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Luxe for less: Scottsdale’s Montelucia teases with Camelback Mountain views & affordable weekday stays.

By Valerie Moloney

When online shopping, I’m painstaking and stalkeresque in my search. What’s a few hours of comparing, clicking and reclicking when the ultimate fruit the best deal on travel? So it’s nice when I don’t have to do the work, and an upscale beauty blazes to the top of the search results with everything on my wish list: a gorgeous pool, heavenly spa and otherworldly décor that channels the Andalusian region of Spain.

The InterContinental Alliance Resorts Montelucia Resort & Spa is a (bargain!) five-star hotel at the foot of Camelback Mountain. Prices are prime for weekday stays, with rates going for as low as $99 a night depending on availability.

Ranked one of the world’s best hotels by Travel & Leisure, it wows with 35 acres of desert decadence, and we’re not just talking mountain views (which, by the way, are best taken in during movies nights IN the pool). Four-poster beds climb to the ceiling. Sumptuous fabrics lend softness to heavy, espresso-colored wood. Amber lighting brings the warmth of the landscape indoors, a seamless experience from guest room to lobby.

Let’s talk pampering.

Pumping up Scottsdale’s street cred as a luxury spa destination, Joya Spa was named the No. 1 spa by Phoenix magazine. Spa regulars, you know the difference between a good spa experience and a great spa experience, starting with the lounge. At Joya, the room feels more like a Moroccan chamber, with plush day beds, brass light fixtures and candlelight melting every ounce of stress long before you enter the treatment room for a full body argan oil massage or coconut cream manicure and pedicure.  For that rare treat, reserve a Hammam Ritual, where you’ll be exfoliated with black olive oil charcoal soap after a steam/sauna, hammam (warming room) and cold deluge.

Prado, an elegant example of sustainable, Mediterranean fare, is every bit as decadent as its surroundings. Dine al fresco on signatures such as an Arizona-sourced rib eye and Squid Ink Angel Hair with the Camelback mountains in easy view, or take it inside for 100 percent agave tequila and sommelier-chosen varietals at Mbar.

I’m not a golfer, but my husband will be glad to know guest have priority access to four area courses. And for the kids: Planet Trekkers Kids Club, where even the shortest of attention spans will be sated with life-sized chess, treasure hunts and a gaming room.

Done and done. Here’s to luxe experiences on a family-friendly budget.

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Valerie Moloney, who manages the CheapTickets blog and used to live in Morocco, has vivid memories of her mother scrubbing her down with charcoal soap. She would prefer those be replaced with a real life hammam ritual.

 

Tagged: Romance & honeymoon, Tips & advice

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