Girls' Weekend Getaway: Scottsdale, Arizona - Skillful Cook
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Girls' Weekend Getaway: Scottsdale, Arizona

iphone taking a photo

Hey girls, remember that one time when we went to Scottsdale?

Warming sun? Sip-tastic drinks? OMG food? Otherworldly spa experiences? Good conversations 24/7? Yeah, THAT time.

Since my grandparents winter in Arizona (how fun is it to use winter as a verb?), I've been in and around the Phoenix/Scottsdale/Sun City area many times in the last ten years. And literally every time I go there, I think to myself: WHY DO YOU NOT LIVE HERE.

The weather is absolutely perfect. P-e-r-f-e-c-t. It's sunny and 60-ish most of the year and the air smells like orange blossoms and feels clean + dry dry dry. I love it so much. And about those hot summers - I don't know, I really think I could handle them in exchange for such perfect weather the rest of the year. If we didn't have any family and friends in Minnesota, you know I'd be PACKIN to ZONA.

fish tacos on a tray with limes

This was the trip of a lifetime, which is probably exactly what I said / how I felt about our last girls trip together, which is reason enough for you to text your girlfriends right now and get a weekend on the calendar and start planning. I mean it.

These trips (which we are making an annual tradition out of!) are so restorative and so much more fun - er, different fun - than the trips that Bjork and I take together. Love you bb. I am a strong believer that trips with good friends, no matter where you go, can be one in a million type experiences.

To make this trip happen, we worked with the super wonderful Scottsdale CVB who helped set us up with a fun itinerary. I'm going to list out the highlights as an effort to not write 800 paragraphs about each of these experiences. Which will probably end up happening anyways. #wordlover

girls sitting in chairs on a patio


First day:

  • “Wine Me Dine Me” dinner at Southwest Bistro: this is a restaurant at the Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale, and the WMDM experience is just as delicious as it sounds. It involved sitting right across from the chefs and sampling all their wine and tequila pairings and watching them make your food and talk to them about all of it. I am STILL thinking about the cauliflower cotija soup that I basically chugged straight from the bowl. 100% life-changing.
  • Hyatt Regency for the night.

Second day:

  • Brunch / Lunch / Pool at Hyatt Regency. Such an awesome pool. Loved it.
  • Second hotel for the weekend - Royal Palms! We've been to Royal Palms before (-> this trip <-)and once again it DID NOT DISAPPOINT. This hotel is Joanna Gaines meets Scottsdale history meets all things beautiful on Pinterest. It's intimate and so unique - there is good reason it was recognized as the #1 Resort in Phoenix by Travel + Leisure in 2015. I am normally not one to walk away from an experience with comments on the service, but you guys, the service here is just unparalleled. They are sophisticated and kind and attentive without being overbearing. I wanted to be friends with everyone, but I think they might have seen straight through my play-it-cool exterior. Just all-around such a silky smooth vibe for this resort.
  • Dinner at T. Cook's: this is the restaurant right in the resort and it was mind-blowingly delicious, as you probably remember from the epic snapchat story that overtook your feed that night. Sorry not sorry. The beet salad, the Mix Up Mule (a play on the Moscow Mule), and the brussels sprouts with ricotta and arugula ravioli which will be pictured somewhere in this lineup were ALL next level status.

Third day:

