AZ Travel Guide

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Desert Redesign: Loews Ventana Canyon to Get 'Contemporary and Chic' Upgrade

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  Site Where: 7000 N. Resort Drive [map], Tucson, AZ, United States, 85750
May 6, 2015 at 6:48 PM | by | Comments (0)

Another day, another upgrade for Loews Hotels, who have made some rather big moves in 2015, opening Loews Chicago and Loews San Francisco as well as announcing the Loews Regency bran. This time the work is happening on the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson.

Loews has announced that the property will undergo a "multi-million dollar remastering of the guest rooms, meeting space, lobby, fitness center, signature Lakeside Spa and Flying V Bar & Grill."

“We are thrilled to begin the comprehensive renovation at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. It was one of the first hotels I developed from start to finish and has remained an integral part of the Loews Hotels & Resorts portfolio,” said Jonathan Tisch, Chairman, Loews Hotels & Resorts in a statement. “I have personally worked alongside our designers on the new look and feel of the resort, and am eager to see how they will add to the experience of the property.”

The work will begin this month and should be completed before the year is out. However, the resort will remain open while the upgrades are happening.

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People Stuck on The Bottom While Drake Partied at The Top of the W Scottsdale

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  Site Where: 7277 East Camelback Road [map], Scottsdale, AZ , United States, 85251
February 2, 2015 at 1:27 PM | by | Comments (0)

Even without a Super Bowl going on, the The W Scottsdale is a hot spot to party. But when you add Super Bowl, Super Bowl parties, celebrities and a Drake concert to the mix, the W is gonna get shut down.

And that's exactly what happened on Saturday night.

AZ Central reports that due to long lines, mixed in with crowds of gawkers, entrance to the hotel and the Bootsy Bellows takeover at the W (BB is a club in Hollywood), was shut down by the fire marshals, reportedly leaving a "one of party's hosts, some of the publicists and even guests who'd paid up to $25,000 for a table up on the second-floor rooftop party deck" unable to enter the party to see Drake perform.

Surprisingly, according to the AZ Central reporter, upstairs on the rooftop pool deck, the "party never felt crowded." Well, good for all those who came early. That said, the spot was still filled with marijuana smoke and obnoxious men ordering 24 bottles of lit-up Dom Perignon. #theworst

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Where to Get Super Bowl XLIX Hotel Rooms in Phoenix

January 21, 2015 at 2:28 PM | by | Comment (1)

If January in NYC is the most wonderful time of the year due to low season low room rates, then Super Bowl, happening on February 1, is the most heinous time of the year, a time when down and out, dirty, disgusting hotels can charge triple their usual depressed rates as a way to gouge the super fans.

We saw it happen in New Jersey last year when a Best Western charged a $1,000 a night, as well as in New Orleans the year before when the average daily rate jumped nearly 130 percent to about $290 a night. The 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis may have actually been the worst as the expensive hotel options consisted almost entirely of low-budget brands. #theworst

Now, the rates are rising in Phoenix where the game will kick off at University of Phoenix Stadium. Like all other Super Bowls before, unless you are attending the Big Game as a guest of a big corporate sponsor, the options in Phoenix and neighboring Scottsdale are limited and expensive.

But we're choosing to remain positive here by rounding up the most reasonable options across the internet for the dates of January 30 to February 2.

Got a hotel room in Phoenix we should kno about? Send it to us!

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Time to Channel a Speakeasy at This Scottsdale Spa

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  Site Where: 4949 EAST LINCOLN DRIVE [map], Scottsdale, AZ , United States, 85253
September 18, 2014 at 9:28 AM | by | Comments (0)

Couples' massages. Romantic or creepy?

There are plenty of hotels which offer exclusive rental of the spa, of course, but none quite like this experience at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia.

The Puerta Privada deal not only nets you out of hours access to the Joya Spa (along with two other couples), but makes an evening out of it.

Step one: Knock on the (closed) door of the Moroccan-inspired spa, and whisper the night’s password, speakeasy-style.

Step two: Follow your butler (butler!) to your spa suite (suite!) which comes with a terrace, private pool (pool!) and view of Camelback Mountain.

