Scottsdale, Arizona is the perfect getaway for a jaunt anytime of the year, and while there are plenty of things to see and do in Scottsdale, consider your trip in a fuel-efficient vehicle -- that means you can see as much or as little as you want and not worry about the ride, whether it's adventure you are looking for or a good pampering in one of the local spas coupled with a perfect meal.
For a great vehicle offering a completely new design and great fuel economy, the 2014 Toyota Corolla is a compact sedan that now offers better styling and more room for a comfy ride around town or on vacation.
With a longer and wider body this year, competition for the 2014 Toyota Corolla includes the Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Ford Focus and the Kia Forte.
There are a variety of trim levels on this five-passenger compact sedan depending on your needs from the L, LE, LE Eco and S. Taking that a step further, you can choose from the Plus and Premium sub-trims except for on the L version.
The engine on the 2014 Toyota Corolla is a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine with 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. On the LE Eco it's a bit higher with 140 horsepower and 126 pound feet of torque. The six-speed manual is the standard on the Corolla L and S trims, but on the L you can also opt for a four-speed automatic and on the S you can choose a CVT instead. However, the CVT is the standard on the LE and LE Eco trims.
For traveling around looking for the perfect spa or restaurant in Scottsdale, the fuel economy will make you smile with 28 miles per gallon in the city and 37 miles per gallon on the highway. Opt for the CVT and it is even better at 29 in the city and 38 on the highway.
Toyota has always considered safety so on this new version of the Corolla it's stability and traction control, antilock brakes with front discs and rear drums as well as rear discs on the S trim, if you want it. There's also front side, side curtain and driver knee airbags and a passenger seat cushion airbag. Finally, a rearview camera is standard on all but the L trim.
Comfortable inside with easy-to-use controls and plenty of room for the tallest driver or passenger, for luggage there is 13 cubic feet in the trunk for bags. If you need more room than the rear seat splits and folds too.
As for a trip to Scottsdale, the spa-lover will find this destination a virtual paradise and, if you should decide to bring your golf-loving spouse there is plenty for him or her to do while you indulge at one of the area spas.
My three favorite spas include Montelucia Resort and Spa's Joya Spa, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess's Willow Stream Spa and the Boulder's Resort renowned Golden Door Spa. At the Boulder's Resort, indulge in not only the spa, but spend a few nights too since the place is named after the 12-million-year-old granite boulders that encompass the landscape and you really can feel the energy of the Earth at this little paradise.
Indeed, the Boulders is nothing short of a desert hideaway with 160 guest casitas and 61 villas, seven restaurants, two championship Jay Morrish-designed golf courses, eight tennis courts and, of course, the 33,000 square-foot spa.
The Boulders Resort Golden Door Spa takes spas to the next level with an eclectic spa menu including the Astrological Soul Reading. The Astrological Soul Reading is all about guests being given the ability to gain insight into the story of their soul's journey through the astrological chart, which is calculated by the spa guest's birthdate, birth time and birthplace. The service's namesake, the soul, is a person's individual energy and the Astrological Soul Readings are done by Tom McMullan, resident Astrological Consultant who says he is taped into what your soul is telling you.
There is also a shamanic ceremonialist healer onsite offering two treatments on the spa menu that combine natural regional ingredients with Native American traditions. Guests can also choose the Energy Field Balancing with Pulsors, which is a 60-minute relaxation session, which allows the body to re-balance itself through the use of pulsor energy triangles that are placed in different configurations throughout the body. Pulsors are special healing tools comprised of tiny crystals that store and discharge energy at specific frequencies.
The design elements for the Organic Garden at the property include naturally-flowing water, a reflection pond and two outdoor dining areas; an elevated dining area with teak furnishings amidst the raised planter boxes and a Chefs Table at the Outdoor Kitchen. The eight elevated planter boxes grows seasonal organic vegetables and the Sonoran desert planter boxes grow maize, chilis, hackberry, Sonoran eggplant and other desert root vegetables and the Organic Garden supplies the produce for the resorts restaurants too.
For dinner I found the perfect menu at the Spotted Donkey Cantina (www.spottedonkeycantina.com) located at the nearby Pedregal marketplace. The food was a take on Arizona's popular southwestern fare with cantina-style dishes and western flavors that put a smile on my face especially when the jalapeno drinks reminded me that it's all about relaxing in sunny Arizona.
Montelucia Resort and Spa is set in the foothills of Camelback Mountain with 293 guest rooms amid 35 acres of desert landscape. If you stay at the property there is poolside dining including the signature restaurant and shopping areas onsite, but the real draw here is Joya Spa.
The spa is an oasis with a feel of healing as you experience the spa's more modern take on the interpretation of the Hamman preparing the mind and body for indulgence. The spa was designed by Sylvia Sepiella who has spent time designing the likes of other domestic spas in the area and as far away as Hawaii, but the spa would be nothing without the treatments offered of which there are many to enjoy.
I had a 50-minute full-body reflexology that worked on not only my hands and feet pressure points, but also with a bend toward overall natural healing of the body. The reflexology practiced at Joya concentrates on their own version of this traditional practice and also includes the scalp and ear pressure points being manipulated as well.
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess sits majestically on 450 acres in the heart of the Sonoran Desert. You get a mix of sophisticated Southwestern style alongside the amazing desert landscape. With two golf courses, a number of pools and tennis courts, the 44,000 square-foot Willow Stream Spa is the real draw here though for any spa junky with an interior featuring sandstone interiors and waterfalls and lunch onsite at the Nourish Café so you can start the relaxation experience early.
Pamper yourself with a 90-minute stress relief massage hitting all the pressure points from head, neck, shoulders, back and feet and then try one of the facials like the 60-minute Advanced Age Correcting Facial with the latest skincare technology used in conjunction with a multi-acid exfoliation on the face and neck as well as hands and décolleté. Vitamin C and skin renewing essences to correct hyper-pigmentation, fine lines and uneven skin texture are also used in this treatment so you come out feeling pampered and beautiful.
For dinner, the Fairmont's La Hacienda restaurant features Mexican dining that is fresh and contemporary amidst a rustic Spanish architecture using Chef Richard Sandoval's mix of modern Mexican cuisine. The 240-plus artisan tequila selections will impress and save room for the churros and flaming coffee.
For some outdoor fun, Scottsdale is a great place to find adventure like the Green Zebra Adventures Tom Car Tour (www.gogreenzebra.com). The tour is off road, driving a snazzy military grade Tomcar and the guide will take you on an exploration of some of the 23,000 acres of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation in the Sonoran Desert. You will see the giant Saguaros towering everywhere as well as possible sightings of bald eagles, wild horses while also learning a good bit of the history of the area as well.