Destination: NEXT

Your Oasis Awaits in Arizona

Vacations are essential for the soul—and none are more blissfully escapist than girls’ getaways and guys’ weekends.
Bring your favorite people and leave your encumbrances. Arizona awaits with piercingly blue skies, spiritual landscapes, and otherworldly resorts and spas. (Perhaps you’ve even seen a few of them featured in these pages.)
Picture yourself sunbathing poolside, surrounded by stately saguaro cacti and queen palms, a refreshing craft cocktail in hand. The Grand Canyon State represents the very definition of luxury.

Chandler: Indigenous. Immersive. In Style.

Located just south of Phoenix is the destination spa Aji at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass.

Aji’s contemporary spa treatments are imbued with the sacred doctrines of the Pima and Maricopa tribes and offer the opportunity to reconnect with your inner self. This healing sanctuary invites guests to get away from the everyday to rejuvenate body, mind, and spirit—and do it amid luxury and solace.

Swim, lounge poolside, or soak up some sun. Then, when it’s time some well-deserved pampering, indulge in the spa’s signature Nahtogig—or “Four Directions” treatment—a therapy drawing directly from the tribe’s creation story.

Prickly pear, salt, honey, and blue cornmeal combine to create a luxurious body treatment that exfoliates and nourishes.

Ready to hit the links? Whirlwind Golf Club at Wild Horse Pass features two 18-hole championship courses with PGA tournament pedigrees.

This is the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert at its finest. Whirlwind’s Devil’s Claw and Cattail courses have tee boxes that extend the course to over 7,000 yards. Lower handicappers will find options that test their skills at 5,600 yards or less.

Whether you choose pampering or putting, you’ll want to spend the evening at Kai, the only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star restaurant in Arizona—located in the heart of the resort.

Here, the essence of the Pima and Maricopa tribes are incorporated with locally farmed ingredients from the Gila River Indian Community to create unforgettable culinary masterpieces.

Kai’s menu satisfies the most discerning of diners, with Native-infused entrees like Grilled Tenderloin of Tribal Buffalo, Bellota Iberico Liomo Wrapped High Country Elk Loin and Mole Rojo Dusted Hebi (Albacore Tuna Tartare and Little Neck Clams). Prix fixe “Journey Tasting Menus” are also available to groups.

And because friends don’t let friends shop alone, the Phoenix Premium Outlets will satisfy your need for retail therapy. Just a short jaunt from Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass, await luxury brands like Armani Exchange, Hugo Boss, Coach, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Movado, as well as popular stores like Adidas, Nike and more.

Tucson: Riding. Racing. Reserves.

Arizona has reinvented the dude ranch vacation, and you won’t find one as deluxe as Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson.

Saddle up and take a trail ride into the Coronado National Forest or Saguaro National Park, surrounded by magnificent mountain ranges and rare desert fauna and flora.

Never been on horseback before? No problem. The Ranch offers riding lessons for all levels, from fundamentals to intermediate horsemanship. More into tachometers than equestrian tack?

Rent an all-terrain UTV and explore Arizona’s backcountry. Or cruise the highways and byways in an open-air, two-seater Polaris Slingshot—the ultimate fun ride.

But why stop there? Tanque Verde offers every imaginable activity: find your Zen in a yoga class, take an archery lesson, join a watercolor workshop, go hiking or mountain biking, even play a few sets of tennis.

After a day like that, you’re sure to work up an appetite, and on this front The Ranch doesn’t disappoint either. Executive Chef Janet Jones serves up three gourmet meals each day, with special events like breakfast rides and cowboy cookouts hosted regularly.

What pairs well with a warm, sunny afternoon and a breathtaking view of Arizona’s beautifully rugged scenery? A glass of locally made wine, of course. Trade-in your chaps for a chauffeur and let Diamond Transportation take your group on a tour of southern Arizona’s finest wineries and distilleries.

An hour south of Tucson, the Sonoita-Elgin wine region is home to 14 wineries, all offering expansive views and a wide variety of wines, plus spirits and beer for those with varied tastes. Designated an American Viticultural Area (AVA), the region’s locally made varietals have earned international acclaim, won numerous awards, and have been served in the White House.

Rather handle the transportation yourself? Cruise the best of Tucson’s Mexican cuisine scene on a two-and-half-hour Taco Bike Tour. Along the way, you’ll indulge in Tucson’s specialty, the loaded Sonoran hot dog, as well as a plethora of local micro-brews.

Gaming reaches a new level of luxury at Tucson’s Casino Del Sol, an oasis of excitement nestled in secluded desert mesquites. A five-time recipient of a AAA Four-Diamond rating, you’ll think you’ve hit the amenity jackpot.

The resort offers luxurious guest rooms, concierge service, and a spectacular pool with private cabanas and poolside dining. There’s also a full-service spa and fitness center, championship golf course, outdoor amphitheater with live entertainment, and—you guessed it—a sprawling casino with slots, live poker, blackjack, bingo and more.

Flowering cactus. Fiery sunsets. Five-star amenities.

Need we say more? Get that girls’ getaway or guys’ weekend on the books. It’s time to relax, recharge and reconnect in Arizona. Your desert oasis awaits.

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