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‘My Favourite Hotel’ review – The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician, Arizona

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Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is from Scottsdale, Arizona, at The Canyon Suites part of The Phoenician resort.

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:

Review The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician, Arizona

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.

Review The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician, Arizona

The Phoenician

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.

Review The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician, Arizona


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.

Review The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician, Arizona

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

The price you pay will be the same as the Best Available Rate on the hotel website.  You can contact Bon Vivant via this page of the Head for Points website.

Comments (27)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    It is indeed a great place! We now go each year for 4 nights, after our annual trip to Phoenix for a music convention in January.
    Special deals bring the room rates for the Canyon Suites down to near the Phoenician rates (and the Phonician itself is really lovely) which makes better vfm……..otherwise, you may want to consider how many bottles of wine you can buy each day at the Phoenician, to counter the evening wine tasting at the Suites, based on difference in room rates!
    The benefits given by AmEx fine hotels and resorts programme are slightly better than Bon Vivant as quoted, but then you do have to pay with your AmEx card with the associated foreign currency fee.
    Definitely a place worth staying at – may check out a points stay for 2021……

    • Jonathan says:

      I stayed here twice and on both occasions was upgraded from the regular hotel to the canyon suites . A couple of days prior to travelling I rang the hotel direct telling them my wife and I were celebrating our anniversary and if it was possible could they give us a room upgrade . When we arrived we were directed to the canyon suites and were given a magnificent suite on the upper floor with a view over the golf course .To make matters even better we had pre booked golf for 4 days it was pretty pricey . On the first morning we went down to the course to play and the guy on the desk who happened to be the Director of golf asked if we would mind changing our tee times as he had a large party from New York who wanted to play at the same time we had booked . We were fine with switching and staggered when he said we could play for $30 . To put icing on the cake he said as we had helped him out he would put us in the computer so we would only pay $30 a round whenever we wanted to play . Sure enough he honoured that rate for the 2 weeks we were there and when we returned a year later we were still playing at the same price .
      This is a fabulous hotel only slightly spoiled by reducing to 18 holes of golf from 27 thus making it quite a slow round .

  • Peter K says:

    Very interesting review. You can really tell the reviewer’s heart is there and they draw you along with them.
    Just a little point. It’s muted colours, not mooted.

  • Mr(s) Entitled says:

    Arizona is an interesting place and I like Phoenix/Scottsdale. Always struck me as a nice place to live over and above a short visit.

    • Doug M says:

      Arizona became a great place to live the day they invented air conditioning.

  • mark2 says:

    I visited Scottsdale AZ in May 1975 although I cannot remember where we stayed.
    I remember at a barbecue eating steak with a plastic knife and fork, and on leaving going in a coach to the Grand Canyon and seeing a McDonald’s restaurant which were then unknown in UK.

  • Liz says:

    We stayed in Scottsdale for only 1 night during our Route 66 adventure this time 3 years ago – detoured down Hwy 89 through Sedona to Phoenix/Scottsdale and Tucson for a few days – love the Saguaro cactus – currently re-living our adventure through our Facebook memories and my travel scrapbooks! Happy days!

    • Concerto says:

      Hwy 89, more correctly, US-89 further north, is the greatest of all road trips in the US for me. Originally from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, it now starts at Flagstaff. You can hit almost every major national park in the West with it.

      • Liz says:

        We travelled a fair bit of Hwy 89 on last years epic National Park road trip. Would be a great trip to do the full length of it. Gonna miss doing this years road trip round Washington State and Oregon.

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          That is a great trip if you can make it work once this begins to pass. Oregon is spectacular.

          • Liz says:

            Hopefully get back to finishing off all the USA states someday soon. Stuck at 36 states for now….

          • Michael C says:

            Hoping to make use of the LHR-Portland direct (one day!) to do that – countryside & pinot noir!

          • Mr(s) Entitled says:

            I am on 33 States but no plans to add any further for some time. When the kids fly the nest we will get a Winnebago and rack up a few more. Montana, Dakotas, Wyoming and surrounds are calling but in the interim I take solace in having seen more of the States than most natives.

          • Liz says:

            We did 8 states last year – Colorado, Utah (was amazing), Wyoming (did some white water rafting), Idaho, Montana, S Dakota, Nebraska, Arizona last year. That trip was even better than Route 66 – visiting Mesa Verde, Four Corners, Bryce, Zion, Yellowstone, Arches, Canyonlands, Glen Canyon, Monument Valley at sunset was spectacular, SLC, Mt Rushmore and so much more – fabulous memories.
            I was working on a trip for 2021 to Wisconsin, Minnesota, S & N Dakota, Michigan and Iowa – was looking forward to seeing the Covered Bridges of Madison County….

          • Mr(s) Entitled says:

            I agree that Utah is amazing. The Mormons picked well.

        • Lady London says:

          *jealous. Would love to know what route you had planned @Liz.

          • Liz says:

            Route was going to be Seattle for a couple of days, pick up car, head south past Tacoma and over to the west coast at Aberdeen then follow the coast road south to Long Beach, Cannon Beach, Tillamook, and down the coast as far as Florence. Then back up to Portland for a few days. Then follow the Columbian River to The Dalles, north to Wenatchee, Chelan, and Winthrop the crossing west over the North Cascades NP for a few days in Bellingham up near the Canadian border for some Orca whale watching then back down for a few more days around the Seattle area with the car. Bit of city and shopping, coast and beaches, driving and scenery, national parks and mountains, boats trips and whale watching, Lewis & Clark history and some good food along the way and making new friends……

          • mark2 says:

            When we went to Seattle and then on to Vancouver BC, I thought that I would be clever and go to Vancouver WA too. Big mistake, nothing to see except bail bond places. I have never heard the last of it; avoid.

          • Blindman says:

            We did a 13 state fly drive two years ago which completed our 50 US states.

            Started and finished in Vegas and went through New Mexico, eastwards and then around and up to North Dakota,
            Then Westward to Yellowstone and south to Vegas.
            Best state is definitely Utah and best areas are the Canyonlands, Moab and Dead horse point (Themla and Louise ending).

            Best place is “The Wave”

            Awesome country, shame about the President.

  • SammyJ says:

    The average temperature when we stayed in Scottsdale last August must have been more like 40°, with highs of around 47 in the shade and overnight temps in the high 30s, but I’d definitely go back, beautiful part of the world.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Is the 21c is the aircon temp seems like a nice place to visit outside of the peak summer months still.

    • Lady London says:

      Very good for respiratory conditions (such as if you need to get rid of a lingering cold) and some allergies apparently.

  • GRIMZ says:

    Wonderful place Scottsdale – cant wait to go back in November – if that’s possible in these times!!
    Stayed in the timeshares at Westin Keirland Villa’s. That place takes some beating!
    Golfers paradise Scottsdale.

  • Scurran says:

    Mooted or muted?

    • Alan says:

      The latter 😛

      Looks like a great resort and do like that part of the world!

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