ARIZONA Travel Guide
It may be a remote national park, but the South Rim of the Grand Canyon has always been pretty well equipped with hotels. There's the El Tovar Hotel (above), which opened in 1905, right on the rim, of course. Dotted around it are other lodges making up the "Grand Canyon Village" with full and partial canyon views, and there are even a couple of motel-style options set a little back from the edge itself. But however many hotel rooms there are around the rim, they are almost always sold out months in advance.
You can also stay inside the canyon itself, at Phantom Ranch, but you can only get there on foot or by mule. But soon, there might be another way to get down - and more hotels on the canyon rim itself.
Ideas to develop the canyon further for tourism aren’t anything new - think the gulp-inducing Skywalk at the far off West Rim, which is run by the Hualapai tribe (who also have accommodation, but away from the rim). Now, both the LA Times and the Telegraph are reporting on something called the Grand Canyon Escalade, a proposed gondola ride down to the Canyon floor at “the Confluence, near Tusayan, where the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers meet. Down below, a restaurant and elevated riverside walkway would be constructed.
Hotel Packages / Spring Training Deals / Arizona Hotels / Phoenix Hotels / Scottsdale Hotels / Sports Hotels / → All Tags
Hard to believe, but baseball is back with spring training under way down South. Florida is hosting its half of the action as well, but the unique thing about the scene in Phoenix is how close all the teams are (see map comparing Arizona and Florida facilities). Not only does this mean lots of options for games, it also means lots of hotel choices. And seeing as this is one of the best times of the year to visit the southwest weather wise, it's time to check in on some of the hotel discounts and packages happening in the desert that will help make your childhood dream of jet-setting down to spring training a bit more feasible:
Hotel Palomar: This Kimpton property is offering the "Batter Up" package that gets you 25% off the best available rate, two local beers, a baseball-themed welcome treat, and complimentary access to Gold's Gym Elite in case you want to hold your own spring training.
The Westin Phoenix Downtown: The 2013 Baseball Package has rates starting at $189/night Thursday through Sunday -- nice for a long weekend trip. It includes overnight parking, high speed internet access, and baseball “snack pack” amenities (there better be some Cracker Jacks!).
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You know you should be heading to the gym soon, right? You made some New Year's resolutions, and this is juuuuust about the time where you start getting a case of the "screw its". That's because you haven't found the right workout for you, honeylamb! But see, we have sacrificed and done the research for you and found something hella fun. They call it aerial yoga.
Here's the thing about aerial yoga: it's better than mat yoga. Not only do you get a better stretch (you use your body weight rather than muscles) but it's a crack up! In that Spiderman kinda way. And the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is one of the few places in the country that offers this class. So grab your yoga mats, people, we're going to Arizona.
The class launched in January (right when Willow Stream Spa unveiled its $60 million renovation) and is so popular, they have to turn people away. Talk about Burning Man syndrome. Thankfully they recently brought more instructors on board to expand classes. Guests who take aerial yoga will also have access to the resort's spa facilities. Fairmont Princess Scottsdale is the first resort in the US to bring Well & Being to life, basically a new program that combines health, wellness, nutrition, integrative medicine, fitness and advanced skincare together.
Fantasy Friday / Celebrity Scoop / Lady Gaga / Arizona Hotels / Phoenix Hotels / Waldorf Astoria Hotels / → All Tags
The past few Fantasy Friday's have been so completely downright dope and expensive that, at first, we pushed the $5,000 a night Villa Retreat at the Boulders Resort outside of Phoenix to the other side of the desk. We'd been talking $60,000 New Year's Eve packages and $20,000 diamond desserts, and $5,000 seemed a lot closer to reality than fantasy.
Well, guess what? We can't afford five grand a night any more than we can afford fifty grand, and if it's good enough for Lady Gaga, we suppose it's good enough for us.
The Villa Retreat is a Bali influenced five-bedroom, five-and-a-half bath home situated amongst the boulder piles (dated at 12-million years old) on property, and floor to ceiling windows help take it all in. There's an infinity-edge pool, jacuzzi, fire pit, and two patios to go along with two kitchens, an elevator, a private driveway and a courtyard. Obviously, you get some service perks, including a butler. Oh, and on-property helicopter access should you need a quick getaway.
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One of the most surprising things about Phoenix is how uninvolved its downtown has been in the overall scene of the city. It's the sixth largest city in the United States, yet there are only two -- that's right, two -- leisure-focused hotels in downtown Phoenix (you can get a great perspective on the small part downtown plays in the greater area from the top of South Mountain, where you can see the entire valley almost tip to tip, about 60 miles).
Kimpton's Hotel Palomar, which opened this summer, hopes to create a spark and start bringing some of the business that's currently going on out in Scottsdale back between the skyscrapers. The hotel, built amongst the shops and restaurants of CityScape, features a rooftop pool and bar with views of downtown and the sports' stadiums -- which, currently, the downtown social scene revolves around.
While the city certainly doesn't want to let that go, it has begun to embark on the chicken-and-egg game of attracting tourists, locals, and businesses all at the same time. Could a modern rooftop pool scene from Kimpton light a fire in the desert heat? The concept sure worked in Philadelphia when they built a rooftop lounge next door to Independence Mall.
Talking Stick Resort in Arizona has bragging rights not many other resorts can claim. This luxury resort has its own bourbon. It's officially called the Woodford Reserve Talking Stick Resort Personal Selection Bourbon--a mouthful of a name. The beverage, which will be sold in the resort’s Shadows Lounge, an indoor cigar bar, will debut on September 14.
The group of Talking Stick representatives who helped create the bourbon visited Kentucky’s Woodford Reserve Distillery where they worked with Chris Morris, master distiller. We are sure that an appropriate amount of tasting and mixing occurred, all in the name of providing a quality product for Talking Stick guests.
On the September 14th debut, guests can sample the bourbon during three tastings scheduled at 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.
Looking for an exotic place to sleep and eat? We've found a great deal for two at Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Ariz., which includes dinner for two at the resort's completely new signature restaurant, Che-Ah-Chi.
Che-Ah-Chi is Apache for the area Enchantment Resort and Mii amo Spa occupies, now known as Boynton Canyon. This space has long been a favorite for the dramatic views of the deepening shadows on the red rocks at sunset and now with the Taste of Enchantment package, there's no excuse not to dine there during your stay. Here's how we suggest you make the most of your time there:
Romantic Hotels / Outdoor Showers / Auberge Hotels / Sedona Hotels / Hotel Packages / Hotel Fees / → All Tags
Romance seekers and au naturel enthusiasts will be delighted to know that L'Auberge de Sedona wants you to stand outside your room, completely naked. Well that is only true in part- but it is true.
After a multiphase $25 million renovation completed last year that included a new lobby, the redesign of the resort’s Lodge rooms and Creekside and Garden Cottages, and the addition of several brand new Spa Cottages and Vista Cottages and Suites, we've learned that L'Auberge has also added private outdoor showers. Yup, to up the romance factor in our favorite cottages to an "11", L'Auberge has added luxurious enclosed outdoor cedar showers open to the sky for viewing the sunrise or the stars.