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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Dive into Design in Scottsdale

This once-sleepy city is now brimming with stylish hotels, eye-catching public art, and locally focused food that goes far beyond Southwest kitsch.

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1. Where to Stay

Make like Don Draper in your mid-century modern room at the Hotel Valley Ho.  

Bypass doilies and dolls at the four-room, year-old Bespoke Inn (from $269), a refined bed and breakfast along a quiet tree-lined street in downtown Scottsdale’s walkable arts district. Thanks to owner and innkeeper Kate Hennen’s sharp eye, the three cozy rooms downstairs, which open onto private patios, feel decidedly modern, swathed in tones of cream, gray, and black, and kitted out with walnut and marble vanities along with linen boyfriend-style sleeping shirts. The upstairs apartment comes outfitted with a well-stocked, turquoise blue tiled kitchen, oversize leather chairs, a Victoria and Albert soaking tub, and a wraparound balcony and outdoor fireplace, ideal for cool desert nights. Borrow chic wheels to cruise around town at the on-site, full-service bike shop, stocked with British Pashley bicycles free to guests; then, cool off post-ride in the infinity pool or relax with a book in the courtyard, under the shade of two 100-year-old olive trees.

Go retro at the laid-back Hotel Valley Ho (from $139), a mid-century modern gem. Designed by architect Edward L. Varney in the 1950s, the property was up for demolition until new owners saved it and renovated it to its original glory in 2005, complete with Fender guitars and original arrow-motif concrete columns in the high-ceilinged lobby. A seven-story tower, in Varney’s blueprint, was grandfathered in a few years ago, but for easy access to the O-shaped pool and bar book a room in the original hotel, like the sprawling, bright Studio Guest Room ($179), decked out with custom prints by local photographer Barry Wolf, pops of color in yellow drapes and lime-hued headboards, and a soaking tub right in the middle of the room. On Wednesdays, stop by the restaurant lounge for complimentary wine tastings from 5 to 7 p.m. The featured pour, such as a Diseno Malbec, goes for $6 a glass for the remainder of the night.

Join the pool party at the boldly colorful Saguaro (from $189), a 194-room, renovated downtown property. The vibe here is ever chill, especially at the Picante pool, where beach balls, live music, and pitchers of blackberry-brandy-infused sangria ($36) ensure a good time (for a more tranquil dip, try out the smaller pool across the way, with a waterfall that tunes out any surrounding noise). The cheery rooms rock a desert-meets–South of the Border aesthetic: woven Mexican pigskin leather and rose-wood furnishings matched with fuchsia, burnt orange, and violet hues inspired by desert flowers. Borrow cruiser bikes (included with the $22 resort fee) or hit the spa for a 30-minute prickly pear sugar scrub ($60). Pop into the modern Mexican restaurant on the premises, Distrito (a local favorite), at night for guacamole ($10) and plantain-crusted mahi mahi tacos ($12), washed down with a ginger-laden Mezcal mule ($9).

Published on Jun 5, 2014 as a web exclusive.

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