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“Old Ugly Hotel Dressed up with Tinsle” 1 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
Certificate of Excellence 2014
A TripAdvisor Member
“Old Ugly Hotel Dressed up with Tinsle”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2006

Sanctuary in Paradise Valley looks inredible on the website, spectacular really. Arriving the Valet area and entrance look nice, but on the way to the room, a Mountain Suite, we got worried. The buildings look like a bad 1960's apartment complex, painted an awful beige color, disguised with nice signs on the doors, and lighting. As soon as we got in the room, we called the front desk and told them no way we were paing $700 for this. It was so cheaply done, with off brand TV's and products. Lots of screaming kids around the pool, were no Sanctuary to us. The Restuarant was excellent though, the Menu could have had more options. Heavy Beef emphasis was on the Menu. The male servers were all outstanding, and super accomodating. One female server was [--] and hositle, but once we switched servers, we had a wonderful meal. The Spa was very nice, and the treatments were very good. Most of the resort is an old Country Club, that is ugly and outdated, dressed up with tinsle. Many people who don't travel much, or don't enjoy the finer things in life regularly may be impressed with the window dressing, but deep down, Sanctuary is way overpriced, and overrated. It's not 4 Seasons quality. They say they are, but they are not, it's obvious it was done on the cheap, and decorated rather than renovated fully. Try the Four Seasons in Troon North, about 40 minutes away, or The Royal Palms. We switched to both, and both far surpassed Sanctuary. It is worth maybe $250/night. It's just cheesy, and cheaply done.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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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984 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 (289)
Date | Rating
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English first
San Diego, California
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2006

My husband and I (both in our mid-thirties) just returned from a long weekend at the Sanctuary. We were celebrating our 2nd Anniverssary. We booked the Mountain Casita thru a package that was offered on their website. This included 3 night stay, 4 spa treatments, and breakfast each morning either in room or at Elements. Got a great deal thru the manager of the hotel. This happened after I had been quoted the wrong price from the reservations dept., after making the hotel manager aware of this error, he kindly honored the lower price. I was quite impressed with that gesture.

Sancutary is a modern, quiet, and peaceful retreat. Nice grounds and contemporary decor. Staff was wonderful, courteous and friendly.

Elements Restaurant was wonderful. I would most likely have dinner there again if I lived in the area.

The pool was quite small, unlike the gorgeous pool at the Phoenician. The service at the pool area was great, eventhough the wait staff was sufferring from the intense heat!

The spa treatments were wonderful. But the locker area needs some improvements. Not as luxurious as I had expected.

All in all we were having a great time until the cockroach incident. I hate even writing about it but I feel I should warn others. On the 2nd morning of our stay, I found a large half dead cockroach on the floor by the toilet. I freaked! I didn't know what to do. Didn't want to tell my husband for the fear of him saying that it doesn't pay to stay at expensive hotels. Thinking back, I should of made management aware, but I didn't want to go thru the hassle. To say the least, after that incident, I was so fearful of finding more specially while sleeping! So much for a relaxing experince.

Had this not happened I would most likely recommend this hotel.

Stayed June 2006
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
De Haan, Belgium
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
73 hotel reviews
Reviews in 69 cities Reviews in 69 cities
214 helpful votes 214 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2006

Nestled on the northern slope of Camelback mountain on the quiet McDowell road is a splendid hotel. It is just a few minutes away from downtown Scottsdale with its many art galleries and fashion square.
Service is good, all staff members tried to meet our wishes as much as possible. For example, the continental breakfast that we preferred consisted just of three kinds of bread (banana, carrot and one more kind of bread) and a cereal besides coffee or tea and juice. We asked to change it and the next morning we had a different, more tasteful breakfast.
We preferred breakfast on the terrace in front of the Elements restaurant, just above the pool instead of on the patio on the east side of the Elements because the smell of the chimney of the kitchen could spoil a great start of our day.
The infinity pool can be crowded on weekends. However, there is an escape, a lap pool at the spa and gym.
One recommendation: we enjoyed dinner at the L'ecole of the scottsdale culinary institute at the crossroad of East Camelback Road and Hayden Road. The student-chefs prepared a tempting dinner that we could savour and that kept all its taste.

  • Stayed April 2006
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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 May 12, 2006

WeI just returned from a relaxing vacation at Sanctuary. From the moment we checked in, we were surrounded in a peaceful atmosphere (love the cell phone-free pool area!!!) and gorgeous mountain scenery. Sanctuary is conveniently located adjacent to the hotels and shopping of the Scottsdale mecca, but you are worlds away from all that traffic and hustle/bustle. (about a five minute drive to restaurants and shopping)

We had a mountain view casita that was so comfortably appointed and with a view of Camelback mountain and the praying monk. The turn down service can't be beat. I don't want to ruin the surprise of what awaits you when you return from dinner...but it instantly puts you in a relaxed state. The food at elements restaurant is delicious and I recommend you at least have a signature drink at the bar for the scenery from the restaurant.

