Top 5 Ways to Stay In and Around Greater Phoenix

By: Nora Burba Trulsson

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October 3, 2016

The sunny weather of Arizona's capital beckons—these hotels keep you close to the action

About the author

Nora Burba Trulsson

Nora Burba Trulsson

Nora Burba Trulsson is a long-time Arizona resident and a freelance writer specializing in travel, food, lifestyle, architecture and design topics. Her articles have appeared in Sunset, Arizona Highways, Vegas Seven, Houzz.com, Valley Guide, Scottsdale Magazine, United Airlines Hemispheres, Westjet's Up!, Renovation Style, Beautiful Homes and other publications and websites. She can be reached through www.noraburbatrulsson.com.

When Canada’s chill becomes a tad too much, the warm sunshine of Greater Phoenix and Central Arizona beckons.

But where would you stay? Find the perfect place to lay your head by choosing from these top five ways to stay in Central Arizona. From luxury resorts and guest ranches to budget-friendly hotels and furnished vacation rental apartments, these accommodations will be your gateway to fun by keeping you close to the action while still enjoying stellar amenities that will make this winter vacation the best visit yet.

1. Casinos Royale

Surrounding Greater Phoenix, American Indian communities offer sophisticated casino hotels and resorts, with many diversions beyond gaming.

Near Scottsdale, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s Talking Stick Resort is a modernist high rise, anchored by a vast casino. Ultra-modern urban rooms overlook the pool, mountains and desert. Atop the resort, Orange Sky Restaurant offers an acclaimed menu and wine list along with expansive views; a few floors down, a spa soothes.

If you can tear yourself away, attractions including Talking Stick Golf Club’s two championship courses, the new OdySea Aquarium, Casino Arizona and the Salt River Fields spring training stadium are practically next door. Downtown Scottsdale’s restaurants, shopping and nightlife are also only a short drive away.

Between Chandler and Phoenix, the Gila River Indian Community’s Wild Horse Pass Development is home to resorts, casinos and more.

Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass is a luxe resort overlooking the desert where wild horses still roam. Designed to reflect the community’s American Indian culture, the resort includes Aji Spa, which uses indigenous ingredients in treatments, and Kai – the state’s only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five-Star restaurant – noted for emphasizing local ingredients and new twists on tradition.

Down the road, Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino features seemingly endless gaming, while the high-rise hotel rooms are sleek and contemporary. The complex is a small city unto itself, with a showroom that’s seen the likes of chart-topping musicians from country to R&B, as well as numerous lounges and restaurants like Shula’s Steakhouse.

But, wait, there’s more. You’ll find a range of other entertainment, such as horseback riding and Rawhide Western Town, a recreated slice of the Old West. And when you’ve had your fill of horseback riding, stagecoaches and gunfights, mosey over to the golf course for a few strokes, continue your winning streak at the Lone Butte Casino or relax in the spa. Then find some great buys at the premium outlets or see what kind of racing excitement is being held at the Motorsports Park (drag racing, off-road truck racing, the list goes on at this world-class course). If you leave feeling the need for speed, then sign up for driving lessons at the internationally recognized Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, where you can learn to drive like a pro. It’s all there at your fingertips—you just need to book your room.

2. In the middle of it all

Sometimes, you need a great place to stay that’s right in the middle of everything.

Recently ranked as one of Travel + Leisure’s “17 Coolest New Urban Hotels in the Country,” The Camby is Phoenix’s latest luxury, boutique hotel. Located in the renowned Biltmore neighborhood, high-end shopping at Biltmore Fashion Park and Midtown excitement are just steps away. But once you check-in, you may not want to leave. Inside, the hotel exemplifies modern style with sophisticated decor that fuses fashion, elegance and individuality. It also holds a strong pulse on the area’s dining scene, with its Artizen, Crafted American Kitchen & Bar quickly becoming a popular gathering place for cocktails, farm-to-table cuisine and rooftop socials. With Chef Dushyant Singh at the helm, the restaurant celebrates food through his inventive array of dishes sourced from the area’s finest, and the freshest, seasonal ingredients. It’s an epicurean dance of ingredient-inspired creations that make memories with every bite.

Tucked away in central Scottsdale, The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch just debuted a $10 million makeover, updating its 326 luxurious, hacienda-style guest rooms, the lobby bar and expanding the pool. Also new to the scene is Kitchen West Restaurant, which has a modern American West menu. A new spa and access to the next-door golf course keeps things in relaxation mode. And when you are ready to venture from this palm-shaded, lushly landscaped hideaway, Downtown Scottsdale’s attractions are a short Uber ride away.

A bit farther north, recently renovated Gainey Suites Hotel is an insidery, TripAdvisor® favorite, known for its modern, comfy studios, one- and two-bedroom suites, complimentary breakfast buffet and happy hour. The hotel is a step away from the SHOPS gainey village – an upscale center filled with restaurants and boutiques – and a quick drive from downtown Scottsdale and local golf courses.

Located off the I-17 tech and business corridor in northwest Phoenix, the Sheraton Crescent Hotel also gives you easy access to Scottsdale’s shopping and attractions. The convenient freeway location puts Downtown Phoenix and Glendale just minutes away. On top of this, you’ll find yourself near the Arizona Cardinals football team’s University of Phoenix Stadium and close to several spring training baseball stadiums. With a pool, restaurant, bar and modern-meets-traditional rooms, the hotel is an oasis in the city.

3. Family fun

Traveling with kids or doing a multigenerational trip? Look for accommodations that accommodate all age groups.

Located at the edge of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve’s hiking and mountain biking trails, Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort lures families with its all-suites accommodations, a four-acre water park with mini golf, a year-round children’s program and Hole-in-the-Wall, a historic barbecue restaurant. Grownups like this north Phoenix resort’s spa, mixology classes at Rico’s American Grill, poolside dining at Slim Picken’s Café and nearby golf course. Jump on the nearby highway, and Downtown Phoenix’s baseball and basketball arenas, museums, restaurants and theaters are a short zip away.

For a quiet escape away from the hustle and bustle, the classic Western guest ranch Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg is just the ticket. Horseback riding is the main attraction at the 20,000-acre ranch, which was founded in 1948.  ATV tours, tennis, a pool and trap-and-skeet shooting are also on-site. A children’s program and babysitting services let mom and dad enjoy grown-up time at the ranch’s fine-dining restaurant, spa or golf course. Want to explore more? Wickenburg’s cowboy-centric historic district boasts shops, restaurants and a museum, or plan daytrips into Greater Phoenix, about an hour away.

4. Budget friendly

Best Western International is headquartered in Phoenix, so it makes sense that the metro area is home to some 18 of these value-oriented hotels, including the flagship BEST WESTERN® hotels and the more upscale BEST WESTERN PLUS® accommodations, both of which offer complimentary breakfast. Locations stretch from Apache Junction on the east side of Greater Phoenix to Goodyear on the west, putting you near wherever you need to be. There’s even one close to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.

5. Stay a while          

Prefer more home-like lodgings? Try a furnished apartment or – better yet – consider buying a second home in the desert.

In Midtown Phoenix, Furnished Suites at Zazu Pannee offers almost 200 fully furnished one- and two-bedroom apartments, set on nine lushly landscaped acres that include two heated pools, a fitness room, putting green and theater. You can rent for as little as two days or for a full season and opt for weekly housekeeping. Bonus feature: the units are often rented by visiting opera singers, musicians and actors, in town for gigs at the nearby theaters and venues in Downtown Phoenix, so look for management-arranged performances at the complex’s theater. Don’t feel like cooking? Downtown Phoenix has numerous indie, chef-driven eateries, as does the surrounding Midtown neighborhood, which has a burgeoning culinary scene.       

If you just can’t imagine yourself leaving, get your own home sweet home through Mattamy Homes – one of Canada’s leading home builders – which has numerous communities in suburban Phoenix, and six more to come by the end of 2017. In Mattamy’s Kenwood at Verrado neighborhood in Buckeye, for example, single-family homes come with neighborhood-friendly front porches and open-plan great rooms. Across town in Mesa, the Granite Ridge neighborhood offers the security of a private gate and the option to add a casita for houseguests. Mattamy’s Scottsdale design studio lets you contemplate floor plans, custom touches and materials.

Start your getaway to the center of it all by booking the perfect place to stay.

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