Spa Vacation Salvation at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort

Spa Vacation Salvation at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess ResortLuxurious spas are de rigueur at any high end resort. However, the Well & Being Spa at the

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort takes the integrative spa and fitness experience to an

impressive level. Arizona’s stark beauty provides a stunning backdrop for this revered retreat—

a behemoth 65-acre sanctuary neighboring the Sonoran Desert with the McDowell Mountains in

view beyond.

The initial approach to this property, which is Arizona’s longest running AAA Five Diamond

hotel—24 years to date, is like happening upon a desert oasis replete with picturesque palm

trees, lush landscaping and cascading fountain beckoning guests into the resort’s front

entrance. Mere milliseconds after I drove into the covered valet I was greeted by the property’s

resident “cowboy,” offering me and my guests cold water and a warm welcome. No surprise

given the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort is well-known for its award-winning service.

On this aspect of the experience Pam Gilbert, the property’s Director of Sales and Marketing,

underscores an impressive point that most of Guest Services/Bell Stand team has been at the

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess for at least 10 years, if not 20 or more and prides themselves on

offering personalized service—often getting to know returning guests by name. She cites that

the resort’s Director of Guest Services, Thomas Williams, was named “Outstanding Manager of

the Year” by the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association and went on to win the national award

from the American Hotel & Lodging Association in Washington, D.C.

And so my vacation began. After regarding the resort’s gorgeous Spanish architecture from the

outside, now a neutral beige versus the princess pink exterior of yore, it was time to settle in to

my accommodations. There are ten different types of room options at this property that start

with the simple yet meticulously detailed 525-square foot Fairmont room appropriately

decorated in Southwestern décor. On the high end, the property boasts a 2,100-square foot

Presidential suite complete with a living/parlor area that seats six, two bathrooms, a 600-square

foot bedroom and a covered patio among other inducements. Also available are stand-alone

Casita Suites, 850-square foot versions of beautifully appointed Spanish Colonial estates. The

separate living and sleeping areas are a boon for families or those on a working vacation, and

the gas fireplace sets a more romantic mood for couples in the winter months. The wet bar with

Nespresso machine and the 42″ LG flat screen television are crowd pleasers for all. The Casita

area of the resort features its own private pool area with Jacuzzi, which makes staying in these

detached dwellings perfect for those who truly want to get away from it all.

But, no matter where on the property guests stay, beauty abounds. According to Gilbert, the

resort grounds are one of the hallmarks that set this property apart. Sonoran Desert cactus

blends with lily pad lagoons, a fragrance garden and a “living wall” of flowers. With the desert

flora comes local fauna, the most popular of which is Cecil—a desert tortoise with his own
habitat where guests can feed, touch and otherwise ogle this gentle creature. Bunnies, blue

heron, ducks, fish and water turtles are other on-site inhabitants that guests will likely see during

their visit. For youngsters, the resort offers a Trailblazers Kids Club where children will meet the

mascot, a bearded dragon named Skittles, plus see spiders and snakes kept in aquariums.

With bags unpacked and having soaked in my surroundings, it was time to focus on what I really

wanted to do at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess: hit the spa! Well & Being is an expansive on-
site destination spa that bills itself as one that “embraces a foundation of whole health, inspiring

guests to be healthy, balanced and a more energetic version of themselves,” which is achieved

by delivering a “personal and sustainable wellness program to guests who wish to incorporate

Spa Vacation Salvation at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resortoptimal health and lifestyle choices with guidance before, during and long after they leave the

resort setting.” I aimed to see for myself how these laudable yet lofty goals would be achieved.

It turns out that Well & Being fuses health, wellness, nutrition, integrative medicine, cutting edge

fitness classes, advanced skincare and personal care to offer an exceedingly broad range of

innovative spa experiences that suit any guest’s needs or wants.

