Scottsdale, AZ.

It's been dubbed the desert version of "Miami's South Beach" and the "Beverley Hills of the Southwest". Yes, Scottsdale is lovely, but it's also creative, rugged and inspiring. There's a reason why Frank Lloyd Wright made this area his winter residence in 1937. It's the same reason why artists have been flocking here for decades - inspiration, not to mention sunshine and glorious warm weather. A gorgeous desert backdrop, bustling downtown area with great shops and restaurants. It's the perfect destination for those looking for sunshine and sophistication when vacationing in the southwest.


Hotel Valley Ho

The Hotel Valley Ho is the perfect mid-century time warp. Originally built in 1956, this swanky, retro, yet renovated, hotel is an eclectic blend of old and new. We were lucky enough to get upgraded to a Tower Suite, complete with full kitchen, washer/dryer and a walk-in closet! Our room featured bright accents (I loved the butter cream yellow kitchen!), retro furnishings, private walk-out balcony and zen inspired bathroom. 

The pool area was totally fab, busy and social in the afternoons with lots of chairs, refreshing cocktails and great service. But the best part about this hotel is that it's within walking distance to Old Town Scottsdale and all the great bars, restaurants, shops and galleries.



Voted best new restaurant in Scottsdale, Virtù was on our list of restaurants to try and it did not disappoint. Chef Gio Osso gives Mediterranean cooking a Southwestern spin, spicing up octopus with chili butter and spiking the burrata with fire roasted peppers. The bistro style lighting creates a warm and inviting space and I loved the thyme sprigs in the linen napkins. Good wine list with a focus on selections from California and Italy.

Cafe Monarch

When Adonis wants to take Aphrodite out for a romantic dinner while vacationing in Scottsdale, this is absolutely where he'd take her. 

First off, sit outside! The outdoor patio is one of the nicest dining spaces I have ever encountered, ultra romantic and absolutely stunning. The candlelit courtyard is surrounded with vines, palm trees, bubbling fountains and lantern lighting, it's rustic elegance at its finest and the perfect outdoor space.

The dinner format is great, a set four course menu with your choice of entree. We loved everything served, from the truffle cauliflower soup to the tempura prawn with tomato chili jam. Dessert is not to be missed, and the rum cake is a must!!! The service was impeccable and everything was superb! By far my favourite dining experience in Scottsdale. Reservations highly recommended. 

The Mission

A great little restaurant in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale that serves up delicious modern Latin American cuisine. The decor is great, I'd describe it as shabby chic meets St. Mary's Basilica - a slightly gothic vibe with  loads of votive candles, chandeliers and rustic furnishings. The service and food were top notch. We started with a few signature margaritas - the best! And be sure to order the guacamole, made table side, it does not disappoint! Sit outside at one of the cozy tables near the fireplace in the front courtyard.  Oh and if you don't like waiting thirty minutes to an hour for a table be sure to make a reservation!


Scottsdale Old Town and ArtWalk 

A great walking spot, Old Town has a great selection of galleries and stores open late on Thursdays for anyone to enjoy. From Western bronzes to traditional Hopi Indian pottery, grab a glass of wine and meander through the wide selection of galleries. On Saturday, local flavour is on full display in the Old Town with the Scottsdale Farmer's Market, where Arizona-grown oranges and peppers are sold alongside homemade tamales and mozzarella. 

Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright

Taliesin West was the desert masterpiece and winter home of Scottsdale's most notorious snowbird, famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In typical Frank Lloyd Wright fashion, the home is constructed entirely out of local materials - desert rocks, fitted together with wood forms and filled with concrete. Wright always favoured using materials that were readily available rather than those that must be transported to the site.

Built in 1937, the low, sky-lit buildings of Taliesin West served as Wright's winter home until his death in 1959 at the age of 91. Today the house remains a pilgrimage site for its masterful expression of desert design. It is also the main campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. 

Mr. Wright sure did like his geometry! Office chairs at Taliesin West.

I spotted several of these ancient Chinese theater scenes, each one cemented into place throughout the property.

Fun fact: all the furniture at Taliesin West was also designed by Wright.

Scottsdale's Museum of the West: Western Spirit

Not knowing entirely what to expect, I popped in here one morning while Dennis was off playing golf and was pleasantly surprised and impressed. The museum features an extensive collection of western art and artifacts that thoroughly captures the spirit of exploration and the settling of the wild west. There was also a great exhibition which highlighted the expedition of famed explorers Lewis and Clark. If you like the old west, this is definitely the place to go.

Lewis and Clark exhibit, Scottsdale's Museum of the West.

California spurs, Scottsdale's Museum of the West.

Saddle up! Scottsdale's Museum of the West.

The Great Outdoors

There is no shortage of outdoor activities in Scottsdale - from golfing to mountain biking to hiking the options are endless. The region also hosts some of the most iconic events in the automobile industry (Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction), golf (the PGA Tour's Phoenix Open) and baseball's (MLB Spring Cactus League). There is truly something for everyone.