I’m so excited to share photos from our babymoon a couple weeks ago!
Our options were REALLY limited because first and foremost I wanted to escape Chicago winter in search of SUNSHINE and warmth. Most of the world was out because of Zika… and a lot of places that are usually warm were not because it’s January/February.
Ultimately we landed on Arizona – the Scottsdale area! Which is where we went for our first trip together and loved it. And the forecast said 70s/80s. SOLD!
We used credit card points to book a nice resort, miles to book our flights, had the grandparents generously lined up for dogsitting, and I was ready to soak up three days of pool time on a romantic getaway with my love. Of course that’s not exactly all we did…
DAY 1: Thursday – spa day
6:50am Flight out of Chicago
10:30am Land in Phoenix
Pick up rental car and head to resort.
We stayed at The Boulders which is a luxury hotel golf resort about 40 minutes north of Scottsdale (unfortunately neither of us play golf). The amenities, grounds, and oh my gosh the beds in the rooms were awesome. And our room had a wood burning fireplace!
Downsides were that I didn’t realize how far it actually was from Scottsdale until I pulled up directions to go to dinner and realized it was 45 minutes away. So our first night we cancelled that reservation and ate on the property which was a bummer because Scottsdale has an amaaaazing food and nightlife scene! So if you’re planning a trip to experience Scottsdale – downtown, restaurants, hikes – I’d recommend staying somewhere much closer to the downtown. (But if you’re planning on going north to Sedona, this cuts 40 minutes off your trip at on that end!)
Also a tiny note for people who are into hotels: the bathrooms in the rooms are ginormous but not particularly amazing? My biggest gripe as someone who gets up to pee 2+ times a night is there’s a single light that is BRIGHT. No dimmers. No mirror lights. It is ALL LIGHTS ON AS BRIGHT AS HIGH NOON at all times in the bathroom. Even most non-luxury resorts offer dimmer and night-light options.
Also didn’t love that you have to pay $45 for an hour on the tennis courts ($25 court rental, $10 racket rental). I thought this should absolutely be included in the daily resort fee (much like using the pool is) and don’t understand why it wasn’t. We had really been looking forward to playing but ended up forgoing it.
But service was amazing. Grounds were lovely. Spa was amazing. Overall recommend – especially if you’re into golf. I actually noted it would be so fun to be there with a giant wedding party.
12:30pm check in at hotel and head straight to the spa
The spa at Boulders puts most spas to shame. With its outdoor pool, Japanese soaking bath (hot tub without bubbles), massive showers, steam room… it’s just a real treat and I’d spend all day there (GREAT for girls trips!).
Actually we were there from around 1pm when our appointments were until about 4:30pm. The food at the spa cafe which you can order if you’re sitting at the pool was SO healthy and delicious (better than the regular pool menu – I actually wish they’d add these healthier items to the other menu!).
Afterward we went back to our room, showered and got ready for dinner and walked out of room just in time to catch a breathtaking sunset. We walked to one of the Mexican restaurants on the property–the Spotted Donkey–and went to bed quite early since we had gotten up so early that day!
DAY 2: Friday – Sedona and the Grand Canyon
7am Rise and Shine –> the time change and early bed time made getting up early extra easy.
We got dressed with the plan to drive to Sedona and spend the day there hiking, seeing the shops and having a nice date night. It was going to be about an hour and a half drive each way. I slept. (I told you I’ve always been a big sleeper.)
We first walked over to the main restaurant at the resort and indulged in a giant (but pretty healthy!) breakfast. Then we hopped in the car and set off!
The 1.5hr drive felt a lot longer than it was and the scenery on the way was lovely but didn’t really compare to what was about to come. A lot of desert and mesas.
But pulling into Sedona our eyes lit up–it truly is beautiful with all of the red rock formations! We were excited. Dan had researched super easy hikes in Sedona for us to do – I didn’t want to risk any major inclines in case my equilibrium was off with being pregnant. See other Sedona hikes here.
You can get some AMAZING but difficult hikes in so go with your comfort level! One of my best friends was there the following weekend with her family and she sent us spectacular photos of their hike. JUST BEWARE OF THE WEATHER. It can get VERY hot very quickly so I always recommend starting out super early when it’s cooler and bring a lot of water.
10:30am Arrive in Sedona and hike Little Horse
The hike Dan found was called Little Horse and the bit we did was definitely very easy. At least the part we did. We were having fun and moving quite slowly and only did about half the hike because we didn’t want to be hiking for three hours. So we did a little over an hour. Wasn’t a GREAT workout but made up for sitting so much and we got our steps in! Hah
12pm: Decide to drive north to the Grand Canyon
At this point we had two options: stay in Sedona, hike more, enjoy the day, and explore the area.
Or option 2: drive another 2 hours north to the Grand Canyon.
I preferred option one. Dan was really gunning for option 2.
It’s been on both our bucket lists since the day we met, “we were only 2 hours away” he said, and it would be years before we ever came back. All fair points.
I said “yea but we’re only going to see it then get right back in the car and drive back…” Either way – Dan won this one! He was so excited and we agreed I’d sleep almost the entire way up… again. Hah
So as I was saying, the drive from Sedona to the Grand Canyon is 100x prettier than the Scottsdale to Sedona drive. Mountains, forests, winding hairpin curves. Beautiful. (But actually made me a bit carsick…)
And let me say: highly think twice about road tripping when you’re pregnant and have to pee every 30 minutes. Definitely slows you down.
