This desert oasis on the edge of Phoenix has shed its lime green golf togs image for a little Generation X flavor: contemporary art galleries, world-class cuisines, spas to swoon in - even a jazzy waterfront (yes, as in H2O) retail district.
By Becca Hensley
Traverse Camelback Mountain's Cholla Trail at sunrise and the vista will awe you so much, you won't even notice the painful, nearly two-mile trek uphill. Though relatively short, this difficult jaunt has steep, rocky sections with drop-offs on both sides - and a view worth the effort. (Less-fit hikers should plan to pace themselves.)
Long a haunt of Hollywood greats, Scottsdale continues to attract the West Coast glitterati. Join them in the heart of Old Town at the ultracool Mondrian Scottsdale ($300 to $500, 480-308-1100, www.mondrianscottsdale.com). Recently refurbished and now the hippest hangout in the desert, it reflects the new, youthful spirit of the city with funky-colored stucco interiors, a star location on the Scottsdale Mall, and a pool so social that you won't want to leave.
Meander down to restaurant row to experience Cowboy Ciao (480-946-3111, www.cowboyciao.com), a gourmet world that defies classification (Western baroque?). Try the Stetson Chopped salad, a local favorite. Nearby Sea Saw (480-481-9463, www.seasaw.net), a "Tapanese" eatery, offers the unique cuisine of Nobu Fukuda (think whitefish carpaccio and miso-marinated foie gras). Go retro Polynesian at Hotel Valley Ho's Trader Vic's (480-421-7799, www.hotelvalleyho.com), or amble across town to the Star Spangled Tavern (480-419-8729, www.starspangledtavern.us) for some creative comfort cuisine.