When it comes to winter getaways, Western Canadians are spoiled for choice, particularly when it comes to Arizona. Easy to get to, with a myriad of daily flights from most major Canadian cities, Phoenix is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and families looking to reconnect with nature and each other. Nested at the base of Camelback Mountain, The Phoenician is a 250-acre resort that is definitely splurge-worthy. Despite being a AA Five Diamond luxury resort, the vibe at this 583-room is healthy and laid back. Here’s a look at why you might want to consider this salubrious spot for your next family getaway.
Any resort that’s made a conscious effort with their children’s programming is high up in my books. The Phoenician delivers on this big time. The Funician Kid’s Club takes them in from 5-12 years-old and offers a wide variety of activities. They even offer tips for toddlers and teens who don’t meet the age requirements of the kid’s club (though the movie theater, ping pong table, foosball, video game room, basketball court and covered playground should keep them occupied).
The big draw for families of all ages is SURGE – the splash pad and water slide. It’s tricked out with falling buckets of water, misting turtles and water cannons. Best is there are cabanas and a hot tub nearby to watch the kiddies from.
When kids need some quiet time, the two-acre on-site Cactus Garden is where you want to be. Stroll along the paths and check out the inhabitants from sculptures to suguaro. There are guided walks through here daily, but it’s well signed so you can go on your own and give the ankle biters some much needed nature time.
There’s so much for families to do here, don’t feel guilty about getting into mom gear and making a schedule. You won’t want to miss the morning koi fish feeding nor Bunny Hoppy Hour, where little ones get to pick out their own plush bunny.
And who could resist a bird show? OK, it’s not called that, but Flight of the Phoenix or something equally cheesy. Anyway, they’ve got all these birds of prey on property and a Master Falconer, so Friday and Saturday around sunset, they put on a show complete with rings of fire and a hawk tearing apart a turkey carcass. Trust me, the kids (and men) love that shit.
The Phoenician doesn’t just have a spa, they’ve got a Center for Wellbeing. As such, you’ll find more on the menu than massages and facials. Ever the traditionalist, I opted for a for a facial, but oh, what a facial! In fact it was the Phoenician’s Finest Facial and so it was! Besides the facial massage, mask and Vitamin-C enzyme peel, my skin was airbrushed with an oxygen infusion of hyaluronic acid and antioxidants. It felt amazing and my skin drank it up like nobody’s business. Heads up, ladies: Phoenix is as dry as CBC Radio, so you’ll want to pack your winter moisturizers.
As good as my facial was, the mediation class was even better. I used to think these types of wellness activities were bullshit. I went into the 45-minute class a sceptic and came out a believer. Why? Because the instructor put me to sleep. Literally. Within 10 minutes of listening to her calm instructions on how to disengage, I was out like a light. I woke myself by snoring. If that ain’t a successful relaxation practice, I don’t know what is. I only wish signed up for the Illumination through Tarot, class, too. And yes, the spa, I mean Center for Wellbeing has several services for the dudes and lower priced treatments for wee-ones.
Besides the pools (all eight of them) and tennis courts (just under a dozen), The Phoenician boasts a 27-hole championship golf course to tempt all duffers. Naturally, that wasn’t up my alley, but the guided walk up Camelback Mountain was. There are also daily fitness classes in the Center for Wellbeing that range from Zumba to Yoga in the Fitness Studio. There’s also a tricked out gym and bicycles to borrow to explore the surroundings.
One trend I’m thrilled to see more hotels picking up on is having a robust art collection. Take a self guided audio tour to view their works by European, Asian and Native American artists and receive complimentary tickets to the Phoenix Art Museum in return.
For an evening to remember, steal yourself away to Il Terrazzo, an upscale italian restaurant on the property. The vibe is opulent and romantic. It’s the perfect spot to reconnect with your partner (so don’t spoil it by bringing the kids). They follow the farm to table movement, so you know what you’re getting is going to be super fresh and free of chemicals. My starter of scallops was fabulous and beef ravioli was savoury and filling.
I summoned up all my will power to avoid dessert, so I could let loose during brunch. This proved to be a most excellent strategy. Brunch is served daily and you’ll want to go hungry. There’s the usual suspects, such as an omelet station and waffles, but sweet surprises like a juice bar, kale salad in jars and whimsical layered bites served up in shot glasses, make it one of the better spreads out there. For a quick, casual bite, hit up the Café and Ice Cream Parlor. Here, I tucked into quite possibly the city’s best bowl of chicken tortilla soup, and just to even things out, a massive scoop of gelato. You’ll also find salads, freshly made sandwiches and all the amazing tidbits that accompany a good coffee bar.
We returned home happy and healthy, and the adults a few pounds heavier. Reconnection goal: achieved. Detox: not so much. But that’s never really our goal on a family getaway, now is it?
The Phoenician Contact Details:
Address: 6000 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251
Main Resort Phone: (480) 941-8200 or email@example.com
Toll-Free: (800) 888-8234
Starwood Worldwide Reservations: (800) 325-3589