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“A great retreat near the heart of Phoenix, a little rough on some of the edges” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Clarendon Hotel and Spa

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The Clarendon Hotel and Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   401 West Clarendon Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #13 of 175 Hotels in Phoenix
San Diego, CA
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“A great retreat near the heart of Phoenix, a little rough on some of the edges”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2012

The Clarendon Hotel is a revitalized property near the heart of Phoenix that has a lot of great things going for it, and other things are not so great. I'll start with the walk up. The property doesn't look like much from the outside, it's kinda sandwiched in a business district mixed with apartments. There's not a lot of stuff you can walk to from the hotel, although the light rail station is only a couple blocks away so it's pretty easy to catch the train. Once you enter, however, you are greeted with cool lounge music, chic decor, and delightful smells of fresh mexican food, and aromatherapy scents in the lounge area. The front desk staff promptly helped me, and were courteous. Unfortunately, there was a bit of confusion on my reservation, I had booked 1 night and then went back to change it to 2 nights, and it made a second reservation, so when I checked in they had to cancel the other reservation. Unfortunately, my credit card was charged for the other reservation, but I emailed the manager when I got my statement, and he promptly credited the full amount back to my card, so kudos to them for taking care of the problem.

We had a standard room, which was spacious and roomy. The decor in the room is very modern and hip. Unfortunately, all the chocolate black they used for their furnishings needs a little help, a lot of the black is chipping off and shows a lot of signs of wear. I guess that's the difference between Ikea quality furniture and Pottery Barn. I'm not saying they got their furniture from IKEA, but it definitely felt cheap. In addition, the towels were a little worn, as mentioned by other reviewers, but none of my towels had holes in them or anything like other people mentioned. I'm also going to second the reviewers who complained about the air freshener in the room, it was far too over powering and I immediately unplugged it upon entering my room. I left it unplugged the rest of the time. The scent they use in it is not very pleasant or neutral, it does smell like an air freshener rather then a pleasant aromatherapy oil. If you don't like it, you could just call ahead to the hotel and ask them to unplug it for you... Or put it in the notes on your reservation.

The room had a wine fridge in it, a nice touch for us to keep our adult beverages chilled and ready to drink. We also kept the ice bucket in the fridge and it didn't melt too fast. Unfortunately, you do have to go to the front desk down stairs to ask for ice. I'm not sure why they can't just put an ice machine on each floor. Never the less, I did enjoy getting a complimentary snack from the front desk while asking for ice.. The selection is, pretty much, of vending machine quality, i.e. snickers, 3 musketeers, dorritos, etc.

The bed was extremely comfortable and I did get a good nights sleep on it. As other reviewers have mentioned, this is an ADULT hotel, meaning that you will find people coming back from the bar late at night and making room room out in the court yard and the hallway areas. I was awakened a few times by that, but it wasn't nearly as bad as some other reviewers mentioned. I was on the 2nd floor facing the pool on one side of my room and the street on the other side. Most of the noise was just coming from people walking back to their room from the bar, you know how people are when they're drunk, they don't realize there are other people who may be trying to sleep.

For the life of me, I do not understand why other reviewers complained about the AC. I had no problems getting the AC to work in my room, in fact it was already on when I checked in. Then again, I'm a techie guy, so I guess figuring out how to operate the remote for the AC was second nature to me. On the other hand, they do include very detailed instructions in the room for those who can't figure it out.

The pool and hot tub facilities are amazing, very relaxing, and lit up very nicely at night with color changing mood lighting. I really enjoyed soaking in the huge jacuzzi after a long hard day running around Phoenix. I didn't spend nearly as much time as I wanted by the pool, but definitely would if I come back again.

The on-site Mexican restaurant is AMAZING. You'll quickly notice that a LOT of the locals come here for some of the best Mexican food in town. They cook a lot of their meat over a charcoal BBQ pit, which gives the meat a nice smokey flavor that you will quickly become addicted to. It was so good, we ate there 2 nights in a row, and I usually don't eat a hotel restaurants!

Overall, the Clarendon is a nice boutique hotel, if you're planning on spending some time relaxing at the hotel this is a great place to do so. The roof top balcony is really nice too and has great views of the Phoenix sky line. If you're looking for a traditional hotel, this is not the place for you. If you have kids this is also not the place. I would definitely come back again if I happen to be in Phoenix.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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873 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (186)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2012

I can’t say enough nice things about this hotel. The service is attentive; the rooms are spacious, modern and clean (great bed and nice bathroom). The always buzzing restaurant on the first floor serves tasty Mexican food and great margaritas. The reason for my visit was a trip to the Grand Canyon. I was looking for a relaxed but vibrant place and this hotel was perfect. Upon arrival at Phoenix airport I was told about the light rail. After a short ride on the shuttle bus, there is the tram that takes you through downtown Phoenix and has a stop three blocks away from the hotel. It takes more time than a taxi, but also only costs $1.70.

