I need a break. And you do too.
After a summer spent hiding inside the house to avoid pestilence, scorching temperatures and soot-filled air, we crave liberation and escape.
The good news: We’re entering the Secret Season, the answer to a frustrated traveler’s prayers. It offers bargains, uncrowded destinations and mild temperatures. It’s the ideal time to take a drive and get away from it all for a few days.
We’ve targeted three out-of-state (but relatively close) destinations where tourism is at low ebb this time of year, making it easier to socially distance. If you’re nervous about staying in a hotel, check out the websites of places you’re considering to read about their COVID-19 safety protocols, then make a phone call to find out more. Some people pack disinfecting cleaning supplies to be on the safe side.
Then grab your gear and hit the road. Our first pick is Scottsdale, Ariz., a big proponent of the Secret Season, which lasts through December. Locals in this resort town say fall offers some of the best weather of the year, ideal for hiking and other outdoor activities.
When you visit, take an easy drive two hours north of Scottsdale to see fall’s vibrant colors in Sedona, where the reds and golds of the season complement the red rock landscape.
You’ll find some of the nation’s top resorts in Scottsdale, where the nightly room rate often tops $1,000 during the spring season. But during the Secret Season, you’ll find 60%-off deals at some high-end resorts. Others have BOGO — buy-one-get-one-free deals — or three-nights-for-the-price-of-two specials.
Check out these bargains:
Hotel Adeline: If you like Midcentury Modern, you’ll love sleek and stylish Hotel Adeline, a boutique newcomer in Old Town Scottsdale. The 215-room, pet-friendly hotel had a $13-million makeover and now sports a restaurant and a lively pool with bar and cabanas. Rates start at $116 per night.
Hotel Valley Ho: Anytime is martini time at the oh-so-hip Hotel Valley Ho in downtown Scottsdale, where the pool is shaped like a martini glass, complete with an olive. This Midcentury Modern hotel has a “Slip Into Fall Deal” that includes a $50 daily hotel credit and a bottle of wine, with rates from $240 a night.
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa: This award winner, in neighboring Paradise Valley, isn’t near downtown shops or restaurants but it has panoramic views and offers a great place to escape, relax and rewind. Hike, bike or run on the many trails near the resort. Secret Season visitors from California can take advantage of a “Welcome, Neighbors” special (booking code PROCA3) that allows guests to stay for free on their third night. Rates from $373 per night.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess: Get a BOGO deal this