But the drive seemed faster than the Scottsdale to Sedona portion and before we knew it we were entering one of the modern wonders of the world – Grand Canyon National Park.
Snow covered the ground and it was 30 degrees outside which we were NOT dressed for.
But it was spectacular.
First we drove to and parked at Mather Point – which let me tell you is a good 15 minute walk to the landing from the parking lot (and we didn’t have good coats!). More crowded. VERY cool. The moon was out in the daylight as it almost always is. Got some great photos.
But then we drove over to Hopi Point – which you pull right up to and is just spectacular. Definitely the one to see if you only have time for one stop.
It was really amazing that Dan brought us (and baby boy) to see it. Check it off the bucket list!
Cannot wait to go back with our kids one day and spend a proper time there.
MY RECOMMENDATION: If you want to add the Grand Canyon to your trip, break it up by staying the night either near the Grand Canyon or at least in Sedona. Almost 8 hours in a car in a day was exhausting and ate up most of the day.
WHERE TO EAT IN SEDONA:
Mariposa (shown above) – we ate dinner here and the food was AMAZING. If you’re there before sunset you get amazing views from the restaurant of the red rocks. We were able to get a reservation last minute surprisingly. Highly recommend! Huge patio if it’s warm enough when you’re there. I thought I was treating myself to the lobster but it was truly the tiniest serving you ever did see. Hah fortunately I made up for it by ordering a couple sides!
Hudson – very chic decor, reminds me of a Chicago West Loop restaurant. Could not get a reservation but a lot of you recommended it!
Elote – a fancy taco place that will have at least an hour wait, was on some list of best tacos in the country, about a hundred people recommended it!
L’Auberge – prefix menu, fancy resort restaurant, amazing views
DAY 3: Saturday – pool day
After spending almost 8 hours in a car on Friday, I was ready to do the thing I wanted to the most: sit and do nothing at all by the pool.
9am Breakfast at the resort restaurant
10:30am POOL TIME
Boulders had a really nice pool (and hot tub–which I couldn’t use) with food and drink service. I also shaded myself with an umbrella most of the time because skin is more sensitive to sun when pregnant. But we read, napped, and talked about life and baby for a good… 5 hours. It was totally relaxing and exactly what I had hoped for on this trip.
3:30 hike / walk
Around 3:30pm we decided we needed to move so we went on an 1.5 hr-long hike and walk around the property (you can hike the boulder formations on the property that date back 12 million years)!
6pm Watch the sunset
Afterward we showered and got ready for our big date night out. But first we climbed the steps to “Sunset point” to watch that famous Arizona sunset.
It was awesome. There is literally no filter or editing done to these photos.
7pm Dinner at The Henry in Scottsdale
I had made us a reservation at this restaurant as soon we booked the trip since it was the first spot we went to on our first trip together four years ago. And we loved it. (I even sent my best friend’s company there when they went to Phoenix on their annual work trip).
The restaurant was packed. The food was amazing. Highly recommend starting with the rolls, and if you get to order sides – the mac n cheese was DIVINE. And I’m usually not a big mac n cheese person.
We skipped fancy dessert and found a Baskin Robbins for my mint choco chip craving and had a fun time on the drive back together. Went much faster than 40 minutes. Dan built a fire in our room when we got back. It was a lovely and I was juuuust feeling all those great vacation vibes.
WHERE TO EAT IN SCOTTSDALE:
The Henry – We love this spot for the food albeit it was a bit loud, but great ambiance, vibrant, fun decor. Perfect for brunch or reso – need reservation for either!
The Gladly – great date spot – amazing cocktails
The Mission – never been but heard good things – Latin American cuisine!
Market Street Kitchen – also came highly recommended!
Citizen Public House – also not super easy to get into but highly recommended! A sister restaurant to the Gladly.
Honestly there are so many good restaurants – I’m eager to go back and stay IN Scottsdale!
DAY 4: Sunday – head home 🙁
Jus as I was settling in, it was time to leave.
8am: Wake up and go for a walk
We got up early to do a long walk around the property. Not as long as the day before but it still felt good to get outside and get moving each day. That was a main reason we chose a warm destination.
9:30am: Head to breakfast at The Henry
Then packed up, checked out, and headed back… to the Henry. We noticed their coffee and brunch menu the night before and it was so tempting we opted to go back again! It was WORTH IT. Plus it put is 40 minutes closer to the airport! Win win.
11:30am: Head to airport and back to Chicago
My Sunny Babymoon Packing (Wish) List:
1. black straw circle tote
2. gingham two-piece swimsuit (to show off the bump?)
3. double knotted sandals – HANDS DOWN the most comfortable and I wore these the most!
4. white and black carry-on suitcase
5. cheek tint
6. striped espadrille flats
7. ruched DD one-piece
8. polka dot one-piece (love how it fits and wore it the whole time)
9. straw tote
10. round drop earrings
11. striped linen beach dress
12. painted straw hat
13. oversized white sunglasses (I love how they look on the model!)
14. H leather sandals
This is the striped dress I’m wearing in photos (only $88!).
These are the maternity workout pants I’ve been wearing while pregnant!