Autumn’s early chill up north has snow birds migrating south already. None too soon has Phoenix — or, rather, its tony neighbor Scottsdale — debuted a fresh new crop of enticing resorts, most of which modernize the destination in high-urban style. Here, a look at the trendsetters to warm your travel plans.
Caleo Resort & Spa
Vibe: Bluehair-free boutique resort. With Caleo Resort & Spa, in downtown Scottsdale, San Francisco-based Kimpton Group launches its first resort. The pool takes up most of a lushly planted interior courtyard that comes alive after dark with torches and and an outdoor Moroccan-looking lounge.
What’s new: Coming in January the resort will open Taggia, a new restaurant serving the food of coastal Italy including cured meats and wood-fired pizzas.
What not to miss: The resort’s Jurlique Spa is a spa-first for Kimpton. Based on the Australian Jurlique beauty brand, the spa features mini chandeliers over the treatment tables and throw rugs on the floor. Try a botanical detox bath in one of the spa’s deep soaking tubs. From $239 per night. www.caleoresort.com.
Vibe: The good life-gone-green. The spectacular 1,300-acre setting of The Boulders, built around 12-million-year-old granite piles, is buffered by 36 holes of golf and a satellite of the trek-worthy Golden Door Spa. Individual adobe casitas guarantee privacy and, with wood-stocked kiva fireplaces, romance.
What’s new: The Boulders dares to go where no resort has gone before with an all-organic program. Or at least that’s the aim. Though diners can still get a conventional hamburger at the golf club, the main restaurant, Latilla, has organic wines and organically grown food, from carrots in the soup to tortilla chips in your room.
What not to miss: Go New Age at the Golden Door Spa. We recommend a meditative walk around the outdoor labyrinth, and a back-to-the-womb watsu treatment in a heated pool. Hiking among the boulders on property is a must. From $249 per night. www.theboulders.com.
Hotel Valley Ho
Vibe: Rat Pack swinger. Owners of the stylish Sanctuary on Camelback resort picked up this 1956 motel, dusted it off, and buffed its mid-century style by installing retro furniture and poolside cabanas named after the celebs who once cavorted here.
What’s new: Charles Wiley oversees food and drink for all the restaurants here, meaning even the pupu platters at the kitschy-cool Trader Vic’s are better than the standard Polynesian pack.
What not to miss: The resort’s VH Spa (it means Vitality and Health) offers more than a nice rubdown. Try quantum biofeedback as a stress reducer, Yamuna body rolling as a strengthening exercise and, for rewards, a full Turkish hammam scrub-and-steam. From $249. www.hotelvalleyho.com.
Vibe: Snobbery-free style. Debuting Hyatt Place supplants the drab business hotel with something that feels a bit more like home — if your home were outfitted by a designer with modern tastes and had updated technology that includes flat-screen TVs and WiFi.
What’s new: The lobby’s cashless Gallery Café, which also serves a comp breakfast daily, features touch-screen ordering for staples like chili, pizza, and Caesar salad throughout the day.
What not to miss: A night in. Plug your laptop into the 42-inch screen TV and watch a movie in the spacious room. You can spend a lot of time here, given the amenities — a wet bar, and a high-definition screen that swivels between bedroom and couch. From $179 per night. www.scottsdaleoldtown.place.hyatt.com.
Vibe: LA in the desert. Morgans Hotel Group, which runs the Mondrian in LA and Delano in Miami, purchased the former James Hotel, now known as Mondrian Scottsdale. Renovations won’t be complete until January 2007, when the hotel opens a branch of restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow’s Asia de Cuba and an outdoor Skybar.
What’s new: Renowned for hiring hot designers like Philippe Starck and David Chipperfield, Morgans chose rising star Benjamin Noriega Ortiz to design the Mondrian Scottsdale in signature theatrical style. A second bar, Redroom, is modeled after the red-lacquered lounge at The Shore Club in Miami.
What not to miss: The bang-for-the-buck “heaven in a half hour” treatment combines a Balinese head massage and reflexology at the Agua Bathhouse. From $199 per night. www.mondrianscottsdale.com.