There are many jewels to be found in the state of Arizona, but some are well hidden, like the Hermosa Inn tucked away in Paradise Valley. It's the last place you'd expect to find a hotel, situated alongside multi million-dollar resort homes in one of the wealthiest property zip codes in the country. But that's part of the charm, it's not like staying in a hotel, more like house sitting for your affluent relatives with full access to enjoy their spectacular southwestern style home whilst the staff take care of your every need. The only difference is, you pay for the privilege!
There are no main roads or highways within earshot of the property, just peace, quiet and tranquility. A rustic wooden door welcomes hotel guests to the reception foyer, the only giveaway that this is a hotel is the sign on the wall. The enchanting entrance leads to a cool southwestern lounge area with plush leather armchairs situated around an open fireplace (for those chilly Arizona nights), decorated with nostalgic pieces of the old west and exposed wooden beams reminiscent of adobe style architecture.
The property is spread over six acres, and the well-equipped 43 casitas which make up the guest rooms are nestled amid lush colorful landscaping. The rooms are accessed via winding walkways surrounded by blooming flowers, vines, trees, grassy knolls and the prettiest of cacti. Everything grows here it seems, and to ensure this oasis remains ablaze of color no matter the time of year, the flower beds are changed periodically!
All the buildings at the Hermosa Inn give the impression of being small and quaint, but on the inside the space takes on a whole new dimension, rather like Dr. Who's Tardis! Beside the four-poster bed with romantic voile drapes, I love the natural wood shutters on all the windows, the beehive fireplace and spacious walk in closet.
Our bathroom was vast with plenty of room for hubby and I to spread out. Old world fixtures within a stylish marble-topped chunky wood vanity. An enormous walk in shower with two shower heads and my favorite part, the claw foot bath. I always wanted one of these, so I had to languish in a cloud of bubbly heaven for just a while!
Each casita has its own private patio. This is where we would have our first sun-downer of the evening, and our last nightcap before bed!
Pool time was wonderful. Mainly because Brian, the man in charge of service by the pool and the private cabanas was so accommodating. His gracious personality and cheerful smile (apparently his nickname is Smiley) coupled with his keen efficiency was the best I've ever experienced.
As with most Arizona properties and businesses, the dog days of summer take their toll. The positive for us mere mortals is that there are some fantastic summer packages available. This has many advantages beside price, it's quieter than at other times of the year and there's always a fabulous spot to be had by the pool.
We had breakfast out by the pool on Sunday. We chose items from LON's brunch menu. LON's is the fine-dining restaurant of the Hermosa Inn with a strong reputation locally for it's culinary delights. I had the avocado toast with cherry tomatoes, olive oil, topped with micro greens. With a generous serving of avocado this was a totally shareable dish, but I ate it all anyway! Hubby had the eggs Benedict, I didn't like the ham so much, but the crispy new potatoes were delish!
There is a small fitness room which is well appointed, seen here across the flower beds from the outdoor patio of LON's Restaurant.
There is a happy hour every night at Last Drop, the bar and casual dining area at the Hermosa Inn. With old lanterns atop rustic beer barrels, this is a place to unwind and relax in subdued lighting with a laid-back vibe. We ate here the first night and had pizza and sliders which did not disappoint.
If you have the chance to stay here or just stop by for dinner, ask a member of the staff if they might show you the wine cellar. It may take a bit of convincing on account of some, let's just say, unexplained phenomena... oh, did I forget to mention this hotel is steeped in history! It's very chilly down there. Boo!
I could definitely have stayed longer, but alas all good things come to an end. I guess my affluent relatives came home so I had to move out!
Using tennis as an excuse for a girl's trip to Las Vegas is a sobering thought. What could possibly go wrong? But it's as good an excuse as any given that these six ladies in their midlife have friendship in common because of tennis.
The trip had been in the pipeline for months until one evening at the bar during a happy hour gathering, and far from sober, dates were secured, and flights were booked right there on cell phones. A mere $45 each way from Phoenix to Las Vegas... cheers to Southwest Airlines!
In case you're unfamiliar with the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auctions, they are the car lover's dream and for those who can afford to bid, and win - perhaps a dream come true!
Haven't been able to steal the time away for a proper holiday of late, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't enjoy a little time away from home. A change of scenery with the ones you love, namely hubby (aka Brian) and the dog (aka Rigsby), is all you need to recharge the batteries for a while! A staycation in Arizona is never a disappointment when there is so much to do, see and enjoy here. So we drove all the way down the road to the new Mountain Shadows resort to see what all the hype was about!
If you live around Scottsdale or have passed through recently, you may have noticed the giant white tents standing alongside Loop 101 and Hayden Road. For ten weeks at the beginning of every year as many as 100 of the finest artists from across the country gather in this enormous arena to display their work. Many of the artists create new work whilst visitors, art lovers and art collectors meander the studios taking in spectacular art in various forms from paintings to sculptures, and can chat with the artists and see how their work is created.
There is always somewhere good to be in Arizona at any time of the year, despite the soaring temperatures in the summer. It's a state with it's own climate control. A couple of hours north or a couple of hours south, we've got it all covered, just find your comfort zone. At this time of year, you want to be right here, Scottsdale and Phoenix, the places to be, weather included. With so much going on, from music festivals to rodeos, art shows to championship golf tournaments and everything in between. It's alive with life, the State's own entertainment capital.
Locally, this event has quite a reputation for being the single most popular people watching arena in the west. Of course, some people do actually go to watch the golf! Many girls dress up as though they're going to a star studded party on a yacht in the Caribbean. It was a gloriously warm day which favored the skimpy clothes, and with no concern for the general terrain of such event, the scenery was more than entertaining with high heels and platform shoes tottering about the sloping grassy banks of the vast 18 hole championship TPC golf course.
This was my first time to a golf tournament, and the first time to any event that hosted a record breaking almost 205,000 people on a single day. It was a sight to behold. I didn't see much golf but that wasn't really why I was there, as I believe was the same for a large number of other folk in attendance!
Every year in January, Scottsdale Arizona hosts the Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions. This year it takes place from January 14th to January 22nd.
It's the largest concentration of cars from old classics to modern day prototypes and everything in between here in the beautiful city of Scottsdale. Rows of gleaming polished chrome like the dinnerware on a banquet table, paintwork in every imaginable color like perfectly lined up bottles of nail polish. Proud owners dusting off their pride and joy, the crowds milling through the tents, browsing, dreaming! Celebrity cars for sale, rare cars in impeccable condition, so much to look at, not enough time. Then there are the auctions, the excitement, the big spenders looking to catch their dream toy. Outside, the tempting smell of barbecue, food trucks, and if you're game, you can tackle the worlds largest turkey leg!
What's in it for us girls? Men are not the only ones that these cars invoke fond lifetime memories for. Today, I saw my very first car, a red Mini Cooper. Forty years on, I can't believe I actually fit inside that car! The Morris 1000, the very first car my parents owned when I was 10 years old. The day my daddy brought that car home, I spent the whole day playing inside it pretending it was my play house! There's a huge Exhibitor Marketplace to stroll around and shop, plus, there are lots of happy men walking around, all in very good moods, some dashingly handsome!
This is my first time visit to a car show and I liked it! If you are in the neighborhood and have a chance to go, it is well worth a visit. A general admission ticket is just $20, with senior, military and student discounts available. Auction and VIP packages vary, but all can be purchased from the Barrett-Jackson website here.
This amazing property is referred to as the "Jewel of the Desert" situated in the heart of Phoenix, AZ. Since 1929, accommodating U.S. presidents and legendary film stars, the luxury resort currently boasts eight swimming pools and two championship golf courses amid 39 acres. It's stunning architecture was designed by the famous American architect Frank LLoyd Wright.
The Biltmore "Sprites". These original architecture sculptures were designed by Frank LLoyd Wright in 1914 to stand guard over Chicago's Midway Gardens. These same Sprites, meaning fairy or elf, now grace the grounds of the Arizona Biltmore Resort.
Having spent many years working in the hotel industry, I have a passionate curiosity for interesting properties around the world. The Arizona Biltmore Resort is no exception. We enjoyed a lazy afternoon, sipping wine, overlooking the lush gardens of the hotel, watching their guests come and go, and the scenic beauty of the Camelback Mountain Range beyond the golf course. It was idyllic.
The transition into fall is a slow process in Arizona, so I wore an off the shoulder blouse by Topshop from Nordstrom. It had the feel of fall with it's autumnal floral colors on a black background, bell sleeves and a light-weight silky feel. The black coated skinny jeans are by Citizans of Humanity, (similar here) and the clutch bag is Vince Camuto. (Similar here). I love this bag, because it's big enough to fit a substantial amount of girl stuff, and when you need to be hands free, it has a handy gold link chain shoulder strap, plus it has the leather coated bear claw charm giving it an edgy feel. The booties are Via Spiga and are my favorite new purchase this fall, they just seem to go with everything, plus they're "walk all day" comfy to boot!
Karen Serino is a life and style blogger, sharing fashion, fitness and fun for youthful women in their forties, fifties and beyond.
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Click the picture below to see my interview with the lovely Jonet Wooten from Fabulously Chic Over 50