Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is from Scottsdale, Arizona!
If you are into golfing, love hiking and prefer a year-round average temperature of 21°C, The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician should be put on your list.
We are currently running this reader-written feature to provide some positivity and inspiration to Head for Points. We hope to run one review per day for the next few weeks. There will be a deliberate mix of European and worldwide properties, super luxury and mid market, branded and independent. You can find all of the ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews so far by clicking here.
Today we are going somewhere where few readers will have been. The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician in Arizona (part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection) is reader Michael’s favourite hotel and here is his review:
Where is The Phoenician hotel?
“But it’s a dry heat”, proclaim the t-shirts in Scottsdale’s souvenir shops, as if to reassure those who question why anyone would choose this desert city in Arizona for their holiday.
And yet a year-round average temperature of 70°F (21°C), combined with very low humidity, was one of the main reasons that my wife and I first chose Scottsdale as a holiday destination more than 25 years ago and why we have returned on a regular basis ever since.
Known for its spa resorts and golf courses, Scottsdale is effectively a suburb of the state capital Phoenix. The city has an abundance of five-star hotels, with a huge choice of fine dining restaurants, a vibrant night life scene, enough shops to satisfy the most avid retail therapist and an equally wide selection of cultural attractions. What’s not to like, as they say?
Our early stays in Scottsdale were at the Phoenician, the grand dame of local hotels, popular with business travellers, conference delegates and holiday-makers alike.
Nestled at the foot of Camelback Mountain, so called after its distinctive shape, the Phoenician sits among 250 acres, just 20 minutes from Phoenix and an even shorter journey from the very quaint Old Town Scottsdale.
Set on six floors, it has 557 rooms, 28 suites and 40 meeting rooms, Facilities include a stunning pool complex, a recently refurbished spa and athletic club and an 18-hole golf course whose lush greens and fairways belie its Sonoran Desert surroundings.
The Canyon Suites
Tucked away on the edge of the property is the much smaller jewel in the resort’s crown, the Canyon Suites. This is a 60-room boutique hotel which has access to all of the Phoenician’s facilities, but which provides a secluded oasis, away from all the hustle and bustle of its larger parent. Since discovering this gem some years ago we have enjoyed many memorable stays there, making it our favourite resort in that part of the world.
The Canyon Suites is completely self-contained, with its own reception and underground parking. It also has its own infinity pool, surrounded on one side by private cabanas, each with shower, W.C., sitting area, lounge chairs, Wi-Fi, and other amenities. Poolside lunch and beverage service is provided by the nearby Canyon Grill.
While Canyon Suites guests are free to use the main hotel’s extensive dining facilities – some of which are among the best Scottsdale has to offer – the Canyon Lounge provides indoor and outdoor seating for a complimentary ‘artisan’ breakfast, served buffet style. Later each day the Canyon Suites lobby lays on a regionally-themed wine happy hour hosted by a sommelier.
So far so luxury boutique hotel. What makes the Canyon Suites at The Phoenician so special, though, is the minute attention to detail and the emphasis on service, service, service.
In part this is undoubtedly down to the hotel’s apparently low employee turnover. Year after year we have been welcomed back by the same courtesy car driver, always on standby to take you to the nearby Fashion Square shopping mall, and by the charming Ben, the pool attendant, who never fails to ask about the family while making sure that the jug of iced water by your side is regularly replenished so that you remain hydrated in the desert climate. Small details but they all add up.
The hotel offers what it calls Ambassador services. For example when you make your reservation you will be contacted by an ambassador to confirm (or help plan) your arrangements for spa, golf, cabana rental and other recreational activities. This personalized attention to all of your travel needs, including airport transfers, restaurant reservations, printing of boarding passes and so on all make for a completely stress-free experience.
This emphasis on a stress-free stay even extends to when you’re asleep. As part of what the Canyon Suites calls its signature activities, and in addition to the now fairly commonplace pillow menu, the hotel offers a ‘sweet night serenity bar’, a selection of uniquely scented bath salts and soaks, said to promote a better night’s sleep and relieve muscle pain. The magic salts are available each evening in the hotel lobby.
Rooms at The Canyon Suites
Canyon Suites rooms are extremely spacious and very luxurious without being remotely ‘flashy’. The décor makes full use of muted colours to blend in with the local desert surroundings. Beds are beyond comfortable and if my wife has enough closet space, you just know that there’s been no skimping in that area either.
The views are to die for, whether your room looks out on the pool and Camelback Mountain or the golf course, where wild rabbits seem to do what rabbits do, multiplying in number exponentially each time we return.
For the more adventurous and energetic there are guided Camelback Mountain hikes and complimentary bike rentals. Golf cart tours of the property are available for those like me whose hiking days are long past and who prefer a more sedate form of transportation.
Another attraction, which never fails to enthral, no matter how many times I’ve experienced it, is the hotel’s two-acre cactus garden. This features 250 varieties of cacti, all in beautiful condition. A fitting attraction in this southwestern region of the USA.
Even as I write this review I can’t wait for our next visit. The Canyon Suites only drawback? Leaving.
The website of the Canyon Suites is here if you want to find out more.
If you book via Bon Vivant, the Head for Points luxury hotel booking partner, you will receive special extra benefits as they are a Marriott ‘preferred partner’. The benefits are:
- Room view upgrade on arrival, subject to availability (not applicable towards Suites)
- Daily full breakfast, for two guests per bedroom in restaurant or in room dining (up to $65 credit for two)
- $100 USD Food & Beverage credit, (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full, applies to in-room dining, and resort restaurants excluding J&G Steakhouse.)
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi