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We already told you a little about Hotel Palomar Phoenix, but, perhaps predictably, we started off talking about the food. The Blue Hound Kitchen restaurant ticked all of the right boxes—but what about the rooms?
We're happy to report that our stay here was one of the most comfortable city stays we've had in some time. The room was spacious, the bed comfy for both sleeping and working on an iPad while half-watching TV, and the bathroom was also roomy and had a distinct, clean and new feel about it.
We also loved the quirky decor that raises Kimptons from the same-old, same-old pack of city hotels. When traveling for business, a designer pattern here or funky piece of art there always makes us feel slightly cooler than our reason for travel that night might suggest.
Click through our gallery for more shots inside a Deluxe room, facing downtown Phoenix, across from all the sports stadiums.
When we stayed at the newish Hotel Palomar Phoenix recently, we were psyched. Not just for the free WiFi we get for being Kimpton InTouch Members (although that's pretty awesome), but because we knew the hotel was home to one of Kimpton's Directors of Pet Relations.
This is Bosco. We felt like stalkers, lurking near the front desk and peeking around corners to try and find him. Then, when we finally did spy him, he was skipping through the lobby for a walk, so we got to pet him but missed a photo op.
To console ourselves, we shuttled off to the hotel's restaurant, Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails. There, we not only got a canine fix, scoping out all the dog-themed artwork and statues, but we also stuffed our faces with delicious, farm-to-table-good food.
Check out our gallery for shots of both the decor and the dishes.
Airport Hotels / Aloft Hotels / Phoenix Hotels / Photo Galleries / Free WiFi / Hotel Amenities / → All Tags
Yeah, we know: airport hotels are little more than a necessary evil.
Whether it's a delayed flight, a layover, a late arrival or a god-awful early departure the next day, our reasons for staying in one rarely involve the word fun. Or even "nice."
Imagine our relief then, when we arrived at the Aloft Phoenix Airport recently—after midnight, tired and cranky—and were rewarded with something closer to a city boutique hotel experience.
Check-in was fast and simple, and the front-desk guy made sure to tell us about the free WiFi. Bless.
Click through our gallery to check out our room and you'll understand why we wish we were staying longer than eight hours.
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It seems cliche, but it happens every year -- people get straight up dumped around the holidays.
And what happens? You grit your teeth through Santa's hearty laughter, thinking about all the fun you should have been having. Soon you're kiss-less at the strike of midnight on New Year's Eve, and when you wake from this misery, Valentine's Day is looming around the corner. Crap.
Well, we feel your pain (seriously, we were tossed recently, too). And so do hotels, so they're offering what we refer to as "Lonely-Hearts Packages" (many dressed up as "Guys Getaways").
Here's a rundown of some ideas to pitch to your good buddies. Remember to play up how much your heart hurts and give them the proper guilt trip to come along and get you back in the game. You would do it for them!
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We know this will come as a surprise, but there are lots of ways to spend extra cash for extra amenities at hotels worldwide. Sometimes it's not so much - like the $9 upgrade at the Radisson Blu Chicago we broke the news on last year - and others, as you'll see below, are completely designed for people impervious to price.
The matter of money may be a matter of perspective, but one thing we can all agree on is that spontaneity at the counter can certainly spice up your stay. And most of the time you will benefit from wheeling and dealing on-site - we find you're more likely to get a better deal in the moment than with the set prices online, so be sure to bring your poker face to the round table.
Here, we've put together a list of some upgrades that we feel are good examples of what's happening out there on a whole. Our advice? Do your research, for sure, but have fun with it. Sometimes, a simple upgrade is a great way to turn a typical stay into a memorable one.
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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.
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Even though its winter, you can still take advantage of the relatively drama-free weather on the Left Coast where the rooftop shenanigans live-on. Remember, these haunts are available year-round and come with a side of schwanky--hold the frostbite. So grab your date and enjoy these rooftop destinations for your next romantic romp west of the Mississippi.
Suite 700, Hotel Shangri La, Santa Monica, CA
Hotel Shangri-La Santa Monica's Suite 700 open-air bar & lounge is the epitome of swank with its Art Deco Hollywood glamour combined with epic views of the Pacific sunset. It's no wonder the hotel was named after the earthly paradise James Hilton spoke of in Lost Horizon. Treat your date to a fire pit and some popcorn chicken avec cocktail, and get lost watching the flames. Or watch the killer sunsets. The nice thing about Shangri-La is you can stay indoors in the lounge if it's breezy, or venture onto the rooftop, so its the best of both. Weekends can be crowded, so try a weeknight or just come early if you want some elbow room.
