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“Amazing Tranquility with Royal Service and Out-of-this-World Food”

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Sanctuary Camelback Mountain
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Paradise Valley
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 30, 2010

My wife and I just got back from this Amazing Place. I am not going to bore you with description of the rooms, amenities, or directions to the pool. I’ll try to provide useful information to my fellow readers, so that it might be used in experiencing a perfect trip. When we landed at the Phoenix International, we had two options: A cab for $25 or a stretched limo for $55. We went with the latter. It was my birthday, so we went “all out.” Nothing beats arriving at the 5 Star Resort with style! The moment we walked up to the front desk, the employee greeted us by my last name, without me ever saying a word of who we were to anyone. Five seconds later, I had a Happy Birthday Card, signed by the manager in my hand. I did mention that we would be celebrating my birthday upon reserving the room a week prior to our trip. That certainly made my day. Also, we mentioned that one of the main reasons for our visit is to sample amazing dishes prepared by world-renowned chef Beau MacMillan. Read his bio on the “Food Network” site and you will understand. The guy cooked for Presidents for crying out loud. Here is the link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/biography-beau-macmillan/index.html. Another five seconds later he came out of the kitchen to meet us, shook our hands and was very sincere and down to earth. How often do you meet celebrity chefs that come out just to greet you and thank you for choosing the resort? That certainly made my day, twice! Right then and there we booked Spa treatments over the phone. I wanted the couples massage and was told that the only time available would be in 30 minutes of our arrival. I agreed. We were rushed to our room on a golf card and were given a brief tour of amenities. The employee was very courteous and accommodating. $5 tip goes a long way, even there. As we came to the Spa for our couples massage, we were told that there was a mistake in our reservation and a couple’s room was booked. They apologized, offered separate rooms for the same treatment, and took 10% off the bill, which is a significant amount as you will realize. Apology accepted. We both had 60 minute Swedish massages. Nice and relaxing, nothing too crazy. I do strongly suggest booking treatment ahead of your stay. They do get very busy and since there isn’t much to do in a Spa Resort but Spa treatments, most guests do get them, and more than one. So please, book ahead, you can always cancel up to 4 hrs in advance. We stayed at the Mountain View Suite. I highly recommend it if you like roomy accommodations and mountain and valley views. Basic room would have sufficed, but it was my birthday so we went “all out.” We could have stayed at the Spa Suite, but that would have been too close to the pool, fitness center and the restaurant/bar, which would make it noisier and more crowded and would have no view at all. The higher you are on the mountain, the better the views are, of course, however, the harder it is to climb to your casita. Yes, I said climb! The hill is so steep, that it was easier for us to walk backwards, and we are in pretty good shape, well, at least my wife is. You can always ask the front desk to have them golf cart you to your rooms. FYI, the spa is separated into Men and Women zones and the only place you are allowed to meet with your opposite sex partner is in a very small courtyard, which only has two lounge beds. We never saw anyone use it, but it was so hot outside at any given time during the day that there was no reason for us to waste time there. After the massages, we took advantage of the Spa offerings: took a shower, used a steam room, a hot tub, and all products at the spa are free, hence the $14 daily mandatory spa fee. They have everything from SPF sun block, to lotions, shampoos, body washes, conditioners, cotton swabs, hairdryers, brushes, hair gels, individual mini tooth brushes w/tooth paste, mouth wash, spray deodorants and much more. There is no need to even bring your own toiletries to the resort at all, except maybe cologne. Just wake up, go to the spa, do your things and go from there… ;-). Besides the Swedish massage, I had Acupuncture, a first for me, a Hot Stone massage, a must, and the Emperor’s Facial, highly recommended. My wife also had a 60 min manicure and 60 min pedicure, the best she ever had, per her. Besides beauty supplies, they provide almonds, dried cranberries and granny smith apples at the spa. Also, there is always Ice Cold water with Lemons at all times. You need to stay hydrated or the heat will get to you. Furthermore, they had several exotic hot teas and coffee there as well, free of charge. One day we had a breakfast brought to our room. We called and they said it would be there in 20 minutes, and it was there in 10. Nicely done, Sanctuary! We were hungry and over ordered. $78 is my new