The 7: Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain
The 7 Reasons I Love Scottsdale’s Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain
1. Deliciously decadent Sanctuary basks high on the north slope of Scottsdale’s Camelback Mountain. The distinctive 1400-foot-high red rock formation really does look surprisingly like a camel, complete with two humps, head, and upturned snout. This elegant ruminant sits to the northeast of Phoenix, seemingly contemplating the valley below. Spectacular hiking can be had on its flanks and it’s an incredible place to watch the sun rise over the fifth largest city in the land. Not that I managed to do that during my recent stay. After all, it’s also an incredible place to stay up late by the fire bowl at jade bar or a perfect place to breakfast out on your own private patio… or at the restaurant elements… or at the gorgeous edge outdoor eatery… With temptations like this it’s no wonder I never hiked.
2. Checking in to the resort and spa, I was met by incredible staff, lush greenery and landscaping, and the sweet smell of orange-yellow Acacia blossoms filling the evening air. Staff manages to be perfectly attentive at every turn, but never intrusive or obsequious. I was ushered onto a golf cart and zipped through the resort to my stunning Spa Casita, the Jade X room. The resort also has 74 mountainside casitas and a slew of spectacular mountain town homes that host the A-list when they sashay into Scottsdale.
3. Chef Beau MacMillan’s elements restaurant is one of the finest food destinations around. Offering farm-fresh American cuisine with Asian accents, the menu is changed monthly to reflect seasonal harvests. Depending on where you sit, you can gaze out at the head of the camel, the sun set over Paradise Valley, and a desert sky full of stars. Sit savoring sumptuous Dungeness Crab Summer Roll, so delicious that it’s reason enough in itself to jet off to Scottsdale. Really, it’s that good. Check out packages that offer opportunities to shop with the chef, then feast on your perfectly prepared groceries.
4. Stars are struck by it. Sanctuary is a haunt of Beyonce, Jay-Z, Britney, Jennifer Aniston, and John Mayer.
6. The former tennis ranch boasts the intimate indoor/outdoor Sanctuary Spa where Asian-inspired treatments are carried out. The subtle modern lines of the spa make an amazing contrast with the jumble of red rocks towering over it. The spa has ameditation garden, reflecting pond, and Watsu pool.
7. There’s nowhere better in the Valley of the Sun to celebrate sunset and another day well spent than at Sanctuary’s celebrity magnet lounge, jade bar. An effervescent champagne cocktail menu is on hand Monday through Thursday to suit every celebratory mood. Drinking can be educational, too: jade bar reveals the secrets of three or four cocktails at weekly mixology classes on Saturday afternoons.
Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, 5700 E. McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Arizona, 480-948-2100, www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com