From the hotel it’s a 3.5hr drive to the Canyon, easy to do in a day. I read about the pool not being all that in a previous review, so I was hesitant to check it out (and be disappointed). The pool and rooftop looked just fine to me and I loved the background music provided in various communal places.

If you are looking for a well priced and vibrant place, this is it. I would stay here again in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2012

This is my second stay here. I love the modern look of the hotel and rooms. Complimentary bottled water. Nice outdoor pool. Friendly staff. Trendy and happy atmosphere. Staff friendly and helpful. Soft music playing in hotel room upon arrival. Keurig coffee.

I think the place is great.

  • Stayed July 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Chandler, Arizona
Top Contributor
123 reviews 123 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2012

What can I say about a hotel I never knew existed until I went there because my son was in a nearby hospital and traveling from home everyday was too long a trip.

First - the price was great. I stayed six days.

Second - the bed or maybe it was the pillows. I am not sure because both were nothing short of awesome!

Take it from someone who was so stressed out that sleeping was near impossible the bed and those incredibly pliable fluffy pillows made slipping into bed feel like sleeping on a cloud. Seriously I want them in my house.

Although I did not use the pool or spa they really looked inviting and under different circumstances I would love to try them.

The place gives you four free bottles of water daily, a Keurig machine in every room for coffee with the coffee creamers and sugar. They offer Philosophy products in their baths and provide two spa robes in every room.

The decor is eclectic which I absolutely love and there is a Mexican restaurant on site that people have told me is quite good so I hope to try it tonight or tomorrow.

Staff are quirky - another positive but attentive and nice.

I live in Arizona but this is one of those places I can go to relax and enjoy a wonderful staycation.

Thumbs up for sure!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Owner at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, July 14, 2012
Thank you so much for your comments... we try to keep our prices at 25%-50% below our closest competitor, which is the Kimpton Palomar Downtown Phoenix, while still giving a great experience.

I appreciate the comments on the beds, it's something that we hear dozens of times a day. When I bought the hotel I splurged and spent about 300% more than I should have on the beds, but in the long run the investment has really paid off!

Again, I'm glad you enjoyed our quirkiness - we don't claim to be the newest or most modern building, but we try to make up for it with our beds, our rooftop, our pool, and our service, all at a great value. Plus, we're locally owned and operated, and I really do care about the community, the reason I bought the hotel was to show everyone that Phoenix doesn't have to be a city full of chains and franchises.

Thank you!
Ben Bethel
Owner and General Manager
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Phoenix, Arizona
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2012

We felt this was a 2 star hotel with a 5 star website. Pool was not what was pictured on web and instead was filled with bugs and chaise lounges had old, used towels on them with tables filled with old food from previous swimmers. Tub was chipped, paint peeling off walls. Not at all what was portrayed on the website. We checked out after 2 hrs. Extremely disappointed.

Room Tip: go to a different hotel
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
, Owner at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, July 14, 2012
Pauline - oh no! I'm sorry for your experience, and I'd love the opportunity to respond to your review.

The pool on the web is the same pool, and the pictures on the web were taken with my digital camera, not even a professional digital camera, and I'm not a professional photographer. While the 7 vertical fountains still work wonderfully, we had to turn off the 12 fountains that spray in an arc. Both adults and children alike (but mostly barely supervised children - hehe) would purposely stand on the fountains and flood them. We spent $24,000 on these 12 fountains alone, and we are trying to child-proof them so that they cannot be tampered with, because they really are beautiful.

The chaise lounges have terry-cloth covers on them, and they're washed frequently, but that will be a problem of the past soon, as we've ordered new chaise lounges. I do wish that guests would understand that some of these lounge chairs cost $700/ea before sitting on them without towels, or standing on them, etc., etc.

With the tub being chipped and paint peeling from walls, I'll personally walk all of the rooms when I get back to the hotel next week - rooms have recently been painted and almost all of the tubs re-glazed, so that does concern me.

When I bought the hotel in 2004, my goal was to give guests an experience different than what they'd normally find elsewhere - after all, the true essence of travel is to experience things that you would not experience at home, right? Otherwise, why bother traveling if you're staying at hotels you have at home and eating at restaurants you have at home? I also wanted to create something that the community would be proud of having... in your case, we failed, and I'm sorry for that. I've taken this review as a positive lesson, we have already ordered new pool furnishings (months ago, but we're still waiting for them to come in), and I'm going to walk those rooms and check the paint/tubs.

