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Reviewed October 17, 2007

I stayed at Sanctuary 10/12-10/16 in a Mountain Vista Casita- room 258. I booked the reservation via Luxury Link as other reviewers noted in prior posts. The resort was as described - very nice grounds, modern rooms, peaceful, etc. However, my wife and I encountered a number of issues during our stay, some of which were controllable by the property, which led us to be quite disappointed on departure. Let me preface the rest of this post with the following - I expected a five star experience. the reviews and accolades for this resort are very high. its possible that we simply had a bad experience as every hotel isn't perfect. in our opinion, a number of these issues should have been handled differently and for that, we were disappointed. as a result, we would suggest considering other resorts with comparable room prices of $400-$500+/night as the price is not reflective of the service we experienced. that being said, the issues that we felt should have been handled differently included:

-very poor service at the pool both on the weekend and weekdays irregardless of how crowded the pool area was. examples - staff members brought food out but not a fork for a salad, then did not follow up despite a request for one. similarly, they also never followed up on requests for condiments with a hamburger order. other orders were routinely forgotten as well. the water refills were consistent but anything involving food or a different drink was a chore and this was felt by most people that we observed. clearly not a five star experience at the pool!

-elements restaurant. though the restaurant did honor our anniversary with a complimentary dessert, one of our entrees was brought out cold and we were pushed through our meal in record time (possibly b/c we had a prime window seat on saturday night). the service was so quick, it was bad. hard to believe i know, but if you experienced it, you would agree. as others have posted, food is ok. breakfast was average, nothing special. we would definitely recommend going elsewhere as many other better options do exist.

-walls are very thin. we heard the people next door every night and it wasnt because they were loud. the television and regular laughter can easily be heard through the connecting doors. maybe its just that type of room, i dont know, but very irritating to say the least.

-bathtub water issues. my wife wanted to use the tub but the water was not coming out quick enough to fill the tub in a 20 minute span. maintenance came by and responded with... "i'm very busy and the only one working today. we'll send someone out tomorrow." simply an unacceptable response by maintenance.

other issues encountered included a broken A/C (though it was fixed in a few hours) and consistent Wifi issues (resort offers free wifi but it was down for periods during 2 out of 4 days). people available to help knew less than i did about computers at times.

in summary, i focused on the negatives because i felt they're important to know. i read tripadvisor religiously and when i see posts like this, i typically think the person is just too picky. that is not the case with this post. my wife and i usually vacation at five star resorts and as a result have a real basis for comparison. simply ask yourself if you would be irritated with the situations above and if the answer is yes, consider your other options.

Stayed: October 2007
4  Thank NeilCataldi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2007

Every review here is correct in that this is a lovely resort in a stunning setting. My husband and I chose this hotel for our wedding anniversary trip, and fully expected it to be as serene, romantic, and luxurious as everyone said. It lived up to the promise on most counts, but needs much more attention to detail. After a long plane trip, we arrived at 2:30 p.m., only to be told that check-in is 4:00 p.m. This should be stated at the time of reservation. They did not offer a cold beverage or any other type of welcome while we waited. When we finally got into our room (a spa casita), we loved the Asian-influenced decor. The small terrace had a nice view but also overlooked the parking lot. Our large bathroom had a window in the tub area that showcased a pretty cactus, but when I tried to slide the curtain open to enjoy it the hardware popped out of the ceiling because it was so rusted. Whoever repaired it while we were out left muddy footprints on the clean tub. Ick. The safe battery was low, so had to be replaced before we could use it. The liner paper in the drawers was curled and stained and should have been replaced. The room needed paint re-touching. When this was pointed out, we were told that they "need to do some renovations." The closet and dresser drawers were ample, and the bathroom was always refreshed with clean towels and moisturizers, etc. The bed and pillows were ultra-comfortable.

The spa treatments were lovely (if overpriced with gratuity included), and the manicure was especially good (ask for Patti).

