Archive for the ‘arizona travel’ Category

A Design Star’s Eco Tips

David Bromstad

This week, adorable design guru, David Bromstad, the original winner of HGTV Design Star, tells us some of his eco-adventure tips.  Now host and designer on his first hit series for HGTV, Color Splash, he’s completed more than 100 makeovers for Color Splash around the country including San Francisco, New York and Miami. David has also appeared on HGTV programs including HGTV’d, HGTV Showdown, and Bang for Your Buck. His infectious blend of energy, creativity, and dedication to each project distinguish him as a truly unique artist, design personality, and television host so we’re thrilled he’s here to share his insight.

1. What is your favorite vacation spot and why?

Mykonos, Greece. I go nearly every Summer with a big, wonderful group of people.  Mykonos is such an amazingly beautiful place! The people are wonderful, the food is unbelievable and it’s very gay friendly. My favorite place to stay is Hotel Hermes and I absolutely love Elia Beach. For more tips, you can also check out this website:

2. Are there any natural wonders of the world you’ve visited or places on your bucket list?

The Grand Canyon is the US’s own natural wonder of the world, and it is spectacular! Pictures don’t nearly do it justice. The vastness of the Canyon, and the sheer scale of nature is something everyone should see for themselves.  I would really love to see the Harbor of Rio de Janeiro; plus the Great Barrier Reef and Mount Everest definitely have a place on my bucket list.

3. Any eco-travel tips for our readers?

As much as I love the convenience of little travel toiletries, that is one way you can be more eco friendly. Using re-usable bottles is a great way to bring the products you love while still being eco conscious. Also you can now research your Carbon Footprint or “offset” your Carbon Footprint with tips from sites like this:

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

4. When – and why  – did you become passionate about up cycling?

Upcycling is the next step up from Recycling. It’s taking old, unusable products and making them into something wonderful! I have always been passionate about finding design in unusual places and using thing in interesting new ways… Recycling and being environmentally conscious is something that is so so important. And creating something beautiful is one of my all time favorite things to do.

We agree, David, which is why we love sites like and Why buy new when you can get the same thing for less and save a little of the planet while you’re at it?

Full Moon Hikes, Red Rock Jeep Tours, Wine, and Qi Gong… Sign me up!

Mountains of Sedona

Mountains of Sedona

If you’re planning a girls’ getaway, think outside the box this time and head to the raw red rocks of Sedona, AZ for a truly unforgettable experience. The “Wild West” is no longer the perilous destination that tested the mettle of pioneer women.  No, sir. The sweet city of Sedona offers the best of food, wine, spa treatments, galleries, shops (zen crystals and palm readings, anyone?), outdoor adventures, all within one of the most beautiful and inspirational natural settings to “girls” of all ages. Whether it’s a Girlfriends’ Getaway, Mother-Daughter retreat, Female Family Reunion – Sedona is idyllic.
El Portal - Sedona Exterior

El Portal – Sedona Exterior

One fantastic home base for a girls’ getaway in Sedona is El Portal Sedona Hotel.  This 12 room luxury boutique hotel offers truly personalized concierge services for Sedona and area, spectacular gourmet breakfasts and spacious Sedona accommodations. Guests appreciate the attention to detail in the stunning turn of the century Southwestern design, as well as the fact suites feature all modern amenities. Each guest suite includes a private entrance, patio or balcony, fireplace, whirlpool bath, entertainment center with DVD player, free wireless and more. (It is a pet friendly Sedona hotel with never a fee for pets, and offers free pet sitting).
El Portal Lobby

El Portal Lobby

After settling in at El Portal, a quick trip into town will introduce girls to an array of shops and galleries, including Sedona Wineworks and The Art of Wine.  This wine shop and tasting room features Arizona wines and wine-inspired original artwork, and is open for tasting seven days a week.  After sampling some unique wines, head to Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village to browse in the shops and galleries, then relax over dinner at Rene’s or El Rincon, both just steps away from El Portal. After reconnecting over a great meal, make yourself at home back at El Portal with a glass of wine (and complimentary chocolate-chip cookies) around the campfire or on your a private patio or balcony. Taking a look back at women’s history in Arizona is a great way to celebrate the bonds of friendship while in Sedona. Through Labor Day, the Sedona Heritage Museum will be featuring the Arizona Women’s Heritage Trail traveling exhibit, which is a celebration of women who have made significant contributions and left a lasting mark on Arizona.
El Portal Courtyard