Sincerely,
Ben Bethel
Owner/General Manager
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Indianapolis, IN
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

My wife and I stayed at The Clarendon for several days after Christmas 2012. My wife did all of the research and booked it for us so I knew little about it until we pulled up to the front of the hotel.

At first glance, I thought OMG, really? I did not know what to expect. I was quickly won over and simply blown away by how nice everything was, from the hotel clerk check in process all the way through checkout several days later.

This an entirely redone hotel/motel from the late 60's or early 70's, but the owner transformed it into an amazing getaway. The rooms were very swanky with a great artsy appeal. The mattress was PERFECT! The pillows were AMAZINGLY COMFORTABLE! The stereo alarm clock had an iPod dock built in. There was a Kuerig coffee machine in the room with several tasty varieties of coffee to choose from. The shower was AMAZING! There were two plush white robes in the room which we used at the pool-width hot tub the following morning, which is located next to a cascading waterfall in the courtyard... you MUST look at the pictures. I can do no justice with words to describe how much we were blown away by this place. It is a GREAT couples getaway retreat!

The restaurant on the first floor had great service and the food was amazing and priced nicely. The bar off the lobby makes the world's best margaritas made from 100% fresh ingredients, including the hand squeezed lime juice.

Every single person working in the hotel was sincerely nice! We met the owner's mom who was visiting from Michigan and the owner and we had several conversations with each of them during our stay. They made both of us feel like a truly pampered guests.

I would stay here again for our next visit. The ONLY downside is that you are outside but near downtown, so it helps if you have a rental car with you. It was a short drive to Scottsdale and there is plenty do do for entertainment in the area.

Room Tip: Definitely get a room on an upper floor that faces the courtyard/pool area.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
, Owner at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, July 14, 2012
Hello - thank you for the wonderful review... we love it when guests "get it" and understand that we're not your run-of-the-mill hotel! While we're an older building, we try to provide all of the amenities and comforts of higher end hotels at a fraction of the cost, so you'll have plenty of leftover money to go drink, dine, and shop your heart out!

Again, I do appreciate the review... thank you!!!

Sincerely,
Ben Bethel
Owner/General Manager
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Seattle
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2012 via mobile

This is one time the reviews have not let me down. This place is awesome. I never want to leave. The pool area is awesome. It is a salt water pool/hot tub. They have music under the water and a different playlist above. They bring out otter pops and water periodically. After 9 there are free candy bars at the front desk. Everyone who works here is incredibly nice and helpful. I was working out and a worker unprompted brought me a cold bottle of water. The rooms have keurig coffee and bottled water is free. There is a rooftop area where you can hang out. They have luxurious pool towels. The onsite restaurant is incredibly delicious. Also nearby are other places suitable for kids and a safeway. I can't wait to come back and stay here again.

  • Stayed July 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Owner at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, July 14, 2012
Thank you for your great review... I love that my staff did the "little things" that are so important to me.... bringing out the otter pops and water to the pool, bringing water to you while you work out, etc., etc... and that you recognize that we don't try to sell you a $12 jar of stale macadamia nuts - instead we give you FREE snacks just for visiting us at the front desk!

Again, I do appreciate the review... thank you!!!

Sincerely,
Ben Bethel
Owner/General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Clarendon Hotel and Spa

Address: 401 West Clarendon Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013
Location: United States > Arizona > Central Arizona > Phoenix
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Phoenix
#5 Luxury Hotel in Phoenix
#13 Romantic Hotel in Phoenix
#19 Family Hotel in Phoenix
#51 Business Hotel in Phoenix
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Clarendon Hotel and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 105
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Clarendon Hotel and Spa is located in the heart of Phoenix, close to the convention center, museums, parks, shopping, theaters, sports venues and concert halls. Walking distance to two Metro rail stations - $4 for a 24 hour pass, the system runs 24 hours (except 1am to 4am Monday through Thursday) and provides direct access to the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport SkyTrain. Full service spa on site. El Techo, our gorgeous rooftop SkyDeck overlooking the city skyline and surrounding mountain ranges, and the Oasis pool area with heated pool and jacuzzi and the world's largest outdoor water wall. Cafe Tranquilo, featuring Mexican/Latin cuisine, operated by Executive Chef Dan Maldonado, one of only 3 chefs in Arizona to attain a Zagat score of 29/30. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Clarendon Hotel Phoenix

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