Holiday in Scottsdale Where the Weather is Delightful

Fairmont-Scottsdale-ChristmasDid you know that Irving Berlin penned his legendary holiday tune, “White Christmas,” poolside in sunny Arizona? As the holiday season draws near, take a cue from Berlin and start planning your escape from the mounds of snow and freezing temperatures. Trade in your shovel for a golf club and your parka for a light sweater. Spend Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s in Scottsdale, where temperatures average 68 degrees and sunshine is plentiful during the winter months.

The Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau hopes to gift one lucky winner a trip to Scottsdale as a part of its annual holiday campaign. The prize package includes roundtrip airfare for two, a three-night stay at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, dinner at on-site restaurant La Hacienda, and admission to the Christmas at the Princess ice skating rink, as well as a complimentary photo with Santa Claus. The winner will also receive tickets to Las Noches de Las Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden, ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo, and “Sister’s Christmas Catechism” at Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts. Visit before November 21, 2014, to enter. The prize is redeemable December 18-21, 2014.

Don’t worry about missing out on those classic holiday traditions. There’s no better way to celebrate with friends and family than partaking in plenty of festive events around Scottsdale.

· Explore the breathtaking Sonoran Desert all by the glowing light of more than 8,000 hand-lit luminaries select dates between November 28 and December 30, 2014 at the Desert Botanical Garden’s Las Noches de las Luminarias. Sip on hot chocolate from the Patio Café as you wander the paths throughout the garden. Feel the holiday spirit as music from carolers, hand bells, guitars and violins fills the air. With advanced reservations, you can even dine at the garden’s on-site restaurant Gertrude’s, which stays open late for the event.zoolights-01· Kids and kids at heart will be delighted as they wander through Zoo Lights at the Phoenix Zoo November 24, 2014 through January 11, 2015. As the sun begins to set and the furry and reptilian residents at the Phoenix Zoo start to snooze, the zoo will transform into a winter wonderland. Roam the complex beneath the shine of more than 3 million colorful twinkle lights and 500 custom-made animal light sculptures. You’ll likely spot a sleepy orangutan, a wide-awake coyote and even Jengo the talking giraffe throughout the festivities.

· Trim your Christmas tree this holiday season with hand-made ornaments from American Indian artists after stocking up at Heard Museum’s Ornament Marketplace November 28-30, 2014. Return to the museum December 26-31, 2014, for Holidays at the Heard, an annual Southwestern tradition. This event takes museum visitors on a journey through American Indian culture with exciting performances and artist demonstrations.

· Between December 12, 2014, and January 3, 2015, stop by McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park for holiday train and carousel rides. During the holidays, the park stays open late and is decked out in twinkly lights and festive displays. Plus Santa will make special appearances through December 23, 2014.MIM· Musical Instrument Museum brings the chilly north to Scottsdale with the Experience Norway celebration December 6-7, 2014 in honor of the country’s bicentennial. You’ll enjoy traditional Norwegian dances, musical performances and hands-on crafts. And on December 20-21, 2014, chimes and jingles will fill the halls of MIM, the world’s only global instrument museum. During the Hear Them Ring event, MIM will celebrate instruments that ring, including hand bells, steel pans and marimbas. The event will also feature a special menu at the on-site café, Café Allegro, gifts for purchase in the Museum Store, face painting and more.

Arizona’s Rising Temps Lead to Dropping Rates

Scottsdale SummersPull out your bathing suit, put on your sunglasses and grab the nearest fruity beverage. Things are heating up in Scottsdale – and I am not just talking about the temperatures. What better reason is there to stay in one of Scottsdale’s luxury hotels and resorts than rates as low as 60% off?

At Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch, choose the “Splash into Summer” package, which offers free self-parking, 50% off a second deluxe guest room, free dinner in SWB for one child with each paying adult (12 or under) and free golf for kids with a paying adult (15 or under). Plus you’ll receive a 50% discount at Camp Hyatt each day for up to two children per room (ages 3-12). Rates start at $169, valid May 21, 2014 through September 3, 2014.

This summer take to the open road and explore all of Scottsdale with W Scottsdale’s “Road Trip” package. You’ll receive a $25 gas card, complimentary overnight WHEELS valet parking and an USB car charger in addition to your luxurious accommodations. For those who don’t want to travel further than poolside, the hotel is also offering the “Vitamin W” package which includes W Scottsdale sunglasses, sunblock, a beach bag and a poolside pitcher of Vitamin W. Rates for both packages start at $160 May 11, 2014 through September 6, 2014.

Embrace the elements at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia’s pool with refreshing cocktails and delectable treats. When you use the resort’s “Turn Up the Heat” package this summer, you’ll stay two nights and get the third night free and receive a $50 poolside dining credit. Rates start at $199, valid May 1, 2014 through August 15, 2014.

With packages like “Sip, Savor & Splash” and rates starting at $169 per night May 23, 2014 through August 31, 2014, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is truly a sunshine-filled paradise. Summer at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess means cool rides down waterslides, zooming across the lagoons via zip line and fireworks lighting up the night. Poolside is the place to be at the new SplashRider X-treme, a thrilling, spinning water adventure. Nearby, twisting waterslides turn disco at the Techno Glo Party while Dive-In movies are tradition. With the “Sip, Savor & Splash” package, guests can use the daily $50 resort credit at La Hacienda or escape to Well & Being Spa for a bit of pampering. And the kids won’t want to miss the firework display that lights up the sky Saturday evenings Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Scottsdale’s Best Brunch: T. Cook’s

T Cooks BrunchYou’ve always dreamed of being a master chef, whipping up spontaneous recipes with just the enticing ingredients laid out before you. Unfortunately, not all of us have such skills. Leave the hard work to these masterful chefs at T. Cook’s for their delicious Sunday Harvest Brunch.

At the heart of the Resort, T. Cook’s culinary philosophy of magnifying the purity of fresh, seasonal ingredients is a celebration of its treasured legacy. Chef Paul McCabe’s culinary style can be summed up in three words – crafted, thoughtful and bold – which are all precisely in line with the Mediterranean principles of fresh, seasonal, local and ingredient-driven cooking.

If you prefer dinner over brunch, then T. Cook’s offers #PM31 on Wednesday evenings. Table 31, one of the most cherished tables at T.Cook’s at Royal Palms Resort and Spa, leads adventurous, food-savvy diners through tailored, improvisational cuisine drawing upon premium, handmade ingredients in a concept deemed PM31. Every diner enjoys original and customized 10 to 12 course menus that reflect McCabe’s Mediterranean principles of seasonal, local ingredients and artful presentations.

A Day of Relaxation and Fun in Scottsdale

Disclosure: This post is part of a compensated project by the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. I was asked to share some of my favorite places. This post was not reviewed by a 3rd party. All opinions are mine and may not reflect those of the company. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. All photos are mine and subject to copyright.

Scottsdale’s Sonoran Desert is a great place to spend the day to relax and rejuvenate the mind, body and soul. The desert’s curative climate, medicinal plants and therapeutic herbs create soothing teas, balms and poultices. For this reason, Scottsdale’s award-winning spas are rare gems that everyone should experience at least once a year or at least once in a lifetime. This past Saturday, I discovered the world of Scottsdale through one of their spas and fun dining.

The perfect day must start out with coffee. After a couple recommendation, my girlfriend and I headed to Cartel Coffee Lab in 5th Avenue in the heart of Scottsdale, where she ordered the creamy chai latte and I a rich, nutty espresso. Baristas at Cartel roast their coffee beans on site, which means everything is fresh. What a perfect place to start your retreat. We also enjoyed a delicious breakfast sandwich.

Big Ben Sandwich

Needing some time of reflection, balance and harmony, I chose Spa Avania at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch to awaken my senses with a beautiful backdrop of the Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. The spa’s treatments and regimens center around a “time-of-day” philosophy and how the body prepares to Awaken (morning), Balance (midday) and Renew (evening). I chose the Herbal Poultice Massage. The masseuse uses heat and herbs mixed with ginger and lemongrass to reduce aches and soothe muscle tension, and I have never felt sooo relaxed afterwards. The staff reserved a table for me to enjoy a guilt-free cuisine that will completed the whole relaxation experience.

Grilled Salmon Southwestern Salad

Spa Avania also features an outdoor French Celtic mineral pool and lotus pond, relaxation areas, steam and sauna, hot and cold plunges.

After having a relaxing day at the spa, it is time for some fun! Of course, my curious peaked when I discovered a restaurant called Posh. As a culinary explorer, its “improvisational cuisine” made me more excited to try this place out. Instead of a traditional menu, customers get a personal checklist to fill out. You indicate how many courses you want. There’s a rundown of the day’s featured meats and seafood, so you can mark whether you would like or not. You can also note how you like your meat cooked, whether you’ll eat raw meat or fish, whether you want an all-vegetarian meal, etc. Even though you can specify your cravings, you won’t know exactly what dishes you’re getting until they arrive at the table as part of a multi-course tasting menu. Posh was well-prepared, seasonally fresh, and served in a series of small plates.

My girlfriend and I completed the fun day at an exclusive lounge called Citizen’s R+D. You walk through an alley and come to a staircase, where you find posted rules on the outside of the building.

To paraphrase: no approaching women, no off-menu orders or substitutions, no yelling, no unsupervised entry, and charmingly, “No firearms. The Wild West era is over, let’s keep it that way.”You call the number at the bottom of the rule list. A man will come down and get you, if there is room, and will escort you. Once inside, the first thing you notice is that the place smells of burning sugar, which is like caramel, candy and all things wonderful to drink. The room is outfitted with black modern couches and dark-wood tables. A fireplace adds warmth and the art added style. It was the perfect way to end a relaxing and fun day in Scottsdale.