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Our review of this contemporary resort with affordable summer rates.

The Phoenician in Scottsdale is a AAA Five Diamond luxury resort that opened in 1988 as a haven for the rich and famous. Today, its just finishing up a dramatic three-year renovation. The contemporary redo wisely focuses on the gorgeous Sonoran Desert. Gone are the gaudy fountains and other symbols of 1980s excess, replaced by windows and light and breathtaking views of palm trees, cactus, and big skies. If you are not among the well-heeled wintertime patrons, grab a summer deal and feel like a VIP.

The Basics

Budget Level: Luxury, $600 per night in peak season (February-April), from $169 per night in summer.

Lodging Type: Resort (facilities include a golf course, seven tennis courts, a 4,600 square-foot fitness center and separate spa, as well as a kids’ activities program).

What You Need To Know

The Look

The 585 guestrooms are located in low-lying buildings at the base of Camelback Mountain and were recently updated with appealing Southwestern-inspired décor. All come with balconies or patios with mountain or valley views (superior rooms have partial views) and Italian marble bathrooms with funky oval tubs.

The 250-acre resort’s brand-new spa with rooftop pool and two-story athletic club both open this spring. The golf course, being redesigned by renowned architect Phil Smith, reopens as an 18-hole course in fall 2018.

A huge attraction is the expansive pool area, with the famous million-dollar Mother of Pearl oval pool, hot tubs and new reserved-seating area with cabanas and day beds, and the new family attractions of a 197-foot twisting waterslide and treehouse in the Kid Zone wet play area.

In the new, socially focused lobby, the Thirsty Camel bar has indoor and outdoor seating and live entertainment from local musicians, singers, and songwriters. Order a Sonoran Samurai (Hendrick’s gin, chili syrup, red bell pepper juice, apple juice, lemon juice) and watch a colorful desert sunset. Among the resort’s several dining options, the rustically charming Mowry & Cotton focuses on creative, delicious, and even affordable shared plates. Traditions remain, with proper Afternoon Tea served in a specially designated space off the lobby.

For families with kids age 5-12, there’s the Funicans Club with arts and crafts, sports, and other activities. Adults can indulge in complimentary morning yoga and escorted nature hikes on Camelback Mountain ($55 per person). 

The Vibe

The resort has a country club vibe, with golf and tennis as popular attractions. The crowd is a mix of singles, couples, families, along with the meetings and incentive crowd. You may run into locals or you may find yourself mingling with guests from around the world.

Who Will Love It 

Active adults and those seeking a relaxing or romantic getaway as well as families looking for options to keep both adults and kids well occupied. Those here on business will feel lucky their work has brought them here.

Who Might Not

It’s a big resort and lacks the intimacy you’d find in a smaller place. Also, the extensive grounds may be difficult for those with mobility concerns to get around.

Best Amenity                   

Take time for a zen moment in the Cactus Garden, a secluded two-acre retreat built into the base of Camelback Mountain and planted with 250 varieties of cacti and succulents (a plant map is available at reception). On your walk you may spot Road Runners or other critters. For those who prefer to go with a guide, complimentary tours are led by the resident horticulturalist.

Money Matters

What’s Included

Your daily rate covers your room, maid, and turndown service (taxes of 12.57 percent are extra).

Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About

The resort charge was recently raised to $35 per night. Before you freak out, consider that it covers in-room wireless Internet Access, daily morning yoga, a daily cocktail mixology class, supervised childcare when adults dine at the resort’s restaurants at night (with the Funicians Night Owls program; up to two kids per family), an hour per day on the tennis court and rental bikes (two hours per day).

How to Get a Deal

February-April is high season, while summertime (May 29 to August 31) is less crowded and brings bargains (there are even discounts in the restaurants and complimentary self-parking).

Getting There

In the Neighborhood

The Phoenician is located in a residential neighborhood only 2.8 miles from historic downtown Scottsdale, with its restaurants, shops, art galleries, and art museums.

Nearest Airport

The Phoenix International Sky Harbor Airport is about 7 miles away. Uber fares start at $12, taxi about $31.

The Bottom Line

This is a gorgeous contemporary luxury resort with affordable rates, at least in summer. Bring the kids and have a blast.

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