Just 30 minutes north of Scottsdale, is a sunshine-filled retreat with all the perks: hiking, spa, fine dining, and golf. We're talking, of course, about The Boulders, Waldorf Astoria Resort -- an award-winning property nestled among the granite boulder formations in the community of Carefree. If you're angling for a pre-holiday warm-weather getaway, you're in luck. This November 30 through January 3, 2015, rates have been reduced to as low as $229 per night.
Accommodations are in scenic 550-square-foot casitas with wood-beam ceilings, leather armchairs, and sliding doors that lead to a patio overlooking the Sonoran Desert. The package also includes a s’mores kit and welcome cocktails, plus 20% off at either the 33,000-square-foot Waldorf Astoria Spa (Desert Zen massage or a turquoise clay wrap, anyone?) or The Boulders Golf Club (two 18-hole courses). The twinkly lights, wood-burning fireplaces, and mugs of hot apple cider are just cheery extras in perfect pitch with the holidays.
We test-drove the deal and found the lowest $229 rates available from December 14-22, with slightly higher ones on other dates. Also of note is that non-special rates for the same period actually dip to $199 a night, particularly that week of December 14. Still, the credit that comes with the holiday promo, plus the food and drink extra, still make the package more attractive. Finally, a $30 daily resort fee (for Internet access, valet parking, gratuities, fitness classes at the spa, and transportation around the property) is tacked onto reservation costs.