CSL’s Favourite Hotels | Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

By Shivana Maharaj
June 22, 2012



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I arrive late in the evening to my spacious Mountain Vista Suite at The Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain. The absence of harsh outdoor lighting makes star gazing incredible. Soft music, the smell of sweet incense and ultra sleek decor greet me immediately. A small tub with views of Sanctuary spa, Red Flower products, lavender linen spray and access to daily fitness lessons all enhance my ability to truly unwind.

The signature lime green accents throughout my suite are chic and modern. A small kitchenette, fireplace and natural wood furnishings make me feel I could easily set up residence here. I wake up early the next day, with a stunning view of Camelback Mountain, and decide to take a mile walk along one of several marked paths at the property. Feeling thoroughly exhilarated, I have a lavish and utterly delicious breakfast: an Asian scramble breakfast wrap with rock shrimp, cabbage, and charred scallion with a turkey sausage. Overlooking the mountains with palm trees in the distance sipping my morning coffee, this is a mesmerizing way to rejuvenate my spirit. The landscaped grounds have a rustic, tidy quality and the native plants throughout allow the accommodations to mesh harmoniously. I even catch a glimpse of several cottontail bunnies from my terrace and a beautiful emerald green hummingbird flying amidst the foliage.

Impressive views and great architecture compliment rather than dominate the food at Elements. Chef Beau MacMillan best known as an Iron Chef America winner and Food Network star creates a menu of approachable food with exciting twists. “It’s American popular cuisine with Asian influences. It’s what people around this area like to eat,” says sous chef Aaron Rickels. “There are a lot items on there that we  an’t take off or people will flip out.” Standouts include the escargot and mushroom pot pie and the scallops. One afternoon, I book an astrology reading at The Spa at Sanctuary with Astrologer Tom McMullan, a twenty year veteran. For this particular ‘treatment’, Tom uses astrology to facilitate my reading. “Astrology is a storytelling device. I go so deeply inside your story that I virtually become you.” He delves into the current age of Aquarius and my relation to it. Part past life history part parapsychology, McMullan explains, “for me there is no such thing as prediction. I describe the energy and you tell me what you’re going to do with it.” I leave the session feeling reassured. To a scientific Capricorn mind, it’s uncanny that the planetary alignments seem to be telling me that I am indeed on the ‘right path’. As Tom puts it, “Doing something without anything else interfering, I try to get people to do that in their own lives.” I head back to my suite feeling recharged. The peace and the seamless integration of the environment here at the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, make it the sort of place I want to stay for eternity.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain
Luxury 53 acre retreat.
5700 East McDonald Drive
Scottsdale, AZ

Uber chef Beau Macmillan and
his team serves up farm fresh
American cuisine with a touch of
Asian accents;

Read more in the Spring 2012 issue of City Style and Living Magazine