We booked our trip to The Boulders without really knowing what we were getting into. We wanted to go away for 5 days for a baby moon, but being 7 months pregnant, didn't want to fly more than 5-6 hours from NY. Another factor was cost, as a new baby sucks your wallet dry even before birth as many of you probably already know! So armed with Hilton Honors points and United Airline vouchers, we booked The Boulders. We never heard of Carefree and never been to AZ so it was a gamble, but we figured - at least it will be warm!
We arrived at the hotel with no issues, and were greeted warmly by reception. Our room wasn't quite ready so we had lunch in the Discovery Lounge in the main lodge. It was delicious! Then we were carted (in a golf cart) off to our room. We were in a casita on the 5th hole, pretty far from the main lodge, but nice and quiet. This brings me to my next point: the hotel is VERY spread out. On the one hand, it's nice because you feel like you're a part of the natural scenery, and even if the property is full, you never feel like you're bumping into too many people. However, it does make getting around a little exhausting (especially at 7 months pregnant in the desert!). The staff say that it takes 4 minutes to walk from the lodge to almost everywhere, but that simply isn't true, at least for us. What is nice is that they have bell service which is pretty much like a golf cart taxi service that is free of charge and will pick you up within minutes and take you wherever you need to go on hotel grounds. We tried to be good about walking for the first half of the trip but by the end we were taking golf carts everywhere.
Dining wise there are quite a few options on hotel grounds. We really enjoyed The Spotted Donkey which is in a mall that is just off 'campus' but a golf cart will take you there. We also had a great meal at The Grill/Bogeys which is in the Golf Club and a little fancier. For lunch and breakfast we switched between the restaurant in the Lodge and the Spa most days. It's all a bit pricey but I guess that's normal for hotel fare. We had lots of recommendations for great restaurants outside the hotel, but most of the time we got too lazy to get the car and drive out.
Over the 5 days we spent most of our time at the Spa pool. It is beautiful warm, and there is a delicious menu to order from. We also had treatments at the Spa itself which were divine. The amenities are so nice.
One day was spent driving up to Grand Canyon and Sedona. We had asked 3 different people how long it would take to get to Grand Canyon and the responses we got varied from 2 hours to 4.5 hours. It took us 3 hours almost exactly. It wasn’t bad at all. We split the drive back by stopping in Sedona which was beautiful. We were so glad we were able to fit Grand Canyon and Sedona in, especially since we had never been to either.
All in all, our stay at The Boulders was great. We wish we could have stayed longer. We’re already trying to plan a group trip here with friends and family (my husband is thinking golf trip while I’m thinking spa trip but it has both so no arguments from either side)!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Escape to a secluded haven amid the natural splendor of painted desert sand, towering cacti, and clear, blue sky - The Boulders. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Boulders, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel Carefree
- The Waldorf Astoria Collection Carefree
- The Boulders Resort And Golden Door Spa
- Boulders Resort
- The Boulders Resort Luxury
- Boulder Arizona