As we turned down North Saddlebag Trail to strobe lights and country tunes coming out in full force, I knew my preconceived notions about this place were pretty far off. I couldn’t wait to get this party started.
Scottsdale makes party planning easy in many ways. First off, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is a hot 15 minutes away. Rent a car or don’t – your Toyota Camry rental or Nissan Sentra Uber will be at your hotel or Airbnb in no time.
If you’re the hotel type, you should probably look into the W Scottsdale or The Saguaro in Old Town (chic with the best location for bars, restaurants, etc), The Phoenician or Sanctuary nestled in Camelback Mountain (easy access to trails!), or the Fairmont Princess (where the spa is life) in northern Scottsdale. As for our group of 13, we settled into a large Airbnb in south Scottsdale. It was quite the party house indeed with pool table, poker table, pool and many bedrooms – highly recommend for parties with many people in tow. Find the Airbnb link here (entitled Old Town Scottsdale Modern Desert Escape).
Friday afternoon: To start things off on Friday, the girls met at Olive & Ivy during mid-afternoon for some wine and small bites. You really can’t beat this cheery outside ambiance and happy-hour menu. I could’ve stayed here until the sun went down sipping on my malbec while basking by the fit pit, but alas, we had a party to throw and a bride to celebrate 🙂
Friday night: I can’t say enough good things about Fat Ox. From the service to the food to the attention to detail to the follow up/thank you the next day by the restaurant manager, I hiiighly recommend this eatery. I got the chicken dish, and it was MMMmmmMm.
Saturday AM: We had a big morning scheduled from hiking Camelback Mountain to heading north towards the Fairmont Princess hotel for our spa day. For a quick and healthy breakfast to make up for all the alcohol we put in our bodies the night before, we passed the Original Chop Shop for some juice and acai bowls. They have everything from avo toast to bagels to PB & J greek yogurt.
Saturday afternoon: Look no further than a girls lunch at the Fairmont hotel. More details below!
Saturday night: The bride’s parents surprised the group after we returned from the spa and cooked us the most amazing dinner. (Special thanks to Ira, Julie, Rick and Peter for EVERYTHING.) This is a great way to save money if there’s a chef in the group who doesn’t mind cooking a big meal, but if you want another boozy dinner out in town, maybe try The Mission for latin cuisine and a lively atmosphere or SumoMaya for Mexican-Asian fusion vibes.
Sunday AM: If you’re still thirsty and hungry for more, I obsessed over The Montauk on Sunday. I couldn’t stomach any more mimosas or vodka on this particular morning, so I opted for lots of coffee, egg whites and the parfait.
Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row – I think I speak for all 13 of us when I say Whiskey Row was a highlight of the weekend. We had bottle service (which is a straight STEAL in Scottsdale) and a giant table to ourselves as we danced the night away to country music, Backstreet Boys and Queen B. ‘Twas a night to remember…or, er, maybe not 😉
Hike Camelback Mountain – I hiked Camelback the day before the group arrived, and it wasn’t a walk in the park. Sunset was lit and I have photos to prove it, but I knew a group of 13 hungover women wouldn’t want to partake in such a strenuous activity come Saturday morning. There are many trails around the area to choose from, but if you really want to say you tried Camelback/post proof on Instagram, hike about 10 minutes from the trailhead to the big cactus for a group pic, turn around, and go to the spa. Oops. Secret’s out.
Spa’rty at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Hotel – All day spa days are my favorite days. This Saturday was THE BEST day at the hotel’s Well & Being Spa where, if you book with a group, you get $20 off your spa treatment with access to all amenities AND lunch included. If the group isn’t into hiking beforehand like we did, may I suggest aerial yoga at the hotel’s fitness center? It really is a dreamworld inside these walls… 🙂
A word of caution to the party planners out there: Summers in Scottsdale get VERY hot, like 115 degrees hot. Unless your group is inside or inside a body of water the entire weekend, I might look into another location. Scottsdale is perfect during winter, spring and fall!