Find the greatest staycation specials with our annual guide to the summer’s best in-town getaways – with a focus on new and refurbished hotels and resorts in 2016.

2016 Staycation Guide

Written by Angelina Aragon, Niki D'Andrea, Mirelle Inglefield, Leah LeMoine, Ron Matejko & Craig Outhier Category: Lifestyle Issue: June 2016
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13225 N. Eagle Ridge Dr., Fountain Hills, 480-333-1900,

“If you’ve been to CopperWynd before – two years ago or even a year ago – it’s a completely different experience now,” PR/marketing consultant Babs Harrison says of the resort’s recent ownership change and $5 million renovation. The shakeup led to a Phoenix-like rebirth for the secluded Fountain Hills resort, complete with a more modern, cool-toned new lobby, new spa and new restaurant Flourish, all focused on luxury health and wellness but with a less ascetic vibe than Miraval or Canyon Ranch.

What’s New?

Almost everything, though the emphasis is clearly on active desert living, with abundant hiking trails, professional tennis courts, state-of-the-art new gym, CrossFit center, juice bar and roster of daily classes including Pilates, barre, functional fitness and “Vinyasa to Vino,” pairing yoga and wine on Thursday evenings.

Insider Tip: Each of the boutique resort’s 32 adobe-style suites faces the same direction, with balcony views providing the perfect perch for watching Fountain Hills’ titular water feature.

Summer Specials

CopperWynd’s Staycation Package runs May 1-September 1 and includes a king or queen room, $25 dining credit and access to all resort amenities for $159 per night; add the Pamper Package for $89 per person and get a 60-minute amethyst massage or facial with your choice of a paraffin hand and foot treatment or an illuminating eye treatment. The Ultimate Fyt/X Package costs $20 per person and includes high-intensity training classes or sunrise yoga on the view lawn.

High-season rate:$435/night

Summer rate:$159/night


6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale, 480-248-2000,

Being named the sixth-best hotel in the Southwest by Condé Nast is nothing to shake a stick at, and Hotel Valley Ho earns its cool-cat reputation with an eclectic mix of mid-century modern and modern architecture and décor that transports you to the year it was founded: 1956. There’s no better place in the Valley to pretend like you’re Don Draper lounging by the pool with a Mai Tai.   

What’s New?

A lot. A $4 million renovation last year spruced up the Ho with new furnishings in the ZuZu Lounge and hotel lobby. In the rooms, 49-inch TVs, new décor and designer and custom-built furniture were added.

Why You Should Go:

Recovery Sundays bring brunch, live music, special spa packages, yoga and immersion in the hotel’s buzzing pool scene.   

Summer Specials

The Stay2Play package starts at $149 per night, which includes a $50 daily resort credit, upgraded Internet, two welcome drinks and a special gift on arrival; a stay of three nights or more gets you even better deals with the Stay Longer for Less Special: 25 percent off when you pre-pay, with rates starting at $89 per night; the Summertime Selfie Contest is simple and rewarding: Snap a selfie at the hotel or in your favorite Hotel Valley Ho gear and post on Twitter, Instagram or the hotel’s Facebook page and use the hashtag #HVHSelfieContest between May 2-September 4 for a chance to win a one-night stay.

High-season rate:$299-$499/night

Summer rate: $80-$149/night   

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34631 N. Tom Darlington Dr., Carefree, 480-488-9009,

Cloistered in the placid desert foothills of Carefree, this Waldorf-Astoria property feels more remote than a mere 40-mile drive from Downtown Phoenix would seemingly allow. The pitch-black night skies are unsullied by light pollution. The chaparral landscaping, punctuated by multi-ton granite and roving gangs of quail, is otherworldly. Settling into your private casita, you feel like you’ve crossed some hospitality event horizon, which is why we deem it the most “away” of our staycation suggestions.

What’s New?

Discovery Lounge. Once an architectural afterthought, the resort’s main lobby bar is now a showpiece, with raised ceilings, expanded floorspace and floor-to-ceiling window views of the singular poolside rock formation that gives The Boulders its name – all part of a spendy improvement effort completed last year.

The Bakery Cafe at El Pedregal.Caving to coffee snobs – that’s us! – the resort launched this grab-and-go espresso bar. A perfect pit-stop before you tackle nearby Black Mountain.

Waterfall rappel. The Boulders’ newest outdoor activity is a supervised vertical descent beginning at the crest of a waterfall that cascades over the ancient rock formations near the main lodge. Added bonus: You’ll be in plain view of your friends down by the pool. Entertainment value!

