By Anitra Brown
If I were going on a honeymoon, a babymoon, an anniversary blowout, or trysting with a lover, there's no place I'd rather land than Alvadora Spa at Royal Palms in Phoenix. With winding paths that transport you past a grove of orange trees and Mexican-style fountains, this Spanish Colonial-style resort is the most romantic and intimate of Arizona's famous spas.
Part of the charm is its history. Set on the southern side of Camelback Mountain in an expensive neighborhood, Royal Palms was originally a 1929 mansion built as a winter home by a New York City financier who loved Spain.
In the 1940s it became an inn, named for the stately row of palms that still line the entrance, and attracted stars like Groucho Marx. In the 1990s new owners spent a fortune to make it an ultra-luxurious property that today has 117 casitas, guestrooms and suites, including a Presidential Villa where actual presidents stay.