An article written by a Classy Destination client Isabelle Sullivan
If you want to experience the Christmas season and celebrate the coming of the New Year in a way like no other head to The Princess Fairmont Hotel nestled on 65 acres in the Sonoran Desert in Scottsdale, Arizona! With helpful planning by Judy Norman and her team at Classy Destinations, our family met there in late December for a week of sunny weather, scenic hikes, golfing, spa delights and lots of fabulous eating. It is an easy destination; a direct flight from Atlanta takes you across the country in about 4 hours to the Phoenix airport. We would recommend you skip the rental car agencies at the airport (they are located way off of the premises) and take an Uber or cab ride to the hotel. If you want a car for your time there, go to the Scottsdale airport about 1 mile from the hotel, or there are many rental car agencies in town. If you arrive at The Fairmont at night, you will be dazzled by an array of magnificent lights that illuminate the desert for miles. Over 5 million LED lights are used in decorating the property; there are winter wonderland scenes and others from Christmas movies such a Christmas Vacation. The Princess Express train runs every 15 minutes nightly for all ages and is perfect for viewing the many holiday displays. Another highlight is the on-site ice-skating rink with fireside pits and holiday dressed servers that deliver steaming mugs of hot chocolate and/or adult beverages to you as you watch the skaters. You may want to head to The Plaza Bar with more fire pits and creative cocktails that will warm your body as the desert cools down at sunset. There are opportunities for photos with Santa, holiday character appearances such as Princess Noel, Peppermint Penguin and others, marshmallow roasting pits and icy sliding down the Polar Glide and much more. Not to be missed is the resort's Christmas tree which has 70,000 LED lights that twinkle and dance to 18 classic holiday songs in the Enchanted Plaza. All of these activities with the exception of food and drink are covered by resort fee associated with your room charge. For more information, go to scottsdaleprincess.com. Classy Destinations can get you free breakfast tickets and other wonderful extra’s. If you choose to venture away from this enchanted area, there is much to do and the spring like daytime temps will entice you to spend each day outside. There are numerous golf courses in the area that can be accessed through the concierge. Adjoining the hotel is a TPC course which hosts the annual Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament each February. Blake and our son Carl played the TPC course and also the Monument Course at Troon North. Desert golf is fun and open as long as you don’t hit it past the rough where the area is full of cactus and a few reptiles of the slithering kind. Hiking is the number one outdoor sport in this area and we thoroughly enjoyed the challenges and glorious views that the mountains offered. Pick up hiking and trail guide from the concierge and get started. Our favorite hike was “Tom Thumb” and though there were times we thought about turning around (OK only Isabelle did), she and her daughter Morgan made it to the top and were rewarded with unparalleled views of the area. Old Town Scottsdale is fun and very pedestrian friendly filled with local art and other delightful shops and outdoor cafes. The dining options in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area are too many to mention but we checked out one every night and never had anything but outstanding meals! The Grand Canyon is a day trip or two away, and there are many tours available that will pick you up and return you to the hotel. Another option is to rent a car and take a scenic, slower route, stopping in Sedona and Flagstaff along the way. Be sure to dress in layers as you can quickly go from 70 degrees to snow covered mountains in the winter. Sedona's red cliffs look almost painted on, and Flagstaff remains a quaint ski resort town with lots of breweries and endless character.We rang in the New Year with fireside appetizers and champagne and a beautiful fireworks display put on by the Fairmont. A truly special vacation but this will NOT be out last trip to the area as we have a list of must do’s not yet checked off, including outstanding museums, ATV desert adventures and more trails and golf courses!
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