Re­ju­ve­na­tion

A desert re­fresher course in­cludes sand and sun, a stop at the Mission, a night tour of Taliesin West and a side jaunt to Se­dona.

Los Angeles Times - - TRAVEL - BY JEREMY KOHLER travel@la­times.com

Af­ter a try­ing few months, I an­nounced to my fam­ily that I was tak­ing us some­where to lift our spir­its. My wife and our two boys guessed Florida. Nope, we weren’t risk­ing rain. I planned two nights in Scotts­dale, Ariz. Af­ter a flight de­lay wrecked the first day, I dou­bled down and made it four days. Air­fares were on points; we spent $2,500 on the rest, in­clud­ing $450 a night at the FireSky Re­sort & Spa, about $135 on golf and $150 at the Mission, one of Scotts­dale’s hottest restau­rants. A splurge to be sure, but you can do it for less if you don’t do it in high sea­son as we did.

The bed

FireSky Re­sort & Spa (4925 N. Scotts­dale Road; [480] 9457666, www.fireskyre­sort.com ) is a 204-room bou­tique ho­tel with a gor­geous, high-ceilinged lobby and a lounge wrapped around an oa­sis of la­goon-like pools and fire pits. An ad­e­quate dou­ble­queen room with French doors opened to a pair of five-star­qual­ity pools, one with a kid­friendly beach. We loved the free wine hour and s’mores kits. The boys guz­zled the free prickly pear lemon­ade. We chose one of the more ex­pen­sive times to go; rooms were $200 a night ear­lier in March.

The meal

We hit the Mission in Old Town Scotts­dale (3815 N. Brown Ave.; [480] 636-5005, www.the mis­sionaz.com ), which is next door to an old adobe mission built by Mex­i­can set­tlers in the 1910s. We felt lucky to get a reser­va­tion more than a week out for 8:15 p.m. on a Wed­nes­day. It was glo­ri­ously loud and too dark to read the menu; we shouldn’t have brought the kids. Pork shoul­der tacos for two ($32) were pre­sented as a solid chunk of pig smoked and slow-braised for half a day, served with a pineap­ple habanero glaze and 10 hand­made corn tor­tillas on a hot salt brick. Sub­lime.

The find

Take a night tour of Taliesin West (12345 N. Taliesin Drive; [480] 627-5340, www.lat.ms /1GgEE8A . Evening tours of­fered Fe­bru­ary-May, Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber, De­cem­ber), ar­chi­tect Frank Lloyd Wright’s win­ter home/academy from 1937 un­til his death in 1959 at age 91. Try to imag­ine the long-ago de­bauch­ery the guide doesn’t tell you about. You can just feel it.

Les­son learned

You could spend the en­tire trip golf­ing, tan­ning and swill­ing lemon­ade like lo­tus eaters in Scotts­dale, but the red canyons of Se­dona are less than a twohour drive north. Make your­self go. We spent our last day speed­ing across chang­ing desert land­scapes to tackle a mem­o­rable hike up the Mars-like land­scape of Bell Rock.

FireSky Re­sort & Spa

A LOUNGE wraps around la­goon-like pools, a kid-friendly beach and fire pits at the FireSky Re­sort & Spa in Scotts­dale, Ariz.

Mike Siegel Seat­tle Times

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S Taliesin West is near Scotts­dale. Try the evening tour.

Jeremy Kohler

THE RED ROCKS of Se­dona are less than a two-hour drive north of Scotts­dale. A popular hik­ing des­ti­na­tion is Bell Rock.

Jeremy Kohler

GOLF is a popular ac­tiv­ity among vis­i­tors and lo­cals alike in the Phoenix area, with a mul­ti­tude of cour­ses to try out.

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