El Portal Courtyard

Sun Country Adventures jeep tours of Sedona also allow girlfriends to connect with the rich landscape in a unique way, exploring seldom seen parts of the area on exhilarating jeep rides. Sun Country tour guides work with visitors to incorporate yoga or Qi Gong, meditation and ceremony if desired on customized hikes. Guests at El Portal Sedona Hotel can arrange full moon hikes, sunset hikes, hikes to high places, exhilarating and challenging hikes, as well as gentle hikes suitable for beginners. El Portal will even pack picnic lunches or arrange cowgirl cookouts.
Sun Country Adventures - Sedona Jeep Tour

Sun Country Adventures – Sedona Jeep Tour

One of the most popular hiking destinations in the area is Sedona’s majestic Red Rock State Park.  The park is a 286-acre preserve and environmental education center with breathtaking scenery of red rock and flowing water.  Unusual local rock formations such as Devil’s Bridge, which is considered the largest natural arch in the Sedona area, are great hiking destinations. Devil’s Bridge features dramatic views of the canyons, mountains and red rock cliffs from atop the cracked and fractured sandstone arch. The trail utilizes natural rocks as stairs to the top of the arch, making the trail suitable for hikers of most abilities and a great spot for memorable photos.
Of course, no girls’ trip is complete without spa treatments.  Guests of El Portal Sedona Hotel can walk over to Sedona Spa to indulge in everything from facials to massages and full-body treatments. These are just a few of the activities you can include in a unique and memorable girls’ getaway. Sedona offers biking, golf, musical performances, wine tours, hot air balloon rides and much more.  Contact El Portal Sedona for assistance in “rocking” the ideal girls’ trip.

About the Author: Wendy Rubicam is a freelance writer and marketing consultant based in Las Vegas, NV.  Wendy specializes in all things written for a wide variety of business clients, as well as freelance feature stories for magazines. Find out more about Wendy at

Paradise Valley, Arizona: Find Your Sanctuary

Mercury is in Jaunt Magazine’s 8th House – which also means – time to look inward. Since looking inward can be a little tough when you’re busy slaving away in the City of Angles, sometimes, we think the best way to look inward is to look upward into the heavens for a little celestial guidance.

That’s where the desert retreat comes into play. Astronomical offerings seem to be the latest and greatest summer travel trend at properties located near starry skies and sweeping vistas. So, whether you’re watching the sun rise from the tumbling red rocks of Camelback Mountain or gazing up at the stars during a crisp desert night, it’s time for a little reflection.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona recognized in 2006 as The Top Resort in the United States by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler (and included on T + L’s “T+ L 500” list), is inviting guests to celebrate extended summer hours… swanky Sonoran style.

Sanctuary’s Light & Harmony experience offers three distinct activities to experience the resort’s desert locale:

1. An invigorating “Camelback at Sunrise” guided morning hike up the northern slope of Camelback Mountain

2. An “Early to Rise” match of tennis on one of the resort’s five Deco-Turf championship courts

3. An evening of stargazing with a professional astronomer via Sanctuary’s high-powered telescope

You can pick and choose (and that’s why we like it).

As the sun warms the day, you can cool off in Sanctuary’s infinity-edge pool (the largest of its kind in Arizona) or relax in the Sanctuary Spa with a Signature Summer spa treatment. Named 2008 “Most Excellent Spa Hotel” by Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence, the Sanctuary staff recommends indulging yourself in a Rosemary Citron Body Scrub, which combines a mineral-rich sea salt infused with rosemary, lemon and mint or an Aloe Skin Quencher Body Wrap, combining the soothing comfort of an aloe moisturizer with calming effects of lavender mist after a long hot day in the desert sun.

Sanctuary Infinity Pool, Night

And sunsets in Paradise Valley, well, they’re paradise. And we should know, we lived there. Magentas, pinks, baby blues, purples, and plenty of orange. Ricky Lee spoke about them for a reason. Take in the Arizona desert views, contemplate existence, and then have a cocktail at Edge, Sanctuary’s new outdoor bar. The next step in the path to personal growth is always having an honest look within. We hear the Chamomile Breeze, a mixture of gin, honey, and lemon steeped with loose chamomile tea leaves, is a top-notch way to do it.

