My eldest daughter and I have been planning a trip together for quite some time! We both longed to escape ‘winter’ and there’s no place better than the Phoenix desert. Life gets pretty busy, as we all know, so being able to steal her away from her family for a few days of mom/daughter time was super special to me. A friend taught me that “making memories” is the best thing you can do in life, and I sure enjoy making a few with my sweet girl.
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Ah Delta took great care of me once again! I have no idea how long they will keep the A330 in service between ATL and PHX, but I am so very happy that this is an option today. I highlighted the lie flat seats in the least Phoenix trip (Phoenix Solo R & R Trip Report) if you’d like to see pics and details.
It was also nice to be able to have “outdoor time” at an airport- I mean, how often do you get to do that? This is the Delta Skyclub lounge patio in Terminal F at Hartsfield Jackson Airport:
Both flights were “lunch” flights, and the food was fantastic. On the way, I had a salmon salad:
And on the way home was a meat and cheese plate, also fabulous!
I am also so inspired by “from the sky” pictures- what a great world we live in! Flying thru the sky in a chair! I believe I have to credit that to Louis CK.
We both have “milestone” birthdays this year and her wish was to go to “the place where we had our first vacation together” and that happens to be the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort Link to Point Hilton.
The very first thing I did was to call the hotel (and review Trip Advisor) to be sure they have done an update and YEP, they have a new wing called the Agave Suites/ North Building. They have done a really nice job of remodeling the rooms- as you can see from the below video:
The grounds are extensive as well, and as we arrived in the evening, I decided to show the gorgeous lights 🙂
There is so much to do at this hotel- Mini Golf, several pools, tennis, River Ranch (with a lazy river) and several restaurants. There is extensive seating for lounging- and some fairly private areas where you can relax and soak up the desert sun.
The River Ranch area is beautiful. There is a very large main pool with waterfalls and a slide- big crowds here during the day!
The pools all had handicap access chairs as well; and I know these are required, but it was nice to see them actually in use and in good shape! There are a lot of steps around, as is the style of Frank Lloyd Wright- so you do have to pay attention to where you walk.
My daughter was being a goofball on the mini-golf course 🙂 and Views of the Lazy River are below. The Lazy river was quite lazy however, we did notice people really having to push themselves along.
There were several levels of seating, some larger than others, so you could find a somewhat private spot to relax- I loved that about this area.
There is even a little western town area with a ‘stage’ that looks like a great spot for corporate events, concerts or weddings:
There are also pool/patio areas within the hotel grounds (outside of River Ranch) if you prefer a little quieter experience. Agave Suites are located in the North Building, so we spent a bit of time here as well. The bartender was fabulous and ensured we were happy all afternoon- including creating a concoction each day and giving out free samples- woohoo! The chairs around these pools are SUPER comfortable as well vs River Ranch, so that had something to do with our choice as well!
St Francis: We did Happy Hour at St. Francis St Francis Arizona as this was an old haunt of mine when we lived here and you just can’t find another Pork Chile Verde that is so amazing. The outdoor patio is fantastic and the food and service are amazing- make sure this is on your Phoenix list! If you are here during dinner time, make sure to try to Salmon on Quinoa- it’s fantastic! As we were on eastern time, by the time we were done with Happy Hour, we were quite tired and ready for sleep!
Pork Chile Verde:
Baked Goat Cheese (ENOUGH SAID!!!)
The St Francis Patio:
Pizzeria Bianco Now I’ve been told this is the best pizza around, so we just had to try it out. We know it’s a pretty popular spot, so decided to get there right when they open at 11a. As our stomachs were still on Eastern time, this worked out pretty well! It was a beautiful day, of course, so we sat out on the patio and enjoyed pizza and wine. We had a side of tomato sauce just in case as this particular pizza came without. It was great either way! Highly recommend!
Postinos (Highland location): Postino Highland Scottsdale I don’t believe I’ve ever come to Phoenix and NOT visited this restaurant, if that tells you anything. They are known for their unique bruschetta combinations, fantastic salads, and creative drinks. There are several locations in town now, which is WONDERFUL since the original location can have such a long wait. We choose the location near Old town and sat on the patio to enjoy the gorgeous weather. (of course!) They have $5 wine every day before 5p too, can’t miss this! Watch for live music and Sangria Sundays.
