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“Urban oasis? More urban than oasis”

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The Clarendon Hotel and Spa
Ranked #17 of 174 Hotels in Phoenix
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 5, 2013

The Clarendon was unique, in mostly good ways. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for something different. But it wasn't my vibe. Maybe I should stick to the "cookie cutter" chain hotels.

Sound carries in this hotel. Just walking down the hall, I could overhear conversation taking place in private rooms with the doors shut. The pool area was very crowded the day I arrived, and that noise was coming into my room through the window. I cranked the AC fan to full blast, turned on the TV, and I was okay. But I pity anyone who has loud neighbors next door.

The hotel allows locals to use the pool area (for a fee), including the rental of "cabanas." The pool area was incredibly busy and loud on the Sunday afternoon that I arrived. Not with hotel guests, but with locals. The parking lot was full of their vehicles, and it was not easy to find a covered parking place. Depending on your point of view, that might be very positive and fun. For me, it didn't feel like an "urban oasis." It felt very Vegas pool party. I'm not against that, but it wasn't what I was looking for.

You've got the popular hotel, the popular restaurant, and the popular pool area. They all intersect in the lobby. It's a busy place. The front desk hands out free snacks on request (peanuts, cookies, candy, etc.) You also have to go to the front desk for your ice. The front desk is well staffed with good people (I never waited in a line), but it's just very different from what I'm accustomed to.

Here are some good things: great AC (it was 106 degrees outside) with remote control; a great clock-radio-thingy with soothing sound channels; Keurig coffee maker to make individual brews; everything worked well, including the plumbing, the lights, the remote controls. A friendly and very competent staff.

I am a 49 year-old gay man, and the clientele was mostly younger than me. But I did not feel out of place or awkward. That's good. I saw a lot of interracial (heterosexual) couples, plus a lot of gays, plus a lot of families with kids, plus a general ethnic mix. Everyone (staff and customers) was friendly and polite. It was a safe, positive, young crowd. I can definitely appreciate the appeal, and I think some people who might feel unwelcome in other contexts can stay at the Clarendon and feel included. To parents of children, I'd say there was nothing inappropriate or sleazy or "singles bar" in the environment. It is diverse, in the very best sense.

It was a great crowd, which is surely one of the hotel's draws. I just wasn't looking for a crowd. I was looking for privacy and quiet. And on a Sunday in June (the hottest month in Arizona), this hotel was packed with all kinds of neat people, having fun, and crowding through the lobby, and I wanted more privacy and quiet.

I've read several other reviews. I agree with them. It's an innovative place, with really cool ideas, and good management, and reliable service. For me, it was not the promised "urban oasis." It was more urban than oasis.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled solo
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5  Thank CuriousExploreTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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930 - 936 of 1,332 reviews

Reviewed May 29, 2013

I stayed here in October. Yeah.. a while ago. And I just can’t seem to forget about this hotel. I live in Tucson AZ and work for a big hotel company. I came to Phoenix for a concert and my friend quickly made the reservations. Me, working for a giant hotel company I was concerned about staying at a hotel I have never heard of. Long story short, I loved every minute of the stay. Most the time working for a hotel, I find hotel stays to be not enjoyable because I know the ins and outs. Everything about this hotel is not particularly normal in a totally good way. I loved the busy, fun, lounge atmosphere. The food was wonderful. I love that it is local and supports local businesses within itself. Kudos ,I loved it. You staff was amazing to say the least all professional at the same time down to earth unlike many hotels that have standoff front desk.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Brianna N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2013 via mobile

At check-in we were greeted by a friendly front desk staff. Check-in was easy and fast with no surprises. When we walked up to our room, it wasn't what we reserved. We reserved a king bed junior suite, but received two queen beds. This is my biggest pet peeve with hotels. We walked back down with our suitcases and let them know of the error. They were quick to apologize and move our room to what was reserved. Friendly, fast and no hassle. We were extremely impressed with the room as we settled in. We walked to dinner at a nearby restaurant, FEZ, and then went back to the hotel to spend some time in the hot tub. The hot tub is huge and it was full of fun people. Everyone was having a blast and socializing. I was a little annoyed that even though nobody was yelling or being obnoxious the front desk came out several times asking all of the guests to quiet down. Did they want everyone to whisper??? I'm sure there was a guest complaint from a pool view room, but it was during pool/hot tub hours and all of the guests were "well behaved." After we had enough enjoyment from the hot tub we went upstairs to go to bed. I DID NOT WANT TO GET OUT OF BED THE NEXT MORNING! That was the most comfortable bed I have ever experienced. I still have dreams of that bed. All in all this was a good stay at a fun hotel. I will be back and definitely recommend you check this hotel out too.

