Andaz Scottsdale Weekend Retreat: A Vanlife Break

Andaz Scottsdale Weekend Retreat: A Vanlife Break

Shawn and I have been full-time in our van since August 2018. In this time we have stayed with friends and family, in the desert, forest, and too many parking lots. Since we began, there is one thing we have not done, and that is to take a break from van life and stay in a hotel. When I found out I was accepted into #BlogHouseScottsdale we knew this was our chance to take the opportunity to relax a bit and get away from the van. If you are in vanlife or are on a road trip read more to find out about our vanlife break at the Andaz Scottsdale.

BlogHouse Scottsdale Review


Bloghouse Scottsdale


Before we dive into my experience at the Andaz Scottsdale, I want to give a little background on why we were there. Bloghouse is an intense conference for bloggers who want to take their website to the next level. It is a small conference with about 20 people in total. Our conference had 12 attendees with 5 mentors! This is an incredible ratio and unheard of in the conference world.

We dove into presentations every morning, then had hands-on workshops every single day to develop your blog strategy. All of the mentors were so kind and never once made us feel like they were on a different level. In fact, after my experience, I had more confidence than ever to continue to blog and work towards my goals of being a full-time blogger.

If you are a blogger looking to level-up then I highly recommend that you apply for next years bloghouse!


The Andaz Scottsdale Resort


Check-in process at The Andaz Scottsdale


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We arrived a day before bloghouse so we could experience all that Scottsdale has to offer. By the time the next day rolled around we were more than ready to be in our hotel. We were a little nervous as the #bloghousescottsdale conference started around 2 pm and check-in was at exactly 2. When we booked our hotel we mentioned that we wanted an early check-in. The morning of we received an email letting us know that we could check-in early. By 10 am our room was ready! We could not believe how early they were letting us in.


The Dog-Friendly Andaz Scottsdale


Dog-Friendly Andaz Scottsdale Resort


One of our main concerns when traveling is whether the dogs will be allowed and accepted. Many places claim that they are dog-friendly but hit you with outrageous fees or have super strict rules about your pup. The Andaz Scottsdale was very dog-friendly and everyone we met smiled and loved on our dogs. The GREAT thing about the Andaz Scottsdale is that all the rooms are on the ground floor. Each hotel is apart of a quadrant of four other hotel rooms which feels more like a duplex made up of studios! You have your own large patio surrounded by lush green lawn.


Andaz Scottsdale Dog Fees: The Andaz Scottsdale charges $150 total per pet per week for their pet fee and allows a two-dog maximum.


The Andaz Scottsdale Rooms


Dog friendly Hotels in Scottsdale

The rooms at the Andaz were so incredibly perfect for what we needed. Each room which feels more like a studio apartment (without a kitchen) have a modern southwestern minimalist layout. It had a simple vibe and great energy which was always nice to walk into after being in the hot crowded van. The rooms were super dog-friendly and didn’t have any crazy unnecessary items that needed to be put out of the dogs reach. There is a mini-fridge with a few freebies, our favorites were the pretzels, chips, and free chocolates.


Andaz Scottsdale Grounds


Andaz Scottsdale Resort

The grounds at the Andaz Scottsdale were absolutely beautiful and are surrounded by mountains in almost every direction you look. There are a plethora of Instagram worthy shots right on the grounds. We even got a tour of the resort where they showed us all the iconic locations. One evening, with some of the ladies from the Bloghouse conference we found a dark spot away from the resort and city light glow to test out some night photography!


How to Cool off in Scottsdale


Andaz Scottsdale pool


I’m going to admit something to you that I’m not super proud of…I didn’t get to try out any of the stunning pools all weekend! The largest pool is positioned right behind the main building and offers bungalows, a hot tub, and plenty of opportunities to cool off in the summer heat. At night they often host parties with a live DJ and fun games. Don’t worry though if you have a room close to the pool, the noise stops at 10 pm!


Looking for more information on Scottsdale? Learn all the best Vegan restaurants, Dog-friendly hikes, and free camping spots!



Vegan options at the Andaz Restaurants


During bloghouse, we were offered breakfast from the Andaz every single morning. There were a few options from the conference buffet such as oatmeal and coconut chia pudding that would have completely satisfied me. However, they went out of their way to make sure I was happy and hand-delivered the most delicious muffin I have ever had. So if you are vegan and heading to the Andaz Scottsdale, I wouldn’t worry about going hungry.


