Walking into the lobby of The Saguaro (A Joie de Vivre hotel) in Scottsdale, Arizona, you are surrounded by bright and brilliant color. Each shade was chosen by the architects as one of 12 found in desert wildflowers, and to me, celebrates Scottsdale's hints of Palm Springs, Mexico and the Southwest.
Open since November 2011, the hotel has previously been the short-lived Hotel Theodore, the Mondrian AND the James in the past few years. Not a great track record. But while the previous properties maintained a motel vibe with design and decor slopped together (along with thumping music and a nightlife scene I don't care for), the Saguaro feels transformed. It is definitely one of the better mid-range options in Scottsdale and even during high season when snow-weary travelers flock to Arizona, you'll get a reasonable rate.
You are within walking distance to so much of Scottsdale's best--Old Town, Fashion Square Mall, and the Civic Center, with the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. I still think a car is an absolute must if you're a new visitor, but it's much easier without one if you're staying here.
Jose Garces, known for being an Iron Chef and James Beard Award winnder, created two restaurants, Old Town Whiskey and Distrito. My favorite funky design element? A colorful cotton ball wall!
The outdoor spaces are really well-done, with a fun main pool area and a quieter circle pool. There's even a small spa, the Saguaro Spa.
If you're in need of a great restaurant near The Saguaro, may I suggest Cowboy Ciao and the I-could-eat-three-of-them chopped salad. They've been a beloved Old Town anchor for many years and I think the chopped salad is the most revered menu item.