Friday, June 19, 2015

Megan About Town: Staycation Happiness at the Fairmont Princess


My air conditioning bill is up, my steering wheel is on the verge of melting, and even the weeds have stopped growing in my yard. Summer is upon us. Or, as I will choose to call it from now on, “staycation season.”

While visitors avoid the triple-degree heat, locals embrace it because we know that it means we can enjoy resort living at a fraction of the cost.

Last year, I spent my summer staycation at The Phoenician, so this year I ventured north with my friend, Sunny, to rejuvenate at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. The resort provides a distant oasis without the travel time. Once you’re on property, you enter into an entirely new world.

We checked in Saturday afternoon and made a bee-line to Well & Being Spa. From the moment you step foot into the spa, you are treated like old friends. After checking in, a young lady gave us a tour of the facilities. Passing through all of the options was akin to passing a buffet of my favorite sweet treats. Where do I begin?!

Sunny and I slipped on our robes and sandals, and headed for the private spa pool. The resort has five lovely pools, but if I could only choose one…it would be the spa’s rooftop, adults-only pool. And I will tell you why. Bean bag pool floats. If I had a pool in my own backyard, I may have just tried to sneak away with one.

Fairmont-Princess-Pool-Float Fairmont-Princess-Pool-Float-2

Beyond the bean bag floatation devices, this pool makes you feel like you’re in the comfort of your own home. Sunny and I snagged two floats, hopped on, shut our eyes and absorbed all of the rays we could, which brings me to my first staycation tip…Wear your sunscreen. I ended up looking like a medium rare steak from the resort’s Bourbon Steak restaurant after a little too long in the summer sun. Even though my skin was a little angry, I never felt too hot even when the temperature reached triple digits.

As the time inched closer to my spa treatment, Sunny and I decided to explore more of what the spa had to offer. With little time and so much to do, we only got a taste of each option. Tip No. 2: If you decide not to stay overnight at the Princess, I highly suggest getting a day pass to Well & Being Spa. They call it the “Happy Pass” and it’s available from now through Sept. 4. This is just for locals to take advantage of this world-class spa during the summer months. It’s $49 per person, per day, and is valid Sunday through Friday. Check it out:

“The Happy Pass allows you to enjoy unlimited access to our beautiful 44.000 sq. ft. spa facility for the entire day which includes fitness classes, steam rooms, saunas, Swiss showers, aromatherapy rooms, hot and cold plunge pools, waterfall treatment pool, private rooftop pool, men’s and women’s lounges and more… Reserve your Happy Pass by calling 480-585-2732. Limited availability each day and black-out dates apply.”

Back to the spa. Sunny and I sat in the eucalyptus inhalation room, which is overwhelmingly peaceful. Unfortunately for me, there was already a spa-goer in there with the right idea. She had cozied herself into the corner of the sitting area and had shut her eyes for rest and relaxation.  

Next, we ventured into the Swedish dry sauna – a favorite of mine. Because I’m not thrilled by the steam room, saunas are the perfect way for me to sweat out the toxins. We were both able to find space to lay down and meditate for a while, while the sauna did all the work. Hey Well & Being, can I steal the sauna?

Sunny obsessed over the steam room, and I took some time to unwind even more in the Jacuzzi area. The space features a Grecian, dome design that makes you feel like an Athenian goddess as you melt into the warm water.

Before too long, it was time for the big spa finale: the Purification Ritual. Allow the spa to more adequately explain the treatment:

“This detoxification ritual begins with a vigorous exfoliation and mud wrap in Black Silt Clay containing extracts of Indian Sarsaparilla and coffee Arabica. A delicious way to increase circulation and minimize cellulite. Your face is then cleansed with an oat polish and nourished with a hydrating aloe & prickly pear mask. Finally, enjoy a vigorous scalp massage and hair conditioning treatment using avocado oil blended with the invigorating essences of lime blossom and sweet blood orange. A full-body massage with ultra-rich bergamot (the aromatic used in Earl Grey tea), citrus and aloe body lotion completes the ritual.”

Wow. All I can say is wow. I spent much of the evening just smelling my skin because I smelled like sweet coffee and citrus. Yes, I looked strange. But in all seriousness, my skin is still seeing the benefit of this detox. I would recommend this treatment to anyone looking for something that’s more than a facial and more soothing than a massage. While it did great things to my skin, I would like to believe that I was able to do a little “life detox,” too. It good to refresh your mind and your body, and I walked away feeling I had accomplished that mission.