Weft & Warp Art Bar Vegan Options


The restaurant at the Andaz has quite a few vegan options for each meal ranging from your basic avocado toast for breakfast and several salads and veggie sandwiches for lunch. For dinner, they offer roasted corn tacos with an avocado mousse and a wild mushroom risotto that has me currently regretting not being able to personally try it.

Turquoise Pool Bar Vegan Options


When I am out relaxing at the pool it is super important that I have food options. The problem is when you are vegan options usually range from chips and salsa to chips and salsa. At the Andaz, you have so many more options than your typical pool bar. From fruit spears to a more substantial veggie sandwich they have options for even the pickiest vegan. Don’t forget to check out their cocktail menu. Personally, I would try the diamondback fizz with jalapeño agave and grapefruit.


Looking for more vegan options in Scottsdale? Check out my post detailing the best vegan spots in the area!


Relaxing in Scottsdale

Relaxing in Scottsdale is not hard to do when you are staying at the Andaz Scottsdale. The spa has a private pool, steam room, and fitness area available to any spa guests. They offer many different types of massages from a Himalayan salt stone massage,  a DNA Growth Factor Exfoliating Facial- a medical-grade facial exclusive to the Palo Verde Spa which is specific for stressed or photo-damaged skin, and of course some mani-pedis to look your best at the pool.


Our Experience at the Andaz Scottsdale Resort



Overall we found the Andaz Scottsdale to be an incredible experience. We were able to relax in the air conditioning and catch up on much-needed rest. The resort has a local touch that feels very unique to the Andaz, such as the hand-made pottery made by a local artist and a local band who play for special events. Everything feels handpicked and very intentional. We give the Andaz 4 paws up and highly recommend it to any of our road-trip friends who are looking for a nice break from the summer heat.

Have you visited the Andaz Scottsdale? What was your favorite feature?

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Van Life in Scottsdale Arizona

Van Life in Scottsdale Arizona

 Visiting Arizona in the heat of the summer:


When you are a van lifer, you typically stay away from the hotter climates during the summer months. However you can’t avoid the southern states ALL THE TIME. Besides why would you want to anyways? Arizona for instance is a great place to visit during the summer. While the NorthWest is still wearing sweaters at night you can lay out by the pool and get your summer tan or go for a star gazing stroll at night when the temperatures are absolutely perfect. So I decided to create the Van Life Guide to Scottsdale, Arizona for anyone who might be taking a summer road trip or any nomads who find theirselves in Arizona. 

For anyone looking for incredible deals and information on Scottsdale, check out Experience Scottsdale a website dedicated to showing you all the best Scottsdale has to offer! 




The Best Dog-Friendly Accommodations in Scottsdale


Although you can find ways to live in your van in Arizona during the late spring/early summer, a big secret that no one tells you is that the resorts have huge sales during that season!

So if you decide to venture into Scottsdale and want a break from your van or RV here are my favorite Dog-Friendly Accommodations in the Scottsdale area!


The Dog-Friendly Andaz Scottsdale Review

woman in orange chair: Van life guide to scottsdale

We stayed at the Andaz Scottsdale resort for the Bloghouse Scottsdale Conference in May. Our first concern was whether the resort would be dog-friendly. They clearly state on the website that they are in fact dog-friendly and once you get to the resort you immediately see why!

The Resort has a very modern feel with large grounds and accents of the Southwest culture spread throughout. From the hand made pottery used in the restaurant to the local bands that play for special events, you can feel the essence of Scottsdale during your stay.

Each hotel is on the ground floor in their own individual duplexes connected to about four other hotel rooms. Honestly, it felt like you were renting a studio apartment for the week since you get your own patio and large rooms.

The grounds of the Andaz Scottsdale are absolutely stunning with tons of beautiful green lush grass to walk on. The pool is a must-visit where you can relax and get your tan on!

The pups and Shawn had an absolute blast relaxing in the hotel room and enjoying near dog parks. Although honestly, the resort has so many walkable paths you can get away with never leaving!


The Andaz Scottsdale Dog Policy: $150 pet fee total – 2 pet maximum.