For those seeking to get, or stay, in shape while in Scottsdale, one great option is the

individualized “Fitness Prescription” program. It starts with a consultation with the resort’s

resident exercise physiologist who performs a fitness assessment and risk analysis and

discusses fitness goals, lifestyle and exercise preferences. The assessment includes three

diagnostics: the BodPod, the Body Gem and the Fit Mate Pro. Quite notably, the BodPod

measures body composition of fat versus lean muscle tissue while the Body Gem measures

resting metabolic rate. The Fit Mate Pro is also extremely comprehensive, measuring maximum

oxygen uptake, anaerobic uptake, anaerobic threshold predictions, individual training zones,

strength and stamina. Wellness Coaching and Nutrition Consultation services are also available.

When you’re ready to sweat, there are any number of compelling options: Aerial Hammock

Yoga, Pilates, spinning, body sculpting, Zumba, TRX and CrossFit to name a few. There is also

themed programming by SICFIT and Krank Fusion. Of course, there is a fully stocked fitness

center with all of the free weights, Nautilus and cardio equipment one would need to achieve

health goals, whether that be to build strength and stamina or slim down. Staff fitness pros are

readily available for group or one-on-one instruction.

After the fitness and nutrition endeavors, it’s a must to indulge in some relaxing spa therapy.

The facilities and services offered at Well & Being are truly world class, comprehensive and rife

with creature comforts that include an open air rooftop adult pool with private cabanas, co-ed

grotto waterfall for the ultimate natural massage, Health Spa Cuisine and beverage services

available inside the garden atrium or poolside, a wet steam room, eucalyptus inhalation room,

Swedish dry sauna, hot therapeutic whirlpool, cold plunge pool and a Swiss shower. In addition

to the full range of traditional spa services you would expect, such as massage, salon services,

skin care, and body wraps, the resort also offers acupuncture and acupressure.

If outdoor activity is more your thing, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort also boasts a

famed TPC Scottsdale Stadium Golf Course, which is home to the Annual PGA Tour Waste

Management Phoenix Open (closed for renovations until November 2014), and the Champions

Course. Or, the concierge can arrange any kind of excursion to get your adrenaline flowing,

including bike riding, rock climbing, hiking and more.

Of course, no spa-driven sabbatical is complete without some nutritious and delicious eats.

Luckily, the resort features a Healthy Cuisine menu that serves up fitness-driven fare both day

and night. Offerings include made-to-order smoothies, breakfast items like house-made granola,

and lunch and dinner dishes like Grilled Shrimp & Edamame Succotash, Black Bean & Quinoa

Burger, and Poached Atlantic Salmon. Healthy eating options are offered at the spa café, at any

of the property’s pools, or for in-room dining so there’s no excuse not to stay the dietary course.

When you are ready to indulge a bit, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort does offer some

incredible dining options.

Spa Vacation Salvation at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess ResortGilbert notes, “Bourbon Steak, a AAA Four Diamond restaurant, has a cellar with over 3,000

bottles, a sommelier and a Bar Commander who teaches cocktail classes twice a month. La

Hacienda, named #1 Best Mexican Food by Arizona Business Magazine for three consecutive

years, has a ‘Tequila Goddess’ who is one of few in the country who traveled to Mexico to be

certified as a tequila expert by the Tequila Regulatory Council. La Hacienda also has more than

240 tequilas, including their own private barrels from Herradura.”

Also according to Gilbert, coming this fall the property is introducing and operating a new

restaurant concept in conjunction with celebrity chef Richard Sandoval. The restaurant, which

will be named Toro, will reside at the TPC Scottsdale, and its launch will coincide with the re-

Having sweat it out on the fitness front, gratified myself on a range of healthy grub, and basked

in more than my fair share of spa services, it was time to bid the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Resort adieu. Sad though that was, I left the property invigorated and ready to get back to the

grind of everyday life. With my proverbial batteries recharged, I waved goodbye to that ever-
present Guest Services cowboy and rode off into the Scottsdale sunset.


“The Luxe List” Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace

for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions

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***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were

provided at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee

Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***