Insider Tip: Try the new pork porterhouse at on-site fine dining restaurant Palo Verde. Like the classic beef porterhouse, it’s a T-bone cut, featuring both tenderloin and loin portions. This singular cut of meat is pan-seared and served on a toothsome bed of mushrooms, pearl onions and puréed legumes.

Summer Specials 

In addition to reduced summer room rates of $109 a night, the Boulders offers a frankly overwhelming selection of seasonal deals. A few of our favorites: the Truly Boulders Package ($149/night) includes a daily $25 breakfast credit and unlimited spa access, among other incentives; while the full-monty Love at the Boulders Package immerses couples in a nonstop amnion of pampering, including two massages per person, complimentary champagne, a $100 food credit and more ($499/night).

High-season rate: $379/night

Summer rate: $109/night


10600 E. Crescent Moon Dr., Scottsdale, 480-515-5700,

Southwestern elegance permeates every nook and cranny of this Arizona outpost of the legendary hospitality brand, with adobe-style casitas and suites awash in Sonoran sunset hues and art crafted by Mexican and Huichol Indian artisans. The bi-level pool is enveloped by luxury cabanas with private bars, all against a backdrop of the foothills of Pinnacle Peak. Golfers flock to the resort’s award-winning courses Troon North: the Pinnacle, and Troon North: the Monument, designed by Tom Weiskopf and Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, respectively.          

What’s New?

Spa Happy Hour. Offered from 3-7 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, wherein guests choose two 25-minute services for $139, or three 25-minute services for $179. The spa will also offer special services for Global Wellness Day on Saturday, June 11.

Insider Tip: Download the Four Seasons app for a completely customized stay. Use it to check in and out of your room, get local travel recommendations, order room service or make reservations at Chef Mel Mecinas’ Talavera or Proof Canteen, schedule spa treatments and customize housekeeping services and amenities. 

Summer Specials

In addition to spa specials, Mecinas’ Monthly Mashup dinner series and Kids for All Seasons program, the resort debuts its #FSSummerStory social media contest: Share your summer story on Instagram or enter on Facebook, tag the resort and use the hashtag for a chance to win three getaways; the contest runs until September 1 and three prizes will be awarded – one for couples, one for families and one for friends.

High-season rate: $400-$500/night

Summer rate:$179/night


More Staycationary Delights


300 W. Wigwam Blvd., Litchfield Park,

The West Valley’s premier property – recognized by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the Southwest’s 25 top resorts – is awash in newness this summer thanks to a $16 million multi-phase renovation that includes a refurbished pool complex, several restaurant and bar reboots and a passel of new social areas and micro-parks

Staycation Deals: The SummerScapes program ($139/night) includes a $50 resort credit good for the kids-only Camp Wigwam, dining, golf or spa; 3-2-1 Summer Fun includes “three days and two nights for one great price” – rates start at $179 Sunday through Thursday and $219 Friday and Saturday. 


2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix,

The resort’s FLW-esque waterfall edifice makes for the classiest  pool scene in the Valley, and the legendary Waldorf-Astoria property has a barrage of recent improvements to entice summer guests, including remastered rooms and spa spaces, and the addition of 15 new, fully-loaded luxury poolside cabanas. 

Staycation Deals: Besides its endearing menu of family-oriented summer activities – including kids’ cooking classes at Frank & Albert’s restaurant and Fourth of July fireworks – and tantalizing retail opportunities at nearby Biltmore Fashion Park, the resort offers a smoking summer-only room rate of $125/night – light-years lower than the $529/night high-season rate.


5700 E. McDonald Dr., Paradise Valley,

We like Sanctuary’s signature spa just fine: a little cramped but impeccably staffed and managed. So we have a feeling the resort’s new Spa House – a group-stay space converted from one of the property’s master-homes – will be a madman. Also new: the “sunset ceremony,” a nightly bubbly toast on the Jade Bar deck designed to exploit the Camelback Mountain property’s legendary sunset views.

Staycation Deals: Perhaps the Valley’s toniest resort, Sanctuary offers summer rates starting at $207/night (high-season rates start at $629/night); for a bucket-list splurge of wellness debauchery, get the Spa Harmony package ($1,196), which includes three nights’ stay, daily breakfast for two and four total spa treatments. Kablooey! 


2401 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602-468-0700,

Gilded in glamour and adorned with clever avant-garde art, The Camby is a less-than-year-old tower hotel near the Biltmore Fashion Park, playfully named for its eyeshot view of Camelback Mountain. Lead designers Stonehill & Taylor elegantly incorporate the five Cs of Arizona – cattle, copper, citrus, climate and cotton – into fun surprises that reveal themselves to you throughout the resort, begging for your double-take. 

