Jenna McKone for Experience Scottsdale Source: Photo op by the cacti at Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West in Old Town

Scottsdale: A Desert Oasis for Gay Travelers


As winter shades toward spring, gay travelers are looking for their next getaway for the best in rest and relaxation. Look no further than Scottsdale, a desert oasis in the heart of Arizona and kissing cousin to neighboring Phoenix.

But what sets Scottsdale apart is its bounty of resort spas, luxe stays and boutique hotels. That's right – Scottsdale boasts world-class resort spas that are luxurious and rejuvenating. Check out the below recommendations for gay-friendly stays to find the perfect fit for you and your fellow travelers. Then kick off your sandals, take a sip of your cocktail and bask in the sunshine because you'll be stationed poolside at one of Scottsdale's premiere desert getaways.

The Scottsdale Civic Center, in the heart of Old Town, is a lush pedestrian park that is home to numerous restaurants, the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and several outstanding public art installations
Source: Analisa Shah for Experience Scottsdale

Breathtaking Views

First on your list is Canopy by Hilton Scottsdale Old Town, located in the heart of Old Town. This luxe hotel is all about the gorgeous views overlooking nearby Camelback Mountain and surrounding desert ranges. Take in the warm, sumptuous color palette atop the rooftop pool of this chic hotel that reflects back the shades of the Sonoran Desert, which wraps around the northern edges of Scottsdale. Canopy is nestled in the city center for an easy stroll to nearby hotspots such as Scottsdale Stadium, home of the San Francisco Giants Spring Training Baseball, Scottsdale Civic Center Park, Scottsdale Historical Museum, and Scottsdale Fashion Square.

To up the ante on stunning views, book a stay at The Scott Resort & Spa, a spectacular resort just north of Old Town Scottsdale. You may not want to leave the resort however, with rooms featuring warm wood and old world bronze for an inviting luxurious experience. Choose from suites overlooking the lush main pool or Mediterranean-inspired lagoon pool. Other options include garden rooms and deluxe suites to give you the space and comfort you desire. Look no further than The Canal Club at The Scott – perched in the resort's lobby with a patio overlooking the gardens and pools – for an exquisite dining experience during your stay at the Scott, melding American and Caribbean flavors.

Rejuvenating Spas

The Phoenician goes above and beyond to deliver a spa experience that is at once transformative and nurturing. Indulge in the spa's many amenities, including a private cabana at the adult-only or family-friendly pools, signature massage, body, and facial treatments, sprawling 4,600 square foot athletic club and so much more. Don't forget to ask about the Phoenix Rising Aroma Blend, a concoction of essential oils exclusive to The Phoenician and a must-have for your spa experience. Here's a pro tip: Book your spa stay and massage a few weeks in advance because this popping resort spa fills up fast. But don't sleep on this five-diamond resort destination's other amenities, including palatial guest rooms, sprawling golf course, event spaces, and surrounding lush landscape. The Phoenician is your desert dream spot – right here in Scottsdale.

Renewal is the operative word for Boulders Resort & Spa Scottsdale, Curio Collection by Hilton, a uniquely designed spa resort that is as welcoming as it is enchanting. This 33,000 square feet spa space has everything you need to relax and revive against the backdrop of a stunning boulder landscape. The Boulders is consistently rated as one of the top resort spas in the country as it continues to expand its spa offerings – from specialized treatments such as acupuncture and acussage to advanced skin care options – and provide its guests with superior quality and service. For a more rigorous spa experience, check out the fitness and adventure schedule to book one of its many exhilarating classes.

Outdoor Adventures

"Desert romance meets outdoor adventure" boasts Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. Unwind in one of the hotel's adobe-styled casitas before heading out to find a thrilling desert adventure. With guidance from the hotel concierge, you can explore the surrounding desert landscapes on horseback, ATV, Jeep or Hummer. You can even book a customizable REI adventure that is available only to Four Seasons guests. Or take to the skies in a hot-air balloon ride over the majestic Sonoran Desert, ending with a Champagne breakfast in the desert. Hiking is a popular activity in Scottsdale and there is no shortage of trails to choose from – merely minutes from your guest room. Hike to nearby Pinnacle Peak and catch throngs of saguaro cacti and towering granite boulders on your adventure to the top, featuring incredible 360-degree views of North Scottsdale.

For the ultimate recharge, CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa will put you in a reverie of rest and relaxation. Dubbed a World's Best Wellness Retreat, allow nature to renew your spirit with a sunrise desert walk or take in the local soundscapes on a guided hike. You can even rent a bike and explore the desert playground that awaits on a trail winding through cacti, boulders and rock formations. The resort graciously offers suggested itineraries for restorative experiences that include outdoor activities, delicious meals at the hotel's very own Seed Cafe + Market at CIVANA, and meditations and yoga stretches for soulful serenades. Visit the resort website and concierge to learn about CIVANA's group experiences to keep the adventures coming during your entire stay.

Plan Your Trip

Scottsdale is at the forefront of luxurious retreats. Whether you are looking for a thrilling outdoor adventure or serene soulful stay, you'll find a dreamy resort in Scottsdale that will have you begging for a return visit. Check out the Experience Scottsdale website to plan your perfect getaway.

by Roger Porter

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