monet Art Class. The class is popular among travelers, locals, and even bachelorette parties. The Hermosa Inn also offers an Art of Cooking Series. 

The Onyx Patio at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North

The Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North introduced its Sip, Cycle and Soar day trip in partnership with Outback Adventures. The program begins with an aerial tour of Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon, followed by a bike tour to Page Spring Cellars vineyards and winery with a tasting and outdoor lunch; it continues with a nature walk in Red Rock State Park, and an optional Grand Canyon scenic aerial tour. Additionally they will be offering a “boozy yoga,” called Wine and Unwind. Other culinary offerings include Chef for a Day, where participants assist with the preparation for the kitchen’s evening dinner service (and afterwards enjoy a private dinner) and the Culinary Academy, where groups partake in classes, challenges or demonstrations; the “Lab” series puts a twist on the cuisine by making it sophisticated.

For couples, the Four Seasons has a stargazing event every Thursday. Guests can even enjoy a picnic for two under the stars, which comes with gourmet foods, a blanket, and an iPad with the Google Sky Constellation app pre-loaded. A bottle of wine or champagne can be included.

Continuing the theme, Omni Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Montelucia has added new executive leaders to its culinary team and introduced the Sangrias and Sunset Salutations offering for guests. The former: new executive chef Marco Seville is operating a Desert to Dish program, where he and guests go to local farms, select produce, and return to the Chef’s Kitchen to prepare the food. He also operates the Secret Garden Dinner once a month. Seville prepares food paired with libations from visiting wineries and distilleries. As for the latter: guests can celebrate the changing of seasons with a yoga session, followed by drinks. Bring three non-perishable food items and receive a Joya Fitness class voucher. Other feel-good events are: Say Goodnight to Hunger, Volunteer Vacations, Hunger Heroes Food Drive, and Shop for a Cause.

To further relax, guests can enjoy the 31,000-square-foot, 20-room Joya Spa with traditional Hammam experiences – the only in Scottsdale. Popular treatments include Relax & Detoxify, Lounge & Delight, and Relieve Stress & Calm the Mind.

The Chef's Table at Omni Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Montelucia

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has a Spanish colonial vibe with modern luxuries but offers a variety of activities. This family-friendly resort hosts several themed events during summer, including the 4th of July Freedom Fest and Labor Day Dreamcation as well as Techno Glo Parties, “Dive In” movies, Mermaid University, and Swashbuckler Academy. However, at any time of the year, guests can partake in tasting experiences at La Hacienda by Richard Sandoval, led by “Tequila Goddess” Katie Schnurr (yes, that’s her title). The property boasts over 240 tequilas, 150 rums, and a barrel of 10-year Bulleit Bourbon.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess recently added 102 guestrooms, bringing their total to 750, as well as the Sunset Beach pool (with white sand), an adjacent Sunset Lawn, and a Western town event venue. In late summer, Fairmont Gold is expected to open. It will be a more adults-oriented, business-traveler section of the hotel.

Although situated in the desert, Royal Palms Resort and Spa has lush gardens, fountains, and even cuisine that will have guests thinking “Mediterranean." At the helm of its culinary scene is Todd Allison, serving up a variety of Mediterranean-inspired dishes at T. Cook’s. This hotel is well suited for couples – they offer a Romance Package and even have a director of romance. The package includes $100 credit for dinner at T. Cook’s, full American breakfast for two daily, rose-petal turndown service, a welcome amenity, and late check out.  

Royal Palms Resort and Spa was recently named a member of the Hyatt Unbound collection.

In December, Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa opened with 201 guestrooms. On the horizon, Mountain Shadows – sister property to Sanctuary – will be opening in March and the Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley will be opening in 2018.