The Top Hotels in Phoenix and Scottsdale

Welcome to your desert paradise. These Arizona hotels offer views of saguaro and red rock mountains, spas with healing treatments based on local traditions, and some of the best services imaginable. You’ll be planning your next visit before the first day’s over.

Highlights
4000 N Drinkwater Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
The Saguaro Scottsdale is among the handful of downtown Scottsdale hotels that embrace the urban Southwest vibe. Although it began life as a 1970s chain motel—evident in its blocky structure and the compactness of most rooms—this now-hip address has blossomed into the visual equivalent of desert wildflowers at the height of a wet spring. Especially striking against the desert tan that coats just about every other structure in Scottsdale, both outside and in, are a riot of colors that go beyond orange and purple and pink and yellow to such wildflower shades as California Poppy and Red Desert Globemallow. Just as vibrant is the Saguaro’s pool-party scene, aided, no doubt, by water temps chilled or heated as the season dictates. A complete redo of the Saguaro’s rooms in January 2017 gave them a modern Southwest vibe (think pastel-colored prints of cacti and desert-hued furnishings), but not so much that guests will be asking the concierge where to shop for cowboy boots (which would be Saba’s, just down the street, in Old Town).
3701 N Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
As its name suggests, the Bespoke Inn is one of the more eccentric accommodations in downtown Scottsdale. This compact bed-and-breakfast, opened in 2013, has just 10 rooms. Each is decorated with homey, eclectic details that reflect the creativity of the hotel’s previous owners, who designed and built most of the inn’s furnishings themselves. The current owners, Jeremy Ferris and Robert Marchetti, brought in elements of Marchetti’s Italian heritage, which are evident in the updated courtyard and six new rooms. The result is a surprising blend of style and comfort, reinforced by the hotel’s ability to make guests feel they have all become friends. There are other surprises, too. In 2013 Esquire magazine called the café—which has its own odd appellation, Virtù Honest Craft—one of the 20 best new restaurants in America. And the hotel provides Pashley bicycles for guests to use during their stays.
6000 E Camelback Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
This Scottsdale megaresort opened in 1988 as an Americanized vision of European style, which explains the white marble in the lobby, the mother-of-pearl tiles lining one of the pools, and the 11 Steinway pianos (including one in each of the four presidential suites). Over the years, though, the Phoenician has melded with its surroundings to become one of the classic Arizona desert hotel experiences. The 27-hole golf course, the 11 tennis courts, the eight pools (one with a 165-foot waterslide), the spa, the hiking, and the alfresco dining all make it the kind of place people contemplate when they find themselves looking at a closet full of winter coats and scarves. The rooms are spacious, with large Italian marble bathrooms, and have a private terrace or balcony. The service is tip-top, and the kids’ club even features a Bunny Hoppy Hour. Recent renovations updated the hotel’s public spaces, including the lobby, restaurants, pool area, and spa.
5700 E McDonald Dr, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253, USA
As obvious as it may sound, what sets Sanctuary apart from any other Scottsdale resort is location. Sitting on the north side of Camelback Mountain yet minutes from downtown Scottsdale, it has a balance of desert mountain isolation and easy access that no other Scottsdale resort can match. Since Sanctuary opened in 2002, the combination has especially appealed to publicity-shy celebs (Beyoncé and Jay-Z even stayed here while on their honeymoon). The views from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the adobe casitas look out at the mountain and across Paradise Valley. The casitas have wood-block floors, glass-tiled showers, and, in many of them, oversize tubs with romantic votive candles.
34631 N Tom Darlington Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85262, USA
Nature may have spent 12 million years creating the rock formation that is the centerpiece of this 1,300-acre Hilton Curio Collection resort in the foothills of the Sonoran Desert, but late-coming humans have done a commendable job of adding the finishing touches. Although the Boulders, with its casita accommodations blending into the landscape, its championship golf courses, and its upscale shops, is as luxurious as any resort in the Scottsdale area, it’s also where guests are most likely to feel they are truly in the desert. An early-morning walk along groomed paths, when the first rays of light are turning the landscape golden, is as likely to produce the sounds of woodpeckers or owls calling from their nests in saguaro cacti as it is the whack of a ball against club or racket.
7277 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale, Arizona
Business travelers might help keep it quiet enough during the week, but when the weekend rolls around, the W Scottsdale earns its rep as a party hotel. By day, a young, trendy, and sometimes noisy crowd hangs at Wet, the rooftop pool, keeping well oiled with sunscreen and bar drinks. By night, the scene remains trendy, and noisy, at the lobby’s Living Room Lounge, or at Shade Lounge upstairs by the pool, often to a background of live music or a DJ, until the revelers are off to bed, or off to some of the many bars and clubs within walking distance. Rooms have all the tech gadgets, and the use of color and frosted glass makes them feel light and playful without going overboard.
5532 N Palo Cristi Rd, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253, USA
The Hermosa Inn, first opened in 1936, has the kind of history that a cowboy keeps under his hat. With 43 rooms and casitas spread across six acres of Arizona desert in the upscale Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley, the inn was originally the home and studio of cowboy artist Lon Megargee. A $5.5 million renovation completed in March 2017 updated the hotel for the modern era. It still retains a historic feel, but without the possibility of escape it had when Megargee, a welcoming host clearly uninterested in background checks, built a tunnel from the main building to the stable in case a visit by the sheriff made it necessary for less law-abiding guests to execute a quick getaway. But then, with Camelback Mountain as a backdrop, few guests nowadays are in a hurry to leave.
7575 E Princess Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85255, USA
Opened in 1987, the relatively youthful Fairmont Scottsdale Princess may not have the history of some of its neighboring resorts, but the North Scottsdale spot—with its fountained plazas, Mexican colonial–style architecture, and 65 scenic acres—has everything needed for a vacation in the sun. It’s big and it’s busy, and there is always something for everybody to do—just one of the reasons it’s popular for family events such as reunions, school holidays, and weddings. Drive a ball down a fairway on the two 18-hole championship golf courses (one of which hosts an annual PGA tournament), relax by one of the six pools (the newest, Sunset Beach pool, is surrounded by 9,000 square feet of white sand), or give yourself over to the innovative therapies and unique fitness offerings at the Well & Being Spa.

