The winters are long and cold here in Canada so the thought that I would be escaping the great north to spend a weekend in the dry heat this spring not only warmed my heart all winter long … it warmed my bones. Although I have visited the desert once prior, I can’t remember too many details as I was so young. However, what I do remember quite clearly (at such a young age), was that I was going to re-visit as an adult to take advantage of what a weekend in the desert truly had to offer.
Almost twenty years later, with a lot of life lessons behind me, I found myself on a flight back to Arizona feeling excited for what turned out to be one of the most relaxing (and much needed) weekends of my life. Although I usually travel with my husband, there are times when a girls trip is in order. One of my dearest friends is currently working as a physician at the Mayo Clinic (she’s one smart cookie) in Phoenix, Arizona. Since she moved to AZ earlier in the year, we have spent endless hours daydreaming of getting together for a girls weekend in the desert. When I had the opportunity to stay at The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona, I knew our girls weekend dream was going to come true….and better yet, it was going to happen in style!
The Canyon Suites (Forbes Five-Star/AAA Five Diamond) is perfectly nestled at the base of Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona. What is unique about The Canyon Suites is that this 60 room boutique hotel is located at The Phoenician and therefore considered a resort within a resort. This dual resort concept is the perfect blend of having the intimacy and quaintness of staying at a boutique location but also has the many benefits of a larger resort. Although there were endless amount of reasons why I loved my experience at The Canyon Suites, the most unique aspect was being able to make the most of the wide range of facilities at The Phoenician (pools, spa, golf course and restaurants)… but also having the opportunity to come back to the private setting of a boutique hotel.
When I was initially driving up the grand entrance of the property, I was instantly taken the sprawling property, the perfectly groomed landscape and with each turn seeing perfectly aligned palm trees in front of me. As I pulled up to the entrance at The Canyon Suites, I was greeted by their kind staff and officially entered what was one magical stays I have ever experienced.
Their gorgeous open concept lobby includes a lounge and bar and was a location where guests would mingle each morning or prior to dinner reservations in the evening. Although there was incredible privacy at this boutique location, there are only 60 rooms and therefore it wasn’t uncommon to engage in conversations with other guests over a coffee or a cocktail in the lobby’s lounge. Another perk of this location was that the lounge offered a complimentary continental breakfast each morning to their guests. Each morning, I enjoyed freshly brewed coffee, smoked salmon and colourful fruit before I ventured out for the day.
Although I did not have a car for the weekend, and therefore did not use their complimentary valet parking, I did on many occasions call the incredibly helpful front desk staff to be picked up after dinner in their golf cart or by their luxury car service. Although it is in my nature to make friends with the staff wherever I go, the staff at The Canyon Suites went out of their way to make my friend and I truly feel like we were the only ones staying at the resort (and trust me when I say we weren’t and some high profile individuals sat by us poolside each day). However, what it truly felt like was that we were the guest of honors…and that is what incredible service is all about (who doesn’t like to think they are Beyonce for the weekend? Right?)
The surrounding property of The Canyon Suites is filled with outdoor seating, beautiful ponds and endless amount of beautiful cacti. Each time I stepped outside I was reminded that I wasn’t in just any warm holiday location but that I was truly situated in the middle of the desert. As I looked up every morning, with a coffee in hand, I was amazed by the beauty of Camelback Mountain in front of me. The landscape in Arizona is so different than what I am used in Canada that I didn’t want to take one moment for granted…and I can say quite confidently that I did not.
The Canyon Pool at The Caynon Suites is where I spent the majority of my stay (but not all, of course). Although I visited the large and beautiful pools at The Phoenician, the intimacy of the Canyon Pool (for guests of the Canyon Suites only) was exactly where I wanted to spend my day. My dear friend and I spent the first day in one of their poolside cabanas, drinking cocktails and enjoying delicious food from the Canyon Grill. If you never rented a cabana before, I can’t recommend making the splurge enough. With both shaded and sun access, assigned private staff, our own private poolside bathroom, TV, charging docks and adorable Canyon Suites branded lotion and other toiletries….it wasn’t just special but it was also incredibly convenient.
The cactus garden on property is perfectly situated between The Canyon Suites and The Phoenician. Although there is a road that unites the two resorts, another option to get to The Phoenician is walking through their beautiful cactus garden. As mentioned in a previous blog post on property, being amongst nature (especially amongst cacti and palm) is where I tend to be most inspired both personally and professionally. Although there are many beautiful places to spend a sun holiday, I wanted to take in as much desert aesthetic as I could during this trip. To say I should’ve been born in the desert would be an understatement…to say the least.
The rooms at The Canyon Suites are exactly what you want to come back to following a day in the sun, golfing or exploring. They are incredibly spacious with natural light and have unique views of either the golf course, the valley or the pool and overlooking mountain. At the end of each day, I enjoyed heading out to our private terrace and enjoyed the view of the valley before me…all with sitting on the perfectly situated outdoor daybed. Other unique aspects of this room was their spacious living and dinning area, stocked bar, Nespresso machine and a work desk for late night emails (with built-in USB ports). Although I can appreciate a nice bathroom, my friend who traveled with me was in bathroom heaven all weekend long. The bathroom was equipped with a separate tub and shower, double sinks and even a 32-inch television. This was the perfect location to prep our looks and engage in our much needed girl chats each evening prior to dinner.
As mentioned above, one of the most unique aspects of the The Canyon Suites was sharing the property with The Phoenician and therefore having access to the endless amount of facilities this beautiful and larger resort had to offer. Although we ate lunch by the pool daily at the Canyon Grill, each evening we enjoyed a delicious dinners at both J&G Steakhouse and Relish Burger Bistro. Another unique opportunity offered at The Phoenician is traditional English tea in the main lobby. As a result of living five years previously in Ireland, the opportunity to experience authentic afternoon tea again was truly so special.
In addition to the endless and delicious food options, I also took some much needed time for rest and relaxation during my stay. Both my friend and I enjoyed Body and Soul massages in their beautiful spa (pictured below). This specific massage included steaming hot towel in addition to signature relaxation, which assists in anti-inflammatory and healing properties. As a result of incredible relaxation, we could have easily made our way back to our room to sleep the day away but instead we opted for poolside drinks by their beautiful mother of pearl pool.
During my stay, I was informed that The Phoenician will be undergoing major refurbishments to its signature public areas this summer and fall. This will be the most extensive renovation project since the resort opened in 1998. The renovation is scheduled to be completed by September, 30th 2017 and the new spa is scheduled to be completed by December, 2017. The Phoenician’s new look will include richer tones and warmer hues of the surrounding Sonoran Desert. The benefit of this renovation (besides the incredible enhancements to come) is that during the process they are offering an exceptional summer rooms offer with rates starting at $119 per night.
I am hopeful (and praying) I will be invited back to see the new and improved facilities at The Phoenician. If so, I’ll be sure to again give you a behind the scenes look into my stay (much like this inside peek). Fingers crossed!
To read more about their beautiful upcoming enhancements, click here!
If you’re planning to visit the desert in the near future, I can’t recommend booking a room at The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician enough. This resort within a resort is truly an experience like no other.
To book your next stay at The Canyon Suites contact:
6000 East Camelback Road
(480) 941 8200
Blare June xx
In Partnership With
photography: blare june
photos 16,17,18, 20, 21: kate nelle