With the world’s attention focused on Arizona today on Super Bowl Sunday, I thought that would be a perfect excuse to highlight “The Grand Canyon State” as our February vacation spot. There’s a reason most of the MLB teams have their Spring Training facilities here, and that’s because February and March are the perfect times to visit this beautiful, desert state. I have a lot of family and several good friends in the area, so we visit often throughout the year, but spring is when Arizona definitely shines.
Where to stay:
The Phoenix metro area is HUGE! It can take an hour to drive from the far reaches of the east side, to the center of downtown, and likewise on the west side. Our favorite place to stay in is Scottsdale. Located in the north east part of the city, it is home to a multitude of resorts, restaurants, shopping and golfing. All of my favorite things (well, except the golfing). 😉
This hotel is the epitome of a desert resort. With sprawling, meticulously maintained grounds, multiple pools, several award-winning restaurants and lounges, multiple golf courses, a state of the art spa and many different types of rooms to choose from, you never have to leave the grounds during your stay. Of course it is amazing to stay here during the spring time when the weather is perfect, but believe it or not, our favorite time to stay is in the middle of the summer! Crazy, I know…but here’s why.
The Princess has done an amazing job of creating a fabulous family experience over the summer, tuning their slow season into party season. Particularly over the 4th of July, our favorite time to visit, the grounds of the hotel are turned in to celebration central. Themed pool movie nights, watermelon eating contests, potato sack races, zip lines, fabulous firework shows, arts and crafts for the kids, Michael Jackson tribute band concerts…the list goes on and on. You forget that it’s 120 degrees and spend your days and nights partying. All of these activities are included with your stay (there are small charges for a few of the activities like the zip line) and as a bonus, because it’s low season the room rates are amazing! Luxury at a steal…my favorite combination! We have stayed in both the main hotel and the casitas. All the rooms are well appointed with beautiful furnishings, spacious bathrooms and comfy beds. Many of the rooms have balconies with gorgeous views of the property. For our family, because we have found room rates to be so reasonable, we usually opt for two adjoining rooms in the main part of the hotel. That gives mom and dad a little time to breathe after the kiddos are in bed. The casitas are fun, and a little more removed from the center of all the activity. It you’re looking to be right in the middle of the action, stay close to the Sonoran Splash, one of the main large pools with waterslides. If you are hoping to escape the noise after you are done playing for the day, opt for a casita.
(above images via Fairmont Scottsdale Princess)
If you’re in town for Spring Training and you’re a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim fan (and I mean, who isn’t?? ;)) this is the hotel to stay in! It sits adjacent to the Tempe Diablo Stadium for easy access to all the games and activities surrounding Spring Training. Nestled into the hillside the resort and rooms have an interesting shape. There’s a fun little hike on the property, rooms are comfortable, the pool is great and the staff is friendly and helpful. If you’re looking for some relaxation there is a small spa.
Ritz Carlton Phoenix
If you’re looking for more of a regular hotel and less of a “desert resort” experience, the Ritz Carlton located along the Camelback corridor, I would categorize it more as a “nice business hotel.” Pros: It’s located directly across the street from the Biltmore Shopping center with tons of great shopping and high end restaurants. Cons: Not what I think of when I think of Ritz Carlton. A little less pizzazz and polish than what I’m used to for a hotel carrying the Ritz Carlton name, but still a very nice hotel. Since it is a little less snazzy, the prices reflect that which is nice too.
Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort
We stayed here and haven’t been back, but I like to give you options. 😉 This hotel is another resort with sprawling grounds, a water park, lazy river and restaurants, but, in my opinion, it’s a little lazy and tired…kind of like it’s river. 😉 In all fairness, it may have gone through a renovation since we stayed here, but I would definitely ask if you are thinking about it as an option. Rooms are a bit out-dated, kind of even smell a bit musty, and you can hear everything that goes on around you. The location of the hotel is not particularly good and is remote from restaurants and the on-site restaurants are nothing to write home about.
Whew! There are SO many amazing hotels in and around Phoenix and there are many more that we haven’t made it to yet. If you’re looking for other options, here are some on my list: