From a hammock suspended between tall, slim palms, I close my eyes and listen to vacationers splashing in a pool as warm winds rustle the surrounding leaves. The lush, sun-soaked setting feels more tropical than I expected in Scottsdale, Ariz., where a $15 million renovation at the Scott has created an island-inspired oasis in the Sonoran Desert.
Built on the former Firesky Resort, the 204-room property reopened in late 2018 with refreshed public spaces and meetings venues, a Caribbean American bar and restaurant, redesigned rooms, a new presidential suite and four new one-bedroom suites.
Guestroom patios overlook two resort pools and a tangle of succulents, citrus trees, ficus and purple bauhinia, including some established during the resort's 1960s construction.
The greenery and blooms set a scenic backdrop for events at the Scott, from intimate gatherings at the open-air Junto Cabana to meetings in the light-filled Orangedale Ballroom and outdoor weddings on the Laguna Lawn. Bordered by shrubs, a small pond and an arched stone wall, the 3,000-square-foot green space feels secluded and peaceful despite its central resort location.
Natural accents carry through to the Scott's expansive lobby, where potted palms thrive under soaring ceilings with skylights. Part reception area and part lounge, the atrium is outfitted with rattan furniture, whiskey-hued woodwork, curved brass accent pieces and an oversize fireplace.
The Canal Club bar and poolside patio pours rum punch and mixed drinks at one end of the room; an adjacent restaurant with the same name serves Cuban sandwiches, Oaxacan-style pizzas and playful desserts like churro doughnut holes with guava jam.
Airy rooms and suites feature midcentury modern furnishings and vintage photos of scenes in Scottsdale and Cuba along with gold and wicker fixtures, marble vanities, corner sofas and white walls. A dining table and a double-sided fireplace lend a homey feel to the presidential suite, which also has three balconies.
Renovations at the Scott also introduced La Vidorra, a six-room spa offering massages, scrubs, facials and nail services. The resort's fitness center is equipped with strength-training and cardio machines, free weights and yoga gear, and guests can check out complimentary hotel bicycles or explore the surrounding Arizona Canal Trail on foot.
A free resort shuttle transports visitors to tasting rooms, galleries and other attractions within three miles of the resort, but weekly game nights, weekend tiki parties, classic movie screenings and live music provide plenty of reasons to stay on the grounds. Once the sun slips low and flames crackle in the fire pits tucked around the courtyard, locals and resort guests alike settle in for drinks under the stars.
Nightly rates at the Scott start at $109 in the summer. Visit www.thescottresort.com.