Photo Courtesy of Royal Palms Resort and Spa, Phoenix
Royal Palms Resort and Spa, Phoenix
With its palm-lined entrance, oasis-like courtyards, and proximity to the Sky Harbor Airport, the Royal Palms draws both business and leisure travelers, especially business travelers who've managed to work a few days of leisure into their schedule. Built in the shadow of Camelback Mountain in 1929 as a Spanish Colonial style home for Cunard Line director Delos W. Cooke (who imported 900 palms for the grounds), and opened as a hotel in 1948, the Royal Palms remains popular in part because with 119 rooms it is one of the smaller and more intimate of Arizona's luxury resorts. Yet restoration and refurbishing have kept it up-to-date without diminishing its original charm.
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The Royal Palms' Camelback Road location puts it within easy reach of many Phoenix and Scottsdale restaurants, including the Gladly, a new effort in Phoenix from the same team behind Scottsdale's successful Citizen Public House. The ambience is lively contemporary urban, and the smoked mozzarella fondue is worth starting with. For pizza acclaimed by the New York Times as "perhaps the best in America," there's Pizzeria Bianco, with locations in downtown Phoenix and on Camelback Road. Walk off a meal on the pathways of the Desert Botanical Garden, whose 50,000 plants can help visitors recognize there's more to know about the Sonoran Desert than saguaro and cholla.
Need to Know
Rooms: From $199 low season, $549 high season. 119 rooms, including 20 suites, 46 casitas, and four villas. Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Executive chef Paul McCabe lets local farm fresh dictate the day's menu at the resort's restaurant, T. Cook's, and its bar, The Mix Up, both with a dark-wood décor that encourages slowing down and breathing in the moment. Spa and gym details: As to be expected at a smallish resort, the Alvadora Spa and its fitness center may not have as extensive facilities as those found at bigger places. But its look, in keeping with the rest of the Royal Palms, and its close-up views of Camelback Mountain, give it a more romantic feel than just about any of them.
Who's it for: Couples and business travelers who appreciate charm and convenience. Our favorite rooms:Perhaps it is not the most cost-effective accommodation the Royal Palms has to offer, but what incurable romantic could pass up a chance to stay in the Honeymoon Villa? Its furnishings include a leather-covered coffee table inscribed with the words, "Give me your hand, Paloma, for this night you will sleep with me." Expansive service: Guests who really want to benefit from the Royal Palm's romantic reputation can sign on for the Romantication package. This includes experiences such as couples massages, love notes, and rose-petal turndowns that no partner need think up on his/her own, but can claim he/she did.