High-Flying Fun at The Phoenician
The sun was high in the sky and my toes were at the edge of the platform. A nervous pit was bubbling in my stomach as I jumped off into space, holding on to the long metal bar for what felt like, my life. Latching my legs to the bar and swinging upside down, I followed the sound of the voice calling out to me, reached out for his hands and then all of a sudden…I was flying.
From their trapeze program to the fine dining and luxurious spa treatments, The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ, is a high-end resort that’s all about maximizing your life and time spent with family. They want you to get out, to be adventurous, to feel alive and they certainly provide a world-class setting in which you can do that and more.
Located on 250 acres of pristine land at the foot of Camelback Mountain and only a 15-minute drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, The Phoenician is the perfect springtime luxury getaway. Ask Kevin Lonergan, who has been bringing his family here for over 20 years.
“You know, what keeps me coming back is that this really is a great place for making family memories. The customer service is phenomenal and it’s always fun for both adults and kids. We’ve been coming for many years with my father, who just passed last year, so this trip is especially bittersweet but really, this place can’t be beat. We just love it.”
Kevin isn’t the only one who has stuck around. Staffers like Rich Weiland, who has been at the resort for 19 years, are a testament to the fantastic care The Phoenician takes of their guests and employees…a rarity these days, to be sure. One walk around the property, and it’s easy to see how this desert classic rose to such great heights in the hearts of guests.
With a total of 643 guest rooms, 62 of which are suites, there is enough space for the whole family—especially considering their standard guest room is a massive 600 square feet. The bathrooms are also incredibly large with dual sinks, a bathtub and shower. Rooms are well appointed with large flat-screens, extremely comfortable bedding, and a well-stocked minibar. In luxury hotels, it’s all about the little things and the rooms showcase the attention to detail.
–Regular tea/coffee for the Keurig in the room but also Sleepytime tea
–Slippers were provided during turn down
–Iphone cords were organized/tied with cables
–Fine Belgian chocolates
–A bookmark was even placed in my book
Affectionately referred to as The Center for Well-Being, this is THE place to be to escape the heat and get a little R&R. With all the typical accouterments you’d expect (whirlpool, sauna, steam room), it’s a haven you can come to and enjoy treatments ranging from lavender, sage and sea salt scrubs to tarot readings and reflexology.
During our visit, I was lucky enough to be treated to a holistic massage, performed by my wonderful therapist, Cindy. I was at the tail-end of a bad cold and had been suffering from pretty severe congestion. Cindy gave me a great massage and also spent a good amount of time doing reflexology on my feet, hitting pressure points to loosen up my congestion. She very obviously knew what she was doing as I felt intense sensations in the areas representing my sinuses. I’ve had reflexology but this was the most accurate and rewarding session I’ve ever had. She was not only an excellent massage therapist but she was also kind and caring, giving me a eucalyptus-soaked hand towel to take to my room to help me sleep, which comforted me more than I realized.
After treatments, they often offer meditation classes in the atrium, which is a wonderfully calming experience—assuming you can stay awake (Cindy had me so relaxed, I fell asleep right away). There is also a plethora of premium teas from Art of Tea, fresh fruit, and even mandala coloring books that are great for meditation and relaxation.
There is no shortage of incredible things to do at The Phoenician. The resort is home to an award-winning USGA Championship Golf club with 3 different 9-hole courses. There’s 11 tennis courts, 4 retail shops, and 8 swimming pools. Guests can stroll through the on-site cactus gardens, play ping-pong and lawn bowling, or join the daily morning hikes up Camelback Mountain. Of all the activities, we enjoyed these three the most.
1. I.FLY Trapeze
Ever thought about running away to join the circus? Now you can! 90-minute beginner sessions are offered Tuesdays–Sundays to guests 4 years of age and older and the team at I.Fly does an absolutely incredible job of teaching you how to soar with the greatest of ease. Sessions are $70, to book call 480 599 2345 or visit iflytrapeze.com.
Edit: as of June 1, The Phoenician is no longer offering this activity.
2. Afternoon Tea
An afternoon tea that rivals those of fine British hotels is served everyday at 2:00 and those attending can expect a 3-course culinary delight consisting of finger sandwiches, scones and desserts served with fine teas—plus the added bonus of live classical piano music. Afternoon Tea starts at $42 per person and reservations can be made here.
3. Pool Time
Because after all, relaxing is what visiting The Phoenician is all about and when you have 8 pools to choose from, the lounging possibilities are endless. The Mother of Pearl pool was our personal favorite but don’t miss out on the waterslide and especially don’t miss out on having a poolside John Daily (21+)! Chairs are open to all but the famous private yellow cabanas can be reserved for an additional fee by calling 480 423 2530.
A multitude of dining options are available including Relish Burger Bistro for fine burgers and the Praying Monk, a Renaissance-style dining salon and working wine cellar that seats up to 16. Breakfast is served daily at Il Terrazo (try the avocado toast!), which also serves lunch and authentic Italian cuisine for dinner. Not to be missed: The Thirsty Camel at sunset for cocktails and beautiful scenery.
The crown jewel of the restaurants is J&G Steakhouse, with Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, serving fresh farm and fish with the scenic valley as your culinary backdrop. Service is impeccable, as is the wine selection. My server, Greg, was a very kind and helpful man who made sure my clothes were about two inches too tight by the time I left. He’s great at pairing wines or cocktails and has a knack for picking out delicious dishes to fit every guest.
My personal favorites and recommendations
—Cocktail: Orange Elderberry Cosmo
—Appetizer: Tuna Tartare with avocado, spicy radish and ginger marinade
—Entree: The Butter Poached Maine Lobster with Japanese turnips, bok choy and yuzu vinaigrette
—Dessert: Warm chocolate cake with caramel ice cream
A DESERT CLASSIC
So much to see, do and eat makes The Phoenician Scottsdale’s unmistakable favorite when it comes to romance and family fun. We’re also told this desert beauty is getting quite the face lift next year with expansive renovations to the entire resort. Guests can expect the same classic charm but updated decor and furniture, which will only serve to keep The Phoenician as the top go-to spot for any spring vacation.
We highly recommend this resort and just like Kevin Lonergan, we can’t wait to return.
For the latest prices at The Phoenician, check TripAdvisor