Rokerij: Rokerij Restaurant Phoenix This is where the locals go! There are multiple parts of the restaurant and you can view on their website. We decided on Rokerij as I love their menu of creative seafood and sauces. We made a reservation via Opentable and lucky for us, we were seated in the basement bar. It’s cozy ALL YEAR ROUND, even when it’s 120 degrees outside. There is always a fire burning in the fireplace and the bar is beautiful and glittering in the candlelight. There are just a few tables down here, but it’s definitely worth an ask if you’d like this environment, check it out:
At this time, they have happy hour from 4-6p, so we decided to have an appetizer and drink at the bar while our table was being prepared. We shared the salmon bites- they were fantastic!
When we moved to our table, we decided on the Chilean sea bass (which had a wonderful sauce, slightly sweet), a sweet potato stuffed jalapeno (I need to figure out how to make this!) and a house salad. They serve the food on either piping hot, or super chilled, Rokerij plates. I need to find these to take home too!
Sierra Bonita Grill: Sierra Bonita This is another cozy bar/restaurant that has a unique take on Southwest food. We weren’t starving when we arrived, so we sat at the bar and enjoyed their early happy hour menu- I love this about Phoenix restaurants. The bartenders were super friendly, and we shared the Carne Asada Tacos and the homemade guacamole. I wasn’t hungry enough, but another favorite on mine on the menu is their chicken sandwich- I don’t know how they season it, but it’s perfect.
Rico’s: This is the restaurant that is part of the Hilton Squaw Peak property. As a Diamond member, we did not get “free” breakfast, as you do in most other Hilton properties, but they give you a voucher for continental breakfast (cereal, danishes). If you want a hot breakfast, or even oatmeal, you have to pay a $5 per day upcharge for it. You can get eggs cooked to order, omelettes, etc., and they had a decent selection of breakfast meats, 2-3 types of fruit, potatoes, etc. There are quite a few great breakfast spots nearby, but you can’t beat $5. The staff were quite friendly and by the 3rd day, the egg station cook had my order memorized to perfection 🙂
Berdenas: Berdenas Old Town Scottsdale We had a bit of gap time between leaving the hotel and needing to get to the airport, so we decided to make a stop in Old town for a quick coffee before heading home. What a great little spot! Totally hipster, yay! Creative quiche and avocado toast on the menu, which I will definitely have to try next time I’m in town. An almond milk latte did the trick for this trip. And of course, my beautiful daughter being thoughtful… lol
Things to do:
Hiking: We were very close to Piestewa Peak (formerly known as Squaw Peak), so we decided this would be our hike. The trails are laid out well, there are maps at the trailheads, and it would have been very difficult to get lost here. This is also a very popular hiking spot, so you’re not all alone out there in the Phoenix mountains (for those of us that do not do this very often). We chose trail #304 as it was indicated “Easy/Moderate”. I’ve included good pics of the “steps” so you can determine if this is the right level for you. Also, did you know you need instructions on picking up your dogs poo?
Trail 304 shots:
BIG Steps in a couple of spots!
But the views are well worth it. This trail took us about an hour.
Now my daughter, brave soul that she is, hiked to the Summit for some devotional time on Sunday. She stated is it a very difficult trail, but the views were stunning:
Old Town Scottsdale: We love to browse the shops around Old Town Scottsdale, definitely a fun thing to do on a sunny afternoon when you need a break from pool time. I have a detailed post and video at this link: Old Town Phoenix
Spa day: We visited Kalologie Spa Scottsdale Hilton Village for a bit of spa spoiling 🙂 If you visit their website, you can find package discounts, so we had aromatherapy facials and a 90 minute massage that included a peppermint foot scrub for ~$150. This was a fantastic experience, the staff were all super friendly and the owner was present and ensured all was well. I have bookmarked this page for future as it’s not only a great experience, it’s reasonably priced.
Tech & Tools:
- It’s very dry in hotel rooms typically, but especially so in Phoenix (or in the winter anywhere else!), so I purchased this USB personal humidifier that sits on my nightstand. Many hotels have USB right on the nightstand or the lamp, so this works great! Very small and light, just fill it up before you go to bed.
- If you are on a larger plane (A330, 777, etc.) you may need these for first class seats. 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. It was great to have this as a backup as I did not shut off cellular while hiking- my battery was drained, so thank goodness I had this handy.