You kept waiting for the pandemic to get better. It did — then it didn’t. So, you’ve decided to forego the Maldives for now and head to Arizona. Because you’re still being careful, you promised her you’d find the most romantic place in Arizona, one with private bungalows, lots of soul and a slew of stories. She loves stories. When you came across The Hermosa Inn, you knew she’d swoon. “They don’t call them bungalows, darling,” you said, smiling mischievously. “This is Arizona, so stand-alone, romantic boltholes have a more alluring name … casitas!” “Casitas,” she said, rolling the Spanish word around in her mouth as one would a fine red wine. You noticed that and smiled. You loved to watch her muse over fine wine. And, that reminded you — there was something else to tell her. “They don’t only have romantic casitas, filled with Mexican influences, Indian rugs, southwestern art and clawfoot bathtubs,” you said, as alluringly as possible. “What else do they have, then?” She asked, tickling your chin with her index finger. “A wine cellar, where you can dine!” You delivered what you believed to be your coup de gras, and she threw her arms around you. That’s when you whispered in her ear. “They said for you to bring your fake fur coat and pearls. They call it ‘cool dining,’ and you’ll be the coolest woman in the room.”
When you arrive at Hermosa Inn, located in Paradise Valley, an exclusive residential area, edged by fantastical mountains and the desert’s mystical, cacti-dotted terrain, you wonder why you’d even ever considered the Maldives in the first place. You pull into a timeless enclave, the former home of cowboy artist, Lon Megargee, who hand-built it traditionally with adobe bricks to meld with the terrain back in the 1930s, and laugh with glee. There’s a pool, hammocks for lounging in the six acres of garden, bikes to borrow, and loads to explore. You’ve already procured reservations at LON’s, the hotel’s gastronomic restaurant, but you suspect you’ll be ordering some room service as well. Breakfast in bed — that’s a honeymoon goal, right? And you can’t wait to go to the bar, LON’s Last Drop, for the craft cocktails.
You enter the hotel to register, enticed by the plethora of art — much of it by Mergargee himself. Before you booked, you’d looked Megargee up, only to discover that you recognized his work. That image of a cowboy offering water to his horse from his hat, the one replicated inside your Stetson? That’s arguably Mergargee’s most famous painting, one you’ve been familiar with since childhood. Then, of course, there are the ghost stories, which the waiter relates to you over lunch in your pool cabana. “It’s an old place, full of mystery,” he tells your wife. She sighs and begs for more. You prefer the bigger than life Lon Megargee tidbits you pick up around the hotel, as various staff members parlay their favorite Megargee true life tale. “He was a flimflam man,” says one attendant; “a ladies man with five wives,” says another.” “Did you know there are tunnels leading from the wine cellar off the property. That’s what tipplers used to flee the premises during prohibition,” says another, who also reminds you that Megargee was a true cowboy himself, not just someone who painted those icons of the Old West. You always wanted to be a cowboy, you admit to yourself, grinning at her as she floats in the pool, a glass of sangria in hand. Hermosa Inn is clearly meant to be.
Five Other Things to Do in The Scottsdale Area
- Hike: Scottsdale has more than 400 miles of hiking trails
- Explore the Sonoran Desert that surrounds you by Jeep, hot air balloon, on horseback or atop an ATV.
- Enjoy Old Town, a haven of shops, galleries, restaurants and bars.
- Visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West.
- Fulfil your cowpoke dreams at Arizona Cowboy College, a training ground sure to bring out your inner rough rider.