Destination: Phoenix

Written by Niki D’Andrea, Mirelle Inglefield, Leah LeMoine & Craig Outhier Category: Lifestyle Issue: July 2015
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What will you do on your summer staycation? From fine dining to pool parties, we found some essay-worthy – and cost-effective – options.

PHM0715PFTTD02Best Foodie Staycation
Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
Mel Mecinas has cooked for James Beard and Julia Child. Thanks to his position as executive chef at the Four Seasons’ embedded restaurants, Talavera and Proof, you can eat like culinary royalty, too. On July 31 at Talavera, the Oaxaca-born cuisinier will prepare the same six-course meal he served at the James Beard House on July 9: smoked salmon parfait, spiny lobster salad, olive-oil-poached Alaskan halibut, braised rabbit, pancetta-wrapped buffalo tenderloin and sweet corn honey cake ($110; wine pairing available at an additional cost). Talavera’s Monthly Mashup Series – featuring Mecinas teaming with a fellow gastronomical guru for a four-course meal jump-started by a specialty amuse – started in March and continues through August, with Justin Beckett of Beckett’s Table (July 19) and Crudo chef Cullen Campbell on August 23 ($95 per person, not including tax or gratuity). Gourmands get bon vivant buffets for less at Proof (also home to a Bloody Mary bar and an old-school soda jerk station), as the American cantina hosts a Backyard Barbecue series every Friday night and a Seafood Boil every other Friday (both 5:30-9:30 p.m., $44 per person). Call 480-513-5085 for reservations. Room rates start at $179 per night (through August 31). “Spa happy hour” (two 25-minute mini services for $129, or three for $179) is offered from 3-7 p.m. Su-Th.

Nearby: Go “fore” the two Tom Weiskopf-designed 18-hole courses at Troon North Golf Club (10320 E. Dynamite Blvd., Scottsdale, 480-585-7700, “Summer Sizzler” specials include two rounds of golf and a Bushnell Ghost GPS Rangefinder for $199.
10600 E. Crescent Moon Dr., Scottsdale, 480-515-5700,


Best Staycation for Your Inner Child
The Wigwam
Remember taking on fearless missions and playing out victorious adventures with your friends? Relive your caped crusades at The Wigwam during Super Hero Saturdays, which kick off with a Character Breakfast at Red’s Bar & Grill ($15, adults; $8, children ages 3-12), featuring super heroes such as Spider-Man and Captain America. Super Hero Training Camp launches on the Litchfield Lawn at 2 p.m.

Put your super power to some golf balls at The Wigwam Golf Club, the only club in Arizona to offer 54 holes on championship courses. Golf lessons can be arranged through the Warren Schutte Players Academy, where PGA member Warren Schutte teaches you how to master a superstar swing. At Family Game Nights (6-8 p.m. nightly) in the Hilgers Family Game Room, you can conquer myriad simulated worlds via a selection of quarter-operated arcade games and Xbox consoles. Or take on an old-fashioned board game including the nostalgic, body-bending Twister. Outside, bocce ball, volleyball, ping pong and cornhole will help you work up a good sweat. Survey all the fun with a tasty recharge from The Wigwam Bar, then make a splash in one of four pools, featuring two swirly and speedy water slides. Coupon books given at check-in through August 30 include a free glow necklace, kids’ golf and ice cream as well as discounts at Red’s Bar & Grill and The Wigwam Bar, spa services and bike rentals. The Summer Splash Package (available through September 10) starts at $99.

Nearby: Bust out a hike at White Tanks Regional Park (, which boasts 25 miles of trails and family-friendly, ranger-led activities like the Summer Scorpion Search (July 11).
300 E. Wigwam Blvd., Litchfield Park, 623-935-3811,



PHM0715PFTTD04Best Budget Staycation
Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino
You can bet your bottom dollar – literally – that Wild Horse Pass’ summer packages are among the most cost-effective in the Valley. Getting the resort experience for less is on deck for all guests, with summer rates starting at $69 and no resort fees. Families looking for a fun pool day can rent private cabanas ($50 rental includes a $25 food and beverage credit M-Th; $80 rental includes a $25 food and beverage credit F-Su) with towel service, icy buckets of bottled water and access to the poolside bar. Gaming fiends can get their fix in the casino with the Wild Nights package, which includes a $25 food and beverage credit and $10 table-game match play. Join the frequent-visitor Players Club and enjoy discounts at WHP’s entertainment venues, including the Ovations Showroom theater, live-music venue The Lounge and new outdoor venue Festival Park, which spans 5.6 acres. Players Club members also accumulate sweet discounts at the hotel’s restaurants, which include Don Shula’s American Steak House, Ling & Louie’s modern pan-Asian, Cafe 24/7’s classic comfort food and more budget-friendly options in the casino’s food court. Poker and Fatburger – what more could a savings-savvy hedonist want?

Nearby: Score more bargains at Phoenix Premium Outlets (4976 Premium Outlets Way, Chandler, 480-639-1776, or enjoy some old-time family fun at Rawhide Western Town & Steakhouse (5700 W. North Loop Rd., Chandler, 480-502-5600,
5040 Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler, 800-946-4452,


PHM 800x800 FPOBest Staycation Pool Scene
Valley Ho
Patrick “Mr. P-Body” Scott knows how to keep a pool party fresh. “We like to mix things around,” the Valley Ho’s longtime resident DJ says over the throb of a European techno track. “Not the same thing every week. Some dubstep here. Some old-school hip-hop there.” Much of the stylish hotel’s summer stay program is constructed around its lively OH Pool scene, modeled after such Las Vegas “dayclub” experiences as Rehab at the Hard Rock and Hakkasan at the MGM Grand. Book a Stay2Play package ($139 nightly) and enjoy two welcome cocktails, OH Pool food-and-bev discounts, and a nightly $30 gift card that can be applied to a deep-tissue massage at the VH Spa, or a fork-tender beef short rib at ZuZu, the hotel’s excellent locavore-minded eatery. Or save it for poolside drinks at OH’s venerable, guests-only Saturday event, populated by a refreshingly multi-generational coalition of Millennials and Gen X day-partiers. And don’t forget: You’re smack-dab in the middle of Old Town Scottsdale. The dayclub is great, but the night is your oyster.

Nearby: Don’t feel like ordering room service for breakfast? Walk a block to Alo Cafe (6960 E. First St., Scottsdale, 480-878-4172, to score copious cups of coffee and the sweet-savory delight of a turkey-topped Waffle Cristo.
6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale, 480-248-2000,