More about Sanctuary On Camelback Mountain
Perfect mother/daughter trip
Arrived Jan 23rd from the cold midwest. The trip could not possibly have been any better. Exceptional SERVICE....The Sanctuary takes care of EVERY detail and still leaves you feeling as if you are practically the only guests in the place. We arrived at the airport & were picked up by a towncar they had arranged (costing only $10 more than a standard taxi). The lobby is so SLEEK and the front desk/bellmen/conse. are exceptional at welcoming and meeting your every need. Our room wasn't ready but the melon martinis overlooking the beautiful Paradise Valley were!!! The bellman finding we were dining that evening in their fantastic restaurant - took it upon himself to make sure we had a table overlooking the canyon & SUNSET!! Words can't describe the BEDS which you simply sink into & are covered by the finest linens. Plush robes, personal slippers & marvelous bath salts! We visited the spa everyday, trying facials, swedish massages, pedicures, and even a personal tarot card reading. Again, service was exceptional and the spa was peaceful, spotless and there to please. We pulled ourselves away around lunch to spend the afternoons at the pool. Each visit we were immediately greeted with glasses of lemon water and requests for our needs. We had marvelous salads pool side and continued assistance moving the umbrellas. Breakfast was room service each morning & was again: timely, great food & smiling service. We have left with our plans to return next year...we feel we started with the BEST and have no intention of ever going anywhere else!!! The PERFECT Mother/Daughter trip has turned into an annual event.
A Little Disappointed
This review is based on a 4-night stay around New Years 2004/2005. From reading all the fabulous reviews, perhaps I was expecting too much from this property, which in my experience did not quite live up to expectations. The best elements of the resort were the sleek minimalist decor, particularly in the Spa Casita suites and the Elements restaurant. The Asian accented food was exceptional. I did not use the spa, but my girlfriend did, and she said it was excellent. On the other hand however, I felt the designers of this property didn't get it quite right. My Spa Casita suite was large and beautifully decorated with a large terrace. However, the terraces were directly adjacent to each other, affording no privacy. More disappointing though was the fact that the terraces directly overlook the parking lot. Sure, the mountains are off in the distance, but having the parking lot directly there diminished the views. Also, it seems like the outdoor tub does not have a lot of privacy either as the Spa Casita suites are built on a slight slope, and people walking outside don't have to stretch much to be able to see in (as they are on higher ground). I did not go inside the Mountain suites, but from walking around the property, they seem at least on the exterior, rather old and inconsistent with the overall minimalist design. One last general criticism is that the area seems to be over-developed. On the walking trails, one seems beautiful nature but juxtaposed with overdevelopment and too much pavement.
Can't wait to go back...
My husband and I honeymooned here in August of 2002. We had a mountain casita that surpassed all expectations and was true to all brochures offered. From check-in to check-out in-room service was spectacular. The only criticism I'd offer is regarding the on-site restaurant. While the ambiance caters to romance and focusing completely on your companion, the service was annoying. The restaurant felt "stuffy" at times. Making reservations was not an easy task and the manager "picked and chose" which table he/she would visit and ask about the experience. Nonetheless, Sanctuary is a superb resort and we are dying to go back. The spa is beyond words incredible. Rent a car because the city has so much to offer in terms of dining, entertainment, shopping and sight-seeing.
Wasn't quite what I hoped for
I just returned from a trip to Sanctuary, and while it was in a great location, I was disappointed by the room and the little things that went wrong (the bill was incorrect at departure and they couldn't print me a corrected copy, room service tried to deliver us food we didn't order, and I was told that I couldn't upgrade my room through the hotel, I had to go through my booking agent who also couldn't help me). We spent four nights in a Mountain Casita Suite, and the room looked tired. It was clean, but needed renovation, the kitchen had loose tiles, the curtains weren't all hooked on the valence, there was a hole cut into the bathroom door to accomodate the door stop... the things you just don't expect from a $400+ night experience. In the end, we decided the room wasn't worth the money spent and will probably stay somewhere else next year. However, the spa was beautiful and very relaxing and the restaurant was top notch.
We stayed at the Sanctuary this past weekend and were not overly impressed. For the $415+ per night for the cheapest room, it was a poor value (note that we have stayed in more expensive hotels that were worth every penny, so the absolute cost was not the issue). Just a couple of points:
1. For a place that bills itself as a romantic, Zen-like spa, there was a heck of a lot of kids. Babies screaming at breakfast and lunch; 20 kids playing and splashing in the pool. I have kids and like them -- but not at a spa or on a romantic weekend.
2. Fairly low levels of customer service. Nothing huge, but annoying at a place that considers itself upscale. Example, we went to lunch on the patio a few minutes after 2 only to be told that lunch was over. Finally, after working our way through two servers and up to the manager, she told us she could only give us "bar food." We said OK and made do with an incredibly limited menu. During this time, however, we watched a slew of servers carrying trays of food twenty feet away to the pool. Turns out a full menu was offered at the pool all day. No logical reason to deny us access to this menu.
3. Room was OK, clean and decent sized, but bathroom was incredibly tiny. You literally had to turn sideways to squeeze past shower to get to toilet.
Not to paint an entirely negative picture. Spa was great, nice gym, beautiful pool (except for kids) and nice view of Camelback from pool. Bed was very comfortable. Food at breakfast and lunch was excellent. But, food at dinner was less than mediocre and incredibly expensive. Wine list was pretty outrageous (looked like a 4x) markup.
Zen-like quality? Party down!
I just got back from 4 nights of what this hotel's website calls "unparalled privacy and peace." I guess it depends where you look.
