It’s difficult to quantify Arizona’s significance in the American imagination. The Grand Canyon serves as a natural symbol of the USA’s emphasis on bigger-is-better greatness. 400 miles of the all-American highway Route 66 passed through the deserts, pines, and mountains of Arizona’s northern half, and peculiar relics remain along the current route. And the iconic, towering buttes of Monument Valley instantly call to mind the indelible role of classic Western films in exporting American identity to the world.
Don’t care to rough it on a road trip through remote deserts, or just need to soften the impact? Arizona has luxury covered. Sedona, Phoenix, and Tuscon all offer the best in high-end accommodations, including ample resort and spa options. Sedona handles the serene side of things, situated amongst picturesque canyons and gorges in an environment still arid but thrumming with the life of ample vegetation. The versatility of Sedona’s singular beauty made it a useful location for dozens of film settings from the early days of Hollywood filmmaking through to the 1970s. Sunsets taking place with a foreground of breathtaking red cliff formations like Cathedral Rock have contributed to Sedona’s reputation as a New Age spiritual mecca. Whether you’re looking for deeper significance or just a salve for the stress of earthly affairs, Sedona’s sure to satisfy.
Passionate golfers will find a true home in Phoenix, with its hundreds of courses and perpetually perfect weather. Those who insist on a diversity of options and caliber of luxury won’t be disappointed by the Southwest’s biggest metropolis. Outdoorsy types can spend their days mountain biking over desert peaks or hiking amid striking, tall-standing saguaro cacti. Adventurers of the mind will find their bliss at Phoenix’s museums of art, history, and American Indian culture, its botanical garden, opera, and symphony. Everybody could use a few hours (or days) at one of the unlimited range of spas dotting Phoenix, particularly in areas like Scottsdale.
Staking out the middle ground between hippiefied Sedona and ultramodern Phoenix is half-million-strong Tucson. As culturally exciting as anywhere in the entire Southwest, Tucson boasts millennia of cultural and social history. The unmistakable presence of the University of Arizona helps maintain a compelling intellectual and cultural vibrancy. Tucson has a strong showing in the luxury spa/resort and outdoor activities realms, as well. Saguaro National Park and the surrounding desert and forests provide for hours of recreation. There’s also no shortage of excellent golf courses and the requisite sunshine.
Those seeking solace from heat, sun, and the harsh dryness of Arizona’s vast deserts can find it in Flagstaff, nestled in the pines of the high-altitude Colorado Plateau. Snowfall is nothing unusual here, and there’s shade for those who miss it in the desert. Of course, if Flagstaff’s only appeal were that it’s a sufficiently startling change from Arizona’s dusty plains and buttes, it would be little more than a refreshing pit stop. Instead, this little city offers up a sophisticated academic and cultural atmosphere, unique outdoors diversions, museums highlighting the area’s history, and Native American ruins just outside of town. The whole Flagstaff experience is a perfect geologic preview and jumping-off point for the Grand Canyon.
Tucson is a perfect town for those in search of the distinctive Southwest, but with a dose of the history and culture that can sometimes seem lacking in the post-industrial boomtowns of the Sunbelt. Architectural history can be spotted from the 18th century, through the 1800s, and with many examples from the turn of the century. Native American and Mexican culture plays a noticeable role in the city’s look, feel, and tastes, and the energy is heightened by the vibrant presence of the University of Arizona, whose 40,000 students keep bars, restaurants, and cultural hotspots intellectually and economically buzzing. Cyclists will also find a surprisingly accommodating Southwestern home here, with bikes-only streets and no shame in locking up outside a trendy restaurant or bar.
Outside the city, Tucson Mountain Park, Saguaro National Park, Willow Canyon, and Coronado National Park offer a gorgeous array of opportunities for outdoor recreation. At times, even skiers can get their kicks at Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley, the southernmost ski resort in the United States.
When it’s time to kick back and pamper yourself, Tucson offers plenty of resort and spa accommodations and both mall and smaller scale shopping opportunities, including the 120-store Park Place Mall, where OROGOLD keeps its Tucson location.
Park Place Mall
5870 East Broadway Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85711
Long known as a promising agricultural territory from the time of North America’s indigenous peoples, Scottsdale now earns comparisons to Miami Beach for its dense concentration of high-end resorts, spas, and hotels. This city of less than 300,000 competes with luxury juggernauts like Atlanta, New York, Las Vegas, and Chicago for its range of top-rated hotels. It’s trendy reputation is at least as old as the 1930s relocation of Frank Lloyd Wright, considered the greatest American architect of all time, who built a distinctive (to say the least) winter home and school in the desert outside Scottsdale, and whose architectural imprint can be seen throughout the town.
The perks of Scottsdale’s civilized society are balanced out by the ruggedly stunning desert surroundings preserved in the McDowell Mountain Regional Park and Tonto National Forest nearby. Weather is hot and sunny year-round, and outdoor recreation is particularly spectacular in the winter months, when the temperature typically stays below 90°F.
In keeping with the city’s contemporary identity as a destination for high-end soirees and spa days, Scottsdale offers some of the best shopping in the Southwest. OROGOLD takes up residence in Scottsdale Fashion Square, one of the largest, most luxuriously accommodating malls in the United States.
Scottsdale Fashion Square
7014 E. Camelback Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
The city of Glendale lies a few miles from downtown Phoenix, and is home to several significant sports venues for Phoenix teams. Glendale has become increasingly popular as a shopping destination for upscale residents and visitors of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. Spearheading the maturation of Glendale’s designs on luxury is the Arrowhead Towne Center, a large shopping mall of over 100 stores and a must-visit for upscale Phoenix shoppers. OROGOLD’s Glendale location can be found at Arrowhead, a fitting venue for its luxurious offerings.
Glendale’s other identity is that of “Arizona’s Antique Capital.” Those seeking old trinkets and historical artifacts can find what they’re looking for in the city’s quaint, walkable historic district, which also plays host to several charming festivals annually. The district is recognized for its significant concentration of structures that played roles in this desert city’s early 20th century beginnings, including a beet factory and the homes of early residents.
A visit to Glendale, of course, is as good as a visit to Phoenix, with all of the diverse opportunities the wider metropolis has to offer. Upscale travelers can combine their shopping in Glendale with a high-end spa treatment in Scottsdale or unique museums in downtown Phoenix.
Arrowhead Towne Center
7700 W. Arrowhead Towne Center
Glendale, AZ 85308