Standing tall at the eastern edges of Scottsdale, just off the busy 101 loop freeway where the bustle of downtown gives way to long, sunny views of the McDowell Mountains, you’ll find Talking Stick Resort.
You can’t miss the 15-story hotel resort and casino, which gleams from miles away in the mid-afternoon sun. Located on the Salt-River Pima Maricopa Indian Reservation, the luxury resort and casino is the tallest building in Scottsdale, which means this is one of the best spots in town to enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding desert valley.
Dave and I spent Saturday night at Talking Stick last week, where we soaked in the sights and sounds of the resort at the height of the busy spring season.
During our stay, we witnessed all the things that make Scottsdale and Phoenix prime spring break territory: perfect mid-70s temperatures, scenic patio dining, desert wildflowers in bloom, mountain views, and the energy and bustle that Cactus League spring training baseball brings to the city every March.
Talking Stick Resort is located next to Salt River Fields, spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. The resort is also a short drive from Scottsdale Stadium, home of the San Francisco Giants every spring. (During the spring training season, the resort offers guests free shuttle rides to Salt River Fields to catch the games).
Spa Photos: Talking Stick Resort
I began my Talking Stick stay with a ride up the elevator to the 14th floor, home to The Spa at Talking Stick Resort. It’s an open-air spa with a salon, fitness center, and gorgeous views of the surrounding desert and city. It’s hard not to fall into hyperbole, but imagine luxuriating in a waterfall shower with floor-to-ceiling views where you can unwind and gaze out at long, endless views of the city and desert. It’s hard not to feel pampered with those views.
I opted for the Peaceful Healing Massage, a 90-minute treatment that incorporates indigenous herbs wrapped in soft raw Pima cotton poultices. The steaming herbs filled the dim treatment room with a lovely perfume that nearly opened up my stuffy nasal passages entirely (ah, spring allergies have hit me hard this season!).
My massage therapist applied rhythmic pressure down my back and along my arms while soothing Native American flutes and other ambient music played softly in the background. Not surprisingly, the session flew by and I left feeling so relaxed and refreshed, I could have melted into a comfy armchair for the rest of the afternoon.
According to the Spa, the Peaceful Healing Massage is based on a treatment used to heal the farmer, hunter, and weary traveler. I would add that it might help anyone with built-up tension in their hands and arms due to sitting at the computer for hours a day. My therapist Lesley told me I had lots of tension in my left arm, which I wasn’t surprised to hear.
By the way, the 14th floor at Talking Stick Resort is also home to 270 Lounge, the resort’s Vegas-style dance club and Orange Sky, the hotel’s signature fine dining room with excellent patio views.
After my massage, I met Dave in the lobby and we took a brief tour of the resort. One of the nice things about staying at Talking Stick is the sheer size of the property. It has a 36-hole golf club, six restaurants (including the Vegas-worthy Wandering Horse Buffet), a cigar lounge, a live music showroom, and a large casino floor with more than 800 slot machines and 50 gaming tables. There are also plenty of comfy lounges for enjoying a drink, people-watching, or listening to live music.
We walked the main floor and enjoyed looking at traditional Pima and Maricopa pottery and textiles, which are on display throughout the resort.
Next door to Talking Stick, there’s shopping at The Pavilions, and nearby attractions Butterfly Wonderland, TopGolf, Odysea Mirror Maze are part of the resort’s entertainment properties. Old Town Scottsdale shopping and restaurants are also just a few minutes away by car. We opted to stay at the resort all weekend, since there was plenty to eat, drink and do without having to stray very far from our room.
We had a long, leisurely dinner at the resort’s newest restaurant, The Palo Verde Lounge. The restaurant is located in a sprawling atrium with nice views of the patio. To get to the dining area, just look for the electric-blue staircase, which lights up with every step you take.
The menu specializes in Mexican classics like enchiladas, tacos, and massive burritos. Our favorite menu picks included the sampler platter, which comes with a generous serving of a chicken flatbread, quesadillas oozing with cheese, and a just-zesty-enough queso fundido. The tortilla chips were thick, hot, and lightly salted, and our server happily kept them coming all night long. We split a plate of capirotada for dessert, a plate of delicious Mexican bread pudding filled with hints of cinnamon, sugar, raisins, and served with fresh blackberries and strawberries. If you love bread pudding, don’t miss this.
After dinner, we took our wine onto the patio, which is dotted with fire pits and plush outdoor seating areas. All around, the sound of people laughing, glasses clinking, and music from the various lounges provided a lovely backdrop for springtime in the desert.
Talking Stick Resort
9800 E. Indian Bend Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85256