This article originally appeared in the 2018 edition of the Experience Scottsdale Visitors Guide

Scottsdale's Sonoran Desert has long been a place of healing and wellness, so it's no surprise that more than 50 resort and day spas have brought their healing touch here.

Recently, I set out to discover what sets Scottsdale spas apart from other dens of Zen around the world, and three unique characteristics rose to the surface.

 

Sonoran Desert Botanicals

At Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, I immersed myself in a desert oasis with the Havasupai Falls Rejuvenation. It brought the desert up close, on a day when rains softly fell outside, washing me with the smell of desert chaparral inside and out.

Havasupai Falls at Well and Being at Willow Stream Spa. Photo courtesy Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Havasupai Falls at Well and Being at Willow Stream Spa. Photo courtesy Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

My treatment began with a purifying scrub of desert salts and a warm bath. Next came a massage with jojoba body butter, extracted from the native Southwest plant rich in vitamin E. I finished my day with a Desert Seasons Pedicure using the summer’s chaparral herbal treatment. Depending on the season, you also can enjoy aloe vera, prickly pear, or juniper berry.

One of the rarest of all the desert botanicals is the “Queen of the Night,” a night-blooming desert flower that only opens under a full moon once each year. Just before Joya Spa at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia opened, the spa’s alchemist found one blooming on site. On a recent visit, I treated myself to the spa’s signature fragrance, Joyambrosia, which carries the plant’s essence.

Relax at Joya Spa. Photo courtesy Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia

Grand Palace Suite. Photo courtesy Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia

Native American Influences

The Spa at Talking Stick Resort on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is situated on the resort’s 14th floor, offering unparalleled mountain and Valley views. I found myself at peace, experiencing indigenous ingredients that have been held sacred by Native Americans for centuries. The River Walk massage makes use of warm stones from Arizona’s Salt River while the Desert Lavender uses tufts of local Pima cotton, desert lavender, and my favorite wild chaparral oil that brings me back to the desert after a rainstorm.

Talking Stick Spa Entrance. Photo courtesy Talking Stick Resort

Talking Stick Spa Entrance. Photo courtesy Talking Stick Resort

I always connect with the beautiful Sonoran Desert surroundings when I book a spa day at the Boulders Resort. This scenic spa draws on Native American traditions for several of its treatments, including the Turquoise Clay Wrap and the Journey of the Sacred Circle, a four-part series of healing treatments based on the directions of the medicine wheel.

The Boulders Tipi. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

The Boulders Tipi. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

Inviting Indoor/Outdoor Spaces

It is only fitting that many Scottsdale spas take advantage of our great weather with stunning indoor/outdoor treatment spaces. At the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, I booked a massage at Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary and discovered treatment rooms opening onto a magnificent spa pool.

Spa Relaxation Room. Photo courtesy Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa

Spa Relaxation Room. Photo courtesy Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa

And to close the circle on our trio of unique spa attributes, I created my own concoction of oils (used later during my treatment) at Palo Verde’s Desert Blending Bar, which features ingredients from across the desert Southwest like sage, jojoba, prickly pear, pine, and chaparral.

These are just a few of the great spas you can find at Scottsdale Resorts. Be sure to check out more great spas on Wander.

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