The Phoenician: A Luxury Oasis in the Desert



Well for one, it has the best pool in Scottsdale (no small feat), so there’s always that. And there’s three diverse, nine-hole golf courses, always a plus. And then there’s the restaurants, like the world-renowned J&G Steakhouse and Ill Terrazzo. The rooms, even the standard ones, are exceptional. And of course, service is first rate across the board. But ultimately it’s hard to single out just what makes the Phoenician such an exceptional resort, because even as impressive as the long checklist is, it still amounts to more than the sum of its parts.

Arizona’s premier AAA Five Diamond Resort is located on 250 acres of natural splendor at the base of iconic Camelback Mountain. Just a few minutes from the robust shopping and nightlife of Downtown Scottsdale (and a short drive in the opposite direction to Downtown Phoenix), the Phoenician boasts a location as idyllic as its picturesque setting. Since its opening 1988, the Phoenician has been one of the preeminent luxury resorts in Arizona. With 577 guest rooms and 52 suites (averaging 1,200 square feet each), it has a wide array of guest accommodations. 


The decor at the Phoenician is upscale and inviting. While the color palette wisely reflects the colors of the surrounding Sonoran Desert, I was pleased to see the interior design was not stereotypically “Southwestern.” It feels stately and lavish without being gaudy. Most impressive is the collection of art on display at the massive resort. There are a number of exquisite paintings and statues from a wide range of eras and styles that give the hotel a rich character and diverse feel. 

As mentioned, the service across the board is impeccable, just what you’d come to expect from a five-star resort. The concierge services were thorough and the housekeeping was first-rate. And while we would highly recommend staying at the Canyon Suites (more on that later), all the rooms were quite well-appointed, with such amenities as Italian marble in the bathrooms. And all of the rooms in the feature views of the pool, which is absolutely resplendent when it glows in the evening under the stars of the Sonoran sky.

The Pool

To reiterate, the pool at the Phoenician is the best in Scottsdale. In a resort city with literally dozens of gorgeous pools featuring everything from swim-up bars to water slides, the Phoenician pool separates itself two ways. First is its design, simplistic and splendid. Tiled in mother of pearl, this main oval pool is both aesthetically striking and extremely functional to swim in and relax around. Now I should pint out that technically there are eight swimming pools, including an “edgeless pool,” a 165-foot water slide, and “Necklace Lake Lagoon.”


Secondly (and I cannot express how crucial this is), the pool at the Phoenician is open 24-hours. This is a feature that you just don’t see in many high-end resorts. Nothing is more disappointing than getting the urge to take a dip after an incredible evening dining or having cocktails (or after you arrive from a long cross-country flight), and you come to find that it closed at 9:30. Two hours ago. It shocks me to see how many “fun” hotels (many of which we are quite fond of) shut their pool down early in the evening. For the Phoenician to make their splendid one available all night to guests, they get high marks from Jetset. 


There are a staggering ten places where one can choose to dine at the Phoenician. They include But I will choose to focus on its two preeminent eateries. Ill Terrazzo is an authentic Italian restaurant that serves hand crafted artisan breads and pastas made right on the property. Ill Terrazzo is as famous for their Sunday brunches as as they are their fine cuisine. For the best dining experience, elect to sit out on the patio in the evening and savor the Sonoran sky while you dine.


The view is also an integral part of the dining experience on the top floor of the hotel at J&G Steakhouse. There large glass windows integrate the views into the decor and create a truly stunning atmosphere, one that few other J&Gs can contend with. Jetset readers know that the J&G name is synonymous with quality cuts of meat and fish, served cooked to perfection, with impeccable service. The location at the Phoenician is no exception. And like Ill Terrazzo, it is a fine option for a special occasion, or a meal any day of the week.


Named “North America’s Leading Golf Resort” by the World Travel Awards, the Phoenician has been ranked among the “Top 75 Golf Resorts in America” by Golf Digest. Designed by Ted Robinson, Sr. and Homer Flint, the Phoenician’s 27-hole championship golf course is a thing of beauty. Contoured in harmony with the surrounding Sonoran Desert, its three, diverse, nine-hole courses create three 18-hole combinations to challenge and entice players. Enjoy over 6,300 yards of extraordinary terrain with gorgeous greens, pristine desert views, breathtaking scenery, and Arizona’s only sand-island green.



The 22,000 square-foot spa at the Phoenician (dubbed the “Centre for Well-Being Spa”) features 24 private treatment rooms, a private consultation room, fitness classes, weight training, a “Waters Bar,” a full-service salon, and a “Meditation Atrium.” During my stay, the therapists were attentive and knowledgable, the decor elegant and relaxing, and the overall vibe tranquil. Available treatments include a 110 minute-Desert Serenity Scrub, Wrap & Massage; Moroccan Retreat for Scalp & Feet; and an 80 minutes-Botanical Radiance Facial.


The Canyon Suites

I saved the best for last, because as incredible as the rooms at the Phoenician are, they don’t compare to what awaits you when you stay at the on-property Canyon Suites. Dubbed greater Phoenix’s only Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond resort, the Canyon Suites are truly a sight to behold. From original artwork to stunning views of the Sonoran desert, the rooms are furnished and designed with meticulous attention to detail. Guests enjoy exclusive access their own private pool as well as priority reservations at all of the Phoenician’s aforementioned venues.

A stay at the boutique, 60-room resort-within-a-resort is truly a transcendent experience. The ambassador service at the resort is exceptionally innovative, attentive, and accommodating, making whatever you desire during your stay in possible. Nestled against majestic Camelback Mountain, each room at the Canyon Suites is a sumptuous marvel, but we particularly love the 3,000 square-foot, three bedroom suites and the show-stopping Presidential Suite. 


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