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Wish you could have your cake, and drink it too? Well you’re in luck as we've found hotels that will serve you after-dinner booze for dessert!
That’s right: boozy desserts. This liquor food trend is hitting hotels from east to west. From zany liquor-infused marshmallows to drunken ice cream, choose your poison.
We've found three hotel restaurants sure to keep you merry until the very last bite.
Different Point of View restaurant at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix serves a unique mash-up of liqueur-infused marshmallows complimentary to any guest buying drinks in the lounge. That’s right- they’re free! But wait, there’s more. The lounge includes a ridiculously swanky outdoor patio with 360 views of downtown Phoenix where a cozy fire pit awaits the roasting, ahem, buzzing. Each hand-made marshmallow features a different liqueur flavor including Bailey’s Irish Cream, Frangelico (hazelnut), Amaretto (almond) and Kahlua (coffee) and comes with a variety of dipping sauces like caramel or vanilla cream. They're also equipped with long sticks so you don’t burn yourself alive while roasting—but we must say, the taste is acquired. If you like booze, you’ll like these. But be careful roasting as they do drip up a storm and a bib isn't included.
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Deals: you want 'em, and surprisingly, everyone has 'em. Today, we've got a few to tickle your fancy before we unveil our Fall Package Specials next week! As usual, don't forget to tell us about your stay!
·The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix has an “Autumn Enchantment Package” that promotes reduced room rates, a complimentary night and other extras such as breakfast for two daily, and a reduced resort charge of $10 from $28 (which entitles you to WiFi, fitness center and putting course access, and more). Rates begin at $279 per night with the 3rd night free (3-night min). Use booking code "Autumn" when reserving online or call 800-950-0086.
Air Tahiti Nui has a few five-night value-season packages starting at just $1949 per person, double occupancy. One option:
Magical Moorea with Tahiti! ($1949 pp)
Includes five nights on two islands
•Round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to Papeete on Air Tahiti Nui
•One night in Tahiti at the InterContinental Hotel Resort Tahiti in a Standard room
•Round-trip ferry transfers to Moorea
•Four nights in Moorea at the InterContinental Hotel Resort Moorea in a Lanai room
•Daily breakfast for two
•Welcome flower lei, all transfers and all taxes
Must be booked by October 31, 2012, for travel from November 1 to December 14, 2012 and January 7 to March 31, 2013. Reserve through 800-217-3300 or through Air Tahiti Nui.
Hotel Openings / Hotel News / Kimpton Hotels / Hotel WiFi / Hotel Art / For The Sake Of Hotel Art / Phoenix Hotels / → All Tags
Waaay, way back in 2009, we reported on an in-the-works project known as Hotel Palomar Phoenix, to be housed in a 34-story mixed use building known as CityScape. Well, that development took some twists and turns, but now the hotel is finally set to open on June 5 with starting rates of $149/night.
The Downtown Phoenix Journal is reporting that all 242 rooms will have a "desert-infused palette" of espresso brown, gray, beige and "pops" of orange, and its new GM, Jim Hollister, even compares the hotel's stark design to "that show Mad Men."
Although we personally don't let ourselves get too caught up in surface things like paint, wallpaper and fixtures unless the hotel has the goods to back them up. Which, like many Kimpton hotels before it, this one does.
We rarely ever get such glowing reviews of a hotel (that aren't planted by a PR person) but this one from a business traveler lady is really, really, really enthusiastic. She writes about a recent stay at the Aloft Hotel by the Phoenix airport:
Omg I love this place! Had to zip in and out of Phoenix for a quick business trip and unfortunately no budget for a great hotel and had to stay close to the airport. What a pleasant surprise! A cool and comfortable hotel that far surpasses your choices in the same price range. Beautiful room layout, fluffy beds, a hip and trendy lobby bar, better than average bathrooms, not to mention wall mounted tvs...... I will definitely be checking out if there are other Alofts when I travel!
Agreed. Aloft is a nice surprise for an airport hotel especially with free WiFi and a lively social scene downstairs. It's not always in the same price range as other airport hotels (sometimes it can be higher) but we found room rates at this Aloft for $124 this weekend, which, FWIW, beats the Courtyard By Marriott by $15.
Love or hate Aloft? Sound off in comments below!