record for the breakfast for two (no alcohol or expensive bottled water was ordered), but it was my birthday so we went “all out.” The food was delicious, though. The next day, we decided to go to Elements for breakfast. We got there just before closing, around 10:30AM and the service was very slow. It took them 20 minutes to make one sandwich and then another 20 minutes to make one order of French toast! That was the only time we were disappointed with the service the entire stay! We never had lunch at the Elements restaurant as we were chilling inside the pool everyday and did not come out of the water until 6-6:30PM. It was that pleasant to stay inside. The pool service is outstanding and they have a limited but tasty menu of appetizers, salads and burgers to choose from, as well as alcoholic beverages. The Angus burger and the grilled chicken quesadilla were especially delicious, really! They bring you a rectangular box tray that can be placed on the floating mattresses that they give out (free) and you can enjoy your food and drinks while in the water. Everyone at the pool had one kind of drink or another at all times. It felt like an upscale adult spring break, without the noise and the drunks. Mostly there were couples in the pool caressing, hugging and making out. Romantic place, what can I say! They have a good deal of a metal bucked of ice, filled with 5 beer cans for $25. If you see other prices, this is a good deal! You are suppose to keep the 5 beers the same, but our waiter was nice enough to mix and match different kinds. They have Corona, Heineken, Blue Moon, Amstel, Stella Artois as well as Coors and Bud. The crowd was very upscale, mostly adults, however, there were a few guests with small children (6 months and up) that did not bother anyone and were exceptionally quiet. All of the couples with kids had a personal nanny with them that looked after the children while the parents were relaxing. Yes, that kind of a crowd! Also, Nick Lachey and Vanessa Manillo were swimming right next to us, enjoying their drinks. Yes, that kind of a crowd! Now, the best part is the dinner at the Elements restaurant! Just like the previous users advised – it is a MUST! Please make sure that Beau MacMillan is in the kitchen that day. The guy has a very busy schedule and is not at the resort all the times. You must try his dishes. The sous chef is good too, don’t get me wrong, but Chef MacMillan is Chef MacMillan, and so if you are going to spend $200 + for the dinner, you might as well have his food. The prices do not get lower when the Executive Chef is out of town… ;-). When we were finishing our first dinner, Chef MacMillan came over to our table, wished me Happy Birthday and brought a Birthday desert with candles himself! He also told us to ask for him the next day, and he will cook something “very special for us” and will give us a tour of the kitchen. We did come back the next day and had the best food ever in our lives, and we do spend a lot of money on great food wherever we go and choose the best restaurants in town, but BOY, was that dinner “special!” We had a four course meal followed by desert, with 5 wine pairings. Out –of-this-world is the only way to describe it! Of course we were too intoxicated to do a kitchen tour at that point. Kitchen is a kitchen, right? We returned again for the third dinner the following day, but since Chef MacMillan wasn’t there, the food just wasn’t the same, and we both noticed that. After passing right by aforementioned Nick and Vanessa waiting on the stairs to be picked up by the golf card and driven to their private house on the property, we slowly climbed to our suite. Unfortunately, we decided to use the couch in the living room and watch TV there – BIG MISTAKE! I was wearing a robe and my wife, well, wasn’t too dressed, let’s just say that. She couldn’t be sitting on that couch for more than a minute, as she jumped up screaming from pain! “Something just bit me,” she said. “Ouch!” “Look,” she continued, and showed me her legs that were instantly covered by multiple red insect bites! She started to itch! I got off the couch faster than a sprint racer got off the starting blocks at the Olympic Games! What the heck?! We really did not expect this from a resort of this magnitude, and that’s why I gave to rooms 3 out of 5 stars. Unacceptable! It’s been a few days now since we returned, and my wife is still itching, uncomfortable and the bite marks are still there. Next morning, during our check-out procedure, we both mentioned the incident to the front desk. They seemed truly apologetic and TOOK OFF an ENITRE NIGHT STAY, including room taxes and spa fees, totaling close to $400. Now that’s a great service. They told us that they have never heard anyone complain about being bitten before and will send clean-up crew immediately to take care of this problem. Having said that, we had a time of our lives, not doing anything at all, and that’s what the doctor ordered. Peace, quiet, and pampering, that’s what Sanctuary Resort is all about. Please stand by for pictures. They did come out great. Thanks for reading and enjoy your stay at this beautiful place!

