Friday, February 28, 2014
The 10 Best Budget Hotel Brands, say USA TODAY readers, are: 1. Red Roof Inn, 2. Candlewood Suites, 3. America's Best Value Inn, 4. Hampton Inn, 5. Extended Stay America, 6. Quality, 7. Best Western, 8. Homewood Suites, 9. La Quinta, 10. Econo Lodge.
#budget #budgethotels #hotel brands #travelingcynthia #traveltips #usatoday
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
by Cynthia Dial
Sometimes mistaken for a run of the mill desert town, Phoenix is in fact anything but. And while the sky may be bluer, the mountains sharper and the lifestyle simpler than most urban centers, its lack of worldliness has given the nation’s sixth largest city a bad rap. But look closer and you’ll be surprised to find its lack of hustle bustle energy is a foil for its sophistication, personified by The Phoenician Hotel, the eponymous AAA Five Diamond resort which practically put this city on the map and celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.
James Meeks, The Phoenician’s long-time official ambassador greets me with a customary, “Good morning on this beautiful day.” Meeks, a tall, imposing gentleman with a baritone voice that resonates throughout the opulent foyer then queries, “What are today’s plans—golf, tennis, hiking?” He could have continued—shopping, wine-tasting, shopping, gallery hopping, shopping? Am I that obvious? Don’t answer that.
The resort’s offerings are abundant—a slew of eateries, 27 holes of golf, 11 tennis courts, and a full-service spa—all on 250 manicured acres at the base of Camelback Mountain. Its three on premise restaurants, Il Terrazzo, J&G Steakhouse and Relish Burger Bistro, are complemented by a Café and Ice Cream Parlor and an afternoon tea court. And let’s not forget to mention that The Thirsty Camel Lounge has one of Arizona’s largest vodka collections. The newest addition to the hotel’s retail corridor is Grape & Grain, best described as a wine and spirits boutique, which offers patrons the opportunity to taste and purchase many wines from the resort’s 10,000 bottle, $4.5 million inventory, as well as its private label tequila and bourbon. And the feather in its cap is that The Phoenician is home to Greg Tresner, Arizona’s only master sommelier.
In a part of the country where a golf green is the new red carpet, treasured accolades include being named “North America’s Leading Golf Resort” by the World Travel Awards and rankin among the “Top 75 Golf Resorts in America” by Golf Digest. But golf isn’t the only game in town. The Phoenician’s tennis facility has the distinction as the Southwest’s only resort facility to offer four playing surfaces, including a Wimbledon championship grass court.
Luxury is The Phoenician’s common denominator. In 1985 financier and developer Charles Keating envisioned an Arizona resort reflecting the elegance and sophistication of a fine European hotel. His vision became The Phoenician—a resort complete with a white marble lobby (imported stone from Carrera, Italy), a ceiling etched in 24-karat gold, 11 rare Steinway pianos scattered throughout and lush tropical landscaping created by island workers from the Kingdom of Tonga.
Superlatives continue. Its $25 million art collection is an exclusive compilation of Old World and contemporary works by European and Native American artists. Of its nine pools (including a 165-ft. waterslide and private cabanas), The Oasis Pool complex is home to one of Arizona’s most costly pools inlayed in Mother of Pearl tiles.
Debuted in 2007 The Phoenician’s Canyon Suites pay additional homage to luxury, representing the state’s only Forbes Five-Star/AAA Five Diamond hotel. Guests of this exclusive 60-room oasis are privy to their own pool, their own concierge and chauffeur driven Mercedes transportation.
Be warned! Whether you’re a guest of the main resort or The Canyon Suites, The Phoenician staff will more likely spoil and indulge you with your vices rather than your virtues. Frequent guest Michele Allison sums it well. “I feel like it’s home. They take good care of you. They remember everything . . . your likes, your dislikes, everything. But what is there to dislike? And every time I leave, there’s a tear in my eye.”
6000 East Camelback Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Photography by Cynthia Dial