  • Stayed: February 2013
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1  Thank OSUCHRIS01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2013

This is truly a unique property-definitely not a cookie cutter chain hotel. Great experience-front desks offers you snacks and bottled water upon check-in or anytime! Rooms are fun funky-with great comfortable bed, honor bar, docking station, free Wifi. Pool beautiful and very inviting. Great location to down town Phoenix. I am a baby-boomer-young at heart and although the crowd was young-the bar crowd wasn't afraid to chat to Grandma.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled solo
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Thank RebeccaGlobe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 21, 2013

Okay, so think funky, bohemian, young and friendly. If you come to this hotel comparing it to other hotels or chains you are missing the point. It’s like a really cool friend decided to open a hotel and you and your friends descended upon the pool and bar for the weekend. The crowd is primarily young (at least at heart if not age) and very eclectic. In my opinion it is NOT a place for children, so in regards to the last reviewer “Joe K” and his comment regarding “drunk 20-30 something singles hitting on each other”, trust me Joe, it was no picnic hearing squealing kids slashing around and doing back flips in the pool for hours.

The hotel itself is funky and colorful with a good vibe. Reception desk and lobby are nicely decorated with vintage furniture and colorful art. The rooms are pretty much stuck in the 1970’s complete with popcorn ceiling and splash of bright red paint to attempt to give it an edge. Don’t expect to be blown away and if you’re the kind of person that hangs out in the room (why you would, I don’t know) as you won’t be overly impressed. The reason I gave the review 4 out of 5 was due to the cleanliness in the room. I can pretty much look past dated, wear and tear or even unappealing décor, but cleanness is really high on my list and the overall bathroom and the baseboards really need some serious attention. In my opinion this is where they fell short, which could be a staffing issue or lack of supervision, either way there’s no excuse for it and tarnished…but didn’t ruin my stay.

Now as for the restaurant Gallo Blanco, having spent my career in restaurants and hospitality I am thrilled when I’m blown away by the food at a new place and an owner that “gets it”. The owner (restaurant is separate from the hotel, which made sense when I found out I couldn’t sign anything to my room) and his partner clearly know what they are doing and understand both food and service. The shrimp, grilled rib eye, marinated pork and fish tacos are the best I’ve tasted. The rib eye burrito and Pico Rico burger with fire roasted chiles are off the chart (yes I had three meals there), and the flan was like none I’ve ever tasted (and before tasting it I wasn’t necessarily a big fan of flan). It’s apparent that a lot of time and energy went into making the recipes for all of these dishes. The staff is young and up beat without being obnoxious or pretentious. They were all friendly but I have to give a shout out to Natasha and Rebecca made me feel so welcome that other than the food they were part of the reason I kept going back. Again, this goes back to these guys and hiring right.

All and all I had a fun time and a great meals and will definitely be going back. The rates are very reasonable (which you are occasionally reminded of in a few places that need attention) and there is a bit of a disconnect with the restaurant/ lobby bar and the hotel itself. I think the hotel needs to step up its game a bit because the vibe, quality and service Gallo Blanco is providing makes the hotels short comings that much more apparent for a hotel guest utilizing all the amenities. I don’t say this to bash the rooms, the reception was great and very accommodating, I am simply pointing out there areas that need attention, particularly in housekeeping, and I’m confident that they will take them as constructive.

Thank you guys….well done!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank ScotTravler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 20, 2013

First, my family arrived at 2:45 to check in (checking time is listed as 3pm). We were told that there were no rooms available. We did not get a room until almost 5pm. This was after a long day of travel, so we did not start off our stay happy with the service. But it only got worse from there.

The pool, where we spent out 2 hours waiting, was nice enough, if it weren't for the fact that there were 20-30 drunk 20-something singles hitting on each other in it. Apparently the pool at this hotel is a popular local weekend hangout. Locals buy day passes and then spend the day drinking in the pool. Fun, if your part of the crowd. Not so fun if your a paying hotel guest with kids who keep getting pushed around and bumped by drunk sexed-up hipsters.

We are a family with 2 children under 7, and the room we were assigned after a 2 hour delay, was on the second floor overlooking the pool. As I said, the pool is mostly filled with non-hotel guests - single hipsters who come for the day to hang out, hit on other hipsters, and to order drinks in the pool - so it's not an ideal child environment. Also, it's loud, and it's open late, so we asked to have our room moved so that our kids could get to bed early that night for our 6am flight the next morning.

There was no offer by the front desk to help move our luggage into the new "quieter" room. we had to come downstairs to fetch the new room keys and turn in the old keys. The new room seemed fine - nothing special (small and uninviting, but there were the basics - 2 beds, a tv…). We could hear some noise, but it wasn't too loud, and we assumed that the noise was from the room below us, and that it would die down by evening. So, we went to dinner. When we got back to the room we watched a movie together. After the movie, the kids went to bed. As soon as the movie stopped playing, we could still hear noise from downstairs, but it still wasn't too bad and the kids were quickly asleep after a long day of travel.

The problem arose when, after many hours, the noise not only did not go away, but got much, much louder. It turned out that the front desk person, who was so kind as to move us out of the loud poolside room, so that our family could get to bed early for our flight the next am, had moved us into a room directly above the very popular bar/restaurant. The kids were asleep, so it was too late to call down for another room by the time we realized how the front desk person has screwed us. So, my wife and I were kept awake until well after 1am by the increasingly loud noise from the bar/restaurant directly below our room. We fell asleep sometime between 1 and 2 am, and then had to wake up just after 4am to catch out flight the next morning.

This was the worst night either my wife or I have ever had in a hotel. We felt trapped, cheated, abused and completely disregarded as guests of this hotel. In fact, this really isn't a hotel. It's really a restaurant/poolside pickup bar, which also happens to have rooms with people trying to sleep upstairs.

I think that anyone looking for a hip, singles, pool/bar would probably enjoy this place. If you're an actual traveler, or a family passing through, then by ALL means, look elsewhere. This place does not care about you or your family, and they are not catering to your needs.

PS - When I called down to ask if the hotel had rollaway beds or cots, the front desk person literally told me that she had no idea what I was talking about. Rollaway beds are an amenity found in a majority of hotels, but for this hotel to not even know what a rollaway bed or cot even is says a lot about the fact that they have no interest in catering to families.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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8  Thank Joe K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2013

I had a conference in Phoenix last month and we decided to stay at the Clarendon rather than at one of the big chains downtown. What a great decision. The conference was only 3 days, but we added a few days before and a few days after so that we were at the Clarendon for a full week. It was a terrific week thanks in no small part to the staff and management.

The staff provided unlimited advice on where to eat and which bike trails to take for the best views. They also provided unlimited pool towels, snacks, ice, coffee, and water. The housekeeping staff noticed the number of cups of coffee we drank each morning and made sure we had that much coffee each day. I found this very thoughtful and hospitable. The owner was visibly on the property daily and paying attention to the large and small details of the guests' experience. For example, after riding the free and very cool cruiser bikes that are available for guest use, we suggested adding a basket to them for stashing water, wallets, etc. The owner ordered baskets that day.

The food at the attached but independent restaurant, Gallo Blanco, was top notch and reasonably priced. From appetizers to desserts, I don't think either of us had a bad bite to eat. Some of the wait staff even learned our names and would call out cheery greetings to us. The owner there was also highly visible and interested in our experience.

One of the reasons we opted for the Clarendon originally was the pool. It did not disappoint. We swam daily, laps even. In the afternoon, when shadows began to creep across the pool and cool it down, we'd move to the very large hot tub. Because of these two attractions, the snacks from the front desk, and the option of food and drink from the restaurant, we typically swam, napped, ate, and read by the pool for at least four hours a day.

It was just a lovely, lovely stay. Way to go Clarendon. Big smiles from a gray and cool Seattle as I fondly remember the week in Phoenix.

Room Tip: There are rooms that get more and less light and rooms that are noisier and quieter. We wanted light...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Anna B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Clarendon Hotel and Spa

Address: 401 W Clarendon Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013-3411
Phone Number:
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:
#4 Spa Hotel in Phoenix
#6 Luxury Hotel in Phoenix
#14 Romantic Hotel in Phoenix
#26 Family Hotel in Phoenix
#46 Business Hotel in Phoenix
Price Range: $119 - $315 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Clarendon Hotel Phoenix

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