The Boulders

Serenity, luxury, remote location

34631 N Tom Darlington Dr., Carefree 85377

(480) 488-9009

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At a Glance

Go for a walk in the morning here and you’ll be aware of no traffic sounds, only desert bird songs and, occasionally, the whack of a ball being driven off a tee.

Indagare Loves

  • The way the casitas blend in with the house-size boulders
  • The spa’s fusion of treatment styles from around the world


The Boulders is almost an hour from the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, but guests don’t seem to mind, as many are coming to breathe the desert air and escape the urban creep of Phoenix and Scottsdale. Certainly, the iconic resort’s surroundings have changed since the days when about the only thing you would see along Scottsdale Road was the occasional bounding jackrabbit, but the buffering effect of The Boulder’s 1,300 acres allows it to retain its almost retreat-like serenity.

The Boulders’ most notable feature, as it has been for the past 12 million years, is the huge, naturally-sculptured rock pile that gives it its name. And the genius of the human designers who came along considerably later was to incorporate the man-made additions so well into the natural background that from a distance it is hard to tell one from another.

Standard accommodation occupy adobe casitas, all with wood beamed ceilings, wood-burning fireplaces, and Sonoran Desert views, with the better views found in the free-standing or second floor Sonoran Casitas. One-, two-, and three-bedroom villas and haciendas offer more space and amenities, including full kitchens.

There’s nothing overly fancy about dining at The Boulders, its main restaurant, Palo Verde, serving Southwest fare emphasizing local, organic ingredients, with a pleasant view, out across a duck pond, of one of the resort’s prettier golf course fairways.

The golf, tennis, and spa facilities rank among the best in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. And while the smallish main pool can be crowded, it is always possible to get a golf cart ride to the less frequented spa, club, or villa pools. There's also a small courtyard-circling area of shops and restaurants, known as El Pedregal, which is a stroll from the resort center, and visitors can also explore the little towns of Carefree and Cave Creek, five minutes or so away by car.

Who Should Stay

The Boulders is meant for people who want to appreciate the silence, and the beauty, of the desert, drive a ball down a fairway or over a net, or lose themselves in a spa, one that actually has a labyrinth, inspired by Hopi Indian medicine wheels. Those wanting to explore Phoenix/Scottsdale's dining and cultural scenes should book elsewhere.

Written by Bob Payne

What's Nearby
Indagare employees walking up stiars

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