DebitNM's Trip Report - Phoenix Dec. 2007

Jan 6th, 2008, 04:07 PM
  #1  
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DebitNM's Trip Report - Phoenix Dec. 2007

We decided we needed to take a short trip to de-stress before Christams and after a very hectic year. Our parameters were that it had to be within a 6 - 7 hour drive from our home in SW Colorado and try to get someplace a bit warmer [though we had a mild October and November.] Phoenix was the choice and the dates were 12/19 until 12/24. The weather was in around 60 during the day and went down to low 40's at night [cooler than we had hoped but warmer than home.]

I will be doing this in sections as I hope in doing so it will be easier to read.

I will start with the hotel. After getting lots of great suggestions on here, we went with Royal Palms Resort and Spa. {Thanks to TahitiTams and others}.

I got a great deal on hotels.com and we paid $159 a night for a room {#306 Montevista Terrace, second floor facing a beautiful courtyard with 2 firepits and a fireplace, reflecting pool and lots of comfy places to sit and bask} that is now going for over $500 a night. The room was beautiful with a super comfy king bed, a desk with 2 chairs, a leather lounger with ottoman, french doors to terrace, a huge bathroom with a big, deep soaking tub and shutters that looked out towards the courtyard. The rooms was as one would expect - super clean, triple sheeted, lots of towels, wonderful smelling bath amenities, separate galss walled shower, tile floors, magnifying mirror with light and everything squeaky clean and sparkling.

There was a lovely bowl of fruit, a decent tv, a stocked pantry with goodies [some rather interesting items, I might add] and a mini-fridge with lots of beverages. These were expensive, but there was room in the fridge to store the beverages we brought from home [I asked to be sure that I could safely take things out without setting off some kind of measuring system and was assured that it would be ok.

I should mention at this point that the hotel charges $22 a day "all tips" fee. We really liked the concept of not having to tip every person for everything they did for us. The only thing it didn't cover was food and spa service gratuity. Valet parking was included and it was nice not having to tip everytime we took the vehicle out or brought it back in.

Royal Palms Resort and Spa –
This was absolutely the right choice for us! We simply loved it’s understated elegance. From the moment we turned into the fieldstone drive we knew we had found an oasis.

The grounds are beautiful -- a cross between Mediterranean villa {the buildings}, desert palms {the lush landscaping seeming to be both a contrast AND a complement to the desert} and southwest delight {small courtyards with fireplaces, wandering paths and hidden gardens and furniture that was comfortable and familiar}.

The service was impeccable. From the valet and bell hop who first greeted us -- to the cabana café staff, the spa attendants, and the restaurant staff -- everyone was friendly, helpful and really seemed to take immense pride in working at the Royal Palms. Our comfort and satisfaction were high on their priority list.

We spent lots of time at the hotel, enjoying all that it had to offer. In fact, we kind of just decided to make it our base of [in]operations! The first afternoon, we were content to lounge around in the little courtyard with lounges and a fireplace that was part of the spa. Then we thought a little time in the steam room [separate facilities for men and women] and Jacuzzi wouldn’t hurt either! We headed out to dinner [more about restaurants later]. When we got back to our room after dinner, DH had surprised me with a Rose Petal turndown service! It was beautiful. The hotel does twice daily room service and in the evening, the turndown service included chocolates, a poem, a CD with soothing music on, little bottles of water on each bedside table and robes folded and placed on the corners of bed.

In looking over the Monthly Event Calendar, we found that they offered complimentary cooking classes on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. We arrived too late for the Wednesday class [the executive chef taught how to make their famous pesto and pomodoro sauce. The class we went to was done by the executive pastry chef. There were only 4 of us in the class and we watched as the chef made an incredible dessert which we got to savor after he had shown us how to make it - we each got a dessert and had full coffee service with it. It was decadent at 11 am, for sure.

Here is a link to pictures of the hotel and grounds.

http://picasaweb.google.com/DebitNM

More to come, including:
- a dinner to remember
- a drive on the edge
- Loving Frank

Deb





DebitNM is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 04:42 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
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DebitNM sounds like a great place!

My new husband and I are looking into a vacation in a few months..this sounds great! Tho, we are coming from the East.

