Perhaps the problem was that we expected too much. There are now many resorts in the Phoenix area but the Sanctuary remains one of the priciest and purports to be one of the finest. Based on our experience, at least, it fell far short and provided an experience more in line with what one would expect at a solid three-star hotel.
By far the most disappointing part of our visit was the large construction project going on at the pool. Our principal reason for the getaway was to spend some time relaxing at the pool and enjoying the views of Mummy Mountain. We were therefore quite disappointed to see construction workers milling around the pool area working with mortar and brick, talking loudly, etc. One even spit loudly as we were coming around the corner. Gross. Though one of them assured us that the pool was "open," who wants to hang out poolside with a bunch of guys laying cement? We felt the resort should have said something about this when we made the reservation or at least when we checked in as we likely would have made other arrangements. (This problem was compounded by the fact that the small pools assigned to each cluster of rooms are dingy and look like something from a Motel 6, or at least ours did, meaning that pools were really not an option during our stay.)
Since pools were not an option, we decided to have a drink on the deck outside the restaurant overlooking Mummy Mountain. We entered through the restaurant and asked the hostess if we could sit outside. She said yes and that someone would be out to take our order. 15 minutes later, nobody had come, so I went to ask what was up. Someone will be there soon, they said. 10 minutes later we decided to find a menu on our phones and figure out what we wanted, at which point I got up again and simply asked a passing waiter to take my order. Only after that (and another 15 minutes) did the woman who was supposedly covering the deck bring our drinks---45 minutes after we had arrived. Needless to say, we went elsewhere for dinner.
Upon our return after dinner, someone had apparently "turned down" the room. It was strange, though, because all that appeared to have happened was someone closed the blinds and left behind a large bottle of spray cleaner in the tub. They left the bed in the same messy condition we had left it in. The next morning was similarly off, with the morning newspaper never arriving, and the front-desk person who checked us out never even inquiring how our stay had been. These final things (the turn down, the paper, etc) were obviously minor on their own, but compounded our disappointment in the overall experience.
In short, the Sanctuary experience does not live up to their pricing or pretense to be a five-star resort. It is a perfectly adequate hotel, just not what it purports to be. You are better off spending less and staying at the Biltmore, the Phoenician, or even the Saguaro, where you will have a comparable (if not better) experience for a more reasonable price.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover your sanctuary at the best Arizona resort...a luxury boutique hideaway on Camelback Mountain. Overlooking the spectacular views of Paradise Valley, relax in a mountainside or spa casita. Retreat to Sanctuary Spa for Asian-inspired treatments and exhilarating classes. Taste the award-winning cuisine of elements' by Food Network star Chef Beau MacMillan. Savor the sunset at jade bar or on edge, raising the bar for happy hour. Play tennis or hike in a fabulous setting, lounge by the infinity-edge pool, or indulge in Scottsdale's hottest shopping, cultural attractions and championship golf just minutes away. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Hotel Paradise Valley
- Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Paradise Valley