Cancellations are on trend this year. Since cancel culture is at an all time high, it’s easy to think that the fun is cancelled too, however that’s not true! It will take a little creative work to make the fun happen but we live in an area that is full of places to explore and unwind.
I got to do both after Thanksgiving. My husband and I decided to go ahead and use some of the travel money we had saved up over the last year and a half or so with the intention of taking a real vacation for a week somewhere. Instead, we took about 1/3 of the money out and opted for an extravagant weekend to ourselves at a local resort.
You might have noticed that the “babymoon” is growing in popularity. If you’re not familiar, the babymoon is a little vacation parents take while pregnant as one last chance to indulge in themselves before committing their time, energy and money to their new addition. Sure it’s a bit extra, but I love extra.
Years ago when we started planning out this pregnancy we figured we’d hit the beach for a week. Maybe a little island with not much to offer other than pure relaxation. Obviously with the world’s current state and pregnancy thrusting me into a risk category, we opted out of that idea and traded it in for something much safer… and cheaper!
“Cheaper” doesn’t mean we penny pinched. Actually we definitely picked a more luxurious option, only we shortened the time so that we could really go all out with treating ourselves. That’s why we decided to stay at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.
While the Princess is only a 30 minute drive from our residence, we didn’t feel like we were just popping over to the next city. This resort allows you to easily sink into full vacation mode. Quite frankly, we forgot where we really were most of the time, having to remind ourselves that if we really needed to, we could just skip over to the house and grab something. The Princess does an amazing job with an immersive experience and right now, it’s very seasonal.
Christmas at the Princess is in full swing making it the perfect holiday “getaway” destination. When we pulled up, we were impressed by all the decorations. The Lobby was beautifully trimmed with seasonal flowers, trees, lights and a warm fire crackling away. A bellhop assisted us to our room and gave us a little tour of the festivities on the way. When we got to the room, there was a sticker sealing the door letting us know it had been sanitized with no entry since it’s cleaning. A nice touch that made us feel even more comfortable with our decision to stay there.
With a weekend full of pampering on the way, we wasted no time getting started on our much needed staycation. At the same time that I made the room reservation, I went ahead and placed one at Bourbon and Steak as well- turned out to be a good choice because most of the restaurants were booked for the weekend unless we wanted to do an 8:30pm dinner.
Bourbon and Steak is located near the lobby through a dimly lit alcove which transitions you from Christmas fun to elegance. We arrived early for our reservation and took some seats at the bar top to get some drinks. I let them take liberties with the mocktail and our bartender did not disappoint! It was basically a strawberry mojito without alcohol. Lightly sweet and really refreshing. Just what I needed to amp me up for the night.
They found us when the table was ready and were quick to give us our pick of waters and fill our glasses. My husband got the sea bass and the truffle mac and cheese. I got what I believe was the farm salad ( I was stuck between two,) and a side of a baked potato. I know a totally weird combination but the baby gets what the baby wants. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it for these last three months.
Dinner was AMAZING. I’m not exaggerating to say that was one of the best dinners I’ve had in a long time. Sam ate his sea bass so quickly that I didn’t even get to ask to smell it. He tried to savor the truffle mac but even that got pretty quickly inhaled before he realized how full he was.
What I loved about my salad was the lightness of it. Light but still filling! Of course, I still had room for my baked potato which I have the highest compliments for. I normally do mashed potatoes but I’m vegan and getting it at restaurants generally means milk and butter additives. The baked potato I could customize. This might sound weird but the baked potato had the most delicious skin! It was perfectly crispy but the inside was soft and steamy.
We finished dinner with coffee. Hubby had a shot of baileys with his and mine was half-caf, which they pour freshly in front of you. They have the creams warmed up before bringing them to the table and sugar cubes available to sweeten the deal. If you’re wondering, our bill for the food, coffees, and I believe we both got two rounds of drinks (two mocktails and two old fashions,) ran us at about $200. Not bad for a place with ‘$$$$” next to it on Google and absolutely worth the price!
With full bellies, we ventured out to Christmas at the Princess. Definitely needed to walk off that dinner before we crashed for the night. Our first stop was the light show in the main plaza area. At the top of every hour music will play and the lights will dance along the wall with the tree shining in coordination with the tunes. A great place for pictures or video. We walked past Santa’s workshop, passed by the ice skating rink and headed to S’mores Land! It was a lot more spaced out than Pumpkin Nights was a month ago. No room for s’mores in our stomach so we trekked over to the Christmas Express.
Our VIP wristbands got us into a special “line” which had no wait. That meant less people being around me, and during a pandemic, that’s what I like. Actually, without a pandemic, that’s what I like.
Quick detour here- masks are required at the event and everyone did seem to comply! Parents were conscious of their children and did their best to keep them from running around and touching things unnecessarily. Also, all over the event there are stations to sanitize. We were there on nights where guests were following the rules the Princess had in place, so it worked out great for us. That being said, when you attend, please be respectful! Don’t stand too close in line to people, PLEASE utilize the hand sanitizer, etc. Your actions can make or break someone else’s experience right now.
Back to the fun. All aboard the Princess Express. This is a “train” tour that takes you all throughout the property to get a good look at the massive light display they have scattered about. My favorite drive-by (and place to walk through) was Twinkle Town. It’s a fun little ride that can quickly lift your spirits.
Once that was done, we grabbed some freshly made hot nuts- made a lot of jokes about hot nuts… and then headed back to the room.
We ended our night earlier than most people did but I was starting to waddle so we knew it was time to relax in the room. It had been a long day for us. Earlier I brought out alllllll the Christmas decor at home and that is a huge labor of love. Plus, the room is incredibly cozy. You can just melt into the bed. My husband taught me how to play a couple different types of poker and then we turned in for the evening, falling asleep to movies on HBO.