I am looking forward to the rest of your report.

Was this your first time there?
bhonoreh is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 04:44 PM
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Deb, great report. I can't wait to hear more.
The resort looks fabulous! And the price seems really good.
And your pictures are wonderful. Looks like your new camera takes great photos!
kodi is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 05:09 PM
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Deb,
The Royal Palms is one of my favorite places in Phoenix. I think the grounds and buildings are beautiful, especially because it is one of the older hotels in the area, and I LOVE the restaurant with the palm tree right in the center, growing up through the ceiling. Since I live in Scottsdale I'll probably never stay there, but I love to go there to eat and "stroll" around the grounds! You vacation there sounds wonderful, especially since it looks like you left snowy weather back home.
BevK is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 05:12 PM
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I have a brother in Fountain Hills and a sister up in Prescott and a best friend in Maricopa. I love to visit the Phoenix area because there is always something to do somewhere.

Glad you enjoyed the area, and it sounds like you'll be going back! (The Pointe at South Mountain is pretty awesome place to stay, too!)

P
sarge56 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 05:42 PM
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Sounds idyllic, Deb Glad you were able to get away alone with your husband! Very interested to hear what you thought of Taliesin...
kswl is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 06:54 PM
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TahitiTams
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Love that you had a great time Debi!
I knew you would..such a great hotel and I thought it would be a perfect fit..

You are such a beloved poster on this board and with what you have gone through this past year..wow!
I so admire you Debi for your courage and your positive soul that just radiates from your posts, especially this past year..thank you!

All the best to you Debi and your family and a very Happy New Year!
 
Jan 6th, 2008, 07:12 PM
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Jumping ahead a bit - we went to Taliesin West in Scottsdale on Friday afternoon. It is a lengthy drive from downtown Scottsdale.

We took a 90 minute tour and really enjoyed it. The buildings are amazing as are the grounds.

The sculpture garden had beautiful pieces. There are 2 mosaics done by Clare Booth Luce and given to FLW as gifts.

I highly recommend reading "Loving Frank" to gain insight into this man. I had no idea...

Pictures of the buildings, grounds and sculpture garden are here:

http://picasaweb.google.com/DebitNM/TALIESINWEST

From the website, which describes it as:

Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, [and Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin], are considered two of Wright's greatest architectural masterpieces. Both sites served as his personal homes, studios and campus for his architectural school.

Both sites are considered central to understanding Wright's architectural genius. By visiting the sites visitors are able to broaden their appreciation of architecture and Wright's continuing contribution to it through his theories of organic design.

Visiting these two sites is particularly meaningful since the buildings are used for the purposes for which they were designed; the sites still serve as living, working, educational facilities with an on-site architectural firm.

Taliesin West is the international headquarters for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the site of the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives, and the winter campus for the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.


For list of the homes he did, by state:

http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/103_flw.html

For more info on the buildings:

http://www.franklloydwright.org/inde...=display&id=45

More to come...
Deb
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Jan 6th, 2008, 07:56 PM
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On Saturday, we drove the Apache Trail. We drove in our own 4WD vehicle; we are used to driving on steep, narrow, curvy roads with steep drop offs and one and a bit more lanes.

You can drive to Tortilla Flats with a regular vehicle, after that, it would be best in a 4WD.
2 funny stories -

At the end of the trail is the Roosevelt Dam. While we were parked and walking around, a woman [another visitor] was talking very loudly to the woman she was with. She was saying, "too bad I don't have my badge, we could get inside." Then she walks over to me and says "A word of warning -- don't take pictures of the damn" and then walks away! We were kind of mystified as to what she meant and what would happen if I did?

Of course, I just had to snap a few pictures. I wonder - were there checkpoints ahead and would they demand to see my picture card? And would they make me delete my pictures? And what if I didn't have a digital, would they demand copies of the prints when I had them developed?? Gotta live large; so worries, no one check my flicks.

We then proceeded up a bit closer to the actual overlook set up by the Forest Service. Went to use the commodes [aka portapotty] and imagine my surprise to see a rare and valuable commodity.

It was ... drumroll.... 3 rolls of toilet paper that were secured with a huge padlock! I guess theft of tissue is a major concern out there.

