85013 Travel Guide
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...
We've been talking about Phoenix for a minute at HC, and with good reason. It seems like good things are happenin' around this town and we like nothing more to be around when places start hoppin'.
But we realized we'd missed a potentially cool little property. So next time we're in town, you can bet your bottom dollar we'll be staying at the Clarendon Hotel and Suites.
Hotel News / Hotel Smoking / Ben Bethel / Phoenix Hotels / Hotel Technology / Hotel Amenities / blucigs / → All Tags
We're tired of charging guests $250 for smoking charges, tired of deep-cleaning guest rooms after they're smoked in, and tired of chasing after guests who are smoking in our pool area and rooftop bar. So, we're going to start encouraging guests to use E-Cigarettes, to the point that I'm even going to sell them at the front desk.
Not long after our story went up, Bethel had partnered up with blucigs to sell guests their brand of e-cigarettes for $10 each. Now we can report that the hotel is selling blucig's disposables product line with flavor options of Menthol and Classic Tobacco.
Hotel News / Hotel Smoking / Ben Bethel / Phoenix Hotels / Hotel Technology / Hotel Amenities / → All Tags
The Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix is taking a novel approach to dealing with rogue smokers in their non-smoking rooms by selling them electronic cigarettes to puff on.
Owner Ben Bethel tells HotelChatter doing this will not only make the guests feel comfortable but also save him the hassle of trying to recoup the smoking fines. He says:
We're tired of charging guests $250 for smoking charges, tired of deep-cleaning guest rooms after they're smoked in, and tired of chasing after guests who are smoking in our pool area and rooftop bar.
So, we're going to start encouraging guests to use E-Cigarettes, to the point that I'm even going to sell them at the front desk.
I think this is a big issue for hotels, and could save guests a lot of hassle/frustration. Now they can smoke in the pool, on the rooftop bar, or even in their bed in their guest room.
When you live in Arizona in the summertime, the nighttime becomes your best friend. That's because the sun goes to sleep and you get a bit of relief from the 100+ degree heat. But not much. People would probably still prefer to kick it somewhere with AC than outside during the summer nights.
Yet, there's a sign that cooler weather is on the way.
We've written about the amazing pool area, called the Oasis, at the Clarendon Hotel before (and it's bikini check-in) and now the hotel has opened it's Rooftop Lounge in anticipation for cooler nights in Phoenix.
The lounge will be open from 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, with additional hours added as temperatures drop. The rooftop features a full bar and seating with views across the midtown landscape.
Stop. You had us at full bar. We just hope you have a lot of ice.
Aside from the full bar we are kinda giddy about the $149 Sweet Suite Summer Special which includes a $75 dining credit. While it probably sucks to live in Phoenix in the summer, it's a cheap getaway for us hotel guests.
We don't know about you, but the only time you'll catch us in a bathing suit is when there is a large body of water around. Otherwise, it's cover-up city. Matthew McConaughey we are not.
Evilly, the Clarendon Hotel and Suites Phoenix seems to be playing on this weakness with another of our weaknesses: free stuff. Through the end of the summer, the hotel is offering Bikini Check-In, where guests who check in wearing a bikini, swim trunks or a Speedo receive a $20 credit for poolside service, room service or use at the hotel's Mexican restaurant.
One look at The Oasis, the Clarendon's swimming pool with underwater speakers, massaging water jets, 50-person Jacuzzi, sun beds and free poolside Wi-Fi and suddenly we don't feel so shy. Excuse us while we slip into something a little more revealing, head to the pool and finish the workday with our laptop and a mai tai by our side.
After four years of operating as a 3-star hotel the Phoenix Clarendon has announced not only its new membership in Luxe Worldwide Hotels, but its plan to obtain 4-star perfection. Looks like Ben Bethel's plans for the hotel are finally coming to fruition.
At the end of the month the Clarendon will up the ante by adding 50 new guest rooms and opening a casual Asian-fusion restaurant. In October they will unveil a new pool that will be a welcome oasis in the middle of the southwest desert and features multiple fountains, hand-laid mosaic and gold inlay.
By 2008 there will be new heating and cooling systems, granite showers and even an exclusive ultra-luxe Turkish micro-spa.
And we suspect, a new 4-star rating to match.
· Hotel Stories in Phoenix [Hotel Chatter]
· Hot Hotelier News: A New Kid on the Block, Ben Bethel [HotelChatter]
There's a new hotelier on the scene in Arizona and unlike some hoteliers, he's not relying on Daddy to get himself started. But that also doesn't mean he's been slaving away in the hospitality industry either.
Ben Bethel has no real hotel experience. Instead he dropped out of the University of Arizona because he felt he could do more with his "natural skills" than an advertising degree.
So he bought the Phoenix Clarendon Hotel + Suites with two partners in 2004 and later transformed it from a crackden/streetwalker haven into a boutique hotel.
In a recent Q&A interview with the Arizona Republic, Bethel dishes the detes on his job. Some choice quotes:
· I didn't know much about the hospitality industry when I bought the Clarendon, but I found my calling and true passion in life.
· I want people to come to the Clarendon and feel like they're somewhere different and not thrown into some cubicle to be stored for the night.
· I believe that hotels have to pay competitive wages to retain employees. If the Clarendon does well and makes money, all of my employees receive monthly bonuses.
· That's how true boutique hotels should operate: They pay much higher than larger hotels, and employees are treated like family, not just another warm body.
· I'm in the process of buying out a business partner.
That's the latest on Ben. Nothing too juicy, except maybe that last bit about buying out a business partner and his website, but that seems to be down today. We suggest also getting your image into Google surrounded by lots of blondes to up your profile.