Scottsdale: Desert Spa Sensations


Photo by Ann Yungmeyer

Willow Stream. Photo by Ann Yungmeyer

Scottsdale offers more than 50 resort and day spas, but its Sonoran Desert setting has been thought of as an oasis of well-being ever since Native American tribes began using the desert clay and botanicals for therapeutic and restorative powers.

Desert themes run strong throughout all of the city’s attractions – from art and outdoor adventure to healthy cuisine— but I was intrigued by the desert-inspired spas and treatments that feature indigenous elements including river rock, desert clay, herbs and plants.

Mission Fig, Desert Nectar Honey and Papaya Quench are a few of the delectable scrubs, wraps and buffs to be found around town. I narrowed the field based on my sensory and therapeutic needs.

After an uphill trek at Pinnacle Peak, I made my way back to Four Seasons Resort Troon North, and opted for an herb-infused Healing Hiker’s Massage, a full body treatment that uses sage and mountain arnica to ease inflammation and soreness.

Later, I spent time at the new Well & Being Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Princess, a state-of-the-art spa that takes wellness to a new level, offering fitness classes and integrative health programs in addition to extraordinary spa offerings.


Photo courtesy of Four Seasons

Photo courtesy of Four Seasons

First, I participated in TRX, Hatha yoga and aerial hammock yoga and enjoyed the calming atmosphere of the facility with its native stone, waterfall therapy, garden atrium and rooftop pool.

Then, I indulged in an Aromatherapy Massage, starting with a sniff test of five aromas that included cactus rose, citrus and lavender oils.

Top of the list for next trip are some unique spa experiences including the Havasupai Falls Rejuvenation at Willow Stream, a stress relieving treatment named after a Native American tribe. It includes desert salt exfoliation, herbal bath, jojoba body butter massage with riverbed stones, infused oil and scalp massage.

And, after sampling Prickly Pear tea and margaritas, I’ll be back at Four Seasons to try the Jojoba & Prickly Pear Polish that utilizes deeply penetrating jojoba oil and prickly pear butter, both excellent skin moisturizers.

Also on my must-do list is to check out the labyrinth at the Boulders Waldorf Astoria Spa and try the signature Turquoise Body Wrap which is based on the Native American belief that the color exudes positive energy and provides a sense of self-confidence – well, who doesn’t need a little more of that?

With endless treatment choices, a locally-inspired spa experience in Scottsdale is certainly one way, if not the only way, to chill out in the Sonoran Desert.