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Borechka_and_Lenusik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sancmanager, Manager at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, responded to this reviewResponded October 1, 2010

Thank you so much for your beautiful descriptions and kind comments. I am so happy to hear you had such a great time for your birthday! I did want to let you know that after you told us about the bites, we immediately quarantined the room and called in our pest company to check the couch. They did a thorough inspection of the couch and the bed and found no bugs either place. The only explanation they could give was that the bites happened elsewhere as it sometimes takes a while for the reaction to occur. I am very sorry about this situation and hope your wife is doing much better!

Warm regards,
Jill Clark
Resort Manager

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1,490 - 1,496 of 1,718 reviews

Reviewed September 29, 2010

The Sanctuary Camelback Mountain is an incredible experience. It is a great resort to relax, enjoy life and be pampered. Situated in Paradise Valley with easy and quick access to Scottsdale, Phoenix and surrounding areas. From the moment we arrived to the moment we departed the staff recognized us and attended to every need.

Our room number was 247, a mountain view suite. We were updgraded due booking through a Virtuoso Member Agency, Sixth Star Travel. The suite included a full kitchen, a large living room and separate bedroom and delightful bathrooom. We had a veranda that we could access from the living room or bedroom that overlooked Paradise Valley with a view of Mummy Mountain in the background.

Their restaurant Elements is a must and their Spa & Salon fabulous. My husband is still raving about the Emperor's Facial! Kristin gave me the best pedicure that I have ever received. Roselyn was a delight in locating me readers (lost my prescription eye glasses on the plane). Michael is an artist in the salon. We were attending our daughter's wedding and he gave me the glam look that I was looking for!

I love the fact that the pools are available 24-hours a day and highly suggest a midnight swim under the stars.

If you are looking for a place to getaway from it all and be pampered, The Sanctuary is the place for you. I highly recommend it.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank SixthStarTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2010

THE ROOM:Three of us arrived from three different states on a Friday afternoon for a Sister's Reunion Weekend. From the moment we drove onto the property we were pampered, catered to and treated to some of the best customer service I have ever enjoyed at a resort. The Guest Services/Valet staff escorted us to our beautiful casita with a large living space that included 2 couches, a large screen television w/music channels, a kitchenette alcove which included a small frdige, microwave, 2 burner stove top and full size coffee maker. Beyond the couches was a large dining table and fireplace. The spacious bedroom held 2 queen size beds and the very large bathroom had a 4 head shower and an additional door to the WC. The bathroom amenities were a full 2 oz each and replenished liberally. Our casita had a wrap around patio, perfect for breakfast each morning. Exterior stairs led down to a small inground pool which we enjoyed as our own! The resort is quite beautiful and skillfully landscaped to promote a peaceful setting. The walkways lead you from the casita's to the spa/main pool/restaurant without your catching much more than a glance of the parking lots or service areas. The linens & towels were thick and soft, and the beds were perhaps the most comfortable hotel beds I've experienced. My sister slept on the sofa bed all three nights and found that even that was comfortable enough that she declined our offers to take turns. Situated on Camelback Mountain, the views were breathtaking, as were the sunsets, enjoyed from our own patio!
THE FOOD: We had four room service meals and enjoyed dinner in the main restaurant one evening. We also enjoyed a poolside lunch one day. The food was outstanding, as was the service. The room service was delivered in a timely manner, always hot, and the servers laid out the table efficiently and unobtrusively. Our dinner at "elements" was particularly good, and although we did not go to either The Jade Bar or The Edge, I did enjoy a well crafted martini in the dining room before dinner. We chose to order our food, but the casita was well equipt for people who prefer to save money by bringing some of their own food in. Still, don't deny yourself at least one meal at "elements", it's a part of the "Sanctuary Experience" in our book!
THE SPA: Amazing. The staff can't do enough for you. Fresh towels, robes, hairbrushes, every shower need is well stocked and at your fingertips. The therapists are wonderful. We enjoyed about 6 treatments each during our stay including full body & scalp massages, hot stone, facial, reflexology, body wrap & table thai. Every treatment was expertly performed and the therapists did not try to sell us anything! All the products were written down for us and were available in the boutique, but never did any of the three of us feel like we had received a "sales pitch". The spa had a lovely "quiet room" with floor to ceiling glass doors which opened onto the meditation garden. Very serene. The music was soothing, lemon water, camomile tea, almonds, raisins and fruit were available while you waited for your treatment or relaxed afterward. The locker room had a vitality pool as well, which we made good use of. After our immersion in pampering and relaxation we could call for a valet to take us back up to our casita in a golf cart. The gym appeared to be very well equipt, but we never quite made it there....there are also a wide variety of classes offered, most without any additional fee.
OVERALL: A fantastic resort, a fantastic weekend! Although we were 3 sisters, we saw a lot of couples and could see that Sanctuary is also a very romantic destination, if that is what you seek. I'm hoping to return with my husband!

