Monthly Archives: May 2010

Visiting Arizona: Sanctuary in the Desert

There is something transcendental about the desert.  It almost doesn’t seem like a place, but rather a dimensional aura of earth’s infancy.  A valley of stark contrasts tinted in warm hues of orange, red, brown, and sand, glorifies the mighty blue sky and a swirl of stars amidst a blackened night.

When I think back to my time at Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain in Arizona I am overcome with feelings of peace.  Strolling among the serene botanical grounds inhaling sweet floral aromas and earthy scents of smoking wood from blazing fire pits, offered moments of spiritual rejuvenation.   Each morning I awoke to my lavender-scented pillow and gazed out the window at massive, glowing red rock formations resting within the parched scrubland of the property.  Walking over to the pool just after dawn, I would admire the sleepy moon ebb from a fiery sky.   A vigorous swim to refresh my tired body, and an organic breakfast of egg white ratatouille, airy pastries, green tea, and freshly brewed coffee, created the kind of drawn-out, relaxed morning I crave during the work-day grind.

Some days the temperature reached 118 degrees Fahrenheit by noon, creating a dry warmth that lulled my body easily to sleep.   An infinity pool offered magnificent vistas and cool reprieve from the sun’s intense rays. Scents of aromatic  essential oils drifted through the air from the nearby spa and the pool attendants offered cool towels smelling of rosemary mint to invigorate and refresh the senses.

Surprisingly, not much else was needed on this trip, as I usually search for excitement and adventure; the desert seemed to draw me into its trance, fixating my attention on the surreal beauty of nothingness.  Graciously accepting the gift of time I read profusely, relaxed with my husband, and reveled in culinary delights.

A boutique hotel, Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain is comprised of individual villas, the Sanctuary spa, a small, but well-equipped gym, and Elements, an award winning restaurant (Beau MacMillian serves as Executive Chef) with stunning panoramic views of Scottsdale’s Paradise Valley. The hotel also offers a fabulous nightlife scene at Jade bar and its outdoor extension: Edge.  Both attract Scottsdale’s elite making it a trendy spot overlooking the valley.  When the weather is clement, hiking, golfing, and yoga classes are favorite pastimes on property trails.  As for me, a little sun, a little sleep, and a little gastronomy were my oasis in the desert.

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