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Get Fit With This 'Tri-Retreat' at Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain

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  Site Where: 5700 East McDonald Drive [map], Scottsdale, AZ, United States
May 29, 2014 at 3:46 PM | by | Comments (0)

How can you tell that triathlons are becoming "trendy" events for folks to participate in? Hotels are starting to offer special retreats where triathletes can train for their upcoming event. We saw it first at the Four Seasons Westlake , who offered the "Ultimate Performance Triathlon Training Camp" last month.

Now, the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz. is offering a summer "Tri-Retreat" in a few weeks. Only 12 participants will be allowed into the exclusive event, held from June 23-25, but they will have access to top trainers and instructors, including Olympic Gold Medal swimmer Misty Hyman and World Masters track cycling champion Terry Roach, along with healthy, performance optimized meals from Executive Chef Beau MacMillan. The retreat will also include the following:

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Living La 'Puerta Privada' at The Omni Scottsdale Resort

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  Site Where: 4949 E. Lincoln Boulevard [map], Scottsdale, AZ, United States, 85253
May 16, 2014 at 4:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

Who doesn't love a speakeasy with its secret entrances, guarded passwords and carefully crafted libations? Now, what about a speakeasy that comes with a spa butler, a private spa pool and couples treatments inspired by the Moroccan deserts and Andalusia region of Southern Spain? Um, YES PLEASE.

The Puerta Privada at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia in Scottsdale, Ariz. is combining the speakeasy and spa experiences for loved-up guests who want to escape for little longer than 50 minutes. The Puerta Privada starts at 7:30pm when guests enter a set of Castilian-style doors to the Joya Spa. They are then guided by a spa butler to the Spa Suites which are situated along a terrace and lit up by candles and decorated with Moroccan antiques. These spa suites also come with their own private spa pool.

The total wellness experience includes a one-hour couples massage, a private unique astrology experience overlooking Camelback Mountain; and a custom dinner for two created by Executive Chef Michael Cairns, based on guest preferences. An acoustic guitarist will be playing through the evening.

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Room With a Killer View: Room 33 at The Sedona Rouge Hotel and Spa

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  Site Where: 2250 West Hwy 89A [map], Sedona, AZ, United States, 86336
January 24, 2014 at 1:37 PM | by | Comments (0)

Who says you have to travel to far-flung exotic islands just to get a killer view from your hotel room? Ok, maybe we did last year. But thanks to Ben Bethel, the hotelier behind The Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix, Ariz., we only need to head to the Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa for a zen mountain view. More specifically, we need to check into room 33 at the hotel.

The Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa describes itself as a luxury hotel with a distinctive Mediterranean design and plenty of simple yet luxe touches like pillow top mattresses, rain showers in the bathrooms, lambs-wool throw blankets and private balconies. Not to be missed is the Sedona Rouge Spa which has extensive menu of relaxing treatments and wellness programs.

But we really like how this resort's rates are truly affordable, starting at around $142 during the week and about $188 on the weekends.

[Photo: Ben Bethel]

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OMG. JW Marriott Desert Ridge Has Unveiled a Life-Size Gingerbread Village

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  Site Where: 5350 East Marriott Drive [map], Phoenix, AZ, United States, 85054
December 9, 2013 at 5:48 PM | by | Comments (0)

The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!

Hotels love building gingerbread houses for Christmastime but the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix has gone above and beyond with their first life-size, walk-through Gingerbread Village.

The mini-molasses city include 13 four-feet by six-feet gingerbread houses and a clock tower in Santa's village. The whole thing takes up 1,500-sq.ft. of space and required 4,000 POUNDS of gingerbread cookie dough, 3,240 gingerbread bricks to shingle roofs for the houses, 2,000 POUNDS of icing, 750 POUNDS of sugar and an astounding 25,000 eggs. Good lord, we nearly fainted just reading this. God bless the souls who had to roll out that cookie dough. You can see some of the behind-the-scenes photos here on the hotel's Facebook page.

But it's not just this JW Marriott thats going all out for the holidays. All JW Marriotts are offering a special Holiday Getaway offer that start at $139 a night and include a $50 nightly resort credit as well as access to all of the hotel's holiday festivities. Use code P91 at marriott.com when booking by December 15th.