Of course, once you detox, the only next step is to “retox.” While getting ready for our girlfriend dinner date, Sunny and I sipped on sweet margaritas and snacked on a pre-appetizer appetizer in the room. When we were sufficiently cute, we walked on over to La Hacienda for our Mexican dining experience.


Here’s the lineup:

  • Appetizer: Guacamole
    • Honestly, my favorite guacamole in Scottsdale. And I have an avocado addiction. What makes this guacamole so good is that it’s simple, fresh and authentic. Many restaurants, in an attempt to differentiate their guacamole, go too far beyond the authentic guacamole recipe that it loses site of the classic dish entirely. Not La Hacienda’s.
  • Drinks: Prickly Pear Margaritas
    • A touch of tartness makes this drink perfectly refreshing for a warm summer day. Plus, it’s bright pink color made our table look more like art then a dinner selection.
  • Entrees: Enchiladas Verdes and Enchiladas de Carnitas
    • Again, La Hacienda hits the nail on the head with a classic enchilada recipe. The ingredients are simple and fresh and you can taste the difference. I ate as much as I could before I couldn’t eat another bite…Well, at least until dessert.
La-Hacienda-Princess La-Hacienda-Dinner
  • Dessert: Cinnamon Churros
    • There’s always room for dessert! You guys, these churros…Unreal. Five warm churros come with cajeta (think caramel), chocolate sauce, or cream cheese natilla for your dipping pleasure. After our meal, Sunny and I thought “There’s no way we can eat all of these.” Yeah, those bad boys were gone in about two minutes. I may start with dessert next time.
  • Dessert Drink: CafĂ© 1921 of the Bebidas de Fuedo variety
    • At La Hacienda, the dessert drink comes with a show. The server brings over your cinnamon-sprinkled glass to create the perfect cocktail for your post-dinner indulgence. Other restaurant guests surrounded the cart to watch the flame sparkle and almost went back to their table to order one for themselves.

Dinner was a hit. But all good things come to an end, and Sunny and I headed back to our room to get ready for Part III of our staycation evening: dive-in movie and fireworks.

That particular weekend, the Princess had The Lego Movie on deck. Families and hotel guests gathered at the South Pool to watch the movie from the comfort of their float or lawn chair. You could hear the crowd’s excitement when the “Fireworks Intermission” sign popped up. And the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is not messing around with the show! This isn’t a few measly explosions. This is an all-out, Fourth of July-esque presentation. Speaking of, the resort goes all out for that holiday.

Once the finale wrapped up, and the movie started up again, Sunny and I knew we were just about in for the night. Sunshine and relaxation takes a lot of you, okay?!

Before Sunny and I called it a night, we had to go sneak a peek at what the cool kids were up to at the East Pool. Tip No. 3: Take the kids here to ensure they will pass out later. The water slide, the music, the light-up hula hoops? This is a family’s dream set up.

To be ever-so-slightly dramatic…I’m surprised we made it back to our room. We were exhausted. PJs were on before we knew it, and I sank into the crazy comfortable bed for some of the best sleep I’ve had in a while.

I haven’t mentioned the room yet, but I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the spectacular view from the balcony. The room overlooked the golf course and offered sunset and sunrise views that truly showcase the beauty of Scottsdale light. Even when you aren’t being dazzled by the sun, the room itself was enough to thrill any guest. We stayed in the Fairmont Gold Junior Suite, which featured two queen beds and a living area. The room is ideal for someone looking for the ultimate comfort in their stay. You WILL feel at home here.

Fairmont-Princess-Room TPC-Scottsdale

We grabbed a bite at theFairmont Gold Lounge before heading back to the pool for a little morning sun. This is key in the summer months. Get up early and catch morning rays to avoid getting lobster-like burns. The pools are very quiet in the morning time, but you will soon see the sleepy guests emerge from their slumbers to follow in your footsteps.

Before needing to head out, we had to conquer one more of the resort’s musts: The Zipper. The zip line hangs over the lagoon, so as you zip down you get an exotic feel with your adrenaline rush. Check out the video above for a taste of our experience.

Sunny and I could have spent another week at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess trying to fit in all of the amenities and activities they offer. Their website offers a full list of all of their “Summer at the Princess” offerings. If you’re still only considering a staycation there this summer, I think the list will push you over the edge. You won’t regret your decision. Schedule some spa time for adult fun, while the kids enjoy the Trailblazers Kid’s Club. The staycation is the perfect way to get your summer vacation in without breaking the bank or having to take time off from work for travel days.

The only downside? Battling the post-staycation depression when you leave.

from Official Travel Site for Scottsdale, Arizona |

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