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A Taste of Arizona

A Taste of Arizona

Arrival into Tucson

Arriving into Tucson and checking in at Marriott Tucson Starr Pass was an exceptional experience from start to finish. Nestled in the beautiful Tucson mountains, the resort offers stunning views and a serene atmosphere that provides the perfect escape. The staff at the JW Marriott were incredibly welcoming and attentive, ensuring every aspect of my stay was comfortable and enjoyable. The rooms were spacious, impeccably clean, and elegantly designed, providing a luxurious and relaxing environment. One of the highlights of my stay was the range of amenities available. The pool area is absolutely breathtaking, offering a refreshing oasis with spectacular desert views. The resort also offers excellent recreational activities. The golf course is a must-visit for enthusiasts, providing a challenging and scenic round of golf. The hiking trails around the property offer a great way to explore the natural beauty of the area, and the beautiful lazy river around the pool is a great way to spend the afternoon.

Eating out in Tucson and Arizona overall was a delight. There was amazing farm-to-table produce, tasty Mexican-inspired cuisine, and a wide range of dining options. The Coronet in Tucson was a delightful experience. The ambience was charming, with a cozy and inviting atmosphere. The menu offered a fantastic selection of dishes, each prepared with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Highly recommended when you visit Tucson.

Sonoran Desert

After departing Tucson, we set our sights on Scottsdale, but not before an incredible detour to the Sonoran Desert with Stellar Adventures. This was my first time driving a UTV, and it was an absolutely exhilarating experience! The desert's beauty was on full display, with vibrant flowers, rugged rocky slopes, and winding trails offering breathtaking scenery and a healthy dose of adrenaline. I highly recommend this adventure to anyone looking to explore the stunning landscapes of the Sonoran Desert. Ensure you allow for a 5-hour round trip to complete this experience for guests staying in Scottsdale.

Incredible cactus and views in the Sonoran Desert, Arizona.Fun UTV Adventure in the Sonoran Desert, Arizona.Chris Watson enjoying a UTV Adventure in the Sonoran Desert, Arizona.

Fun in the Sonoran Desert on our UTV Adventure


Often hailed as the "West's Most Western Town," Scottsdale is a treasure trove of delights that cater to a variety of interests. Known for its world-class golf courses, this city is a golfer's paradise, boasting beautifully manicured greens and stunning desert backdrops. Its close proximity to the Grand Canyon makes it an excellent base for exploring one of the most iconic natural wonders of the world.

But what truly captivated me about Scottsdale was the food scene. The city is a haven for food lovers, offering an incredible array of dining options that range from upscale restaurants to charming local eateries. Each meal was a culinary adventure, with diverse menus that highlighted fresh, locally sourced ingredients. From Southwestern specialties to international cuisines, Scottsdale's vibrant food culture is sure to impress any palate. We enjoyed an exceptional meal at the newly opened Caesars Republic, the newest hotel in Arizona. The hotel is truly stunning, featuring two beautiful pool areas, a vibrant atmosphere, a rooftop bar, and the most gorgeous accommodations. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone in the area and a hotel I hope to return to as a guest. Another culinary delight on this trip was The Mission Kierland, and it was an outstanding experience. The service was impeccable from the moment we arrived - attentive, friendly, and knowledgeable. The food was absolutely amazing. Each dish was a delightful fusion of flavours, perfectly prepared and beautifully presented. The pork tacos were a standout, melting in the mouth with a rich, savoury taste. The guacamole made to order at the table was a show in itself and oh-so-tasty.  The ambience added to the experience with its stylish decor and warm, inviting atmosphere.

During our time in Scottsdale, we immersed ourselves in the rich culture of the city. One of the highlights was the Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West. Affiliated with the Smithsonian, this museum boasts stunning architectural design and showcases the captivating history and art of the American West through its exhibits.Musical Instrument Museum Scottsdale, Arizona.Musical Instrument Museum

As a music lover, the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) was a standout. It has been voted TripAdvisor’s number one attraction, featuring instruments from all over the world. With over 6,800 instruments on display, this museum is a must-visit. My tip: take the VIP behind-the-scenes tour to enhance your experience.

Another fascinating experience was Wonderspaces, an ever-changing art show featuring immersive, interactive installations. This venue is perfect for anyone looking to engage with contemporary art in a unique and hands-on way.

Chris Watson on an eBike Tour in Scottsdale Arizona.eBike Tour in Scottsdale We also enjoyed a guided e-bike tour with REI Co-Op Experiences. REI offers a variety of outdoor activities, including climbing, mountain biking, hiking, and kayaking. However, the e-bike tour was a fantastic way to explore Scottsdale like a local. Riding through the greenbelt and soaking up the fresh air was the perfect start to our day.

By the pool at the Phoenician, Scottsdale, Arizona. The PhoenicianAn unexpected delight in Scottsdale was the shopping and accommodations. Scottsdale Fashion Square, located in the heart of Old Town, is amazing. It features all the major brands and a luxury section that will impress any shopper.  The hotels in Scottsdale cater to all budgets and preferences. I particularly loved Caesars Republic, the historic and grand Royal Palms Resort, and the Arizona Biltmore with its gorgeous pool and thrilling waterslide. The Phoenician also stood out with one of the best gyms I have ever seen and its stunning gardens.

No visit to this region is complete without a trip to the Desert Botanical Garden. With over 50,000 desert plants set against a backdrop of red rocks and the Sonoran Desert, it’s a breathtaking sight.

A visit to the Desert Botanical Gardens is a must when visiting Scottsdale. A visit to the Desert Botanical Garden is a must when visiting Scottsdale. 

Unfortunately, my trip to Scottsdale was not long enough, and I can't wait to return. It’s a destination that should be on everyone’s list, and it’s an easy drive from Las Vegas via the Grand Canyon. Whether you’re a family, couple, single, or traveller of any age, Scottsdale offers something for everyone!

Whether you're hitting the trails, exploring natural wonders, or indulging in the local cuisine, Arizona is a destination that promises to delight and inspire. Please get in touch, I would love to help you plan your trip to Arizona. 

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