Check-in at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
The fires are lit. The water is flowing. The earth is flowering. The sky is limitless. Where all the elements meet. JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa may be Arizona’s largest resort, but it’s also big on luxury. With 950 guestrooms(including 81 suites), this AAA Four-Diamond award-winning, alluring resort is set on 316 acres in the Sonoran Desert where Phoenix meets Scottsdale and features sweeping views of the McDowell Mountains. Conveniently located just 20 minutes north of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (with easy access to the Loop 101 freeway), the grand resort is the centerpiece in the Valley of the Sun’s burgeoning northeastern corridor.
6:30 p.m. Dinner at Meritage at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
Meritage is located on the north end of the resort by the golf course but accessible via the upper lobby level. Gather with family, friends or colleagues at MERITAGE, an urban tavern on-property at the Four Diamond JW Marriott® Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. Come and relax in our upscale hotel restaurant in a contemporary, industrial setting. Featuring a menu inspired by local ingredients and Arizona farms, MERITAGE offers an eclectic spin on cocktail classics, exclusive varietal wines and an impressive array of Arizona craft beers and microbrews. Enjoy the spacious outdoor dining area, Sunday brunch, lawn games and custom bike racks.
8:00 a.m. Sunrise Horseback Trail Ride with Fort McDowell Adventures
Providing the finest Western-party venues Arizona has to offer. La Puesta del Sol and The Ranch can accommodate up to 2,000 guests. Truly unparalleled, the Yavapai of Fort McDowell invite you to see for yourself.
11:15 a.m. Lunch at Revive Spa Bistro at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Spa
Complement your spa experience with a delicious, healthful meal at Revive Spa Bistro. This peaceful restaurant offers outdoor seating with remarkable views of the resort grounds.
12:30 p.m. Turquoise Blue Sage Body Ritual spa treatment
In this healing ritual that uses the ancient wisdom of the Native American people, the energies of the sacred turquoise gemstones offer a deeply relaxing experience for body and soul. Begin with a mineral-rich Turquoise Sage Desert Salt Body Polish to cleanse and awaken the skin followed by a cocoon wrap with a Turquoise Sage Desert Clay Body Mask enriched with a subtle blend of essential oils and the energy of turquoise. The ritual continues with a balancing and re-hydrating full-body massage using Turquoise Sage Massage Oil. Finally, experience an energy ritual using desert sage to cleanse the aura and turquoise gemstones to strengthen and balance the body and spirit.
6:00 p.m. Beverages at UnderTow
UnderTow is a unique Tiki adventure! Sip cocktails fit for a captain as you sail the seas aboard a 19th century clipper ship. We offer a one-of-a-kind experience complete with music, scenes and special effects that correlate directly with our annual craft cocktail menu and the story it accompanies.
7:30 p.m. Dinner at Beckett’s Table
Chef Justin Beckett invites you to gather around his kitchen to indulge in a hearty assortment of seasonal, American dishes. The neighborhood restaurant is a regional respite for comfort cuisine.
7:00 a.m. Hike Gateway Loop at McDowell Sonoran Conservancy
A 4.5 mile loop that wanders up to a low saddle before winding back to the Gateway Trailhead. The length and grade changes make this a moderately difficult hike, but one worth trying. Make your way at an enjoyable pace while enjoying the wildflowers and wildlife. Kids with hiking experience may be able to enjoy this hike.
9:00 a.m. Breakfast at Prep & Pastry
Food should be beautiful. We use only locally sourced ingredients because we believe you deserve only the best which is always what you will get at Prep & Pastry.
12:30 p.m. Lunch at The Churchill
The Churchill is home to 10 small local businesses, mixing established operators with start-up entrepreneurs. All of the businesses residing in The Churchill focus their efforts on collaboration over competition, finding ways to benefit each other. At the heart of The Churchill is a 9,000 square foot courtyard intended for dining, drinking, socializing and learning. The space will be activated with curated speakers, art’s classes, fitness classes, sport’s viewing and pop up artist galleries.
Check-in at Hermosa Inn
Hand built by legendary cowboy artist Lon Megargee as his home and studio, The Hermosa Inn and its acclaimed on-site restaurant Lon’s at The Hermosa have been restored with careful attention to modern day comforts while preserving original charm and authentic touches. Since the 1930’s, The Hermosa Inn has been a recognized destination in the desert Southwest offering luxury lodging accommodations and fine dining. The award-winning Phoenix resort is conveniently located just 10 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and all major highways in and around Phoenix/ Scottsdale, Arizona.
