The Boulders in the foothills of the Sonoran Desert
is located in a spectacular
By Richard Carroll
Photography: Halina Kubalski
he enormous Sonora Desert, a colossal 120,000 square miles of splendor
that spreads like a great tapestry of textures and colors across international
boundaries from Arizona into the State of Sonora in northern Mexico
is one of North Americas grand, untrammeled natural treasures.
The complex, sun-blessed region of bright dry heat, brilliant low-hanging
stars, and long, ever-changing shadows that shift with the sun as they
drape like endless silhouettes across craggy walls, mountain ridges
and hidden canyons, is a vibrant land with tales to tell.
Rag-tag Arizona prospectors in search of a rare golden
nugget often left with broken dreams, while those who found Sonoras
wide-open spaces irresistible, worked hard to scratch out a living.
One of the largest in North America, the desert is a mysterious and
serenely silent land. Modern day researchers, biologists, nature lovers,
and Sonoran aficionados have all experienced the addictive nature of
the deserts austere beauty.
The Boulders, opened in 1985, offers a place to
regenerate the spirit in a serene environment enhanced by the Sonoran
This vast land, alive with distinctive plants and animals,
is passionately celebrated by the carefully designed Boulders Resort
& Spa on 1,300 acres in the Sonoran foothills of Carefree, Arizona,
tucked among towering 12-million-year-old granite boulders, that look
like they were created by a Pixar Artist with a whimsical sense of humor
and a deep affection for the natural world.
The Boulders Resort has been designed amongst giant
12,000-year- old boulders.
Granite boulders of various sizes are piled high in
a fascinating arrangement of lofty sharp angles, smooth-sided facings,
peaks and crevices, and scattered helter-skelter among guest casitas
illuminating the sensation of eternal strength and serenity and giving
one a clear sense of the unrelenting progression of time. A guest on
a nature walk standing next to a massive outcropping of granite said,
I feel like Im a mouse standing next to an elephant surrounded
by feel good energy. The positive vitality is overwhelming.
An overview of The Boulders.
Steps leading to a casita framed by a huge
Mercifully, the resorts attention to detail creates
a tight marriage between tranquility and relaxation. Here, the noise
and pollution of vehicles are quietly put to bed in the far rear of
the main lodge, whereas the casitas are accessed by golf carts that
putter along narrow, winding walkways carrying guests to and fro, or
delivering a chilled bottle of wine to be enjoyed on a balcony as the
sun disappears below the far horizon of this enduring desert setting.
The roomy casitas constructed from Arizona materials
in the classic New Mexico, Southwestern-style were designed with artistic
touches of American Indian décor, handcrafted beamed ceilings,
flagstone floors, wood-burning fireplaces, wet bars, bathrooms large
enough for a morning stretch, and a patio or deck with views of scampering
birds and unending skies.
The roomy casitas designed in a Southwestern style
blend nicely with the 12,000-year-old boulders.
In keeping with the Sonoran setting, robust desert rejuvenation
is experienced at the 33,000-square-foot spa which offers an exceedingly
diverse focus of therapeutic treatments dedicated to the restoration
and encouragement of constructive optimism. Noted among the best Spas
in this part of the country, The Spa pulls its guests from the helter-skelter
of everyday life to a Zen-like ambiance of hydrotherapy, the elements
of feng shui, and feel-good meditation areas.
The 33,000-square-foot spa ranked among the best
in Arizona offers a diverse selection of therapeutic treatments.
Three Vichy treatment rooms, a pool dedicated to Watsu
underwater treatments, a relaxing Hawaiian Lomi Lomi healing massage
that makes the eyelids heavy, and the traditional Indian cleation technique
nourishing the skin and calming the nervous system, are amongst a hefty
collection of special high caliber spa selections.
Twenty-four treatment spaces, a 2,000-square-foot Fitness
Center, Yoga Studio and tasty Spa Café with well-being in mind,
are a bonus for body and mind. However, The Spa staff also urges guests
to step outside and experience nature, to join the Waterfall Rappel
Clinics, enjoy a guided desert hike or a Walk the Rock Tour, and when
the sun sets a Moonlight Bicycle ride or Night Exploration Hike under
an unforgettable sky.
Spectacular sunrise photo excursions are led by
Linda Covery, Resident Boulder Photographer. Guests can capture the
everchanging Sonora light and learn about the busy bird life and the
cacti that say 'look but don't touch.'
On the other end of the day a special treat awaits as
the sun appears with its touches of soft dappled light flooding the
surroundings. Vivacious Linda Covey, Resident Boulder Photographer,
leads guests on an early morning photo tour sharing an overwhelming
passion for the desert and nature photography.
Leading a small posse of guests through the magical
moments of sunrise, Covey points out the long shadows that slowly appear
on the stacked boulders and casitas, the active bird life, and the glorious
cacti that say look but dont touch. With cameras catching
the nuances of a new day and hawks drifting in the thermals and ever-changing
light, the group is hopeful to snatch a glimpse of a coyote or two,
or Rocksy the cagey resident female bobcat with black paws, a dark orange
face, and inherent desert wisdom.
After a day out-and-about, award-winning New
Mexico and Northern Mexico cuisine, noted as southwestern, is a
satisfying treat. The Palo Verde Restaurant sources most of their ingredients
from locally owned farms. While in the Spotted Donkey Cantina guests
take a step back to Mexico, sip a Herradura a hand-selected,
double-barrel Reposado tequila created for the restaurant in limited
production and tasty guacamole with a bite.
The Boulders have two award-winning 18-hole golf
courses and a prestigious
Vehicles are parked behind the main lodge.
are accessed by golf carts or on foot.
The Boulders also offers golfers a home-away-from-home
with two world-renowned 18-hole courses honored with enough awards to
fill a golf bag, both celebrated for their stunning beauty. The South
Courses par-five signature hole is bordered with a cluster of
spectacular rock outcroppings and incredible views of the desert and
Those in need of a tune-up can check in at the Golf
Academy with PGA and LPGA instructors, and for ladies The Boulders is
acclaimed as one of the top women-friendly golf resorts in the country
with numerous programs for all skill levels. After a few hours on the
greens, guests and club members can pop in to the private upscale Clubhouse
designed with mens and womens locker rooms, two restaurants,
views of both courses and the Sonoran foothills.
Before guests depart, a popular tradition is to
view Rosie's Rock, named after the wife of the original owner who opened
the property in 1985.
Before heading home, a popular tradition is to view
Rosies Rock, a huge isolated boulder balanced on a tiny ledge,
as if just waiting for Wiley E. Coyote to send it crashing down on the
tracks of the Roadrunner below. Named after the wife of the original
owner who opened the property in 1985, it appears as if another Pixar
artist had been working overtime to create this surprising occurrence
and lasting memory.
When You Go
The Boulders is located 33 miles from the Phoenix Sky
Harbor International Airport; transportation can be arranged through
the resort concierge; www.theboulders.com,
Route 66; Arizona
Cowboy College; Elko's
31st Celebration Of The Old West; Utah's
National Parks; Northern
New Mexico Cilinary Tour; Images
of New Mexico