The Phoenician Scottsdale is part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection of hotels. The Phoenician is tucked into the Sonoran Desert near Camelback Mountain. From the moment you arrive at the Phoenician, you’re greeted by exceptionally trained and hospitable staff members. From the valet to the bellman to the front desk staff, the level of service is notable. I arrived around dinner time on Friday night and was quickly checked into my room.
As a Starwood Platinum member, I’ve become accustomed to complimentary room upgrades. However, there were no upgrades available at the Phoenician when I checked in. I was assured that my room had a lovely view – and it did. I was located on the third floor of the hotel and my room was quite large and had a spacious balcony ( with room for a lounge chair) that over looked the gardens and pools. I was not told about any of the Platinum features offered at the hotel and had to call the concierge to inquire (she happily told me about the free internet and complimentary water – which I had to order ).
The thing that stands out most about this hotel is the level of service from almost all of the staff (It’s hard to be perfect, but the Phoenician comes pretty darn close!) If I had to rate the service, I’d give it a 99.9% (I had one waiter who disappeared after he took my order and never returned until it was time to collect the check – having said that, the other staff made up for his disappearance.)
The hotel room had a king sized bed and very luxurious linens. There was a small living area with couch, chair and desk. The desk had a great view of the mountains. The bathroom was very large with a shower, sunken bath, two sinks and private toilet. There were two very comfortable robes and plenty of large bath towels in the bathroom. The shower had great water pressure and the bath products, called Remede – a Canadian brand – were great (I think I found a new shampoo!)
There are 9 pools at the resort – which was great because I could always find one without splashing children at play. The spa – The Center for Well Being (check out my post about the spa and salon)– and salon – Salon Mila – offer a variety of relaxing services (more on those later). There is a cactus garden – which had it not been 109 degrees I might have enjoyed – I did take a few touristy cactus photos for the collection. The Phoenician boasts a $25 million dollar art collection and if you take a guided tour of the collection, you will receive complimentary tickets to the Phoenix Art Museum or Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (if you’re trying to avoid the scorching temperatures outside, museums are a great way to do that. The hotel also has a 27-hole golf course and tennis complex (I don’t have much to report on those – except they looked very well kept.)
In addition to the amenities the resort offered, there were 11 restaurants and lounges. I had the opportunity to visit a few. Relish Burger Bar, located above the golf club, is a casual restaurant with reasonable prices and amazing burgers. I had a Kobe Beef Burger with mushrooms and onions and a side of garlic fries. It was delish! The burger was cooked perfectly and the fires were perfect. The manager told me that the fried pickles were a house specialty, but I was too stuffed to try them. il-terrazzo is an American-Italian styled restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Diners can choose from indoor or outdoor seating. I sat outside Saturday morning around 7am for breakfast and it was bearable, however, I made the grave mistake of sitting outside Saturday night in nearly 108 degree roasting heat. The service at the restaurant is impeccable and everyone greets you by name. The staff works together to make sure your every need or desire is taken care of. I had a variety of meals at Il-Terrazzo – breakfast was always great. I tried the Pecan Waffles with bourbon syrup – very nice – the lox and bagels, deconstructed and very filing; and the American Breakfast (two eggs, potatoes and sausage or bacon) it was the most standard hotel-style food I had the entire weekend. For dinner Saturday night, I dined outdoors at Il-Terrazzo – a serious miscalculation on my part. It was so hot that it made it hard to enjoy my meal. However, I did order a Ceaser salad to start – and it was very good, followed by veal ravioli in a sage wine sauce. They were delicious. They offered dessert, but it was too hot to stay outside.
The most amazing meal came at celebrity Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten J&G; Steakhouse (for those of your die-hard Starwood fans – you’ll recognize Chef Jean-Georges name from his collaboration with the Le Meridien hotels.) J&G; sits on top of the Phoenician hotel and offers spectacular views of the mountains. The restaurant offers several dining options – the Neighborhood Menu – a price fixed three-course meal – offered between 5pm – 7pm, the standard price fixed menu and the a la carte menu. I choose the Neighborhood Menu and was taken on an amazing culinary adventure. I started with the Asparagus and Goat Cheese Salad with Grilled Shitake Vinaigrette. It was so tasty and a great way to start the meal. My main course was the Slowly Cooked Salmon over Warm Potato Salad and Sugar Snap Peas reduction with fresh horseradish. The salmon was cooked perfectly and was mouthwatering; the warm potato salad was flavorful and had just enough bite from the beautiful snap pea reduction and horseradish. The meal was capped by a sinful and decadent Warm Chocolate Cake with Caramel Ice Cream on a bed of salt and powdered sugar. The meal was truly amazing and quite a deal at only $38 (plus taxes and gratuity). I highly recommend you visit any Jean-Georges restaurant around the world – you won’t be disappointed.
I’ve visited Scottsdale for three-years running and I think this will be the last dead-of-summer trip to the desert. I got to witness first-hand a sand storm (amazing and scary at the same time) and temperatures that soared above 110! I would absolutely return to the Phoenician hotel anytime – the food was superb, the service exceptional and the pools were stunning – all very good points!
The Mountains at the Phoenician
Palm Tress at the Phoenician
Sand Strom on the horizon
Veiew from the Balcony