Scottsdale, AZ: A COVID-19 Vacation

An end of January trip to the desert during COVID, a statement I'd never thought I'd make. Here's how these first-timers did Scottsdale.



As a kid I visited Tucson, but I previously have never been to Scottsdale. A few of us tossed around the idea of Scottsdale and I actually wasn't planning on going on this trip. Around the New Year, I was on Instagram and saw someone tag Scottsdale in the pictures. I couldn't stop staring at the beauty of the scenery, so I booked a plane ticket right then. I got an incredibly cheap ticket ($49 one way kind of cheap) on Southwest from Dallas.


Trip Details and Tips/Tidbits (I also consistently review on Yelp)


Stay:

Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas, 4/5. I wasn't there the first night, but they let me know that there were some issues with air conditioning and the front desk wasn't super helpful in switching rooms. When I got there, the front desk gentleman was very kind and friendly, offering up ideas of where to hike. We figured out that we are from hometowns next to each other. Overall, the interior was gorgeous, the pool area was relaxing (with an outdoor bar if you're there in the summer) and the location was center to the strip and everything we wanted to do. This picture is from their website online.




Eat: Full thoughts on Yelp; so I'm just leaving my overall score below.

  • Hash Kitchen - 5/5. A must for brunch!

  • Butters Pancakes & Cafe, 5/5. Another must for brunch!

  • In-N-Out, 1/5. First of all I know, why go there when it's at home? Besides that, their patties are no thicker than a stick of gum. Not worth it.

  • Blue Cayote Cafe, 5.5. A great spot for food at the casino. We weren't disappointed by anything.


Do:

  • Try out their delicious, local restaurants!

  • Check out / grab a drink / walk Old Town Scottsdale

  • Hike Camelback Mountain

  • Drive through the mountains

  • Top Golf

  • Spa Day at Spa Serene 4/5. We both enjoyed our massages, but weren't a fan of the esthetician who did our facials. We wouldn't steer anyone away, but it was not our favorite. Tip: They offer a military discount.

  • Here's other fun things to do that we weren't able to get to.



My favorite part: How conducive Scottsdale is to gluten friendly foods. I was actually able to walk into both breakfast places and get gluten free pancakes / waffles. Also, the weather. I've never known perfect, and now I do. We were there in January, and I was sweating during my hike.


My least favorite part: It rained on Friday night and I was sick in the middle of the night on Saturday.


Random Things:

  • If you're a golfer and haven't been to Scottsdale, get there now. You're missing out!

  • Scottsdale is a great vacation spot for any time of the year.

  • If you're into this kind of thing, Local Joint is a cannabis dispensary with high quality products.


Let's Recap


I flew into Scottsdale on Friday morning, while the others flew in on Thursday night. Got to the airport, grabbed my coffee, and read a book before my flight. I can't lie, I had a "I really miss traveling" moment several times that morning.



I uber'd to the hotel and we went to grab In-N-Out for lunch. Honestly, I'm not a big burger person. Like, I could go without a burger for years and never once crave it but these people were craving it! After our average burgers (feel free to fight me on that you die hard in-n-out fans), Karley and I went to the spa!



I've never been a "treat-yo-self" type of girl. I'm more of the "meh, I'll get my hair cut when it gets unmanageable" type of girl, and one who rarely has the patience to sit still long enough to get her nails done. So the thought of forking out the money for these types of services gave me quite a bit of hesitance. Frugal Felicia over here. #itme



HOWEVER, the more I've learned about skin, caring for your skin, massages, the benefits beyond relaxation that massage therapy has, the more I've begun to prioritize it. I'm usually the one who takes care of others (I think it's partly the first born child in me and partly just my personality), so being taken care of is a foreign language to me.



A day off of work to lay there and be taken care of? Sign me up. It was also nice for me to challenge myself in that way, to do those things that I typically don't and spend money on myself. Karley got her massage first and I got my facial, and then we switched rooms.



Spa afternoons are just what the health coach ordered. ;) Your girls left happier than clams. Afterwards, we experienced a rainy evening...which apparently only happens in Scottsdale 7 times a year. #blessings



Saturday morning we woke up, the boys went golfing and Karley and I went to brunch. I almost fainted when the waitress said that they had COLD DECAF coffee. I've recently switched to decaf and can't seem to find cold decaf coffee anywhere. Now, brunch with a view? I could get used to staring at the mountains in the background for every meal.



K and I are huge chicken finger fans, so we definitely got chicken fingers and fries at 10:30 in the morning.



Along with these little donuts...all of it was amazing!



The ambiance of this restaurant was perfect for out-of-towners who wanted a fun and also relaxed vibe in Scottsdale to brunch. There was a DJ and people dancing to the music while they ate. It was fun. We were all spaced out well for COVID and by 10:45 when we left, Hash Kitchen was at their COVID capacity and the waitlist was full.



On our way back from brunch, we joked about everyday needing to go somewhere for a spa service. And then, we found ourselves doing exactly that. We grabbed a Starbucks and went to a well reviewed yelp salon. I can confirm that almost a month later my gel toenails are still the same silver sparkles as when my kind salon attendant put them on.



Peep our ride tho!



After nails, and partly why I wanted gel toes was so that I could go hiking. You girl loves her hiking, if you don't know that, you should pay more attention to my Instagram stories. ;)



I was given directions to some other place, but ended up at Camelback Mountain because it was well known and I'd heard of it before. Besides that, it was right across the street from our hotel. Isn't that what a tourist should do?! This hike was NO JOKE. If you have a fear of heights, I do not recommend. There were some moments that even my hands started sweating.



Later that night after I hiked and the guys came back from golf, we all went to the casino at Talking Stick. Karley and I went out and sat by the fire, while they gambled. The casino came recommended per those who took part in those activities. We loved the fire and girl talk outside. :)



Sunday took us to Butter's for breakfast and while we had a wait at 9am, it did NOT disappoint. We even got in early without having to wait the entire time. Gluten free pancakes, french toast, and eggs Benedict. Stomachs were full and nobody complained!



After breakfast, we went and laid out by the pool at the resort for a few hours. It was so nice but if you look closely at my legs you can see I still had goosebumps! Ha!



We decided to take the roof off the jeep and drive on a nice Sunday stroll through the desert to pass some time.



We stopped by some cactus for a picture...and I couldn't talk them into hiking any more. :(



We then watched the weather as we packed up, returned the rental car, and got to the airport ahead of our flights. Their's got delayed back to STL due to the weather while I was home and sound asleep by 9:30 from travel exhaustion.


A trip with friends, to a new place, full of beautiful weather and scenery. You must go!

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