Start your west-coast holiday by flying to Phoenix, Arizona’s gorgeously sunny capital city. Collect your hire car in Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and drive the 20 minutes to your hotel. One of the possible 16-kilometre routes you could drive takes you past the Desert Botanical Gardens. Check into The Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa. This urban oasis is a Condé Nast Traveler 2017 Hot List entrant. We think it’s the perfect spot for getting to know Scottsdale.
The sun always shines on Scottsdale. Well, nearly... this city revels in 330 days of sunshine on average per year. It is known for its golf courses, spas, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin and the surrounding Sonoran Desert. Enjoy views of the desertscape and the giant saguaro cacti from 1.5km up on an hour’s hot-air balloon ride. Take a full-day’s tour of the Apache Trail – Arizona’s oldest highway. This is the route that stagecoach used to traverse the Superstition Mountains. Stops include Goldfield Ghost Town and Tortilla Flat Stagecoach station. You’ll also board a steamboat for a 90-minute tour of Canyon Lake.
Drive north by northwest today from Scottsdale today. You’ll be heading along the US-93 towards the bright lines of Las Vegas. This drive should take less than five hours. The Cromwell Hotel is billed as a ‘boutique’ hotel on The Strip. With a mere 188 rooms as opposed to its neighbouring properties thousands of rooms, this hotel certainly is bijoux for Vegas.
Enjoy two days in the bright lights and buzz of Las Vegas. If you’re seeking a higher perspective, take an urban flightseeing trip. See The Strip at its neon best on a night-time helicopter flight. Toast your flight with a glass of champagne. Sin City may make you think of casinos and conventions, but there’s so much more just under the surface. Art lovers will enjoy the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. Petrolheads won’t want to miss out on the Liberace Garage. Foodies flock to Vegas – some of the world’s most renowned chefs operate establishments here including Wolfgang Puck and Pierre Gagnaire.
Check out of The Cromwell and take to the open road. It’ll take you around four hours to drive the 450-ish kilometres to Palm Springs. Some of the route takes you through the Mojave National Preserve. Check out time of The Cromwell is 11am, check in at your destination, The Parker Palm Springs, is 4pm – so that should work out perfectly.
Explore the legendary desert city of Palm Springs. Once the winter playground of Hollywood’s Golden Age greats, it’s now a year-round destination synonymous with laissez-faire glamour, style and Mid-Century Modern architecture. Spend half a day journeying to the San Andreas Fault by 4x4. Geologists have called this area ‘the most tortured landscape on Earth’. Other things we love to do in this amazing city include the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the Air & Arts museums and seeing the work of architects like Cody, Frey, Krisel and Wexler.
From Palm Springs, drive cross country towards the Pacific. With no stops and normal traffic it should take you less than two hours to reach Huntington Beach, just south of LA. Set on the Pacific Coast Highway, across the road from the sun-drenched sands of Huntington Beach and its pier, Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel has been newly renovated. It’s the perfect place to slack off for a couple of days.
Huntington Beach is a SOCAL surfing hot spot – it goes by the moniker ‘Surf City USA’. In 1910, Hawaiian-Irish surfing superstar George Freeth gave free demonstrations here. Fifteen years later, when surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku moved here, Huntington Beach’s reputation was set. Spend two days exploring this laid-back coastal town. The shoreline here stretches as far as the eye can see. There’s ten uninterrupted miles of award-winning beaches to explore. Learn how to paddleboard with a two-hour lesson on Newport Beach. Maybe even try to catch a wave.
Say ‘see you later, SOCAL’ and head to LAX (approximately a 45-minute drive) to return your hire car and board your overnight flight.
Arrive back in the UK today, having had a wonderful time exploring the coolest offbeat spots on the west coast of the USA.