See below for the list of participating JW Marriott Resorts and terms and conditions of the deal

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Why The Clarendon Hotel Is Our Go To Hotel in Phoenix

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  Site Where: 401 W. Clarendon [map], Phoenix, AZ, United States, 85013
August 12, 2013 at 11:55 AM | by | Comments (2)

Earlier this year, we proclaimed that if we found ourselves in Phoenix for a spell, we'd be staying at the Clarendon Hotel and Suites. It had a knockout Mexican restaurant, a fresh, young vibe and a cool pool scene we were keen to explore.

Fast forward seven months and we've kept our promise with two stays, one just last week. Aside from being a magnet for locals, the Clarendon is handy for visitors, too. It's conveniently located in the Midtown-Downtown area of Phoenix, a short light-rail ride, drive or bike ride away from museums, bars and more laidback southwestern restaurants. (The hotel has loaner bikes, but we'd caution that you should take it easy in the summer.) It's also close to one of the city's major hospitals, St. Joseph's, and offers a rate for patients.

But aside from the food, location and the 24-Hour Hotel Stays we told you about recently, what's so good about this independent little desert gem? Read on...

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The Clarendon in Phoenix is Now Offering 24-Hour Hotel Stays

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  Site Where: 401 West Clarendon Avenue [map], Phoenix, AZ, United States, 85103
August 8, 2013 at 1:46 PM | by | Comments (0)

You may actually get to enjoy the pool at The Clarendon now.

Just the other month, we were all hopped up on a new hotel trend, 24-hour hotel stays, wishing, hoping, praying that more and more hotels would start offering this. And guess what? One hotel in Phoenix has.

The friendly, independent and social media savvy, Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix just launched this option a week ago, making the announcement on Facebook. Starting this month, the hotel has been allowing all one-night bookings to be 24-hour full-day stays. So if you check-in at 7pm, you don't need to check out until 7pm the next day. Best of all, the hotel is not charging any extra. We found rooms next week for $109 a night for either the Best Available Rate or the 24 Hour Room. And rates were super affordable too, at $109 a night.

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Shhh...The Arizona Biltmore's Speakeasy is Now Open

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  Site Where: 2400 E Missouri Ave. [map], Phoenix, AZ, United States, 85016
July 29, 2013 at 11:01 AM | by | Comments (0)

The Mystery Room at Arizona's Biltmore Resort is a mystery no more.

As we told you back in February, the Waldorf Astoria resort's historic Mystery Room has reopened as a speakeasy, which is actually what the Mystery Room initially was during Prohibition. Back then, it was called the "Men's Smoking Room" and required a secret password to enter. Inside was a well-stocked liquor cabinet that converted into a bookcase in the event of a raid. Men could purchase a "set up" of glass, ice and mixers for bootleg liquor. (The 20s version of bottle service, we suppose.) The resort even kept watch for police and would shine their high-powered spotlight into the Mystery Room if they ever saw patrol car outside.

Today, the speakeasy is open to both men and women and it's totally legal. Yet it's only open on Sunday evenings from 8 to 11pm. And it requires a password which will change weekly. The hotel's Twitter feed, @Arizona Biltmore, will post clues every week . Here was last week's passwordg:

Fun fact: Speakeasies were also called "blind pigs."

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Arizona Biltmore’s Mystery Room Returns to Speakeasy, Man-Cave Glory

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  Site Where: 2400 E Missouri Ave. [map], Phoenix, AZ, United States, 85016
February 27, 2013 at 12:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

If you've ever wandered the legendary Arizona Biltmore Resort, you've likely stumbled upon a photo of the "Mystery Room," though never the room itself as the location has long been — you guessed it — a mystery. That's all about to change; last week we were among the first to learn that this mysterious room will soon be revealed and restored to a version of its former self as a speakeasy lounge.

Back in the day, the cozy club masqueraded as a "Men's Smoking Room" requiring a secret password for entry and accessible only through a secret passage that started behind the resort and traveled up a hidden staircase from the kitchen. In many ways it was a true man cave, where gentlemen could kick back to smoke cigars and pipes, swap news about the stock market and sip on bootleg setups of gin and juice.

A clever fuzz buster was in place, too, with a spotlight that was officially known to guide guests at night, and unofficially used to search the desert for police raids. Whenever a raid approached, the spotlight would shine through the Mystery Room's stained glass roof, signaling guests to return to their rooms and the booze to be tucked back into the room's hidden bookshelf.

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