Three Reasons to Visit

1. The Bees Knees. Named for the Prohibition-era elixir of gin, lemon and honey, The Camby’s copper-topped 1920s style bar is ruled by celebrated mixologist Libby Longlott, previously of The Parlor, who concocts classic cocktails with a punch.

2. Rooftop pool. Go crazy in a game of cornhole, chill out in a cabana or take a dip in a cosmopolitan oasis with music, cold craft beers, scrumptious street tacos and handcrafted ice cream sandwiches on a stick in this cool, expansive space. Indulge in classic film images flashing before you at nightfall, and yoga on Sunday mornings.

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3. Artizen. Chef Dushyant Singh procures fresh ingredients from the finest local farmers at Artizen, one of the newest restaurants and bars in the Biltmore neighborhood, and presents his American fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Specialty dishes include spotted rooster, oxtail rillettes and roasted wild boar loin. Enjoy a seasonally inspired plate or cocktail at the bar, Southwestern/industrial-style dining area or on the patio overlooking city life at the Biltmore, Camelback Mountain and manicured topiary.

Insider Tip: The designers concealed a hidden room, primed for parties or playful professionals, behind one of the walls in The Bees Knees. Think you can you find it?

Summer Specials: From June 10 through Sept. 18 use promo code D60 for summer package deals including The Uptown Dine Around Escape, which features a mountain view king room, two cocktails, complimentary valet parking and dinner for two in the Biltmore neighborhood – choose from local varieties including The Gladly and Christopher’s Restaurant & Crush Lounge, or dine in at Artizen Crafted American Kitchen & Bar ($229/night). Make it a double and stay two nights with The Double Take Escape, which includes all the same perks for $299/night.

High-season rate: $322/night

Summer rate: $159/night



225 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, 480-967-9431,

Part of a nationwide chain of college-town boutique hotels, Graduate Tempe crawled into the dilapidated former address of the Twin Palms Hotel in Tempe and enlivened the place big-time, with collegiate art- and science-themed décor and splashy new dining concepts. 

Three Reasons to Visit

1. The Normal. Hotel restos sometimes get a bad rap, but credit the Graduate for ushering the “diner chic” trend into the Valley with this postmodern take on a classic American pie-and-burger joint. It’s just like the Phoenix diner in TV’s Alice, except with açaí and flaxseed granola bowls. And no Flo. 

2. Tolan Farris. The manager and head mixologist at on-site taco bar Tapacubo is a true cocktail artist, a mad-scientist tinkerer in the Ross Simon/Micah Olson mold. To wit: Farris’ hand-crafted agave cordial in the house margarita, which he makes by laboriously steeping tamarind and orange with agave nectar and grain spirit. Hard to make, easy to drink. Dangerously easy. 

3. Mill Avenue. Still the Valley’s liveliest and least predictable nightlife scene, Mill Avenue is enjoying a cultural renaissance of sorts with new breweries and dining destinations, including Blasted Barley, The Yard, The Lodge, Pedal House and Nocawich, to name a few. 

Overheard in the Lobby: “Our core customers aren’t college students, but people who are nostalgic for college,” general manager Trent Collicott says. “We get a lot of parents, alma mater, people who like to relive it a little.”

Summer Specials 

Your summer-only room rate of $89 also gets you a $25 food and beverage credit; that’s almost enough for four of Farris’ margaritas. 

High-season rate:$279/night

Summer rate:$89/night


5532 N. Palo Cristi Rd., Paradise Valley, 602-955-8614,

Like many of the paintings by its former resident, cowboy artist Lon Megargee, the historical Hermosa Inn brims with warm desert sepia tones dotted with brightly blooming cactus flowers, and walking the grounds of this rustic resort ranch nestled among the mansions and mountains of Paradise Valley can indeed feel like wandering through a work of art. Time seems to stand still here, especially at sunset. It’s a perfect setting for peace and quiet, or a romantic night.

What’s New?

Entryway and lobby. As part of its 80th anniversary this year, Hermosa Inn built a new roundabout entryway with an elaborate stone fountain in the center, and 24-hour valet service. The lobby’s brand new, too, and features a fireplace and some hunker-down-worthy Western furniture.

Casita renovations.Six casitas that were part of Megargee’s original hacienda have been extensively renovated with new paint, tile, lighting and more. 

