1. Like the desert itself, the Fairmont Scottsdale is expansive. After checking in, take a bit of time to explore the 450-acre property and discover all the amenities and services, including five pools and seven restaurants.
2. If you get a chance, have a go at trying to drive the green of the 332-yard 17th hole of the Stadium course at TPC Scottsdale, site of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. On the hole Andrew Magee made the only hole-in-one on a par 4 in PGA Tour history. Just wait for the green to clear, something Magee didn’t do. (His ball ricocheted off the putter of Tom Byrum, who was lining up a putt.)
3. Don’t skip out on a round on the Champions course, the Stadium’s sister layout. It was recently redesigned by Randy Heckenkemper and offers a test of golf that is nearly the equal of its more famous sibling.
4. If you’re looking to chill out, there is no cooler way to do so than poolside. The main pool has food and drinks, and is great for families who want to spend the whole day splashing around and/or soaking up the sun.
5. For a really special treat, rent a cabana for the day. In addition to the shade, you get fruit platters, water, reading materials and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream bars. You’re on vacation, so why not go all out?
6. For a distinctively desert outdoor activity, take an early morning or late afternoon hike up and down nearby Pinnacle Peak, which has a trail that forms a 3.5-mile loop. Remember to bring plenty of water, as the combination of the dry air and elevation (2,889 feet at the trail’s highest point) can really dehydrate your body.
7. Treat yourself to a relaxing afternoon at the Willow Stream Spa, which features several golf-specific treatments that are highly restorative after golf or hiking.
8. Splurge for a meal at Bourbon Steak, which combines Michael Mina’s award-winning dishes with a distinctly Southwest setting that complements the rest of the resort seamlessly.
9. Check out the resort’s newest restaurant, La Hacienda. Chef Richard Sandoval’s modern interpretation of Mexican cuisine is a perfect way to celebrate the local area, which has been influenced so heavily by our neighbors to the south.
10. Cap off a memorable evening at the Stone Rose, an indoor/mostly outdoor lounge that sits in the courtyard in the center of the resort and offers a unique sense of place. There is no better way to end a day in the sun than by sipping a drink under the stars.