Editor's Blog -- On the Road with Blakeney, Part I

Welcome to The Catalogues blog spot. Over the next few months I will take you on a weekly tour of travel, taste, and recreation ... all the really cool and hip places to visit in our area of influence, including Scottsdale, Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Sedona, Phoenix, Tucson, Jackson Hole , Sun Valley and other places along the way.

Our first stop, the beautiful BOULDERS GOLF CLUB & RESORT in Carefree, Arizona.

In the high Sonoran Desert just up the road from Scottsdale lies Carefree, home of the mystical Boulders Resort. This 1,300-acre luxury retreat is nestled among breathtaking 12-million-year-old boulders, hence the name. The architecture, artwork and natural scenery are pure Southwest. Javelinas, coyotes, jackrabbits and roadrunners are your neighbors. It’s a truly spiritual atmosphere and everything is in tune with nature. Meditative Native-American music seems to fit the mood. The Boulders is a perfect getaway for those who enjoy spectacular, rugged desert landscape, serene accommodations and challenging golf.

Golf Course: The resort complex has two 18-hole golf courses designed by Jay Morrish, both sculpted beautifully into the surrounding area. The well-maintained courses highlight the desert fauna and rock outcroppings. The North Course, a 6,811-yard par-72 course redesigned in 1999, is a true desert course, with natural terrain bordering the generous fairway landing areas. The South Course, a 6,726-yard, par-71 layout built in 1983, is more scenic, with many holes situated next to massive boulder piles. Fairways, however, are less forgiving and pinpoint accuracy is a must. Hit your ball out of bounds and you could be battling a rattler for ownership rights. The resort’s signature hole is No. 5 on the South Course. The fairway narrows on par-five hole as you approach the green, which is sheltered by a dramatic rock outcropping. The two courses are continuously alternated between public and private use. From early fall to early spring, the weather is near perfect and greens fees rise exponentially.

Lodging: The Boulders, part of the Waldorf Astoria Collection, offers 160 charming casitas and 61 one-, two- and three-bedroom villas. Casitas and villas come furnished with leather chairs, hand-hewn wood ceiling beams, a wood-burning fireplace and Mexican tile floors. Private patios, oversized bathtubs, fluffy robes, thick towels and Egyptian cotton sheets are standard. Most rooms overlook the golf course.

Dining Options: The resort houses seven restaurants and a lounge. Most notable is Latilla, serving regional cuisine in an elegant setting with great views of the boulders. Latilla’s creative culinary team of Executive Chef Michel Pieton and Executive Sous Chef Gregory Wiener present dishes infused with organic ingredients and served with a flair. The Latilla offers dinner and Sunday brunch. Palo Verde serves fresh seafood and Southwestern-inspired entrees in a more casual atmosphere. Rusty's Chop House features a menu of steak and seafood.

Spa: Consistently ranked as one of the best luxury spas in the world, The Golden Door Spa features 24 treatment rooms and a 2,000-square-foot fitness center. The 33,000-square-foot spa blends Eastern and Western influences, offering rejuvenating massages, therapeutic baths and refreshing facials. For a surreal experience, kick back on a comfy chair and observe the setting sunset as it creates startling poster-like panoramas. For a unique experience, try the Labyrinth, a path to tranquility inspired by ancient Hopi medicine wheels.

Phone: (800) 553-1717
Web: www.theboulders.com

Up Next: The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson