As it did in 2008, nearby Glendale will host the 2015 Super Bowl, a prerequisite of which is a ton of hotel space. Size, in fact, is the common denominator – along with golf, naturally — among the resorts the Golf Road Warriors bunked at in Scottsdale. That’s pretty much where the similarity ends, though.
The Phoenician opened in 1988, commissioned by none other than Charles Keating and, as an architectural symbol of the time, is correctly identified in the literature as an icon in the American resort pantheon. With a $25 million art collection, 10 restaurants and bars, and traditions like afternoon tea, the MO at The Phoenician is to induce guests to slow down.
Talking Stick Resort is all about picking up the pace. Operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, it employs the time-tested formula in other such gaming facilities – think Foxwoods, Turning Stone, Mohegan Sun: Form follows function, with a monolithic tower rising 15 stories from the desert floor.
Even if it’s not your favorite milieu, it’s easy to marvel at the efficiency of the circulation patterns, signage, and the hotel rooms themselves. The spa is also first-rate.
Opened in 2002, the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa manages to exude a kind of family run intimacy despite its deceptively large footprint, including 732 rooms and 27 holes of golf. The resort’s upscale restaurant, Deseo, served up the best meal of the trip – amid worthy competition – and the resort seems to have become integral to the community in a comparatively short time.
The golf at all three of our hosts’ properties was enjoyable, with Talking Stick having the advantage of two 18-hole layouts, The Westin Kierland’s 1st tee accessible on foot. Overseas visitors to the U.S. often observe that the service here is the best in the world and “mature” tourist destinations like Scottsdale are part of the reason.
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