The gal needed somewhere to recover, or at least to catch breath, after Virtuoso Travel Week, and Host’s luxury Phoenician, in Scottsdale AZ, fitted the bill perfectly. This 645-key success-story hotel, part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection, was built on the site of Elizabeth Arden’s Main Chance in 1988. A few years back the 250 acres of gorgeous landscape, 20 minutes from the airport, were a mismatch with a hotel that was frankly old-fashioned and ‘a resort from a template’. Now, thanks to a complete re-do and design by Parker-Torres, outside of Boston, it is absolutely gorgeous, as the photo of the lobby shows. Not surprisingly at least 70% of business is domestic, especially inter-state (apparently their own smaller pools get too hot in summer but here the chilled pools, above, are a big attraction).
Obviously the new 18-hole Phil Smith golf course is a draw and so too is the new two-floor Athletics Club: get exercise from the ten-minute walk to it from the main hotel, and then 27 stairs up to the upper floor 24/7 fitness, which has the really good, latest, Matrix. I was also thrilled with the spa, so soothing to look at, and with highly popular treatments – I had a facial which seemed to light up a tired face for several days, and I was quite tempted by a Fire & Ice special, namely a hot Himalayan stone massage complemented by a chilled foot massage with birch, menthol, peppermint and wintergreen. The spa has its own small gym, Technogym this time, but that room closes at 6pm, while treatment rooms, boutique and beauty salon continue to 7pm.
During cooler weather this is a major MICE hotel, but when the temperature is over 100F it is nearly all leisure, with average stay of 3.5 nights. Kids love it, and parents appreciate that the resort fee – yes, that daily surcharge that is unique to the great US-of-A – covers Funicians Night Owls babysitting, plus, for adults, daytime biking and so much more. Personally I return like a shot for the feel of the bedrooms – see the video below (bedrooms are designed by Wimberly Interiors, part of WATG). Apparently, too, those who are in the 60-suite separate Canyon Suites at The Phoenician, five minutes’ walk from the main hotel, are even more attached to their accommodation. For me, one of the many high points of this lovely place is Mowry & Cotton restaurant, named for two of the early prospectors in the area.
This is a most agreeable restaurant, the design hinting at the Wild West – eat outside, on the terrace, and you might expect to see Buffalo Bill galloping towards you. We had a superb dinner, helped by a glass of Madness and Cures Sanity Red Wine 2015 from Anderson Valley, Mendocino. The Mowry chop salad had avocado, corn, peppers, cotija (a crumbly Mexican cheese), greens, and mole (a chili vinaigrette). The cowgirl ribeye, just right for riding with Buffalo B, came with tiniest cubes of pork belly. Dessert, believe it or not, was donuts, with three sauces. Cowpeople eat well. At breakfast, Mowry’s breakfast BLT consisted of two fried eggs, MC sauce, Cheddar, brioche, and chili potatoes – and a falcon came by to say hello. Yes, this is a really agreeable luxury hotel. WANT TO SEE ROOM 4118?