Ensconced between Phoenix and Scottsdale, in an enclave known as Paradise Valley, is the magnificent Omni Montelucia Resort. The Montelucia is modeled after an idyllic village in the hills of Spain. For centuries, Spanish explorers ventured to the Southwest in search of treasure. Upon finding such riches, fortune seekers left behind clues and markers to confuse others, and to remind themselves where they had hidden their treasure.
Today, a new kind of explorer comes to the Southwest, searching not for material riches, but for a place to create lasting memories. When travelers arrive at the Omni Montelucia, they soon discover a majestic setting with unparalleled mountain views. The proverbial X was used to mark the spot where treasure lies. That “X” still exists today and is an iconic landmark in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. It’s known as Camelback Mountain. On the northern side of this uniquely shaped mountain is the treasure of Montelucia, a resort that transports its guests to a romantic and relaxing village in Spain.
While this treasure is in plain sight, its riches require discovery. From the nooks and crannies within the luxurious spa, to meandering paths leading to pools, hammocks, bocce and over two hundred authentic Spanish artifacts peppering the grounds. The culinary riches are also evident within Prado, the resort’s primary restaurant decorated in richly colored earth tones, from supple leather to old-world hardwood furniture. The menu at Prado is uncomplicated, yet prepared with an air of sophistication. The food is clean and healthful, allowing the natural flavors of the food to shine through. [click here to read my full write-up on Prado]
The accommodations are what you would expect from a high-end resort, spacious, comfortable and high quality. Something I really enjoy about nicer hotels is the insulation factor, meaning that you’re not likely to be disturbed by your neighbors. As a matter of fact, my room was right above the restaurant and I never heard anything from the confines of my accommodations. I had a mountain view room with a large patio and lovely outdoor furniture. There were large beautiful wooden doors that slide open to reveal the awe-inspiring sight before me. The early winter weather was so perfect I rarely closed the doors and just let the outside come in. Each morning the first thing I did was pull the curtains and walk out on the deck to see the view in its ever-changing light. I could not get enough of the sight of Cambelback and the surrounding grounds of the Montelucia. From my balcony I enjoyed the peaceful sounds of a large water feature that ran the length of a long cobblestone corridor lined with turn-of-the-century gas lamps.
Two other things I really appreciated about my accommodations were the walk-in closet that was actually large enough to open my hard-shell suitcase. And, the expansive bathroom lined in tumbled travertine with massive tub for two…and, a separate walk-in shower. My only minor complaint of the room were the pillows…while they certainly were not bad (and had two varieties on the bed), they were not the best either. I didn’t even think to call down to see if they might have some goose down pillows available. Many higher-end resorts now have pillow-menus, which is an idea I truly love. To me, the pillows are more important than the bed.
While there is much to enjoy on-site at the Montelucia, there are also many nearby activities to explore. Here are just a few to consider:
- Echo Canyon – If you’re into hiking, a trek up Cambelback is a must! However, this adventure is not for the faint of heart. While the hike is pretty strenuous, the 360 degree views of the Valley of the Sun are quite stunning.
- CattleTrack studios – Art enthusiasts will enjoy the talent at this off-beat cluster of studios just up the street from the resort. Don’t miss the pottery works by Nicholas Bernard…truly stunning. And, the jewelry from Silver & Sage can be found at the Montelucia Spa.
- 5th Avenue – If you’re not familiar with the 5th Avenue shops of Scottsdale, there is a plethora of art galleries, shops and restaurants.
- Sporting Events – Sports is big in the Phoenix area, especially during Winter and Spring. The Phoenix Open is the largest golf tournament on the PGA Tour. Spring training baseball can be found at stadiums throughout the Valley. NBA Basketball and NHL Hockey are in full swing.
- MIM – The Musical Instrument Museum is fast becoming one of the top museums in the country. Music gives voice to the human spirit and that is not more true than a visit to MIM. Don’t miss a chance to see a live performance in their intimate and state-of-the-art theater.
The Phoenix/Scottsdale area is one of the hottest metro cities in the nation, and for good reason! The weather eight months out of the year is sensational (the other four are a bit warm, but you can get some great travel deals in the summer). The abundance of activities and cultural events is second to none. There is fantastic lodging/resorts like the Montelucia. And, the area is quite affordable when comparing to other world-class cities around the world. If you’re looking to visit the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix/Scottsdale) and need a hub for all of your activities, check out the Montelucia Omni Resort. The location is very central, the service is impeccable and there is a range of accommodations to meet every need, even a President. That’s right, President Obama even called the Montelucia home on one of his trips to Arizona.
If you’re in Paradise Valley looking to the south, you’ll see that X does mark the spot and the treasure of Montelucia will be revealed. If you’ve ever been to the Montelucia, please leave a comment below and share your experience. To see more of my photos of the resort, click here.