REVIEW: The W Scottsdale Hotel

So I already wrote about one of my favorite hotel’s in Scottsdale (you can read about it here), but the W is probably my second favorite and depending on my mood it sometimes comes in #1 as well (Variety and all that jazz).

scottsdale-pool
Probably the #1 reason why I like the W in Scottsdale – its pool – and let’s not forget, it’s always hot in Scottsdale so this is of prime importance.

So you’re probably wondering, how does it compare to the Valley Ho?  Well, they’re two different spots.  The Valley Ho is very much a boutique hotel with all the associated qualities, there’s less of a corporate feel, some cheeky elements and details, and a property that feels much more tailored to an off-the-beaten-path experience.  The W, however, does much of this in the traditional W manner – which is to say, corporate but still with some passion and uniqueness.

The rooms are probably the second best part of this hotel (after its very cool elevated rooftop pool area).  They are clean, modern, large, and have great views of the surrounding area.

w-scottsdale
Clean, warm, modern, and luxurious. It matches the desert vibe quite well

Lastly, I can’t help but mention that the lobby and public spaces are spot on (albeit a bit small) for a W.  The fireplace and little cubby areas throughout the lobby make for great spots to hideaway and have a drink and some great conversation – just what hotel lobbies were meant for.

PROS:

  • Great pool, like really great – lots of space, lots of chairs, and lots of fun
  • Even though it’s not the newest hotel it’s still got a modernity and class to it

CONS:

  • Not necessarily a con, but across town there exists a pretty good hotel called the Valley Ho, you’ll just have to pick your poison

SECRETS:

  • You have to check out the SPG points + cash options on this one, because it’s an expensive hotel in general and you can save a lot of money with the cash + points booking options

THINGS TO DO IN THE AREA:

  • Take a golf cart ride with one of the local carts that roams around downtown Scottsdale, and have them give you a tour.  It’s a cool little town with some pretty unique dive bars, restaurants, and art galleries and the best way to get a lay of the land is to have a golf-cart tour!



REVIEW: The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain

IMG_3407

The Dove Mountain Ritz-Carlton is a pretty awesome place to visit.  The resort is a large property set in the side of Dove Mountain with lots of cool nooks and crannies to explore.  The feel is that of a modern hunting lodge, with high ceilings, large rooms with expansive views, and a rustic quality and vibe.

The Ritz here spent a lot of time and energy developing local activities such as sunset hikes, a traditional Native-American ceremony on certain days, and even outdoor games and a tangerine orchard.

dovemountainlobby
A hunting lodge you ask?  Ritz-Carlton has their interpretation of it here at Dove Mountain

My personal favorite area of the hotel, though, is the pool.  There’s multiple decks, amazing views of the landscape around the hotel, and even a waterslide – if you feel so inclined.

multiplepoolsritzdove
Check out that waterslide!

Everything about this Ritz is a bit more special, and it reminds me a lot of a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.  The service is a slight notch above the other properties, and the build quality of the hotel itself is higher.  If you love the desert, I highly recommend visiting this property for a nice weekend getaway!

PROS:

  • It’s one of the nicer Ritz-Carltons in the chain – similar in feel to a Reserve
  • It has lots to offer on the grounds and a wilderness center where you can book hikes and enjoy some really awesome desert activities

CONS:

  • It’s quite a far drive from anything in the Tucson area

SECRETS:

  • Check the events calendar or call before you book.  There’s usually lots planned and it’s a smart move to book your stay around special events to take advantage of them
  • The sushi is also really good here, trust me on this

OTHER THINGS TO DO:

  • Biosphere 2 is a really cool biosphere habitat that is basically one of two in the world (as the name suggests).  If you’re in the area you should definitely check it out!



REVIEW: Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale

IMG_2929

This hotel feels like it should be set in the 60’s.  Everything from the architecture to the hip decor makes this hotel a choice that’s not normal.  When you walk in you notice the flamboyant colors, the biomorphic shapes and shag carpet and wax vinyl surfaces.

valleyholobby
Lets jus say that laminate floors are not the standard at the Ritz, but hey, this place is cooool

You choose the Valley Ho because you want something different, but at the end of the day you still want a bit of luxury and coddling.

The lobby is the focal point of this place, part of it is indoors and part of it is outdoors.  The location is fantastic, just a few minutes by foot to the local art galleries and restaurants in the Scottsdale area.  This is always my go to whenever I come to Scottsdale.  The restaurant has great all american cuisine and I recommend it for the Sunday brunch.

itsthevalley-ho-kitchen-1024x1024
You can’t look around at this place and not crack a smile – because it feels like you just woke up and Nixon is about to pop on TV

There are certainly other nicer hotels in the area, the W Scottsdale or further options if you’re there for the golfing, but there really is nothing else like the Hotel Valley Ho.  And heck, at the least it’s fun to say.

midcenturyvalleyho
Bet you haven’t been to a mid-century pool since…well, mid-century

PROS:

  • Fun lobby and vibe – its super hip
  • The showers are wide and open and the bathrooms and floorpans feel modern and different from anything else you’d see in the luxury category
  • There’s really not much else quite like it in the area, especially walking distance to Scottsdale downtown shops and restaurants

CONS:

  • It’s not a traditional luxury hotel
  • The service is not quite that of a 4-5 star hotel, but somehow it just works with the laidback vibe
  • The cuisine is all americana but if you want something different there’s not a lot of options

SECRETS:

  • Check out the cool second story gym with its private yoga room which opens up to the pool
  • The breakfast burrito on the menu is definitely what you want, I promise

OTHER THINGS TO DO:

  • If you love good pizza (and who doesnt?), definitely visit Sauce Pizza & Wine.  It’s one of my favorite pizza restaurants in the nation (and that includes comparison to places like Lou Malnati’s in Chicago or top NY pizza joints).  Yes it’s that good, and they have a great selection of beers and wines!