We arrived at hotel Valley Ho late on Saturday night to find a somewhat rowdy crowd – a wedding after party in full swing. Not overly so, but after a day of travel and my hormones in overdrive after leaving Shea for the better part of a week, I was relieved when we located our room away from the pool and hotel restaurant. Nice and quiet. The hotel rooms were beautiful – the entire resort being decorated in a retro chic theme.
We had a great little patio with a comfy lounge, small table, and chairs, and enjoyed the shade in the morning and the sun in the afternoons. The patio adjoined to this cute little grassy area.
From the outside, the hotel looks like any motel you might find in the 50’s but that’s the look they’re going for. The accommodations were all 5-star, including an outstanding spa. Mark and I each had 2 massages over the course of the 5 days we were there, and none disappointed. They run specials on their services, as well, so they’re far more affordable than where we usually stay in Cabo.
The hotel pools were full on Sunday, but only at about half capacity the rest of the week. I’m not complaining! Finding a lounge was no issue at any point in the day and there was someone bringing around ice water at all times. A full bar and poolside menu were available, as well. One day, we ordered the chips with salsa, guacamole, and queso. We called this lunch for the day 🙂
We did eat at the hotel’s restaurant, Zuzu’s, the night we arrived. We shared a Caesar salad and the Zuzu burger. We loved the salad, but would not have ordered the burger again – just too many flavors going on. In fairness, we had heard that Zuzu’s is best known for their breakfast and lunch options. Besides, with sooooo many dinner options available, we were unlikely to stick around the resort for most of our meals.
The workout facility was top-notch with a wonderful view of the main pool. Open 24/7, we both utilized the gym several times. Unlike Mexico with the extreme heat and humidity, the air-conditioned facility and non-existent humidity definitely made exercising in Scottsdale much more pleasant!
Other than some exercise, much of our days were spent by the pool – just like we like’em! I read 2 fabulous books on the trip that are well worth mentioning – Orphan Train and Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica. I even got a good way through a 3rd book but it’s not quite as good 🙂
So, let’s talk a little bit about FOOD!
After our sub-par meal at Zuzu’s, our eats improved drastically. We started off our trip on Sunday with brunch at Daily Dose. We shared the Campfire Cakes (s’mores!) and the Crabby Omelet – blue crab cake with a veggie omelet. Both were fantastic, as was the cappuccino. Really, though, the menu was outstanding and I would’ve loved everything they offered. Also, very vegetarian and gluten-free friendly!
Dinner that evening was hubby’s choice – Craft 64 which was just steps away from our hotel. While many of these restaurants look like 600 square foot homes from the outside, old Scottsdale offers outdoor seating almost everywhere. We started with the charcuterie board and the mascarpone & fig bruschetta. We also shared the carne pizza and added arugula. Everything was wonderful, but especially the starters. They even offered a German non-alcoholic beer that was wonderful 🙂
Lunch one day was chosen by hubby – a chain, much to my dismay. But, we had said we wanted to get sushi or Indian while we were in a larger city. So, we went to RA Sushi which was very good! The garlic edamame was out of this world and the tempura and lobster roll wasn’t too shabby, either!
On my foodie bucket list was elements at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain which was in Paradise Valley, about a 10 minute drive from Valley Ho. Our originally reservation was for 7:30pm but we had heard the highlight of this restaurant is the sunset in the valley. We were able to bump up our reservation to 6:30pm (yay for Monday night fancy dinners!) and had a BEAUTIFUL scenic meal with patio seating.
We started with the Firey Calamari per the recommendation of Lindsay from Pinch of Yum and it did not disappoint. Mark wasn’t as wow-ed as I was, but admittedly, I LOVE calamari. For entrees, we ordered the short ribs (fantastic!) and the lobster with udon – also wonderful. We shared the dishes and left no room for dessert, sadly. The service was fantastic and the bartender even whipped together a virgin grapefruit-basil martini that was absolutely amazing! So, I had 2 🙂 I very much so appreciated the non-alcoholic price on the beverage, as well – a nice surprise when the check came.
The other restaurant I insisted on trying was The Mission. The House was just steps from our hotel and looked WONDERFUL, but we had received 2 recommendations for Mission (here’s the menu), so we gave it a go on Wednesday evening. It was VERY busy, but we were seated right away with our reservation. Our service, however, was terrible. Ended up, there was a party of FIFTY in the back room, but we didn’t know this under after it took over an hour for our appetizer to arrive. The appetizer duck empanada was VERY good and I tried foie gras for the first time (not a fan). I was leaning towards the pork shoulder tacos for 2, but our server talked me into the chorizo porchetta and it was not anything I’d order again. I ended up getting the house made tortillas to go with, but overall, Mark’s chicken tacos were far superior in my book. I would definitely go back, but I would certainly hope for FAR better service.
The last night, on a whim, Mark found Eddie’s House right near our hotel. The service and food was INCREDIBLE. We shared the Caesar salad and Mark ordered the cioppino while I opted for the linguine and clams. The bread service comes with a blue cheese butter and a pesto spread that were both soooo good and the flourless chocolate cake was divine – so rich! We would definitely go back. P.S. Their website does them no justice – it was really rather elegant!
That last day, we also took a day trip up to Sedona. We met my friend Donna who lives 20 minutes away and we did the “Scenic Sedona” Pink Jeep Tour. This was the easy tour that was approved for pregnant women – their other tours are off-roading and while fun, not safe for me in my current state 😉 It was a great way to see a lot of Sedona and learn a lot about the history. And of course we loved seeing Donna! We had lunch before the tour at Javelina’s Cantina and it was good – not AMAZING, but good. 🙂 Had we stayed longer, we would’ve had dinner at Dahl & DiLuca’s which we heard rave reviews about from several people.
All-in-all, our Zika-free babymoon was absolutely wonderful. We did everything we wanted to do – exercise, sleep, lounge, and eat. And for hubby, drink. 🙂 We agreed that we would DEFINITELY go back to Scottsdale and definitely loved Valley Ho, its location and accommodations. But for now, back to Michigan and the 30’s. But at least I get to see my baby and fur baby tomorrow 🙂