There is something about Phoenix… it’s a happy place for me. Full of sunshine, mountains, palm trees, good food and lots of things to do outside. I had friends and family that I wished to visit, and my schedule allowed for a bit of remote work, so I decided to pull together a few days for a bit of fun, visiting and some Solo R & R in the sunshine.
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Flight & Arrival
First, the flight into Phoenix on Delta was really nice! I haven’t seen the lie flat seats on too many domestic flights as of yet, so was pleasantly surprised to see an A330 assigned; which meant my upgrade on this four hour flight was super comfortable. Lunch was served very quickly after takeoff; choices were Meatballs and Rice or a Buffalo Chicken Salad. The Buffalo Chicken Salad was quite good, and was a smaller lunch portion (which I actually appreciate!) so you still have some energy when you land.
The technology worked great; screen was clear, sound was good, remote worked just fine. The plug I use to ensure I can use my own headphones is a MUST HAVE on long flights. eBoot Airplane Airline Flight Adapters for Headphones (3 Pack, Golden Plated)
Now if you have one of the newer iphones- make sure you have the correct headset with you. I carry two sets at all times, one with the traditional “headphone” jack for use on my PC and the newer model with the lightning connector. This package comes with 3, so if you’re like me and lose the darn things, you’re not left stranded. Years ago, these were included in some of the first class amenity bags, but that disappeared.
Arriving into Arizona/Phoenix area is beautiful from the sky. Enjoy these pics!
Hotel Arrival, Hilton Doubletree, Paradise Valley
This resort is located just a mile outside of the Scottsdale Old Town area. If you’re like me and you like to get out and get your exercise, this is a great spot. Yes, there are closer hotels (This hotel is right down the road and closer to the town, but I preferred a more “resort feel”/larger property for this trip: Hilton Embassy Suites Old Town Scottsdale)
If you haven’t used Hotelwatchdogs comparison tool, I highly recommend you give it a try! Just click the graphic below:
I used a combination of points and miles for my room. Here is a quick overview of the room I was assigned (pretty close to the main pool/ lobby area), quiet area, private patio with not much of a view. Several reviewers complained of no elevators onsite, but I DO see elevators near the front lobby to get you to 2nd floor. This is just a two story resort.
The room is quite large and has a separate dressing/makeup table (although the lighting wasn’t great); a decent size closet, very comfortable bed and nice bathroom. Those traveling with kids/grand-kids who need a bathtub- you might want to check to ensure your assigned room has one, mine did not. The patio is large and private, but no mountain views or pool views from here. (Room 8107). There is a small fridge that worked great, and a two cup coffee maker. Not all of the power outlets on the lamps worked, but there was a six port plug under the desk, so with a bit of crawling around, I was able to get everything charged at night. There were no USB ports and outlets in the room were behind (or under) furniture. Everything was clean and the bathroom was spotless. The heater clicks on and off, so my advice is to leave the fan on ‘high’ all night; 1) it drowns out any neighboring or exterior corridor noise and 2) you don’t have as many ‘clicks’.
Housekeeping was prompt, thorough and they were always pleasant in passing.
I’ve attached the hotel floor plans for your reference if you’d like to request a specific view. I should have done a better job with this myself!
The grounds are gorgeously kept, bougainvillea everywhere and strategically placed grassy areas and fountains. Very pleasant to roam around in the Arizona sunshine and enjoy the wildlife.
And if you think it’s pretty during the day, take a look at a couple night shots 🙂
Food Service at the hotel:
There are several choices to eat here, the Asadero Cocina, which is the main restaurant for the hotel serves breakfast, lunch and dinner starting at 6:30a. There is a small coffee/snack shop in the lobby (serves Starbucks coffee), and the Asadero Cantina (or hotel bar) which opens at noon. The hotel does have room service, but it’s too pretty to hide in your room.
Note to travelers- the main lobby and grounds are very “Frank Lloyd Wright” styled and if you’ve been to the Biltmore nearby (Arizona Biltmore, Waldorf Astoria) while it’s gorgeous, you need to watch your step. The floors in the lobby are different ‘levels’, so you step up to the coffee shop as an example, and those steps do not jump out at some people. I observed a person falling as she completely missed the steps exiting the breakfast buffet area; she twisted her ankle pretty badly. Bottom line, it’s gorgeous, but pay attention 🙂
I did spend an evening at the hotel bar. Service was good, not great, but it was busy and a lively crowd. The bar area is a decent size and there is spillover into the lobby if needed. I had a light dinner of Jalapeno-bacon wrapped Shrimp (AWESOME) and a glass of Angeline red wine. Wine runs $10-12/glass. By the way, if you’re up for about a mile walk, there is a Trader Joe’s just down the road in case you wish to stock your room with a few bottles of decent priced wine. There is a fantastic shuttle at the hotel that will take you anywhere you wish to go (within 2 miles) from 10a-10p. Great service for this area!!
Breakfast was good as well. As a Diamond, you only receive “continental breakfast” at this hotel, so I paid the $5 up-charge daily so I could have my protein laden eggs- a requirement for me. They will bring you eggs cooked to order, but I found the buffet quite acceptable. They had the usual scrambled eggs, sausage/bacon, breakfast potatoes and crepes daily. They also had fruit and all sorts of toasts and juices and pastries. They also had a southwest specialty item each day which were quite tasty. Huevos Rancheros on the left and Chorizo breakfast burrito on the right. Yum!
Sights to see:
Old Town: Scottsdale Old Town is about a mile walk from here (or ask the hotel shuttle to drop you here). It’s not so busy during the week, weekends are great if you like crowds and bustle. I went on a Monday morning and as usual the Scottsdale Breakfast Club had an hour wait at 10a! It is a very popular spot and I’m told very worth it, but didn’t want to spend my free time waiting for a table. I returned here with a friend later in the week and much earlier in the morning and it was VERY good! Prompt service, perfectly good eggs and a wonderful 9-grain bread which I highly recommend. We will definitely return. Scottsdale Breakfast Club
Old Town is a quaint area with lots of shops, restaurants and art galleries. Here are a few glimpses of the town:
I ended up having lunch at Modern Market Modern Market Scottsdale is the link for their main site and to order ahead if you wish, but also link to my Yelp review from today Modern Market Yelp Review Feb 2018. I love the fact that you can get healthy, yummy and affordable, all in one space. It was a gorgeous day, all the doors were open and was a great experience. I had the chicken with chimichurri, mashed sweet potatoes and arugula with blue cheese salad. Their receipt is supposed to show you calorie count, carbs, etc., but only the salad showed up, not sure why. They have a decent 4 oz lunch pour of Pinot Grigio wine for $2! Total lunch was $14, so if you’re on a budget, not too terrible for this volume of food and the location.
There are a couple other “must try” restaurants in this area, and yes, I know there are SO many fan favorites. We absolutely love the Bruschetta at Postinos. Postino Highland Make sure to check out their specials and happy hour times. They have a wonderful patio in the back that is super comfortable in the evenings this time of year.
Rent a bike! There are several companies that have bicycles placed all around this area, so if you’re not into walking long distances, load up the app and you can rent bicycles pretty inexpensively. This one is OFO, but Limebike was pretty common as well. Just follow the instructions and leave them on the sidewalk for the next person to use.
Let me just insert this here too 🙂 This is really a thing and although I certainly can’t handle the calories and sugar in these, I’ll bet some of you can!
No day would be complete in Arizona without a bit of pool time. The hotel has two great pool areas, but I preferred the main pool area as the bar/restaurant was a bit livelier. The bartender came around about once an hour to check on drinks, or you could get your lazy butt out of your chair and get it yourself 🙂 Also, if you forget your sunglasses (rookie move I know), there are a few places in walking distance to pick up a pair for $10 or less (CVS or Old Town has a few shops that carry these).
Hiking: You are VERY close to several great hiking spots, Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak, etc. Make sure you follow the paths, take a path that is in alignment with your fitness ability, always hike during daylight, wear the right gear and take lots of water. We watched a person being “rescued” from Camelback Monday evening via helicopter- so it’s serious business if you are a rookie and get hurt or lost.
Organized Tours: Check out TripAdvisor for organized tours in this area. As my trip was about R & R and visiting friends and family, I did not participate, but I did see many companies picking up groups to go hiding, off roading, etc. Try Pink Jeep Tours- they have a great reputation around here. There are also food and bar “walking” tours that will take you throughout different areas of town, taste testing, or trying different types of drinks. If I were traveling with my hubby, this would be in consideration.
- I don’t take a long flight without my headphone jack converters! I prefer to use my iphone headphones; they are small, I can sleep with them in my ears, and with the movie or music background noise and my eye mask, I sleep just fine. These are very inexpensive as well and come in a multi-pack so you can keep them in several different travel bags.
- This small portable phone charger keeps my iphone charged for photos and videos, fits into my wristlet too, so I don’t have to lug around a big purse. The solar charges are really big & bulky (to me) and just not conducive yet to my light travel mode. I’m sure they’ll get there, but in the meantime, this gets me thru the day.