Perhaps best known to golfers for one of the top courses in the USA, The Boulders Resort on 1300 acres in Carefree, Arizona bordering Scottsdale creates a gentle and reinvigorating world in the Sonoran desert landscape that any non-golfer can thrive in and more.
This is a place to go to relax and renew your spirit –whether escaping brutal winter or taking advantage of 75% summer discounts on resort rooms and similar deep discounts on spa luxuries during the off-season.
Scottsdale’s first luxury resort, it was built 27 years ago with an interesting adobe architecture that blends well into the surrounding 12-million-year-old granite boulder landscape—hence the name. We are told that the architect, Bob Bacon, lived in the patch of desert where he would later design The Boulders for six months so that he could get a thorough feel for the terrain.
Homage to the Native American belief that the land is holy is shown in the Hogan style of the buildings. Bacon’s idea was to blend the structures with the surrounds and in this he succeeded.
Indigenous plant life abounds, as does wildlife.
Sit on the deck of your casita or take a nature walk—you will no doubt see rabbits, road runners and many another bird singing away.
Of the many luxury resorts that are now in the greater Scottsdale area, The Boulders boasts the most space for the least number of visitors.
You feel this lack of density at all times.
When you arrive your car is parked and you are taken into the web of 160 guest casitas and 61 one-, two- and three-bedroom Pueblo Villas/Haciendas in one of the golf carts that you can summon at any time to take you to one or another destination at the resort.
The rooms are spacious and lacking no amenities.
Perhaps the heart of luxury at The Boulders is in its spa.
Arriving for a massage, I was told there were 20 treatment rooms—and yet I was able to change, go to steam bath and to an inside heated water area and back to steam and back to shower and change without seeing any other guest!
This was ever so soothing solitude.
While I enjoyed a massage my husband enjoyed hiking the grounds.
There are several parks and hiking trails not far from the resort but one wonders why anyone would ever leave. If time allowed, it is easy to picture starting every day and/or ending it with an hour or so constitutional.
You get calm—whether it’s a massage or trail that gets you there.
The moonlight bicycle ride is not to be missed.
When the golf courses close the ribbons of paths that cut through them and up to the surrounding boulder landscape provide a smooth bicycle path for a gentle ride, including a guided tour of flora and fauna highlights along the way.
The resort has many restaurants on its grounds and a shuttle bus to a nearby Mexican restaurant. Of those we tried our favorite was definitely The Spa Café, where our good-natured waitress quipped quite accurately that they aren’t exactly serving boiled wheatgrass sandwiches. Rather, it’s very tasty cuisine in proportions and with ingredients that match the health retreat of the spa. Don’t miss taking as many meals there as your schedule allows.
If you want to mix up the spa retreat with foodie time you’ll find five other on-site restaurants, and don’t forget that contiguous Scottsdale boasts more restaurants per capita than Manhattan.
Your big dilemma at The Boulders will in fact be in deciding if and when to leave to take in the many sights and attractions of Scottsdale and Phoenix.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that many start to go to their cars and then change their minds to instead take a dip in one of the pools—again.
The Boulders Resort
34631 North Tom Darlington Drive
Carefree, Arizona 85377
For booking and other information visit The Boulders website or call 888 570 2631. Make sure to inquire about separate bookings for spa, golf and other amenities.
Photos courtesy of The Boulders Resort, unless otherwise indicated.