Click photo to book The Radisson Fort McDowell Hotel and Casino in Scottsdale, AZ

There’s no question that the desert is beautiful — but mysterious.

Radisson's picture perfect desert poolside.

The rugged and colorful terrain leaves its wonder on spectacular mountain growths, rock formations — and even the vegetation. Arizona is a true masterpiece overflowing with gorgeous sunsets and bright starry nights to no end.

If you gazed at a picture or painting of the Arizona desert that made your jaw drop, you ask  yourself,  “is this for real?”  

I’m here to tell you that it is and it very much exists!

There’s a place in the Sonoran Desert that upon approach all that is seen is the superlative endless blue sky, tall statuesque cactus, and mountains that seem to be set afire with a blazing red glow.

One in particular sacred mountain is known as “Red Mountain”, which stands guardian over a perfectly constructed and well planned resort. The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation offers Scottsdale’s only AAA 4-Diamond resort. The Hotel opened in November of 2005, and is already ranked as one of the top three Radisson Resorts in the world. The mere fact that is a 4-Diamond resort is unheard of for such a newly built facility.  It continues to work on its 5th diamond and has already taken home several coveted awards at the Carlson Hotels worldwide business conference.

Dream easy on a sleep number bed.

Its architectural designer is Leo Daily, who was truly ingenious when it came to the hotel’s structure and sophisticated design. This 246 room resort boasts a unique and interesting quality that I have never experienced before. The architectural design fits perfectly in the gorgeous desert setting in the midst of some of the worlds most spectacular natural environs. Every room offers superb room service, delivered through an underground service tunnel, and an adjustable ‘Sleep Number’ bed for comfort and rest.

The Cholla Golf Course.

This Radisson For McDowell specializes in both leisure and business travel; there is a 25,000 sq. ft meeting space capable of supporting both small and large groups. There is also a 20,000 sq. ft outdoor banquet area for gorgeous sunny day events.

The Radisson Fort McDowell is a  true golf lover’s dream vacation, with an 18 hole championship course, offering its famous We-Ko-Pa (meaning four peaks) Golf Club, consisting of two unbelievable courses. The “Cholla” course  was the original design by Scott Miller and is rated number 38th in Golf Magazine; the newest course is the “Saguaro”, which opened in December 2006, designed by Ben Crenshaw, and Bill Coore.  There is a comprehensive practice facility and fully stocked pro shop all accessible by car or shuttle. Both courses are surrounded by authentic wilderness desert - filled with saguaro cactus and indigenous vegetation of all types.

The award winning Saquaro Golf Course.

There is a little bit of something for everyone at the Radisson Fort McDowell, which is a family friendly resort. 

A reflection of outstanding culture.

There are two swimming pools and two outdoor whirlpools. The main pool has a stunning fountain that flows from high pillars.  The pool’s patio area also has a fully stocked bar and a BBQ area with grill for larger groups and events, such as the Sunsational Summer Getaway. This event is held throughout the summer, May 23rd- September 1st. You pay only $139 per night for weekdays and $159 per night for weekends, with a $75 dollar resort credit per room/per night. You will get free membership to the casino, free live pool side DJ on Friday and Saturday evenings, free pool activities for the kids, free Saturday night “Dive-in” movies, poolside BBQ on Fri, Sat, and Sun ( for an extra charge), and a chance to win a free trip to Disneyland for a family of four. Everyone who books during the promotional dates will be entered into a grand prize drawing!

Plenty of fun for all.

After a fun filled day in the water and sun, or a great workout in the exercise room, relax in the Amethyst Spa, and treat yourself to a fantastic and unforgettable massage, or manicure! My husband and I both had the pleasure of getting a relaxing massage. I chose the Swedish massage with aromatherapy provided by the spa’s supervisor, Kenyon Canoles. What a tremendous job she performed - when I left the spa I was so relaxed that I immediately returned to my room to rest on the Select Comfort Sleep Number bed and watched a few of my favorite channels! There is also a resort boutique that offers inimitable and unusual gifts, or just a few things that you may have left at home.

If you would like a true “Wild West” experience, you can contact Fort McDowell Adventures, which offers a variety of packages, ranging from horseback riding, jeep tours, cattle drives, and much more! Summer floats are offered at different times down the Verde River; the tour operator serves Radisson Fort McDowell guests, making it a very unique and unusual addition to any trip to ther resort.

You will not be bored during your stay! The Fort McDowell casino, located on the hotel property, is a 130,000 sq. ft full service, 24 hour casino, offering Vegas-style Blackjack, Poker, Bingo, and Keno! Try your luck at over 700 slot machines!

Fine dining Ahnala style.

While visiting, you must enjoy the resort’s dining experience at the Ahnala, which means mesquite in Yavapai. The full service restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all of which provide hearty portions. One of my favorite palate pleasers while I was visiting was the Reuben sandwich, adorned with an abundance of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sourkraut, dressing, and my ultimate favorite . . . Green Chilis!

The Ahnala has mesquite flooring throughout, and uses a mesquite grill for distinct wood smoke flavoring! Only the freshest ingredients go into every serving, most coming from the Fort McDowell Tribal Farms, which provides vegetables, citrus, and pecans and even the mesquite for the grill. Dazzling glass tiles hang from the ceiling - handmade by the Yavapai tribe’s own children. Dining areas are partitioned for privacy.  The outdoor dining area is enclosed by symmetrical wrought iron gating that resembles saguaro cactus rows that grow in similar patterns throughout the barren region. The swimming pool area’s fencing has the same uniqueness.

Superb craftmanship details the resort.

Handmade rugs through the resort public areas reflect the Yavapai culture and heritage. The windows in the hotel itself are offset in patterns to resemble woven baskets. There is a stone pathway which depicts the Verde River. It starts at the grand entrance of the hotel and continues through the lobby area, and out into the swimming and lounging area.

I had the pleasure of visiting with Charles “Topper” Van Every, who is the hotel’s Director of Strategic Marketing. He educated me in areas and features of the hotel in which I would never have dreamed nor imagined! He explained the Yavapai history in minute details..

Gateway to a 4 Diamond Success!

As a hotel guest I was astounded by this remarkable work of art – that is,  the resort as a work of art.  So much thought went into every aspect in planning this impeccable desert palace. Not one tiny detail was overlooked by her creators. Many great masterminds came together, which ultimately ended on a huge 4-Diamond success, with the fifth diamond sure to follow.

Radisson Fort McDowell Resort & Casino
Scottsdale, Fountain Hills:
10438 N. Fort McDowell Road
,Arizona 85264
Tel: 480/789-5300
Reservations: 800/333-3333

Feature by Lisa Fellows, Jetsetters Magazine Missouri Correspondent; photos by Lisa and courtesy of Radisson Fort McDowell Hotel and Casino.