Every time I visit the southwest, I fall deeper and deeper in love with the desert. My first trip to Scottsdale earlier this month only intensified my infatuation. The incredible experience can be credited to a midweek getaway at Andaz’s newly opened resort, the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa. Set within a 23 acre desert oasis, near the base of Camelback Mountain, the resort has paid the utmost attention to every detail. Each of the 201 casitas evoke desert minimalism and midcentury modernism, the art throughout the property has been created and curated by Scottsdale’s legendary Cattle Track Arts Compound, the lush landscaping blends seamlessly into the natural environment, and menu at the Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen reflects local influences and ingredients. It’s clear, the moment you check in, that the resort’s ethos is genuinely devoted to paying homage to the artists, farmers and community of the Sonoran desert. And although you never have to leave the resort to experience the essence of Scottsdale, I managed to squeeze in some amazing highlights in just 48 hours . . .

Color plays a vital role at Andaz. The ancient, Zuni-inspired color wheel, with turquoise at its center, is an emblem that serves as a color-based map, as guests make their way throughout the resort. When I checked in, my room key was stamped with a specific color, to help guide me to my casita. I loved this thoughtful touch.

The Turquoise Pool is placed at the heart of the resort. With temperatures in the high 90s, there was no place I wanted to be than beside the pool with a scoop of prickly pear shaved ice. A piece of advice: the shaved ice is even better with a shot of tequila and a squeeze of lime. Just sayin’.

Cattle Track Arts CompoundThe Andaz’s collaboration with the legendary Cattle Track artist compound started at the inception of the resort. Cattle Track, which is less than a mile away, was constructed by George and Rachel Ellis in 1936 and quickly became a place for artists to live and create. Today, there are 6 full time residents and 35 working artists on site – most of whom have contributed paintings, installations, woodworks, ceramics, and serving ware throughout the resort. Their work is woven into the fabric of the Andaz Scottsdale. The relationship with Cattle Track continues on. On certain nights of the week, some resident artists will come to the resort, with their instruments, for a fireside sunset jam session!

FnB Restaurant: If you visit Scottsdale, you must eat here. Chef Charleen Badman does some serious magic with vegetables and co-owner Pavle Milic also happens to be an incredible winemaker. It was hands down, one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in recent months. One of my favorite dishes was this simple and bright beet salad, with ingredients sourced from local Arizona farms. What made it even more special was the addition of glacier lettuce, which is actually a succulent and can only be described as crunchy, fragile, and airy.

Taliesin West: A visit to Scottsdale isn’t complete without touring Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West. This marvelous piece of architecture was the architect’s winter home and school from 1937 until his death in 1959. Today, it is the main campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Whether you’re an architecture buff or not, it’s 100% worth a visit!

(images by HonestlyWTF; thank you Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa for hosting me!)