I got to sleep in a bit, which for me is sleeping until 8am. We had a spa day that started at 9:30! When you book an appointment at the Wellness & Being Spa right there on the property of the Princess, you automatically get 2 hours of amenities. This was the highlight of our weekend. I had a prenatal massage booked for myself and my husband treated himself to his first manicure!
You can use your amenities before, after or a combination thereof. We went for the combo and arrived early. What is included is fancy waters, little snacks, a fitness room (which also has classes like ariel yoga,) whirlpools, a hot spring-styled waterfall massage experience, aromatherapy rooms, swedish showers, rooftop pool with food and beverage service, sauna and a polar plunge ice bath. Everything you could possibly want to completely unwind. I got my feet in the hot waterfall pool but couldn’t submerge since I’m pregnant. Even just having my feet in was incredible. Then spent some time in the aromatherapy room and just before my appointment, went into the sauna for a few minutes. ( monitoring my core temp to keep the baby safe of course!)
Let me tell you, that the price of this prenatal massage was ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT! On top of getting all these amenities, the massage itself was next level. I had gotten a prenatal massage done elsewhere about a month and half before this one… it didn’t even compare. My last one I had to lay on my side, which left my middle back a bit unmassaged and only allowed for so much pressure to be exerted. At the Wellness & Being Spa they have special tables that actually allow you to lay on your belly pregnant! I haven’t been able to do that in 7 months and boy was it just what I needed. I used to sleep on my stomach so it had me relaxed in no time. You’re probably thinking it’s just a hole for my tummy to hang out. Wrong! It was like a special foam that curved to my belly and provided support without squishing it.
I’ve been blessed with very little lower back or sciatic pain thanks to my work out program that keeps that from happening but I’ve always had really bad upper back pain between my shoulders. She was able to work through all that and give me the foot pampering that my poor preggy-self needed.
After my massage- which never seems long enough- I met Sam on at the rooftop pool for appetizers and drinks. His first manicure was a success! I’m happy to report that he is now team manicure and even wants to get a pedicure next time. His nails were shiny from being buffed and he couldn’t have been more proud to show off his freshly cleaned cuticles all day long. If your husband is a man’s-man like Sam is, he will still enjoy the pampering! Sam was so hesitant to try it. No regrets!
Our spa adventure was the most expensive thing we did. If you’re wondering how much a long morning at the spa will cost you, it depends on services but my prenatal massage and Sam’s manicure ran us a bit over $300 after a good tip! I think we spent another $30 on rooftop drinks and appetizers. I won’t pretend $300 isn’t a chunk of change but given the quality and the amenities, I feel like it was a steal. Worth every penny.
When it came time for lunch, we had reservations at Toro. It’s actually located at the TPC golf course just up the road from the hotel. Assuming we’d have to get our car from the valet, we headed to the lobby. They were about to pull our car around for us when they asked what we were up to. Letting them know we had a date at Toro, we were informed that we didn’t need to drive ourselves! They actually have a shuttle, free of charge, to take us there. Our driver already had the door open for us and everything.
Toro overlooks the rolling hills of the back of the TPC stadium course. I’m not a golfer but it was stunning. My husband, who would golf every weekend if he had his way was thrilled to eat lunch with that view. It was the perfect day for it too. Sun shining over the greens and highlighting the water.
The sushi was divine at Toro. They did a veggie roll for me and my husband did the salmon roll. Presentation was beautiful and the service was phenomenal! Our server helped Sam pick out a rum and a couple drinks that he loved and ensured that I had some fun and unique mocktails to try. At the end, they brought us out a complimentary dessert to congratulate us on our pregnancy! The churros dessert was hot, crispy on the outside and soft with a gooey filling on the inside. It came with a scoop of ice cream that created scents I wish I could have captured in a candle. For those keeping track of the expenses here, that bill for three rolls of sushi, two mocktails, and two fancy rum drinks clocked us in at $100.
The shuttle driver took us back the Princess where we retired back to the room for a midday nap. Never thought I’d be that kind of person but this weekend was all about relaxing, so we did. We powered back up to head over to Kierland Commons for a little walk and some window shopping. It was kind of a reality check to remind us we were just in Scottsdale. We had honestly forgotten at that point.
I got some dessert from The Creamistry to-go and we decided we needed a second night of exploring Christmas at the Princess. This time, we walked the lights course over to Twinkle Town to enjoy the lawn. It was pretty empty since it was only 6:30p. I got a mocktail that had a glow stick in the straw which made it fun and Sam got something that smelled strong. Taking in the lights one last time, we retired to the room by 7:30p.
I’ve decided we are elderly millennials. We were pooped! The fun was pretty exhausting, especially carrying third trimester weight around. Another night of HBO and it couldn’t have been more perfect. The great part about resorts is you don’t feel obligated to do any one thing. We can go to our room and just pop back out at our leisure if we want another drink or to take another walk through the lights. It was nice being able to split the event into two days. Highly recommend getting a room for an overnight Christmas adventure if you can swing it.
So that was my babymoon experience. It wasn’t the beach destination we thought it would be but I think it was actually better. It was relaxing, affordable, and luxurious. If we went to a beach there is no way we would have pampered ourselves like that and once the baby is here, there is even less of that chance.
If your big vacation was cancelled, consider a staycation at the Princess. It’s a nearby destination with all the fun you can get flying somewhere. When you go now through December 31st, it’s an immersive holiday experience as well! Vacations are not cancelled this year. You can still make something happen and end this year on a high note! Cheers to modifications that end up being more fun than the original plan.
Happy holidays and I hope you’re able to squeeze in some fun before the year is over.
To read more about just Christmas at the Princess, click HERE.