When it’s time for a girls’ trip, but life, work and travel is complicated, sometimes the best location is close to home.
Coming out of the pandemic, there were so many destinations for a girls’ trip on my list to visit and so many friends to connect with. Late-night phone calls with my friend Michelle punctuated the planning; let’s go to Punta Mita or how about Lake Como? Then came navigating the restrictions and busy schedules of two entrepreneurial girlfriends with deadlines and clients to keep in mind. Will we ever get this girlfriends’ weekend on the calendar?
What we were looking for was a super luxe vacation lounging by the pool, visiting the spa, dining on fine food and pampering ourselves with yoga classes, morning walks, workouts and yes, cocktailing.
We made plans as quickly as we changed our plans, and in the end, what we were looking for was a super luxe vacation lounging by the pool, visiting the spa, dining on fine food and pampering ourselves with yoga classes, morning walks, workouts and yes, cocktailing.
Sometimes what you are looking for is right under your feet—a Scottsdale staycation was in order. A short drive for one of us and a quick flight for the other, our entire time off the clock would be spent relaxing like two professional vacationers. At last, we had a plan at one of the best girls’ trip locations.
Within an hour of Michelle landing, we transitioned from work to play in the time it took to order two glasses of Sancerre at Francine for an early lunch, dining on fine French cuisine just inside Scottsdale Fashion Square. Our four-day staycation weekend had begun.
We chose The Phoenician Scottsdale as our headquarters for relaxation, recuperation and revelry. Living as I do in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley for nearly 30 years, The Phoenician has appeared on countless lists for me—best spa, best place for a drink with a view, best high tea, best resort golf and today, best place to secure a cabana by the pool. As a magazine publisher, I’m constantly asked for my recommendations for the best destinations for travelers and girls’ trips alike, and I have always suggested late-night drinks at The Thirsty Camel, taking in the panoramic view, as one of my favorite things for those visiting us for the first time.
After we checked in, we wasted no time in getting ready for an afternoon at the pool—a multi-tiered complex with a bustling family-friendly pool, an adults-only pool and the tranquil Mother-of-Pearl pool, where we relaxed for the day with full-service until the sun started going down.
For dinner our first night at an awesome destination for a girls’ trip, we dined at Mowry & Cotton, known for seasonally inspired American dishes.
We started with Squash Blossom Flatbread and Burrata Dip with Tomatillo Jam, and two amazing craft cocktails with mezcal and fresh juices. Then we tasted the Charred Tuna with Pomegranate and Pineapple. Yum! Is there such a thing as a rustic version of tuna? We shared Day Boat Scallops with Mushroom Conserva and Fiery Eggplant, and the Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Dolce and Charred Onion Asada for dinner with Charred Brussel Sprouts and Caramelized Cauliflower to continue the smoky theme of our meal, a savory ending to the best day at our girls’ trip location.
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The next day, we took advantage of complimentary access to the Athletic Club where we worked off dinner and got the blood pumping for pool day, where we reserved a cabana. We had a dedicated server, complimentary sunscreen and coverage from the direct Arizona sun, when we weren’t hiding under our big hats, behind our sunglasses and under the shade of an umbrella. A day of girl talk commenced.
According to a post on BBC, women can use up to 20,000 words per day, compared to men who use about 7,000 words a day. As the years have gone by since the study, that gap has begun to tighten, however the point is…thank goodness for girlfriends who are willing to listen to all of that!
We had a dedicated server, complimentary sunscreen and coverage from the direct Arizona sun, when we weren’t hiding under our big hats, behind our sunglasses and under the shade of an umbrella.
From our private cabana, we ordered lunch from Kalio Kabobery and enjoyed many yummies including the Mediterranean Chicken Wrap and Citrus Salmon and Chicken Shawarma Kabobs. On another day, we shared the Quinoa & Chickpea Bowl with more kabobs and one evening, happy hour paired nicely with the Pacific Shrimp Aguachile Ceviche and Roasted Salsa, Pico de Gallo & Tomatillo Guacamole. The Mediterranean approach to the menu provided healthy and hearty girls’ trip options at our destination that didn’t make us feel we had to put our cover ups back on.
That evening, we dined at The Tavern, where the chef has created food fit for a golfer from Bison Burgers to Fish & Chips. The spicy fried dill pickles are a fan favorite—do not approach this starter unless the bikini portion of your staycation is complete. For two ladies, we hugged the “Big Salad” curb and left the incredible menu for the golfers wrapping up their day. The view is lovely, and the venue is lively.
The color palette is tranquil meets elegant, and I so enjoy the design of that spa to get me in the mood for the day.
There comes that moment on a destination girls’ trip when it’s time to lighten up, so we started with aquatic yoga and a day at the spa. We pounded water, water and more water, and then juiced, enjoying lighter fair at the spa pool—which was our favorite pool, located on the rooftop, accessible by “The Golden Elevator.”
As mentioned, The Phoenician Spa is highly acclaimed worldwide, and this was not my first visit to this slice of heaven. The spa was completely rebuilt and redesigned in 2018, and it’s positively beautiful. The color palette is tranquil meets elegant, and I so enjoy the design of that spa to get me in the mood for the day.
The women’s locker room, pre-treatment lounge and post-treatment Quiet Relaxation Room are all private and elegant, and if you plan, you can make time for the sauna, steam room, hot tub and cold shower as part of your spa ritual.
We both scheduled the Phoenix Rising Scrub & Massage, an 80-minute treatment with a warm, creamy body polish, rich in magnesium, for the scrub and a full-body massage with Shea butter and coconut oil. We were told this treatment would create healthy energy levels, help with better sleep and improve muscle function. What we found was that we were at the best location to be completely relaxed on our girls’ trip and silky smooth after the treatment.
Feeling good, we exercised our credit cards at the spa gift shop that famously always has such great stuff…including my new dress. We finished our evening watching the gymnastic finals in the Olympics from our room, where we let our skin soak in all those amazing spa products. In-room dining provided some light bites to finish our evening.
As we awoke for our final staycation day, we packed up and scurried to a 75-minute Yin & Yang yoga class that we took in the glass-front studio in the spa. We loved our instructor Jennifer from Metta Yoga, who led an amazing class of yoga practice, breathing exercises and intention setting.
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That put the “om” in it’s time to go home, but not before we enjoyed the best brunch at our girls’ trip location at Mowry & Cotton. I loved my Egg White Farmer’s Frittata, and my friend ordered Mowry’s Breakfast B.L.T. on a Brioche Bun with bacon, smoked gouda and arugula. Absolutely delicious.
While we could have ordered an amazing Green Nectar juice, we chose mimosas to say cheers to our lovely staycation, enduring friendship and the chance to finally unwind in luxe style.
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