By Amanda Keeley-Thurman
Hot. Dry. Unforgiving. Alluring. The desert is a place of intense elements and dangerous beauty. Spiky cacti dot the barren landscape. Tumble weeds roll across dusty roads. Oranges, yellows, pinks and caramels splash across the rocky mountain ranges. Sparkling stars blanket the night sky. There is a mystic to the desert; a romance that intrigues visitors to come and explore.
Despite the rawness of the desert there is opulence to be found. From California to Utah, the fascination of the desert can be indulged while enjoying the comfort and extravagance of a lavish accommodation. These ten luxurious desert resorts are no mirage, they are truly an oasis.
Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Located in the Coachella Valley, just a short drive from Palm Springs is a desert escape that must be experienced. The lush Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa is set on 240 acres with five on-site restaurants, a European spa, modern fitness center, 25 tennis courts and a 27-hole golf course designed by Ted Robinson. To keep cool in the desert heat, Splashtopia is everything you would need for an amazing water adventure, including a 450 foot lazy river. If that’s not relaxing enough, there is also The Azure Hotel Pool for adults only and the Spa Pool for spa guests to unwind.
Take a boat tour around the many scenic waterways or hang out with some exotic birds. Yes Toto, we are still in the desert; Palms Springs to be exact. A mecca of exciting shops, bars and restaurants, Palm Springs is a desert playground, but The JW Marriott is a destination in itself! In addition to the lagoons, boats and exotic birds, the resort also has five pools, a wonderful spa, fabulous dining, and two Ted Robinson golf courses, the Valley Course and the Palms Course. After a day of activities what’s more relaxing than enjoying a cocktail by a fire pit on the terrace of the Blue Star Lounge?
Inn at Furnace Creek
Okay, Palm desert might be the obvious choice, but what about Death Valley? What could possibly be luxurious about a place like Death Valley? After miles of desolate landscape, The Inn at Furnace Creek rises from the desert like a mirage. This 1927 four-diamond hideaway is a very real and welcomed site for weary travelers. This resort encourages guests to indulge the lovely natural wonders the desert has to offer. The whole resort is fed by glacier water of the Travertine Springs, creating this lush oasis in Death Valley. Even the pool is naturally spring fed, warm year round, and with no chlorine.
Celebrating 85 years of luxury and glamour, Arizona Inn opened its doors during the depression as a symbol of hope. Shining like a star in Tucson for decades, the resort has attracted a few stars of its own. Celebrity guests have been flocking to the Arizona Inn for decades, like President F.D.R, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, President Kennedy, the Rockefellers, Danny Kaye, John Wayne and Bettie Davis. Still family-owned, the inn has a wonderful warmness of home with the decadence you would expect of a luxury resort. Not only is the surrounding desert landscape breathtaking, but the property’s lovely garden bursts with color making every morning a good morning to be waking up at the Arizona Inn.
At the base of Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale sits the Five-Diamond Phoenician resort. In addition to guest rooms there are casitas and canyon suites. The Sonoran Desert gets hot fast, but at this resort there are eight pools to choose from to keep you cool, including an edgeless-pool. A beautiful day at the Phoenician is spent playing golf or tennis, checking out the amazing Cactus Garden or exclusive art collection or feeding the Koi in the tranquil Necklace Lake Lagoon. Then enjoy an evening dining at one of the many award winning restaurants or a private dinner for two under the stars at Dinner at tee box eight, the highest point on the resort golf course.
El Monte Sagrado
This Four-Diamond resort is not only an oasis; it is a sanctuary. To nurture and mystify guests, the El Monte Sagrado has a creative mix of calming and interesting elements. Waterfalls, lush landscaping, streams filled with fish, and the surrounding desert views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains help stimulate the senses while relaxing the body. For even more relaxation, decompress at The Living Spa and partake in one of the many organic treatments. Stay and enjoy a full day at the resort or take the opportunity to visit Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage site, just a three mile drive from the resort. End the day with a delicious global meal at De La Tierra or sip on a craft cocktail at the fascinating Anaconda Bar. The Anaconda Bar actually has a giant anaconda sculpture that wraps around the bar and up the ceiling as well as an exotic fish aquarium.
The Inn of Five Graces
This resort may be located in the desert on the oldest inhabited block in the U.S., but it does not fade into the dusty backdrop. Rather, it bursts off the scene with exotic flare from faraway lands. Intricate mosaics and colorful tapestries cover the property, exciting the eye at every turn while the exterior provides balances with the earthy tones of traditional adobe. Kiva fireplaces glow, as the sweet scent of mesquite wafts through the night air. Outside, be transported to another time. Inside, be transported to another world! Five Graces is an Eastern term referring to the five senses, and this resort intends to indulge all of them.
Las Vegas as a city is an oasis, full of luxury resorts lined up along the strip. It can be hard to say which one is better than the other, but the Mandarin Oriental is the new kid on the block and welcomes the challenge. Excited to grow as an international brand, this resort was excited to make Las Vegas its new home in 2009. Carefully intermixing serenity into the overwhelmingly stimulating town, the Mandarin Oriental focuses on wellness and rejuvenation. Although there is no casino or smoking in this hotel, there are amazing bars, restaurants, a tea room, epic views, and the perfect spa to find your Zen.
Sorrel River Ranch
The perfect mix of rustic charm and opulent luxury. The Sorrel River Ranch sits along the Sorrel River with the breathtaking backdrop of the mountains. You want adventure? This resort has plenty of options like rock climbing, river-rafting, and horseback riding. Want to be pampered? Head to the spa for a treatment or Sit on deck and take in the amazing desert views.
Amangiri in Canyon Park
This resort is truly a hideaway in Canyon Park. It literally blends right into the surrounding canyons, only noticed by the warm glow behind its walls and many fire pits. The majestic landscape is the showcase of the Amangiri where the outside infuses with the inside. The canyons even spill into the pools, making for a magnificent sight. Plus, the resort is in the center the Grand Circle, surrounded by natural wonders, such as the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and Monument Valley. The Amangiri encourages their guests to embrace the outdoors with a number of options for adventure or relaxation. You can even take a morning hot-air balloon ride over the Vermillion Cliffs and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument that launches from the resort.
Who knew the desert could be so revitalizing? The land of extreme elements is calmed with the tranquil environment of these luxurious desert oasis resorts. Upon check in, guests are able to fully enjoy all the beauty and wonder the desert has to offer. Mornings on the golf course, afternoons by the pool or spa, and evenings relaxing by the fire pit with a drink in hand. Don’t escape from the desert, escape to the desert at one of these ten amazing resorts.