Weddings, romantic getaways and sunshine. These are among the specialties associated with the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia, one of Arizona’s award-winning destination hotels.
And just to add a little dash of style and intrigue, it all comes packaged in a setting that is heaped in ancient Spanish tradition.
Surrounded by the Sonoran Desert at the foot of Camelback Mountain, the resort in Paradise Valley just east of Phoenix is inspired by the whitewashed villages of Andalusia in southern Spain. In fact, artifacts from the Andalusia region can be found throughout the resort, including terracotta “tinjas,” or oil jars, that come from the Spanish countryside in Jaén, a province in north-eastern Andalusia.
“When the property was first being planned, the architect and designer went on a trip to Italy, Spain and Mexico for artefacts and to find inspiration,” says Chloe Dake, public relations and communications manager at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa.
Among the items they found on this expedition were handcrafted tiles. Couples taking a romantic stroll on the property might notice these hand-painted slabs that now cover the floor in the resort’s main entrance. These are the same tiles that once were part of the floor of a small 19th century tavern in the town of Guadix in the Spanish province of Granada. The tiles have witnessed generations of people gathering to enjoy a glass of wine and tapas. “It’s a really unique place with the Spanish architecture and the Spanish feeling,” Dake says of the resort. “The antiquities add to the unique sense of place; it’s not an everyday experience.”
Another popular feature that adds to the resort’s charm and traces its origin to an earlier time is what many guests refer to simply as “the bell.” Officially known as The Bell of El Camino Real, it is one of the original 450 bells that marked the route called the El Camino Real, or the “King’s Highway,” which was the first roadway in California. Today, guests throughout the resort hear it ring as each newlywed couple is invited to let it peal to mark the beginning of their married life.
The Omni Scottsdale is a popular wedding spot, with more than 50 ceremonies and receptions held there every year, Dake says. Although both the bride and groom are invited to ring the bell, Dake admits most of the photos on display on the resort’s Montelucia’s Cherished Mermories wall show the woman taking on the task. “Most of the time, the groom lets the bride ring it,” Dake says. “It rings throughout the property.
One of the reasons there are so many weddings at the Omni Scottsdale is because the resort caters to romance.
Some of the wedding ceremonies are held at the Castillo Lucerna, a chapel. The door to Castillo Lucerna is a massive colonial handcrafted piece of solid teak from northern Portugal. It features 72 framed panels, and the original decorative bronze nails are easily visible. The massive portal also has a small “zaguan,” or door within a door. But once you walk through this history-steeped entrance, let the magic begin. The interior space, with its high ceilings and mirrored walls, can be configured to accommodate both the wedding ceremony and a reception. “It can be transformed depending on what the guest is looking for,” Dake explains. “We really are a romantic destination.”
But you don’t have to get married to get caught up in the romance of the surroundings. One of the simplest pleasures is a romantic stroll on the many paths throughout the property, Dake says. You may want to indulge yourself at the resort’s Joya Spa, home to Arizona’s only Hammam experience, a Mediterranean bathing ritual that is described as “a pleasurable, cleansing and social experience.”
Guests can enjoy a range of exquisite dining at the resort – from its signature restaurant, Prado, which sets the bar for fine dining in the region with a dash of Old World charm, to the casual Mbar lounge, where guests can relax at the outdoor communal tables to share wood-fired tapas and toast with one of several unique sangria blends.
With 293 guest rooms, 38 luxury suites and two presidential suites that include 2,500 square feet of living space and access to a private pool, there are many ways to experience a special couple’s getaway.
Oh, and did anyone mention that it rarely rains in Arizona? The resort confidently boasts that it sees an average of 300 days of sunshine each year.
Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia