The drive to Arizona is smooth and uneventful. And then the landscape starts to change. There are cacti on the side of the road and tumbleweeds. Large granite boulders jut out from the desert and you wonder if they are real. In fact, they are 12 million years old kind of real. And that’s how this luxury Waldorf-Astoria Resort got its name – The Boulders.
Somewhere on the border of Scottsdale, we arrive at one of the world’s most celebrated hideaways in Carefree, Arizona. The Boulders, a Waldorf-Astoria resort, has 160 guest casitas and 60 villas shaped into the natural terrain, many bordering the two 18-hole championship golf courses designed by Jay Morrish, Arizona’s only Platinum Medal award winner. Apart from the majestic boulders, desert cacti including the surreal saguaro dot the landscape. There are trails around the property that are easy to walk but you can also take a golf cart around. My family and I enjoyed walking the trails together (though I will admit that my two sons enjoyed riding around the back of the golf cart more!)
There are no kid clubs or movie nights for young guests here but fear not, there is so much to do for an active family. Apart from nature walks, jeep tours and rock climbing lessons, The Boulders also offers eight tennis courts, and two swimming pools.
Being the spa junkie that I am, I could not visit The Boulders without getting a treatment at the 33,000-square-foot Waldorf Astoria Spa, that incorporates organic spa products and rituals that can be enjoyed at the labyrinth; an authentic Tipi, resident Shamanic Healer; a fitness center; movement studios and classroom for wellness lectures; tea room; full-service salon and spa café.
Within The Boulders property, there is a shopping plaza called El Pedregal and also six distinctively different restaurants. While at the resort, we discovered the deliciousness of prickly pear syrup at Palo Verde, a southwestern style bistro, where we had our breakfasts. And we snacked at the Bakery Cafe at El Pedregal before going on a Jeep Tour. For dinner, we dined at the Spotted Donkey Cantina, where we enjoyed “Modern Mexican” cuisine.