All the 750 rooms and suites are fresh and comfortable, with terraces, wet bars, and oversize bathrooms. Some, especially the casitas, are located about a five- to 10-minute walk from the main building, but golf carts are always just a call away. The wealth of top-rated foodie options—which include the Mexican-accented La Hacienda and the pan-Latin Toro, both by chef Richard Sandoval, and Bourbon Steak from chef Michael Mina—help make this one of the best destination-dining resorts in town.
7500 E Doubletree Ranch Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85258, USA
It is not unusual to find an Arizona resort that looks like a water park with rooms attached, and this big Scottsdale luxury property certainly fits the description: 10 pools, 20 fountains, 45 waterfalls, and a three-story, high-speed waterslide. But what makes the Hyatt Regency unique is that guests can glide along its desert waterways aboard authentic Italian gondolas while being serenaded by professional gondoliers, who are classically trained singers. Beyond the water’s edge, there are the expected activities, such as the 27 holes of golf at the Gainey Ranch Golf Club, open only to club members and resort guests. And there are the unexpected, such as the Native American Learning Center, created to give guests insight into native Southwest culture through art, food, entertainment, and personal interaction with some of the resort’s staff. For hikers, the 24-hour Canyon Market serves up not only performance foods and gear, but also directions to the best trails.
6850 E Main St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
A 10-minute walk from downtown Scottsdale, the Hotel Valley Ho, its name most likely inspired by the long-ago repurposed Westward Ho (once the area’s premier hotel), has the kind of riches-to-rags-to-riches story that makes the crowd hanging around the pool on weekends not just hip but part of history. Opened in 1956, it featured a futuristic design of red-tinted concrete, stone, and glass—and a well-connected owner—that quickly made it a magnet for movie stars like Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood, who held their wedding reception here. But as the Hollywood crowd knows best, fame wanes, and the hotel eventually reached such a low point that it was nearly torn down. It was saved due to its historic significance, and after a massive renovation that preserved many original elements, it re-emerged in 2006 not only with its trendy reputation revived, but also as one of the country’s best examples of mid-century hotel architecture. (The seven-story tower block was part of the original design but not built until the renovation.) Guest rooms are bright with colors that wouldn’t be out of place on South Beach. And the pool is still the place to be.
2400 E Missouri Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85016, USA
Marilyn Monroe once proclaimed that her favorite swimming pool was at the Arizona Biltmore. And Irving Berlin, obviously a person who didn’t know how to relax, is said to have written “White Christmas” while a guest at the hotel. Other musical guests have included Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., who were known to play on a piano in the lobby. But that’s history, and the Jewel of the Desert, as the 90-year-old hotel was once known, is now just one more sparkling gem in a treasure chest of Arizona resorts. To continue shining, the Biltmore underwent a major renovation that was completed in late 2016. Much of the update focused on restoring the hotel’s original main building, but the guest rooms, meeting spaces, ballrooms, and spa were also polished. The contemporary style that now dominates the Biltmore was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, who played a significant role in determining the hotel’s original look. In the guest rooms, Wright’s influence is most notable in the wall coverings, embossed with a design similar to that found on his “Biltmore Blocks,” used in the construction of most of the resort. Of course, for guests who didn’t come for the history, or the design lecture, there are still the eight swimming pools, seven tennis courts, and, next door at the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club, 36 holes of golf.
5200 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018, USA
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 executive 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 just 119 rooms, it’s one of the smaller and more intimate of Arizona’s luxury resorts. Restoration and refurbishing have kept it up to date without diminishing its original charm.
300 E. Wigwam Blvd., Litchfield Park, Arizona
Although The Wigwam is a historic Arizona resort, with an Old Southwest look and feel, the history here has nothing to do with cowboys and Indians, but cotton and car tires. Originating in 1918 as company lodging for the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, which owned thousands of acres near Phoenix (where it grew cotton used to make tires), The Wigwam opened to the public in 1929. The property has since grown into a 331-room luxury resort, but its location to the west of Phoenix (instead of around Scottsdale to the east, where much of the area’s tourism development lies) means that it largely flies under the tourist radar. Recently, the resort tried to change that fact, undergoing a major refurbishment in 2011 and launching a marketing campaign about the benefits of staying west of Phoenix. Still, its relatively low rates include amenities frequently associated with the eastern resorts, including 54 holes of championship golf, nine tennis courts, three swimming pools (one with a 25-foot waterslide), and all the expected dining and wellness options. Thanks to its prices, The Wigwam is most popular for conventions and destination weddings—two groups more keenly attuned than most to good value for the money. That, and what bride could resist a venue that boasts 8,000 rosebushes?
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