Elements, the restaurant on the property, was convenient, but the food was mediocre and the service amateur. When we told our waiter that we didn't really enjoy the main course (overcooked and oversauced fish -- we each ate only half), he never offered anything to compensate... perhaps a small dessert, an espresso, something. But the major detail that we did not like was the constant techno-music that is piped in everywhere around the restaurant and pool area. It is never quiet and serene, even at breakfast! We wanted to listen to birdsong, the breeze in the palm trees, or just quiet, especially in the morning, so had to constantly ask the staff to turn off the music. One of the staff, Roy, was very accommodating in this regard.

With all of that said, I would still recommend this as a desert escape for 4 or 5 days if you like hot, sunny days and cool nights, and a smaller venue. The infinity pool is gorgeous, and the landscaping is beautiful. The staff is mostly friendly. Now if they could just improve the food and lose the muzak.

  • Stayed: October 2007, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank EastSideGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2007

We just returned from a PERFECT stay at Sanctuary. We arrived at the resort early in the morning, and were immediately checked into our Spa Casita Suite. After a brief tour of the grounds, a very friendly bellhop took our bags, and gave us a ride to our "casita" on a golf cart. The grounds were so serene, well maintained, and clean. Our Casita Suite was more than we expected in terms of the size, and ammenities. From the oversized living room and patios, the outdoor tub, and the comforts of home were all there for us. Our four day stay consisted of a basic routine; strenuous workouts during the day...either Pilates, climbing Camelback mountain (A MUST!), going Mountain Bike riding, tennis, biking into Scottsdale, or simlply using the gym. (Mike Schneider, The very comical Austrian tennis pro with his water from the Austrian mountains, and some very friendly people at the gym made our trip all the more memorable!) Our workouts were followed by an AMAZING breakfast on the patio of our casita. Room service was fast, and friendly. We followed our workouts by sitting poolside. What a view, what relaxation...to be able to lay on a raft...with a smootie in hand and stare at the mountains above, pure paradise. The service was great, refills on water constantly...and a friendly staff as well. My husband and I treated ourselves to a treatment each day....mid-afternoon. They were heavenly. The luk pra kop, and seaweed roll were among my faves...my husband truly enjoyed the sports massage. We enjoyed dinner at Elements on our first evening, but ventured into Scottsdale for every other night. City Hall (steak), Frank and Lupe's (authentic Mexican), and Stingray's (sushi) were our choices. One place that looked great that we'll most likely visit next time was Olive and Bean...we happened to walk by on our last night.....great crowd, great atmosphere. I would recommend this resort to anyone looking for a inspirational trip, a mom-daughter get away, couples, girls trip, or simply a solo venture. Sanctuary was amazing....

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Mad3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2007

We stayed in a 1 room casita and it was great. High Def plasma TV was very nice. Large bathtub next to a sliding window that opens into the living room for a perfect view of the TV. Beautiful view at night and day of the city since the resort is up the mountain. Very comfortable bed. The balcony has couches to relax on if the weather is right. My only complaint was a bit of a weird smell when you first walked in but I got used to it really quick. I thought the price for this type of place was very reasonable. It's a good place for a romantic getaway given the tub, the clear shower doors and the candle lighting they supplied.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled as a couple
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Thank JSCANE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2007

We just returned from our stay at Sanctuary Camelback. The hotel is beautiful with great service as well.

The spa is definitely more of a "granola" type healthy spa, and I am definitely more used to a spa geared towards pampering versus promoting a healthy lifestyle, that serves wine and complimentary cheese/chocolates, etc. I had a 30 min. massage which was excellent, accupuncture, and a facial that was to be an hour long treatment that ended up being 45 minutes. The spa does automatically charge a 20% gratuity which is annoying, but when I advised of the shortened facial they immediately changed the gratuity as I requested and later called to advise they would cut price in half.

The pool is very nice, with excellent service provided. You are immediately provided ice water with lemon that is constantly refilled. You are also able to order lunch to enjoy by the pool.

Elements, the restaurant at the hotel, has great service and mediocre food that is overpriced for the quality you get. I would definitely stick to cocktails only at their bar, Jade, and taxi out for meals. Note: We were advised no outside food allowed at the pool area.

Overall, this hotel is excellent for a short romantic getaway. If you're looking for a place to go heavy on the spa treatments for the sake of being pampered, you may want to go to another spa hotel. But to have a few treatments and sit by the pool for a weekend, it's perfect.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank cleolily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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