  • Aerial Hammock Yoga at the Well & Being Spa. Wait tho I just said AERIAL HAMMOCK YOGA. Google that right now. If you happened to see the snap story from this special time, please delete it from your mental hard drive. This experience falls in the category of things where how you THINK you look and how you ACTUALLY look end up being drastically different and a little depressing. Nonetheless, we had an amazing time doing this and we are continuing the aerial yoga tradition by taking up classes here in Minneapolis! Not a joke. We're doing this again and I am so excited.
  • Spa Treatment at the Well & Being Spa. I don't even know if words can describe it. Those hot stones, the waterfalls, the endless supply of prickly pear lemonade... all of it was magically wonderful. We saw so many groups of girlfriends there - if you and your squad love the spa gig, this is your place. I repeat: THIS IS YOUR PLACE.
  • Lunch at the Scottsdale Princess Well & Being Spa. At this point, we've completely moved in to the spa and have no plans to leave anytime in the next 5 years. Hello, delicious, healthy, fresh yummy food. Just go look at their menu and be inspired to make something delicious much less plan a vacation to Scottsdale solely for this experience. We tried the salmon bowl, the shrimp succotash, and the crab cakes. Seafood FTW.
  • Dinner at Sanctuary Resort on Camelback Mountain - if I could only ever eat one thing again in my whole life, it would be the fiery calamari that I had at this restaurant. It was crispy and spicy, loaded with pepperoncini and Thai basil and just the right amount of miso sauce. HOLY MOLY - there were stars. Let me just say this - the meal we had at Sanctuary probably makes it into my Top 5 Meals of All Time list. Every single dish was literal food heaven. Again, if you saw the snap story, you know. Things got a little food-cray in the best possible way.

Last day:

  • Leisurely morning walk around Scottsdale: got a little sun while drooling over all the houses at the base of Camelback Mountain.
  • Pit stop for heavenly Thai Iced Tea at Black Cat Coffee.
  • Brunched it up with all the pups outside on the patio at O.H.S.O.
  • Embraced our pool rat tendencies and hung out by the pool as long as possible, including one last poolside meal of fish tacos, chips and guac, beet salad revisited, and prickly pear lemonades from the Royal Palms poolside bar.
pink drink with lemon and straws

Friends are precious. Friends are so, so precious. And I think the hard thing about the beauty of the internet is that we are also over-connected to too many friends in ways that aren't real. Social media is not the same as spending a weekend with your real friends having real, inspiring, vulnerable, and laugh-till-you-ugly-cry conversations.

Bjork and I remind each other of this often: the only thing between a friends' trip happening and not happening in your life is YOU sending that first text message or email invite.

Be the starter! I super-challenge you to invite your one best friend or a whole big group of peeps to a weekend away, even if that just means a weekend at your grandma's cabin out in the middle-of-nowhere next to the run-down Dairy Queen and the abandoned railroad tracks. Seriously. This Scottsdale trip was amazing in all ways, but even if you can't make a flight or ritzy dinners happen, you can still set aside time to reconnect with friends. I know from experience that reconnection over 5-star dinners is just as good as reconnection over cheap pizza. Although, I will say, 5-star dinners and spa treatments ARE pretty amazing. 💄🙈

Ready? DO IT RIGHT NOW. Send out the first group text.

If you plan something, or even if you just send out the invite to start the planning, send me a snap and tell me that you did. I'll send a dorky excited snap back and we'll geek out together. 🙌

Here are a few more pictures of our trip - I am feeling a little sad that I didn't end up taking more pictures, but you know, pool time and deep conversations and ridiculous snap chats all while eating chips and guac - sometimes these things trump the camera.

guacamole and chips
drink with blueberries and raspberries
cookie in a skillet with ice cream
people with forks eating out of a bowl


salmon on a black surface
iphone taking a photo of a mountain
girl smiling at camera outside
person holding food in a bowl
girl laughing with drink
girl laughing with drink
drink with a lime
food on a plate with a fork and a knife
girl with hat and scarf smiling
pool in Arizona during sunset
four girls smiling

Here's to friendships that last a lifetime! ❤️

Go make it happen.

More Travel Pictures and Posts:

girl looking at camera with hands covering her mouth

West Coast Road Trip (San Fran To Seattle)

notes hanging by clothes pins on a wire

New Orleans In The Summer

people on a beach

Emerald Isle Family Trip

girl sitting at a table outside

Girls' Trip To Aspen

girl and dog outside

Sage's Big Vacation

boy and girl with snow gear on

Ski Trip To Park City

boys on inner tubes in a lake

Ten Days At The Cabin

girl and boy with sunglasses

California Road Trip (San Fran To Los Angeles)

man standing next to a red car


Filed Under: Life Travel

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Just forwarded this to my bestie! Ten years ago we were both teaching English in Austria and during the summer break we signed up to teach English to Austrians in England. It was a manic 4 weeks, BUT we were paid under the table cash (no guilt). When we got back to Vienna decided to take our earnings to the airport to see what we could get for 200 Euros, leaving IMMEDIATELY (as in that morning). We had no expectations, but it turns out quite a lot! We got an all-inclusive deal to Corfu, Greece! We still talk about how that was the best week EVER and we need to do it again. Vacation lottery FTW. Girlfriends 4EVA 🙂

