Eating at Scottsdale’s minty-cool The Saguaro

Sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows….everywhere

This is my first restaurant review and I’m not even going to write about the food.

My husband and I had booked a table at the Distrito restaurant for Easter Sunday brunch on a tip from my local PR contact to check out The Saguaro Scottsdale. (That’s pronounced sah-warh-oh, after the desert cacti.)

Steps away from Old Town Scottsdale, the ’60s motel was revived by California’s Joie de Vivre Hotel group more than a year ago, making it their first out-of-state hotel.

The mint-fresh Saguaro Scottsdale is featured on the cover of the May 2012 Condé Nast Traveler magazine. (The Saguaro Palm Springs just opened in April.)

From the outside, this snow-white building pops with lollipop colours, in stark contrast to the code-compliant monochromist shades of desert sand. Exterior colours of orange, yellow, green, blue and violet accentuate the 194 guest rooms of this hip, low-slung SoCal hotel.

The Old Town Whiskey bar and modern Mexican Distrito restaurant, run by Iron Chef Jose Garces, is actually located in another building across the parking lot, a consideration overnight guests might appreciate.

The whimsical décor in this family-friendly restaurant is pure eye candy for kids with strumable bungee cords posing as  wall art. Even the white, disc-like umbrellas over the patio tables looked like sun-glazed, candy-coated Frisbees®.

I expect, though, the playful assortment of tabletop patterns, stools and chairs could prove a sight for sore eyes after a night in the Old Town. Fortunately, the servers are grounded in all-black attire.


We sat at a table next to the sliding wall of glass and immediately donned sunglasses to read the menu. I couldn’t tell if the glare was rising from my sparkly tabletop or deflecting off the tilted umbrella-saucers outside. (It reminded me of an ocean-side restaurant in California famous for its sunset dinners, where everyone, including the servers, wore shades.)

The Distrito restaurant and margarita bar opens onto a lush urban park next to the Scottsdale Centre for the Performing Arts, where on this particular Sunday, Celtic singers were entertaining strollers and Distrito diners.

I later read the non-conformist exterior colours were approved by town planners because the rainbow-like shades represent the native desert flowers.

I loved the unapologetic use of crayon colours and applaud the liberal interpretation of Scottsdale’s building code. This place can reset your youth code.


2 thoughts on “Eating at Scottsdale’s minty-cool The Saguaro

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