Why You Should Go: Vaunted Executive Chef Jeremy Pacheco once again leads LON’s restaurant, after two years away helming Society Café Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. The magical menu will weave spells on your taste buds, from the tart and flirty Hermosa Salad (topped with chocolate vinaigrette) to the ahi tuna sizzling on a salt slab to spicy and hearty wild boar pasta. 

Summer Specials

Now through August 31, Hermosa Inn is offering an “80th anniversary stay” package that includes accommodations in a casita, deluxe casita or grande casita; sparkling wine delivered to your room; an $80 dining credit for LON’s; two tickets to the Phoenix Art Museum; and two drink tickets for the signature 80th anniversary cocktail, starting at $290/night. 

High-season rate:$399/night 

Summer rate: from $179/night

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THE MOXY PHM0616SS Staycation 06

1333 S. Rural Rd., Tempe, 480-968-3451,

A boutique Marriott chain geared toward well-heeled Millennials, Moxy dots the globe from Milan to Tempe. The moment the doors open, eyes gravitate toward Edison bulbs hanging over a wooden community table to the right, and to large windows showcasing the pool and the outside activities. Mid-century modern couches sit in the lobby, with games on the tables awaiting guests. Think of it as college-town luxury.

Three Reasons to Visit

1. Centralized.Mill Avenue is within walking distance, and you can eat, shop, drink, look at local art and hear local music all in a single stroll. Family fun awaits at nearby Tempe Beach park, which features a splash playground, boating, baseball diamond and other athletic fields. Or hit a few golf balls at Ken McDonald Golf Course before grabbing a refreshment at Tempe Marketplace. 

2. Friendly atmosphere. There are plenty of activities: swimming pool, arcade, pool table, foosball, tic-tac-toe, board games, giant Jenga, Ping Pong and more. Bikes are available for guests to rent for the day, with a $50 deposit. 

3. Day Bar.The hotel’s on-site lounge offers “lip-smackingly good cocktails, neighborhood beer and attentively sourced wine plus handmade savory Naans.”

Wild Card: Be on the lookout for festivities at the hotel or nearby, like “Off The Walls,” a collaborative exhibit of urban art showcasing the work of local artists.

Insider Tip: Forgo standing in line at the front desk – check yourself in with the self-service kiosk. Also: Every Sunday at 10 a.m. there are yoga sessions and limited free mimosas for attendees. 

Summer Specials

The “Tempecation” package includes breakfast for one and a late check-out of 4 p.m. for $119.

High-season rate: $299/night 

Summer rate: $119/night



5402 E. Lincoln Dr., Paradise Valley, 480-948-1700,

True story: Marriott International chairman Bill Marriott visited the Camelback Inn as a boy in the 1950s, when the Mummy Mountain-area property was owned by Valley industrialist John C. Lincoln. And he loved the place. So the hotelier was only too happy to snap up the seasonal resort – which had no air conditioning at the time – when it went on the market in 1968. It has ample air conditioning now. And a lot of other terrific stuff.

What’s New?

   Jackrabbit Pool. Set smack-dab in the middle of Paradise Valley, the Inn has always presented a tantalizing portrait of subdued Sonoran luxury, in a classic casita-based setting that once hosted the likes of Jimmy Stewart and Bette Davis. But with the addition of a new main pool and adjacent all-ages grill late last year, the resort also broadens its appeal as a family getaway. The views of Camelback Mountain are humbling, and if you’re a non-breeder, don’t worry – the improved Jackrabbit complex also includes an adults-only pool.

    Chef’s garden. If you’re a hands-on foodie type, inquire about the Inn’s on-site garden, where a menagerie of herbs and vegetables inform the menus at world-class steakhouse BLT and Latin-themed Rita’s. 

Insider Tip: If you go for one of the staycation room-and-massage deals and end up having lunch at Sprouts, the embedded restaurant at The Spa at Camelback Inn, order the grilled salmon. It’s sensible and spectacular all at once. Also: If you’re male, ask for one of the treatment rooms on the guy side of the spa, so you don’t have to walk half-naked past Sprouts diners before getting your rub-down.

Summer Specials 

The “Escape Your Way” package – which starts at $199/night – includes a $100 per-day resort credit fee that guests can redeem at the spa, one of two championship golf courses, the restaurants, etc. Given that the base summer rate is $159/night, you’re basically getting $60 of fun stuff for free.

High-season rate:$550/night

Summer rate: $159/night


7575 E. Princess Dr., Scottsdale,

Charmed by a gallant valet in a cowboy hat, visitors get an immediate taste of Scottsdalian luxury at the sprawling, 65-acre AAA Five Diamond Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort, wrapped between the purple bounty of the McDowell Mountains and the rolling greens of TPC. Wide walkways lead you along Spanish Colonial-style villas, prismatic Southwestern gardens, picturesque heated pools, shopping and award-winning restaurants.