Finish it off with dinner at their restaurant, Elements, where Chef Beau Macmillan (whose Kobe beef beat out Iron Chef Bobby Flay on The Food Network), whips up seasonal delicacies like slow-roasted kurobuta pork with cilantro pesto, pickled melon & cashew salad, steamed little neck clams with green onion, dashi broth & crispy lob chong or grilled hawaiian opa with cumin, pine nut cous cous, jalapeno, mango and crab.

An evolved menu where desert, island, mediterranean, and asian cultures unite.

Take in the stars for dessert.

Sanctuary’s ‘Light & Harmony’ experience includes:

* Two (2) nights in a Mountain Vista Casita or Spa Casita
* Breakfast for two daily
* Choice of an activity, per couple/per stay:
* Guided hike on Camelback Mountain
* “Early to Rise” tennis instruction
* Sanctuary Stargazing by moonlight
* Choice of one Sanctuary Summer Signature Spa Treatments (60-minute)
* One dinner in Elements for two

The two-night Light & Harmony experience is through Sept. 12, 2008. $652 for single occupancy/ $1,093 for double.

A little about Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain: One of the country’s most lauded luxury resorts, Sanctuary is a striking boutique property, internationally acclaimed for contemporary design, inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and the native desert history. Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” and a “Reader’s Choice” winner since it’s opening in 2002.

So it may not be budget, but it is beautiful.

Stay tuned next week for the very first in a 3 part series on:
Where to go, What to do, and Where to Shop in Tokyo and Kyoto.

Siyanora, sweetcheeks.

A Carefree Spa Retreat: The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa, AZ

Feeling Carefree? It’s in the stars. As we amp up for our next spa wellness retreat, we caught wind of an all new four-day/three-night ‘Carefree Spa Getaway’ package at The Boulders’ Golden Door Spa in Carefree, Arizona and knew we’d have to throw caution to that wind and give ourselves a little ‘us’ time. Enveloping guests in a holistic experience that claims to be ‘nothing less than life changing,’ the package includes astrology, hikes, rock climbing clinics, cooking classes, spa treatments AND meditation, all designed to tune the body, inspire the spirit, and open up that precious mind. Phew. We could use somma that. It also draws emphasis on the power of the universe — something we’re always down to delve into. Available only once a month, during, you guessed it… the Full Moon.
The 2008 dates are:

June 19-22
July 17-20
August 14-17
September 18-21

The Carefree Spa Getaway package includes:

• Daily morning group hike in the foothills of the Sonoran Desert
• Unlimited fitness classes and a Professional Fitness Assessment
• Three 50-minute spa services (choice of massage, wrap, facial, scrub
• Daily meals (breakfast, lunch, Golden Door Spa Tea and dinner)
• Daily lectures on nutrition, health, fitness, wellness and astrology
• Interactive Cooking Demonstration
• Group activities such as Labyrinth Walks, Yoga/Meditation in the Organic Garden, and Boulder Rock Climb
• Welcome gift and nightly turndown gifts that include a “Carefree Companion” with a personalized daily agenda, pedometer & walking program encouraging 10,000 steps a day, a fitness class schedule, and recommended reading guide.

Gastrological Dinners (a combination of gastronomy & astrology), are also planned during the Fall & Spring Equinox and Summer/Winter Solstice. An evening of celestial wonder in the resort’s Organic Garden, guests get to experience a gourmet dinner under the night sky with renowned astrologer, Tom McMullen, who explains the symbolic language of Astrology, the movement of the constellations, and how the planets influence our lives.

We love this exclusive desert hideaway and The Golden Door Spa at The Boulders for many reasons. The main one being that Arizona is a land filled with a spirited past. Not to mention the fact that the spa drew it’s inspiration from the ancient Honjin inns of Japan where weary travelers sought sanctuary. Incorporating elements of feng shui and the Zen-like ambiance of the original Golden Door while staying true to the Native American influences of The Boulders, it has a labyrinth, a Tipi for guided meditation, an affirmation rock for individual guest reflection, fitness center, mind, body and movement studios, a café and sweeping views of the 12-million-year-old boulder piles, along with Black Mountain.

What else?
160 guest casitas, 55 one-three bedroom villas, 7 restaurants and a lounge, 2 championship Jay Morrish-designed golf courses, and 8 tennis courts (including three classic clay and five premier cushion courts).

Only 12 guests will be accepted each month.

So really, if you’re not going to listen to us, listen to Uranus.
(Sorry, we couldn’t resist)

Rates start at $1,399 per person or $1,199 double occupancy.

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