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled with family
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Thank htbharry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2010

We stayed for just one night, on a quick visit to Arizona this past weekend. From the moment we drove in, we experienced the impeccable service and attention to detail.
I've traveled quite a bit and this is definitely in my top 5 favorite places to stay.
Had a massage at the Spa, the staff was wonderful, and enjoyed a few cocktails at the scenic and relaxing pool. Again, the staff was awesome.

Clean, modern rooms. Amazing views. Gracious staff.

There's a sense of tranquility here that is absolutely priceless! I definitely recommend to all traveling to AZ! Would be fun to do the Ladies Spa Retreat as well sometime!!

Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
Thank ambs77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2010

This spa/resort provides the most incredible attention to guest needs and wishes I have ever seen. Your every request is fulfilled quickly and with a smile. The spa is the best I have ever experienced. Elements Restaurant is amazing, and the waiters make it a truly memorable dining experience. The suites and casitas are tastefully furnished and very comfortable. The resort is beautiful, but it is the staff that makes this a truly remarkable getaway destination to pamper mind, body, and soul.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank LizLBM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2010

Spent a week for our 25th in a mountain casita. Nearly cried when we had to leave. We booked through AmEx (if you have a Platinum card, you get a GREAT deal with a credit toward breakfast, spa and some other things). We prefer quiet/private with high level of service, and this place has it in spades. Tip: the higher up the mountain and the further toward the periphery of the property, the more private it is; see another review on this website, where there is mention of the spa casitas). We had a stunning view every morning of the Praying Monk. Spectacular. We like to swim after dinner, and we had the pool nearly to ourselves. Key: this hotel does not sell pool passes like many of the other hotels in the valley (e.g. Hyatt Gainey Ranch which, in our opinion, has become overrun with riffraff and unsafe at night). Service is warm, seamless and efficient without being suffocating. If you are looking for the glitz, marble floored lobbies and people to notice your new Pradas, this place is not for you. If you want to feel pampered, relaxed and in a peaceful zone, there's no other place we've seen in the Phoenix area quite like it. Just wish we lived closer.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank spqr63bc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 15, 2010

My love and I had the pleasure of staying at Sanctuary for a few days towards the end of August, and it was simply wonderful. We stayed in one of the Spa Suites which was fantastic. The rooms were modern, clean and luxurious. The bathroom was huge and the outdoor tub wonderful to soak in under the stars. The staff is beyond helpful and were willing to assist with anything we needed. The only thing to watch out for is the occasional poke from a goose quill that worked its way out of the mattress topper, but we actually found it rather amusing.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled on business
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Thank bluebonnetbabies
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 85253-5218
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 Spa Hotel in Paradise Valley
#1 Romantic Hotel in Paradise Valley
#1 Luxury Hotel in Paradise Valley
#1 Business Hotel in Paradise Valley
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Paradise Valley
#1 Family Hotel in Paradise Valley
Price Range: $369 - $815 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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