What’s New?

Refurbished casitas featuring new Southwestern décor (much of it handmade in Arizona), 102 new guest rooms, Sunset Beach Pool (a zero-depth entry, 7,000-square-foot pool with a 9,000-square-foot white-sand beach), 35,000-square-foot Sunset Lawn, and Copper Canyon, an 1880s-Western-town-themed event venue.

Why You Should Go: Dry mani/pedis overlooking Sunset Beach Pool, special Fairmont guest rates for cooler morning rounds of golf at TPC or nearby Grayhawk, and Cecil the resident tortoise.

Summer Specials

The Sip, Savor & Sand package, starting at $179/night, is a favorite and includes a $50 resort credit for on-site dining, inventive treatments at and use of the Well & Being spa, resort attractions or services. Or book early for the Beach Party Summer Early Bird Special, which starts at $169/night, and be one of the first to enjoy the new Sunset Beach amenities. A $29 resort service charge includes half-day Trailblazers Kids Club access for up to three children ages 5-12, self-parking, Internet access and more.

High-season rate:$399-$500/night 

Summer rate: $169/night


7700 E. McCormick Pkwy., Scottsdale,

What’s old can feel new again, as The Scottsdale proves following an $11 million renovation unveiled last fall. As the oldest Scottsdale resort still in existence, the property strives to maintain a connection to the region’s history, as evidenced by the numerous elements named after local historical figures. The massive overhaul includes two new restaurants and a bar, transformed main pool, updated lobby, new outdoor meeting and event space and enhanced rooms.

What’s New? 

   Kitchen West Restaurant. Since opening in December, the restaurant has won admiring nods for its KW Smoked Brisket Burger, variety of flatbreads – baked in-house in a 750-degree open kiln – and Alaskan salmon, which is guaranteed to arrive at the resort within 24 hours of being caught, according to Executive Chef Rick Dupere, an Alaska native. 

   Bar Six40. Overlooking the scenic resort grounds, this upscale lounge sits in the lobby neighboring Kitchen West. While the relaxed setting and beautiful view may bring you into the bar, the Mod Mule and Prickly Pear cocktails and numerous regional craft beers will keep you there. 

Insider Tip: The main pool gets all the attention, but there is a second, less prominent pool which offers more privacy for couples, and is adults only. If you do go to the main pool, order the grilled chipotle and honey-glazed chicken quesadilla from the Twisted Vine Pool Bar & Grill. The chicken is delicious, but the sweet sauce drizzled on top will have you placing a second order. 

Summer Special: Dive Into the Decades ($159/night) is a ’70s-to-’90s-themed summer program that affords guests a nightly $50 food and beverage credit, two $25 Luna Spa vouchers, free dining for kids 12 and younger, and decade-specific live poolside music. 

High-season rate: $189/night

Summer rate: $99/night

Coming Soon!
These three newly minted lodgings hadn’t opened their doors by press time, but will be accommodating very soon. Contact them to ask about summer specials.

FOUND:RE Phoenix
1100 N. Central Ave., Phoenix,

The industrial chic aesthetic is boosted by exposed ductwork, concrete floors and floating beds at this refurbished former Lexington Hotel at the edge of the Roosevelt Row arts district. An embedded restaurant called MATCH will serve tapas-style plates and goodies from a wood-burning oven.

Rooms: 105

Regular rates: $169-$314

ETA: Late spring/early summer 2016

Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa

6114 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale,

Part of a pack of new Hyatt-operated hotels that focus on indigenous art and local culture, Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa will be adorned with folk art and colorful patterns and feature Andaz Salon programs with local craftsmen and musicians. The resort occupies 22 acres at the base of Camelback Mountain, making it an opulent oasis of mid-century modern art. With a 12,000-square-foot spa, it’s a relaxation destination, too.

Rooms: 201

Regular rates: TBD

ETA: Late summer 2016

Mountain Shadows Golf Club and Resort

5517 E. Lincoln Dr., Paradise Valley, 480-905-8999,

This new build on the site of the razed Marriott Mountain Shadows Resort is all about exclusive seclusion. Westroc Hospitality, the same group behind Hotel Valley Ho and Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, developed a “Desert Modern” design for Mountain Shadows, which will include a neighborhood restaurant and market, along with an 18-hole executive-style golf course.

Rooms: 175, plus 31 hotel-condominium units

Regular rates: TBD

ETA: February 2017