photo1

Back in December, before I was even pregnant or trying to become pregnant, Mark and I decided to plan a trip to Arizona in May around the time of our second wedding anniversary. Arizona was a place I hadn’t heard much about, but from what I did hear it was only positive things. We both love trips to sunny destinations, but also appreciate a good meal (which can sometimes be lacking in places like Cuba or Dominican Republic), so Arizona seemed like a perfect compromise.

We ended up booking a five day trip to Scottsdale, Arizona at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. We both loved the idea of staying at a high end hotel (we LOVE The Westin and had a great experience staying with them when we visited Boston) and loved the beautiful amenities this resort offered – multiple pools, cabana rentals, lazy river, gorgeous spa and five star dining options.

Only a few months later, I found out that I was pregnant and I couldn’t help but pat myself on the back for the perfect timing of this trip. By the time we were ready to leave for sunny Arizona, I was out of the dreaded first trimester, in desperate need of some R&R and craving some good eats (now that my morning sickness had vanished!).

We boarded a flight from Toronto to Arizona and immediately upon landing were taken with the scenery – warm sun, palm trees and mountain ranges. We picked up our rental (a bright orange Ford Mustang) and hit the roads of Scottsdale. Having known little about Scottsdale before this trip, I was so glad we ended up staying there. The resort was in the perfect location – surrounded by a massive outlet mall, restaurants, grocery stores, and other basic amenities. We loved the convenience factor.

photo1

We stayed at the property next door to the resort called The Westin Kierland Villas. Our villa was great, complete with kitchen (dishwasher, stove top, microwave), its own washer/dryer, dining and sitting area, two TVs, king bed and balcony. We really enjoyed this option because it was like staying in an apartment and offered us the opportunity to do some of our own cooking to save some money as well and the best part was that we also had access to everything over at the resort side.

photo2

Our first night in Scottsdale was Cinco de Mayo so we headed down to old town Scottsdale to try out The Mission, which had rave reviews online. The atmosphere and meal was amazing. Our favourite part was their table side guacamole – yes, they make it fresh right in front of you and this preggo devoured it in no time.

Our second day in Arizona was the most jam packed. We got up at 6:00 AM to make the trek to Sedona and the Grand Canyon, spending a total of 8 hours driving that day. What seemed like a daunting drive, turned out to be fantastic thanks to the breathtaking views, windy roads, the novelty of driving around in a Mustang and the Eric Clapton CD someone forgot in our rental car.

photo3

Sedona was quite possibly one of the most beautiful places I have ever had the privilege to see. As we entered Sedona on the highway, the red rock formations came out of nowhere and took our breath away. It is moments that like that make me feel very lucky for my ability to see travel and see things that not everyone gets to experience in life.

photo1

Sedona is seen as a place for spiritual renewal and it was only fitting that our first stop was The Chapel of the Holy Cross. Not only were the views breathtaking from the top, but the overwhelming feeling of calm and peace upon entering the Chapel was a feeling beyond words. This was definitely a highlight of the trip for me!

photo3-1
With Sedona in the rear view, we kept driving to the Grand Canyon. This was another absolutely breathtaking site, although it was about 15 degrees cooler there, and we did wish we had dressed in warmer clothes.

photo2-1

We spent maybe an hour at the Canyon. It was fairly overrun with tourists, but we still managed to get some good photos and take in the scenery.

photo1-1

With Mother’s Day on the horizon, I was so excited for our day on the resort and my friends at The Westin Kierland did not disappoint this first time mama-to-be. I started the day out at the beautiful Agave Spa with a mother-to-be massage. I have to admit I was a bit nervous and I thought it might be awkward with all the special positioning and draping that happens with these types of massages, but it wasn’t at all. My massage therapist was really gentle, but made sure to get all the kinks of my tired body. I loved the Mama Mio products she used and I also loved that basically this was a full body massage (which was much needed!).

photo3-2

After the massage was the part of the day I was most looking forward to – an afternoon in a private cabana. Our cabana was even more beautiful than I imagined and was perfect for me since I was worried about getting too much sun or overheating. It had a small safe, two loungers, a sectional couch, and a ceiling fan. It even had drapes you could close (which made it helpful when I wanted some privacy when trying to squeeze a wet one-piece bathing suit off my pregnant body).

photo1-2

Included in our cabana rental were four bottles of water, salsa and chips and frozen grapes (my favourite part). We also had access to a server so we were able to order drinks and food.  I had the most delicious and fresh mango smoothie which (kinda) made up for the fact that I couldn’t partake in any afternoon cocktails.

photo4

We spent a lot of time in the pool, which I loved. The water felt great on my body and relieved some pressure off my back and we also enjoyed doing a couple laps in an inflatable inner tube in the lazy river.

photo2-2

I would definitely recommend looking into the cabana rentals if you’re visiting The Westin Kierland.  There are a variety of different themed cabanas at different price points available and it makes for a relaxing way to spend the day. I loved having my own little private oasis to read my book, relax and also get some shade.

Westin Kierland Golf Course

Our last meal on our trip was at Nellie Cashman’s inside the Westin Kierland I was so excited to dine here for my Mother’s Day dinner as I had read such good reviews about the food and service here.

Westin Kierland Bag Pipes

Our server was amazing and seated us right in front of a large window where we had a perfect view of the bag piper, who plays everyday at sunset.

Nellie Cashmans

For dinner, I enjoyed a fresh Arizona stir fry with adobo shrimp. It was such a light and flavourful meal and I loved how healthy it was with the tricolour quinoa and other super foods.

Nellie Cashmans Steak

My husband enjoyed their steak, which they are own for as they serve prime cuts of beef from hand selected ranches across Arizona. The presentation of both dishes were beautiful and just added to the overall experience.

Nellie Cashmans Creme Brulee

Being Mother’s Day and all, I had to end the meal with a  sweet treat and what better way than a triple berry creme brûlée? It definitely did not disappoint and I am not ashamed to say I ate every last bite!

Our trip to Arizona was nothing short of spectacular. I think that the service and accommodations at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa were partly responsible for making this trip so amazing. I am so glad I chose to spend my babymoon and first Mother’s Day here as the staff went above and beyond to make me feel pampered and special. I would recommend this resort for anyone looking for a relaxing getaway, a family adventure or a romantic trip. I’m already thinking about when I can come back, perhaps with my little one in toe!

 

tntabone@gmail.com'
Written by Tracey