Boulders Resort & Spa
It seems something of a miracle of architecture and construction that developers could install a 1,300-acre golf resort, luxury hotel, and community amongst the towering 12-million-year-old granite stones in Carefree, Arizona, north of Scottsdale.
They did so with verve and imagination. And a sense of indulgence, as well. The result is a 36-hole golf course, the North and the South, designed by Jay Morrish and laid out to present views, challenges, and stunning vistas of the Sonoran Desert foothills that have no equal anywhere else in golf.
On the back tee of the seventh hole on the South Course, a downhill 187-yard par-3, you’re almost afraid to approach the tee lest your steps disturb an ancient balance rock that forms a dramatic backdrop—and echo chamber—for your tee shot. This is no tiptoe through the tulips. More like a walk back into a world the dinosaurs left behind.
There are lovely walking trails through desert scrub, as well as four pools to cool off in, eight racquet courts, a 33,000-square-foot new-age spa and upscale shopping on site. Accommodations are a fascinating blend of rugged desert textures with indulgent furnishings, starting with 550-square-foot casitas and extending up to 5,000-square-foot villas.
Those willing to venture out of these comfortable surroundings can enjoy hot-air-balloon flights, horseback riding, and boulder climbs. You can even schedule business gatherings in 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space—though why anyone would want to work here when you can play in the desert is beyond me.