An April 2003 trip
to Scottsdale by PDJ
Quote: Scottsdale may be associated with golf and retirees. My visit there last time proved that the city thriving with new developments of homes and resorts had more to offer, even for young families or young couples.
Hotel | "Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch"
This hotel has awesome swimming pools, probably unmatched by any others in Phoenix/Scottsdale area. It is a wonder why they didn’t turn the hotel into a water park like the Knott’s Soak City.
Dubbed the oasis of Sonoran Desert, Hyatt Regency of Gainey Ranch boasts of 2.5 acres of "water playground" with water falls, two-story high water slide and numerous swimming pools, including a sand beach pool. Bougainvillea trees with bright red, pink, and purple leaves decorate the pool area, reminiscent of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Surrounding the pool area, a large man-made lake pervades the hotel ground and a 27-hole championship golf course. Some hotel units are right next to the lake surrounded by pine trees, creating an illusion of a lodge in a forest.
The hotel is said to have been inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural style. FLW’s trademarks are evident—the juxtaposition of verticals against horizontals, the progression of entrance from compression to expansion, and the use of materials that blend with the desert environment. International collection of artworks, carefully littered throughout the ground and building, transform the hotel into a museum.
The hotel offers standard hotel room to suites with multiple bedrooms (as many as four). As of 2003, the price for a standard room ranged from $165 in the summer months to over $300 in the fall and around holidays. As a connoisseur of fine food and architecture, I was satisfied to just visit the hotel without paying a premium for its room. However, if you love water, golf and/or much that luxury has to offer, you should find Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch a nice home away from home.
For some impressive photographs of the hotel, visit this website.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 8, 2003
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort at Gainey Ranch
7500 DOUBLETREE RANCH
Scottsdale, Arizona 85258
Hotel | "Phoenician"
The five-star hotel is nestled at the slightly elevated base of the Camelback mountain in Scottsdale and overlooks the suburbs and mountains in the south. Beginning from the entrance, the hotel emanates luxury in a grand scale -- a half-mile road that leads to the hotel building, a magnificent chandelier and fountain in the reception hall, ten restaurants and bars, nine swimming pools, eleven tennis courts, a 27-hole golf course, a desert garden . . . Equally impressive are their recreation activities, which show that they are a resort in a true sense of the word—art tours, basketball, bicycling, Cactus Garden tours, croquet, golf and tennis clinics, health and fitness classes, hiking, jogging, lawn bowling, water sports . . .
Although the external appearance of the hotel building reminded me of World War II bunkers, the décor inside the restaurants and the units was nothing less than palatial, ranging from traditional to modern theme.
As of 2003, the rate for a standard room ranged from $169 for a summer special to over $400 for a busy season. They also offered $199 unlimited golf special during summer weekdays for single or double occupancy. Wow! That’s how much you pay to just play golf for one time in some places! And the Phoenician has a golf course unlike any others that I have seen. Check out my journal on their golf course; it’s fascinating to just to take a look even if you don’t play golf.
Besides the tour of their golf course, the highlight of my visit to the Phoenician was drinking a glass of mai tais in The Terrace Dining Room, overlooking the city and mountains around it. I have created a separate journal for the restaruant as well. The Phoenician is definitely not for everyone’s budget, but it deserves at least a visit with a drink at the terrace overlooking the rest of the world.
6000 East Camelback Road
Scottsdale, Arizona 85251
The resort had a picnic area with a barbecue grill, a vollyball court, two tennis courts, a fairly large swimming pool with a jacuzzi, an exercise room with adequate equipment and weights, a café, a shop, and a nine-hole miniature golf course. One day my family just stayed in the resort doing nothing but play golf, exercise, swim, and lounge around.
The two-bedroom unit has a spacious master bedroom with a queen-size bed and a decent second bedroom with two twin-size beds. The master bathroom comes with a private jacuzzi with a tub large enough for two small adults.
The living and dining area are combined but separated by a sofa to create a spacious but distinctive ambience. A patio outside is enclosed by a wall and furnished with a patio set, but the units on the second floor have rails instead of a wall and, therefore, provide a more open view.
The unit comes with adequate equipment and furnishings in all places including kitchen and bathroom. Having a washer and a dryer in the unit was very convenient for my family who change clothes like chameleons. The only lack was a hair-dryer, which I had to request from the housekeeping.
The service of the staff members was excellent. They apologized politely if guests had to wait and provided directions and guidance whenever asked for. One lady even remembered my name after an initial contact at the reception. Their hospitable attitude seemed to reflect the relaxed lifestyle of the resort-oriented city.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 12, 2003
Scottsdale Camelback Resort
6302 E Camelback Rd.
Scottsdale, Arizona 85251
Fountain Valley, California