The Bespoke Inn


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Another option that I would consider is The Bespoke Inn. I immediately fell in love with the modern boutique atmosphere. They have seven different styles of rooms and each one offers it’s own unique design and feel. During the summer I saw deals as low as $99 per night!

A fun aspect of The Bespoke Inn is the culinary experience that you can package alongside your room. Virtù Honest Craft restaurant is inside the hotel and offers dine-in experiences inside the Penthouse. Vegan note: I did not see any vegan options on the menu HOWEVER the menu changes weekly and it is chef made so TripAdvisor did note that they do accommodate vegan and gluten free diets. The libations alone looked incredible even if you don’t want to eat there. I personally would want to try the Ice Queen, a vodka based cocktail mixed with Rhubarb, Strawberry-White Balsamic Shrub, Fresh Lemon, Champagne Foam, Cracked Black Pepper. 

The Bespoke Inn Pet Policy : $35 per pet, per night.  2 pet maximum. 


The Dog-Friendly Phoenician Resort

Woman on pool rooftop deck:Van life guide to Scottsdale 

The last night of the Bloghouse Scottsdale Conference we had a beautiful event hosted by the Phoenician on their rooftop deck. This luxurious rooftop has stunning views of the surrounding canyons and the sunset is breathtaking.

We were able to take a tour of the grounds and it was absolutely stunning. They have several pools to choose from all with canyon and Camelback mountain views.

The Phoenician does allow dogs and they recommend the Casita Guest-rooms as they are separate from the hotel and on the first floor so you can easily take your dog to the bathroom.


The Phoenician Pet Policy:  2 dogs per room under 40 lbs. $175 non-refundable cleaning fee


Top Places to Overnight Park in Scottsdale, Arizona

Finding parking in bigger cities can be difficult at times. You typically need to stealth or be willing to stay in parking lots. We only had to stealth one night in Scottsdale and ended up in a random parking lot. There are two major retailers in the area who currently allow parking. 

I recommend checking by calling the store to make sure their policy has not changed. 


Free Parking at Cabella’s 

GPS: 33.436555, -111.868018

Free Overnight Parking at Wal-Mart

GPS:33.306740, -111.902200

Free Camping an hour outside of Scottsdale, Arizona


Arizona Trust Land is managed by the State Land Department and Trust Land is not public land! What does this mean? You cannot park in Arizona without a permit. Lucky for you a permit is only $15 for a year and fairly easy to get. Simply head here and agree to your responsibilities and then pay! Now that you’ve done that you can park at the places below!


The desert of Arizona is a beautiful place to be. The view of the stark blue sky against the canyons, the crystal clear starry night sky, and the still air of the desert. Here are some places I found on IOverlander and Campendium.


Free Camping near Petra Trails


GPS: 33.365692, -111.396247

Free parking near the Petra Trails, you will find several fire rings and pet-friendly pullouts. According to IOverlander, there are other spaces near this one as you drive down the road.


Dispersed Camping near the Superstition mountains.


GPS Coordinates: 33.3482, -111.4162

Another great place near Scottsdale with incredible views of the Superstition Mountains!


Top Places to Shower in Scottsdale, Arizona 


If you decide against staying in a hotel while you are visiting the Arizona area then chances are you will need a shower! Here are a few places to shower in the Phoenix, Arizona area.


Planet Fitness in the Phoenix area


Since Scottsdale is a bigger city and apart of the Phoenix metro van-lifers favorite gym, “Planet Fitness!” is abundant. There are twelve Planet Fitness locations scattered around the Phoenix area and one inside Scottsdale. 


Cactus Aquatics and Fitness Center


I’m always a fan of getting more out of your money. That is why when I pay for a shower I like to go somewhere where I get something else out of it! For instance a city pool or recreational center usually has a pool or fitness center AND you get to shower! 

In Scottsdale I would check out the Cactus Aquatics and Fitness Center if you need a shower! They have a fitness center, a lap pool (heated during the winter) and public swim area for the summer. You can access the shower, fitness center, and the lap pool for only $5! 

The Best Dog-Friendly Hikes in Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale is a very active area and it’s residents boast about how much they love the outdoors. This shows with the plethora of hikes and available trails. This shines through on their dog-friendly trails as well. Several of the places listed are not just trails but instead preserves which offer multiple different trails inside one area for each difficulty level.


McDowell Sonoran Preserve



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There are several trails inside the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and four major trailheads to consider ranging from a kid-friendly half-mile hike to a more difficult 5-mile hike.  

Tom Thumb’s Easy Dog-Friendly Hike

  Tom Thumb Trailhead offers three different hikes ranging from easy to difficult. Since I enjoy an easier hike I personally would go with the Marcus Landslide which is 3.7 miles and only has an elevation gain of 300 feet.  

Lost Dog Wash Trailhead







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The Lost Dog Wash Trailhead is another great option for hikers who prefer an easy stroll with beautiful views. Three out of the four hikes are under 500 feet elevation gain.

Since I’m a sucker for a view I would personally try the Taliesin Overlook trail.


Gateway Trailhead


Gateway Trailhead is another great place to find easy beautiful trails. I personally would hike the Horseshoe Loop, a 1.7-mile trail with some basic mountain views. Great for a simple walk with your pups.

 The Best Vegan Friendly Restaurants in Scottsdale, Arizona 

The Phoenix area has plenty to offer when it comes to a plant-based diet. Although we were not able to visit as many vegan places as we wanted here are a few we either visited ourselves or ones we have put on our list for our next visit! 


Verdura Vegan Restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona


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The Verdura restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona offers a full plant based menu that has an array of items, from seitan nachos, Kimchi Rice balls, and Po-boy sandwiches there is something for everyone. I am especially intrigued by the Goth Waffle, a Japanese-style bubble waffle made with activated charcoal, raspberry sorbet and shaved coconut. 

Vegan Friendly Options at The Mission in Old Town Scottsdale


Visiting Old Town in Scottsdale is something you definitely need to put on your to-do list. The area is unique and has a ton of wonderful restaurants, bars, and unique shops. One of my favorite places to visit while in Scottsdale was The Mission. Not only did I love it but I had friends reach out just to recommend it!

The mission features modern latin cuisine with influences from several Latin American countries. Although the menu isn’t vegan friendly when I visited they made sure to 100% accomodate me. Even if you don’t go for a full meal I highly recommend the table side guacamole with jalopenos and the AGUACATE – a housemade margarita with avocado, triple sec, pressed lime Smokehouse vida mezcal, agave nectar, pressed lime, and fantasma puree. This margarita just may be the best I’ve EVER had. 


 Vegan Restaurants in Gilbert – Arizona The Uprooted Kitchen


Although Gilbert is not technically in Scottsdale, it is such a cool town and this restaurant looks so fun I couldn’t stand to not let you know about it. The Uprooted Kitchen is a plant based kitchen that started out as a food truck (don’t all the best resturants?) and became so popular they moved into a full-blown restaurant. The best part about the Uprooted Kitchen is they are located right by an organic farm where they get some of their produce items!


If you head to Gilbert, I also recommend you check out goat yoga, it’s an experience you will not forget!

The Best Dog-Friendly Coffee Shops in Scottsdale, Arizona


Being in the Arizona heat in a van means you have to spend as much time as possible outside the van. When you have dogs this can get super complicated. That’s why it was great to find dog-friendly coffee shops in the Scottsdale area. 

Sip Coffee and Beer – Dog-Friendly


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I love a good cafe. One with bright colors, modern hip feel and delicious coffee. What I love even more is when the coffee shop offers beer to go with that order. The Sip Coffee and Beer not only has an open area with a beautiful patio that is dog-friendly! They even have some vegan options on the menu! I personally would check out the veggie wrap with sriracha hummus!  

Schmooze Workspace and Cafe






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This is one place I definitely wish we would’ve had the time to visit. Schmooze Workspace and Cafe is the top place to get work done in Scottsdale. If you have ever felt guilty about working too long in a cafe then this is the place for you.

Schmooze offers conference rooms, office space, and a cafe all in one place. Not to mention their coffee looks incredible and the perfect amount of artisanal.

For my vegans, they have some basics to eat from avocado toast to a delicious veggie wrap.


I hope this Van Life Guide to Scottsdale, Arizona helps you discover your love for the desert during any season. Have you been to Scottsdale? Is there anything you would add? 

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