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“a true sanctuary” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sanctuary Camelback Mountain

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Sanctuary Camelback Mountain
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   5700 E McDonald Dr., Paradise Valley, AZ 85253   |  
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Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Paradise Valley
Los Angeles, CA
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“a true sanctuary”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2005

We stayed at the Sanctuary on our way up to Sedona and to Grand Canyons. And did we ever make a great choice. Our room was one of the Spa casita suites which had a great view as well as an outdoor bath tub. I'm not sure about the other mountain casita rooms but they did look a little old on the outside and I'm thinking some negative reviews could have been because of this. I guess your experience may change drastically depending what type of room you get. Room service was prompt and food (from elements restaurant) was exquisite to say the least. Staff was courteous to us and my 7-year old son, even he did not want to leave. Our experience was 5 star all the way but if there were any improvements they can make, it could be training the staff to be smiling more. Otherwise, almost perfect. We'll definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed December 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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913 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (270)
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English first
San Diego, CA
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2005

We were looking for a Christmas get-a-way at a resort with a fireplace and warm weather....Sanctuary was a good fit so we booked a Mountain Casita Suite that we just renovated. We stayed three days and enjoyed our stay but not without some hiccups. From a service standpoint, I would give an an A however I must give it only a B rating due to several problems we had. The DVD player didn't work and it took several calls to get it fixed as the staff was "sent to the wrong room" and then when someone did come, they said this rooms was brand new and wasn't sure how to fix it. So in the end they moved the DVD player to the bedroom and it wasn't the best place as it kept falling off the TV. We had to call several times for some repairs on other items as well. We also received a call early on our second morning with a request to have the "contractor" come in and do some "measurements" on the room. Over the three day period, we had staff coming into the rooms several times a day which really interruped the "peace" we were in search of. The resort is very quiet which was nice. It's a few miles from any commercial business so be ready to order room service often or else you need to get dressed for the restaurant or a trip into town. The food was excellent and room service was generally fast. We had made reservations in the spa for several treatments, and on our arrival at the spa we discovered that our booked treatments were none like we we requested, nor at the times we requested, and the staff only said "we don't understand what happened but we see there is a problem". They did the best they could to resolve but still would have preferred no hassle. We rented the "Sanctum", which is a private couples area in the spa but didn't feel it was worth it. There was no fireplace there as they advertised, only a heater. The jacuzzi was so hot we couldn't go into it. The spa treatments were good except for the pedicures we received which I would give it an "F" as it was near lousy. Back in our room, we couldn't use the fireplace as the smoke was so thick in the room it was unbearable. Maintenance advised we could open the windows and it would help....but we would rather have a functional fireplace that worked. The bed was incredibly comfortable, even better than Westin's "Heavenly Bed". The shower leaked water into the floor due to faulty door seal, and created large puddles in the small bathroom.

It was Christmas however we didn't feel it was right to provide limits on houskeeping service while staying there to accomodate staff schedule. We didn't receive a discount for this and felt limits on service should not be imposed, even though it wasn't too inconvenient.

The Christmas morning breakfast was served in a banquet room and was $25/person plus taxes and automatic gratuity. There were only three hotel items on the buffet, and the eggs that were cooked to order we never did get them as the chef kept breaking the eggs and finally we said to forget the eggs as we were already finished eating the few items on the buffet wihout any eggs yet to be delivered. And we were the ONLY table in the entire room...service was very poor if not awful, and to auto-gratuity the check was not a good option but we had no choice.

Perhaps due to the holidays, our service was not as good as during other times. But some of the problems we experienced we didn't feel was worth the over $2k we paid for three days inclusive of our food/beverage/spa service. We were "slightly" dissapointed.

On a good note, we would consider returning but not during a holiday with unexpected and mutitudes of problems we experienced. Views were awesome. Room cleanliness was ok. Functionality of the rooms was poor due to all the problems (some I have not mentioned). Very quiet and peaceful. Spa was dissapointing. Our billing for the spa was a disaster as it was all incorrect and ended up being charged much more for fewer services than we originally booked. Comfort of the room I would give a big thumbs up due to the bed. Location was great except a little off the beaten path.

All in all, we would recommend this resort, but would catuion room conditions on the other "non-renovated" rooms. Considering our rate was over $400/night, we might choose an alternate nearby resort that is newer with similar rates.

  • Stayed December 2005
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2005

I was a bit nervous about the Sanctuary after some of the negative reviews on tripadvisor....but the resort exceeded my expectations in every way.

i travel extensively for business and have stayed in many more hotels than i would like to...and a few very nice resorts....and this was the best service, room, room service, bed etc then i have enjoyed.

if you go, stay in the spa casita, they are wonderful. large, great patio's, great private outdoor bathtub, dvd, speakers in every room, great design and comfort. the only negative is they need to have the dvd player in the bedroom. they have a tv, but the dvd is in the "living room".

the room service was excellent...everyone on the staff did everything to make our stay pleasant. they even found me a copy of the new york times on Sunday morning.

the concierge arranged for flowers for my signifcant other at the last minute and they were wonderful.

i could go on and on.

finally, if you go, you have to eat at elements (the onsite restaurant)...the food is excellent...one of the best in phoenix (and i live here)....try the spare ribs!

yes the sanctuary is expensive...but worth every penny....it really is a sanctuary.