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have never wanted to go to Arizona before. It’s hot and dry and I go there for work. Apparently to much less retreat like areas. And after reading your post, I am dying to go to Scottsdale. Like google is up looking at hotels and flights! And could you be more inspirational then to reconnect with friends?

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Omg I love this post! My college friends and I do an annual summer trip. We literally were just discussing dates and trip locations last night! Thank you for encouraging and reminding us to take initiative on getting the planning started, you’re right, that’s truly the only thing getting in the way of not going on a trip. Girl weekends truly are one a kind!

    Looks like you had a blast on yours! I enjoyed looking at the photos! 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks Emily! It really is the only thing getting in the way – just gotta put the invite out there and make it happen!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yep, until you send that first email, it’s always going to be “something” you do, but never gets done. I am planning a summer trip to the pacific nw this summer – so excited about that – the furthest west I’ve been is Austin, Texas – how sad is that?!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m from Scottsdale and posts like these really make me remember that I’m from a freakin’ resort town. I forget that now that I’m on the east coast. I grew up going to the Hyatt Regency and the Princess just to have lunch or swim in the pools, even though I didn’t grow up wealthy or anything, and I didn’t know how good I had it! (But really, the summers are 6 months long and are no joke. No outdoor activities possible). Loved this post.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yeah!! How fun!! I’m a 1,000% believer in the power of a girls trip. Ever since having kids I now religiously do one with my best gals every year (Jan or Feb). We went to AZ last year in fact. That’s where I’m from and where we all met (in college). I LOOOVE AZ, but I can say I don’t need to live there again (the heat! it’s real!!!!). But winter and spring there are truly magical!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Scottsdale!! I’m from there, just moved away a year ago to Wisconsin (crazy, right?). T Cooks and Sanctuary are a staple but there are sooooo many amazing restaurants that I almost wish you would’ve asked for places to go. Realistically it is only 60-ish for about 2 months out of the year and 90+ for the rest so it sounds like you hit the weather jackpot! In spite of the 120 degree summers and the whole melting-in-your-car thing I still miss living there. What an awesome girl’s trip – reading about it made me miss home!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      oh I’m sure!! I would have asked if we would have had time! 🙂 We literally had so many things scheduled that we only had a handful of meals that we were figuring out on our own. Thanks for the comment Christina!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Your trips looks like so much fun! I would love to do this, but it’s not as easy with three kids. Some day.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I spend a total of about six months out of each year in Fountain Hills, right next door to Scottsdale, and am in Scottsdale several times a week. I have to laugh at your comment that it is 60ish all year. It’s usually more like 70-80ish even in the winter months! I’m not complaining, though. That’s why I spend time here — to get away from Midwest winters and high humidity much of the rest of the year.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    So glad you love my hometown. Definitely, 115F is no biggie, ’cause y can’t shovel sunshine ;). Let me know if you need any dining recs on your next visit!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Looks like a great time! I’ve only driven through Scottsdale but I’d love to explore AZ more.

    I’m just curious, was your trip sponsored by the CVB? It wasn’t clarified whether it was or not in the post.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    So fun! I always love your travel posts.

    I want to hear more about this prickly pear lemonade situation! I’m really excited to grow some prickly pears as soon as I get a garden going because I just found out they’re native to TN and not just the Southwest. Who knew?

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    We are planning a girls weekend in September and I came across this post when I was looking for fun things to do in Scottsdale. I just forwarded this to my friends and we love all that you did. Good food, relaxing spa day, great resorts… Love the end where you write about friends. It is so true!