by Dirk Baumgartl
Whoever travels on a road trip through the west of the USA – for example from Joshua Tree National Park near Palm Springs to the national parks Saguaro, Grand Canyon and Zion – will not miss Phoenix. And that’s a good thing.
It can get pretty hot in the Arizona desert. The thermometer climbs up to 46 degrees in summer – in the shadow. No wonder that in Phoenix one likes to retreat to a shady place with a cooled pool or for a spa visit. And there are many of these places, especially in the luxury area. Whether hotel chains like Fairmont, Andaz, W or single houses like Civana or The Phoenician – there are resorts where one can have a relaxing stopover on his round trip through the west of the USA. The huge conurbation in the Valley of the Sun comprises several cities and communities with a total of four million inhabitants. Tempe’s downtown with its numerous bars and restaurants is a little paradise for night owls, while the Gammage Auditorium, built by star architect Frank Lloyd Wright, hosts Broadway shows such as Wicked, The Book of Mormon and Lion King.
Sound experience and cacti
Music lovers will also get their money’s worth at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, which opened in 2010. With over 7,000 instruments from around 200 countries and regions, the museum is one of the best of its kind – almost every instrument can be heard in action via an audio guide. A visit to the Desert Botanical Garden will give you an insight into the flora of the Sonora Desert in Arizona. Around 50,000 plants and cacti grow on the area, which can be explored on several hiking trails. Nature lovers can also take a day trip from Phoenix to the Saguaro National Park or to Sedona, famous for its red rock formations.
Urban and gay
In contrast, the Roosevelt Row Arts District is quite urban. Just a stone’s throw from downtown Phoenix, young graffiti artists and smart investors have revived the once dilapidated neighborhood. Gastronomic projects such as The Churchill – a kind of market hall for local restaurants – provide the correspondingly cool vibe. Billy Oxford also loves the area. The bearded individualist likes to drive tourists through the city with his bicycle taxi and proves himself to be a knowledgeable insider (www.azpedicab.com). Billy is also present with his “Pedicab” at the Phoenix Pride, which takes place every year in April. In addition to the parade, there is a huge festival with several music and dance stages.. On Pride Sunday the parade moves along 3rd Street and starts already in the morning at 10 o’clock, because in April the temperature can rise quickly to 30 degrees.
Condor flies three times a week non-stop from Frankfurt to Phoenix in summer. The Premium Class offers special travel comfort with significantly more legroom, free entertainment and a high-quality Premium Menu including a free selection of beverages. www.condor.com
The huge Fairmont Scottsdale Princess complex with over 500 rooms, six pools, golf course, conference centre and spa is located in the middle of the Sonora Desert of Arizona, which is characterised by mountains and mighty Saguaro cacti. A special feature of the hotel, which is currently undergoing extensive renovation, is the palm-fringed Sunset Beach with fine white sand around a pool of over 800 square meters. The Well & Being Spa, on the other hand, is an oasis of calm and relaxation and offers a whole range of treatments especially for men. www.fairmont.com/scottsdale
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