For pictures:

http://picasaweb.google.com/DebitNM/ApacheTrail


From about.com
"A drive on the Apache Trail is one of the most scenic drives near the Phoenix area. This well-travelled road affords visitors an incredible view of canyons, geologic formations, desert plants and trees, desert and lake views, and wildflowers in season.

The Apache Trail was constructed in the 1930s to support the development of dams along the Salt River. If you enjoy driving, Apache Trail is a fun trip. If you don't like to drive, don't do it. Most of the roads have a maximum speed limit of 15 mph.

Some people may think that the drive up is a bit easier than the drive back. On the way up, although the turns are tight and the road is narrow, at least you have the mountain on your side not the cliff. Obviously, if you turn around and go back the way you came, your return trip might be a bit more harrowing. Note to the driver: keep your eyes on the road, not the scenery.

There are several one-lane bridges on the Apache Trail. Courtesy on the Apache Trail road is very important. Don't forget that this beautiful desert drive is a tourist attraction, so there will be people who are unfamiliar with the territory, amazed at what they are seeing out of their car windows, and nervous about the winding roads all at the same time! Another word of warning: if there is rain in the forecast, save the trip for another day. These roads can be treacherous during flash floods."

We go on 4WD drives often, so it was no problem for us. Always bring lots of water [and snacks aren't a bad idea either!].

This was a really nice drive, but I wouldn't do it in the summer.

2 thumbs up from us! Or would that be 4??

Deb
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Jan 6th, 2008, 08:18 PM
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Deb, this all sounds so wonderful. YOU are making it very tempting to add this to my 'list'.
Perhaps next Christmas?
I love your report, and it sounds like the kind of scenery and drives I would love.

Thanks for posting and for the great photos.
kodi is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 08:53 PM
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Loving your report deb, and so happy you got away with dh. We've loved exploring that part of the SW, in large part due to your great help in planning. So ditto to TahitiTams very well said post; you ARE very special. Looking forward to the rest of your report. And hoping this is the best new year for you and your family.
ellen_griswold is offline  
Jan 7th, 2008, 05:38 AM
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Great pictures and trip report, Deb! Glad you were able to get Picasa working.

I, too, like it when hotels include the tip in their daily "resort" fee.

Happy you and DH enjoyed much needed R&R! ...and thanks for taking us along!
AnnMarie_C is offline  
Jan 7th, 2008, 05:55 PM
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Thanks for all the kinds words and glad you are enjoying the report.

More to come...
Deb
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Jan 18th, 2008, 08:19 AM
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Great pics of TW! I go every time I'm in the area.

I missed this trip report the first time around. I'm glad you mentioned it on another thread.
starrs is offline  
Jan 18th, 2008, 08:44 AM
  #15  
lvk
 
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I'm just seeing (and enjoying) this report for the first time, too. We're heading to Scottsdale for Spring Break this year and TW is on our list.

Looking forward to the "more to come..."
lvk is offline  
Jan 18th, 2008, 08:55 AM
  #16  
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Regarding Frank Lloyd Wright, I remember watching a Ken Burns documentary about him and thinking he was not such a nice guy. I don't remember the details, but I'm going to rent in from Netflix and watch it before we go.
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Jan 18th, 2008, 09:06 AM
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Go to the night tour if you can. Magical.

I've done both (day and night) in the same week. At night, it's easier to imagine what TW was like out in the desert all by itself.
starrs is offline  
Jan 18th, 2008, 09:49 AM
  #18  
OO
 
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Even if you are not particularly interested in FLW, the novel Loving Frank (Nancy Horan) was a fascinating look at his personal life, his relationship with Mamah Cheney, feminist, intellectual, wife, mother, and eventually mistress--a mix of fact, with fiction filling in where facts were scanty. If you have time, read it before you go! I hated to put it down. They met while he was designing and building the Cheney's Oak Park, ILL house, the relationship continuing until its ghastly end during the building of the original Taliesin (Wisconsin).

Ivk...I'm wondering if FLW might have been bipolar, after reading this. There were signs that seemed to be pointing in that direction.
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Sep 11th, 2008, 05:23 PM
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ttt
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