My biggest complaint was the spa. No peace to be had here. Women on cell phones as they looked out on the little pond in the pre-treatment room. There was loud yakking everywhere--even outside the treatment room where I was having a massage. The new age music clashed with hysterical laughing, the clinking of ice. . .for $190. Okay. In the spirit of Zen, I tried to let it go.
Wish I could have, but my breaking point came in the locker room, where the jacuzzi and steam room are also located, all overseen by an extremely charmless and overbearing woman who hovered over me throughout every second I was there. What was I? A teenager ready to shoplift from Walgreen's? It wasn't just me, either. Each day I heard woman after woman say, "I can't stand her anymore." If it didn't cost so much, it would be comical. I'd go into the steam room, get a whiff of the wonderful scented steam and just as soon as I relaxed, maybe a minute or two into the experience, the door would open (letting out the steam) and she'd be there. "You named Bonnie?" I said no. She'd stand there in the doorway. "You sure? You named Laura?" "No." On it would go, four days in a row, and I don't think I ever got five minutes uninterrupted. ("Your daughter is here?" "No." "Are you sure?") Not once did this woman smile or act in any way hospitable. Every gesture on my part seemed to evoke some demonstration of her curious need to exert her authority over this particular space. Even pouring myself hot water for tea forced her to pounce with the admonition, "This is childproof!"
Further in search of the "unparalled peace" I found the lap pool. This is a tiny space--quite different from the big pool--where I had a kind of unwelcome privacy. In four days no one ever came out while I was there to collect a towel or, apparently, clean the pool. Further, it opens up from the workout center, which is incredibly noisy with a lot of very loud music. On my second day, I asked if I might close the door so it wouldn't be so loud and they happily closed it, only to open it again--and the windows--about 10 minutes later. No Zen-like atmosphere there.
Heading out to the meditation garden, I figured this must be the place, right? No way. It opened on to the other side of the workout center, plus the boutique (yak, yak, yak) and the hair and nail salon (more loud talk, more loud music, both clashing with the workout room music.)
I'll certainly agree that it's unparalled.
I agree with the previous posters who said the setting is incredible. And if you are at the main pool, which is beautifully and dramatically situated, and there are no kids screaming, and there aren't people on their cell phones (despite signs everywhere that it's a cell-free zone), it could be quite a lovely experience.
The food was bizarre. At times it was truly inspired, especially some appetizers. Most of the time, though, I felt that there was a good chef who had created some interesting dishes and then called in an eight year old to "improve" it. Some things were just nauseatingly sweet--like the simple green salad and, particularly, a pan-roasted cod that had a honey mustard sauce (emphasis on honey) that was like a candy bar with fish where the nougat should be. I shudder at the memory. Good selection of wines by the glass, though.
While some people complained about the rooms, mine had a panoramic view and the gardens around it were so fragrant and the birdsong so lovely, that a few stains on the furniture were more than offset. Housekeeping was top-notch.
Finally, the locker room warden notwithstanding, there did seem to be a very dedicated and attentive staff. But they seem so unclear about what they are attending to. Is it party time? Quiet and welcoming spa time? Adult time? Kid time? The message is confused, the result is sporadic, and the peace and privacy I sought were extremely compromised.
Zen-like, I'll let it go.
a great time
Reading the recent reviews I would have never thought this would be the experience that it was. I guess it depends on your mood and expectations. I have had the luxury of staying at world class hotels around the world, and beautiful rooms or vistas are nothing without attention to detail. The people at this hotel make this place shine. The casita we had was lovely, but it was the small things -- Jeremy at the front desk, Anita -- an amazing massage therapist, and nearly everyone we encountered there made this a great experience. I would highly recommend this hotel for a great getaway.
Lived up to the reputation
We just finished a 2-night stay at the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain in Paradise Valley, Arizona. The property was just beautiful - understated elegance and immaculate. What we loved the most though, was the exceptional service at the Sanctuary - from the bellman to the front desk, the Elements waitpersons, pool staff, even the groundsmen were friendly and helpful.
Rooms were lovely and spacious and bathrooms adequate. Views of mountains and Paradise Valley very peaceful - we really felt like we were getting away from it all.
Only gripe was the lack of umbrellas and deck chairs around the pool - we had to wait until someone vacated theirs.
Had a spa treatment and it was devine!
Would definitely recommend the property and although pricey, I definitely felt that it was worth it.
Stay here you will not be sorry!
We stayed at the Sactuary for a second time and found that the excellent service and great hotel have only gotten better. From the moment we arrived, until we checked out, the experience was perfect. As returning guests, we were greeted with a small note upon check-in welcoming us back to the resort (three days after arriving home we got a letter inviting us back and a customer satisfaction survey). We arrived early and our room was not ready. The front desk suggested we relax by the pool and took our cell phone number to call us when the room was ready. The bellman then took us to our car, retreived what we needed for the pool and whisked us by golf cart to the spa and arranged for lockers. The spa provided us with bottled water, slippers and robes. Most hotels would just tell you to go to the pool and check back later for your room.
Our room was very nice for the room type. The bathroom was fantastic and the overall decor was excellent. The candlelight turn down service was a great touch. The service by the pool was very attentive, but not intrusive.
I would highly recommend the Sanctuary if you are looking for an elegant, casual, upscale, adult resort in Phoenix. We have stayed at the Phoencian, which was excellent as well, but have decided that we will only stay at the Sanctuary on future visits. And we can't wait to go back!
Glad we stayed off season
Compared to beautiful places in the world, the Phoenix area is below average. However, the hotel is nice and the weather is warm. A good place to sit by the pool and relax. The Spa services were above average. Try the Watsu.
We must have lucked out because there were only 3 small quiet children the weekend that we were there. There were people who talked on their cell phones at the "no cell phone" pool.