Cowboy Chic, $$ (From $379)
What was born in the 1930s as the hacienda and studio of famed cowboy artist Alonzo "Lon" Megargee is today an intimate hideaway in Arizona's Paradise Valley. The property opened as Hermosa Inn in 1941, with the original structures handbuilt by the artist in a traditional Southwestern style from adobe bricks, wood beams, and hand-painted tiles transformed into two restaurants, meeting areas, and ranch-style rooms in the original guest house. Lush gardens and stone pathways lead to the low-hanging pale pink buildings with private patios overlooking Camelback Mountain. Nestled in a quiet residential neighborhood, the inn offers a charming escape from busy Phoenix and Scottsdale, while still being easily accessible to the airport and both downtown areas. While several renovations have taken place since the inn opened, the adobe architecture and western flair ensure it retains a rustic charm. Original paintings hanging on every wall illustrate Megargee's 50-year career and his galavanting jaunts through the old frontier: camping out with Native Americans, dealing poker in disorderly saloons, and taming horses and cattle at bull ranches — a Marlboro permanently dangling from the corner of his chapped lips. Cocktails and dinner are served on the firepit-dotted patio at the in-house restaurant, Lon's, while vibrant southern sunsets paint the evening sky, setting an ambiance that's the stuff of a romantic cowboy's dreams.
At a Glance
The Vibe: Wild West meets modern luxury.
Standout Detail: Guests are invited to take a self-guided tour of Megargee's original works on the property, as well as a monthly Mimosas and Monet instructional painting class inspired by a different desert scenery and subject.
This Place Is Perfect For: Those who want a laidback retreat with spectacular scenery and a little bit of old Western mischief mixed in.
Rooms: Nestled in the lush desert gardens, 43 cozy guest rooms and casitas have beehive fireplaces, private patios, and vaulted ceilings, some with retractable skylights — ideal for viewing the bright desert stars. Upscale Southwestern details are strewn throughout: handwoven Native American rugs, hand-carved pine furniture, Mexican tiles, and worn leather lounge chairs. Several casitas can be adjoined to create a two-or-three bedroom hacienda.
On Site: With Arizona's near constant forecast of dry heat and sunshine, the outdoor swimming pool and hot tub flanked by private cabanas are an easy way to disconnect for a few hours. During peak heat, retreat to the Blue Door Spa for a massage or head to the air-conditioned fitness center. Complimentary bikes are also available to cruise the neighborhood.
Food + Drink: Cozy up next to the giant kiva fireplace on the tiled patio at Lon's, where twinkly lights string the alligator juniper trees and 1930s jazz sets the mood. The Southwestern style menu includes ahi tuna charred on a hot river rock and buttery, crumbled mac 'n' cheese, complemented by a 700-bottle wine list stored in the subterranean wine cellar. End the evening with a nightcap at Lon's Last Drop, the rustic bar named after one of Megargee's most famous paintings.
What to Do Nearby
Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak, two popular hiking destinations, are both a five minute drive from the inn. If you're here in the summer, it's a good idea to hike before noon. Old Town Scottsdale, just fifteen minutes away by car, has manicured streets filled with art galleries, outdoor restaurants, and shops. The artwork of the new frontier is on view at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and the old is at Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West: Both are open with require advance tickets. Looking for a unique outdoor activity? Desert Botanical Garden in nearby Phoenix is home to more than 50,000 species of cactus, trees, and desert flowers and hosts daily cooking classes from local plants in the area and outdoor concerts in the garden.