5:30 p.m. Dinner at LON’s in Hermosa Inn
LON’s at the Hermosa is Arizona’s only remaining authentic hacienda. Its elegant adobe dining room is surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery Arizona has to offer. Lon Megargee’s presence is felt throughout the historic hand built ranch house that was once his home and studio. His Casa Hermosa (Beautiful House), with its unmistakable charm and style influenced by Mexican and Spanish architecture, is today the site of LON’s at the Hermosa. There’s a reason why LON’s at The Hermosa Inn is rated as one of Paradise Valley’s top restaurants. We seek out the region’s freshest ingredients and prepare them with age-old cooking traditions—roasting, smoking, wood-grilled—combined with cutting-edge trends. The result? Globally inspired Arizona cuisine, with our popular Himalayan Salt Seared Ahi Tuna, served with cilantro, pickled onion, and ceviche sauce, as a prime example. A new Chef’s Tasting Menu is offered each week, and our expert sommelier is always on-hand to recommend the perfect wine pairings.
8:00 p.m. Stargazing
Arizona’s night sky is a special place, sprinkled with an abundance of glittering stars, planets, and nebulae. Throughout the year, Jupiter, Saturn, the Orion Nebula, Mars, and other beautiful sights glow in the heavens above! Let us provide you with a fascinating and entertaining evening you’re sure to remember for years to come.
7:00 a.m. Breakfast at Matt’s Big Breakfast
This downtown Phoenix favorite offers breakfast and lunch 7 days a week. Serving locally sourced, hearty fare. The homemade waffles, butcher block bacon and freshly squeezed OJ will have you coming back for more. Featured on Food Network, this is definitely a hometown favorite.
9:30 a.m. Gila River Rock Massages spa treatment at Aji Spa
For centuries the Pima and Maricopa people have used hot rocks to alleviate pain and soothe the soul. Warm stones are applied to your body and used to massage your muscles. The experience will leave you in a state of intense calm and tranquility while clearing toxins and restoring the body to a natural state of balance.
11:00 a.m. Lunch at Aji Café
Located in the luxurious and serene “sanctuary” of the Aji Spa, the Aji Café offers a health-conscious menu that’s rich in flavor. Enjoy a selection of scrumptious salads, flatbreads and sandwiches without having to leave the comfort of your lush Aji Spa robe.
3:00 p.m. Hot air balloon ride with Hot Air Expeditions
Breathtaking. Magical. Awe-inspiring. These are just a few words that have been used to describe Hot Air Expeditions’ ballooning experiences. Your journey begins with the viewing of the inflation of the balloon, where you will get a glimpse of how large the balloons are as they come to life! From there, your pilot whisks you away in the basket for your approximate one hour flight. During the journey, you will enjoy floating at different elevations, from up to 5,000 feet in the air for a gorgeous overview of the Sonoran Desert, to within feet of the desert floor, to catch a glimpse of local wildlife, plant life and landmarks. It is common to see jackrabbits, quail, coyote and even javalina. Upon landing, you’ll toast to the adventure that ensued with flutes of chilled champagne and gourmet cuisine from the award-winning Vincent’s on Camelback, complete with tables, linens and china – truly, a toast to the perfect day. You’re sent back to reality with a memento of your time in the sky, a commemorative flight certificate, to take home. Morning flights available daily, year-round. Sunset flights available November-March. Roundtrip hotel transfers available // FAA Certified // Insured. “Best Balloon Flight in Phoenix” – Fodor’s Travel. Seen on ESPN, Fox 10, Channel 12 & more
7:15 p.m. Wine tasting at Merkin Vineyards
Merkin Vineyards is on a mission to come as close as we can to delivering a 100% Arizona experience to our extended family and community. It’s a mission few would choose to take on, but essential when Regional, Sustainable, and a Sense of Place are the goal.
8:15 p.m. Dinner at The Gladly
Named one of Phoenix’s best new restaurants, The Gladly is the follow up concept by the owners of critically acclaimed Citizen Public House. The stylish bar boasts a world-class craft beverage program and over 200 whiskies to go along with Chef Bernie Kantak’s well-traveled comfort food. Groups can choose between a 30-seat, semi-private mezzanine level and a fully private, 60-seat banquet room. Located in the heart of the Camelback Corridor, our contemporary urban restaurant showcases floor-to-ceiling windows, energetic dining experiences, and warm, memorable service.
9:00 a.m. Experience the Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden offers the world’s finest collection of arid plants from deserts of the world in a unique outdoor setting. The Garden has more than 50,000 desert plants on display throughout five thematic trails that illustrate topics such as conservation, desert living, plants and people of the Sonoran Desert, and desert wildflowers.
10:30 a.m. Brunch at Gertrude’s
Gertrude’s is Desert Botanical Garden’s relaxed bar/restaurant that serves sustainable, refined American meals.