  • Stayed October 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2005

We were quite pleased with our stay. The Sanctuary provides you with a great room, a quiet environment, and great facilities if you are looking to unwind. We spent 4 days there, and the staff was friendly and provided excellent service. We have not stayed at other resorts in the area, however found everything we were looking for at the resort. The Spa treatments were first class, and the gym had modern equipment. We look forward to a return visit.

Stayed October 2005
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canton, MI
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2005

My husband and I visited The Sanctuary for three nights over Labor Day 2005. This was our first trip away from our eight month old and we were ready to relax and sleep in! The resort is only nine easy miles from Sky Harbor airport. Beautiful location with views of Mummy Mountain and Camelback Mountain. When we arrived after a long day of travelling from Michigan we checked in about two hours early. We had originally booked a spa suite way back in January of 2005 (recommended by other visitors over the Mountain view suites) but were told when we checked in that we were upgraded to Casa II. We had no idea what was in store for us! We followed a bellboy in a golf cart to Casa II and were let into a private residence that was a total dream house! It was three bedrooms, four full bathrooms, two kitchens, a sauna, laundry room with washer and dryer, 2 car attached garage, walk in closets, BBQ, sunken living room with giant stone fireplace, separate family room with a big screen TV, five televisions, a "sun room", unobstructed views of Mummy Mountain, our own PRIVATE POOL and PRIVATE TENNIS COURT!! It was unbelievable! Probably 2500 sq ft. I've attached a picture of Casa II to this review. We never even went to the main pool since we could just jump right into our private pool whenever we wanted! We had booked spa appointments which were wonderful. My husband had a Lemongrass Ginger massage and a Sports massage. I had a facial, a Swedish massage and a hot stone massage. The spa is very small and doesn't offer much which was disappointing since we had been to the Willowstream Spa at the Fairmont in Scottsdale the year before. The Willowstream is the ultimate when it comes to spa-ing!! However, the treatments at the Sanctuary were wonderful, the grounds are well maintained, the staff is friendly, the food at Elements is good and the surroundings are quiet and peaceful. If you are looking for a large resort with lots going on this is not the place for you. This resort does not have a "main" building but all out buildings. It is a bit older than the other resorts in the area and you can tell by the outside of the buildings. If this is your first trip to the area and your first taste of spa-ing it is a good start. I doubt we will return to the Sanctuary since there are so many other resorts in the area. I hope to stay at The Phoenician or the Marriott Camelback the next time we are in the area.

  • Stayed September 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2005

This was my second stay, having spent 2 days with my girlfriends celebrating our birthdays last February. After that experience I wanted to bring my husband there for our anniversary and we've just returned home after spending 3 days. The weather was 112 when we arrived and after checkin we were transported to our room in a golf-type cart, but first given 2 bottles of chilled water. We stayed in a spa room which was lovely; nice sitting area, good size balcony, surround sound, complimentary DVD's, lovely bathroom. The inroom coffee was excellent and the 12 cup Krupps coffee maker a wonderful surprise. The onsite restaurant, Elements, was incredible. My husband and I live in the SF area, eat out alot, and can be very critical. Everything we had, breakfast, lunch and dinner, was fantastic. All the employees were amazing; friendly, helpful and genuinely nice people. We both had massages and facials and although more expensive than most, we agreed could not have been better, both in ambiance, technique and products used. Our first day at the pool we had barely gotten comforable on our lounges and a waiter was there with two icewaters. Although we ordered cocktails,etc. during the afternoon the staff continued to refill our icewater without being asked. On checkout my husband was asked if there was anything that could have been done to make our stay better. There was absolutely nothing. It was perfect from beginning to end.

  • Stayed August 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paradise Valley, Arizona
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
127 helpful votes 127 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2005

We have stayed now at all the nice hotels in Scottsdale and surrounding area , having lived here in the Valley for 30 years. I had been really anticipating this stay and was a little dissapointed. The room was nothing special with white brick walls. It is a very old place that they have really tryed to spiff it up with nice decor in the room . But the actual place is in need of a serious facelift .As well as mentioned the AC made loud noises through the night making it difficult to sleep. The spa services were UNBELIEVABLE!!! But the facility was small and nothing to be excited or relaxed by. Try the Therapuetic sports massage or the Thai table massage. This made up for the room (maybe a little). As well as the main pool area with the negative edge pool. That too was very nice and relaxing while taking in the nice view from there. Although the rooms have NO view!!! I would much rather be on the otherside of the maontain at The Phoenician...or if you like the feel of small boutique nice places I would pick The Royal palms over this place. I would still come to see the restaurant or have a cocktail in the jade bar....while snacking on the greatest dessert ever....The penut butter decadence.

  • Stayed August 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sanctuary Camelback Mountain

Address: 5700 E McDonald Dr., Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Arizona > Central Arizona > Paradise Valley
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Paradise Valley
#1 Spa Hotel in Paradise Valley
#1 Luxury Hotel in Paradise Valley
#3 Family Hotel in Paradise Valley
#3 Romantic Hotel in Paradise Valley
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sanctuary Camelback Mountain 5*
Number of rooms: 105
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 
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Also Known As:
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Hotel Paradise Valley
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Paradise Valley

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