The spa is top notch. I recommend the lemongrass massage. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. A great place to read and relax and sun by the pool. But if you arelloking for night life and lots of activity....go to any of the hotels on Scottsdale Blvd. This place is a getaway for those who need to detox from the world!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Providence, Rhode Island
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2006

My Husband and I recently returned from the Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain. Although we were only there for 3 nights, I felt like I relaxed for a month.....wow! We booked a Spa Casita - which I would definitely recommend. Every day we were given an assortment of Fresh body products in our room! The Spa Casitas are close to everything, yet still make you feel as if you have the resort to yourself. I think the resort was fully booked, but it was never crowded or noisy (except for the bar on a Friday night of course).

Both my Husband and I booked spa treatments - I had a facial and the bamboo lemongrass body scrub and massage. My Husband had the hot stone massage. All treatments were amazing! The facial was the best I have ever had, and included more than I could have imagined (Joy was my esthetician). From the moment you enter the spa area you feel totally relaxed. You change into a luxurious robe and slippers, the attendant offers you lemon-infused ice water or tea, and you sit by the meditation pool and wait for your treatment. In addition to amazing treatment rooms, there is a soaking pool, a steam room, showers, etc...The only drawback is that the men and women are completely separated, so you cannot enjoy the spa with your significant other (unless you pay to book the Couples Suite).

We also endulged in room service every morning. The food and service was great. I definitely recommend the breakfast parfait and sunrise smoothie to get your day started. We were also treated to fabulous poolside service all day at the infinity pool. The pool area itself is great - it just gets really crowded on the weekends though. Regardless, the large pool and great service made up for the weekend crowd. Plus, I really didn't care who else was around - I was on vacation!

We also utilized the concierge service. April Moore was particularly helpful, and booked us reservations at Arcadia Farms, where we had a fabulous lunch on their patio.

All in all, the Sanctuary gets a perfect 10 in my book. We hope to return again next year!

  • Stayed April 2006
    • 3 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.
New York City, New York
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2006

My family recently stayed at the Sanctuary for a long weekend and we are looking forward to returning for an extended stay soon. In the past, I've stayed at the Phoenician, Biltmore and Ritz Carlton in the Phoenix / Scottsdale area but liked the Sanctuary best for its friendly service, stunning views and laid back southwestern vibe. elements restaurant is superb for casual new american dining and the deck of the jade bar was a popular spot for entertaining our local paradise valley friends.

the best things about the sanctuary are its spectacular setting and intimate feel. nestled in the foothills of the camelback mountain in paradise valley, the resort exudes tranquility. although the resort was full, we didn't feel overwhelmed by crowds anywhere (in fact, we barely bumped into anyone outside of the restaurant or pool). however, the resort has all the amenities you would expect of a full service resort (spa, fitness, restaurants, 24-hour room service, high speed internet, etc). the rooms are spacious and well appointed without being overly "kitsch-y" -- comfortable rather than uptight. votive candles in almost every room were lit during turndown service -- a nice touch. our suite was an excellent value and perfect for families (the kitchen was small but functional). the hotel's amenities for our infant were excellent: they provided a crib, high-quality linens that rivaled the ones on our king bed, a soft baby blanket, a stuffed animal and a baby bathtub & bathwash.

downsides: everything is a bit "rustic" ... definitely in keeping with the theme of the place, but you may be disappointed if you're expecting the "richness" you'd find at the four seasons in new york (for example, the threadcounts of the comforter covers and draperies, marble in the bathrooms, carpeting, etc.) however, the bedding itself was very nice. the bathrooms are good, not great. our suite had a large shower with two heads but the water pressure for the "rain fall" shower was so low we didn't bother using it. there was no bathtub, which was fine for us but an amenity others may expect. the sanctuary does not have its own golf course (again, would you expect to find one in the desert?) but there are several very nearby. finally, the "intimate" pool area felt a bit crowded during peak lounging times.

next time, i plan to hit the spa, which i've heard is very good.

  • Stayed April 2006
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Nashville, TN
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2006

I will start by saying that this was the fourth year in a row that we have stayed at the Sanctuary. Obviously, we have always been happy. But this year's stay was the best yet. I think the staff is finally getting the level of service just "right" for a top line resort.

The greatest attribute of the Sanctuary is its location. The mountainside views are stunning. Most of the mountain casita suites have fantastic views. If you don't like the view of your room, ask for another. Another strong point: the resort is very, very quiet and private. We rarely even run into other guests (one on this trip was baseball star Derek Jeter). If you are looking for seclusion and quiet, this is a great place to stay. I have stayed at the Phoenician, for example, and the Sanctuary is FAR better if peace and quiet is what you are looking for.

On my last three visits I had found the service generally good, but a little uneven for a resort charging $500+ a night. On this trip, however, there was a noticeable improvement in the quality of service. I think the management must be emphasizing service as there were no petty annoyances.

This resort is also in an excellent location. The Four Seasons--also a lovely property--is basically in the middle of nowhere, requiring a 30 minute drive go shopping, out to dinner, etc. The Sanctuary is just five to ten minutes away from all the major Scottsdale stores and restaurants.

In case you can't tell, I'm already looking forward to next year's trip to the Sanctuary!

  • Stayed March 2006
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
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
Amenities:
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 Luxury Hotel in Paradise Valley
#2 Family Hotel in Paradise Valley
#2 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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