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Our 3 Day Scottsdale Arizona TR We were looking to get away somewhere local for a few days, and having done already done Miami and not wanting to be with a million yidden, I chose Arizona.
I will point out. Overall the trip was great. But the traveling is tiring, especially the return which was red-eye. So on that end Miami is much better.
I was researching resorts in Scottsdale, and couldn't find that much info about it here, which is why I'm writing this up now...

We wanted something just relaxing, wasn't planning on doing anything major. And I wanted something more than just a hotel building, so we have grounds to enjoy. And I wanted something more than just a room, so for hanging around indoors we have some room.
Primarily my choices were between the Canyon Suites at The Phonecian and the Suites at the Sanctuary Camelback.
Ultimately I settled on the Sanctuary, but we went to The Phonecian to visit, so I'll give my 2 cents on that too.

This was a last minute trip, so I wasn't a true DDF'er in getting my best value for points etc. I just took whatever I found.

I took the Spa Suite, which comes with an (enclosed) outdoor bath. I paid approx $500 a night. They have some packages which might be worth checking out, some with food which wasn't relevant for us, others with spa services etc.
Once we booked, we got an email from the hotel concierge asking what she can be of assistance. I asked about kosher food options and babysitting, seems she's done it enough, they told me they will put a fridge and microwave in the room, and they can order me food from Segals kosher catering. She also gave me a recommendation for a babysitting service.

We left NYC 12/16 to PHX. We went with a 4-month-old infant.
There was no availability in First, I bought 2 economy seats using skiplagged (NYC-LAS) for $123 each. We had an empty seat between us, so we had some space for the baby.
I rented a car using Sixt. I have some status there due to a status match to my AA Plat (maybe from here?) I booked the 2nd to highest class and they let me choose any car on the lot. They were out of some of what I wanted, but I got a Mercedes GLS-450. Base price was $26 a day and with all fees, total was $162.
Initially, I wasn't planning on renting, rather to use uber, but decided to rent so I have where to keep my belongings the last day, after checkout depending on where I'll be headed. I don't regret it. It was a convenience. BUt note, the rentals are off terminal, there are shuttles that drive prob 10 minutes to get to the rentals. So needs to factor that on return if timing is tight.

The hotel is ~25 min from the airport. Upon arrival, they asked us to go in to check in, and then I was to follow the bellman (in his golf cart) to the parking next to our room.
The resort isn't 1 building. All rooms are spread apart all over in little compounds of 2-4 rooms each, so there are separate parking next to each area. Likewise, there are separate pools next to some of the sections. There is the central area that has the main pool plus restaurant/bar etc. We followed him with our car, and once parked he drove our luggage and us to our room. We got into our suite. It was huge. A large living area with couches/bar/tv, a separate bedroom, huge bathroom area which had closets, sinks etc, separate shower and toilet. And two doors which open to the outdoor bath.
In the front there's a huge balcony which extends from the living area to the bedroom area.
The rooms are very nice, It might not be modern and fancy, but it's very nice and rustic

Our room indeed had a microwave, but no extra fridge. But we had the fridge from the minibar which we emptied for whatever we needed.

We didn't order in advance food. So we had to start looking for that now. We arrived to the hotel approx 8pm.

When I did my research I had seen that there are lots of kosher places, with the Hechsherim being either the Vaad of Phoenix, or Chabad. I will only state what I did. No idea how the hechsherim compare.

We placed an order with Postmates. I signed up for trial for Postamtes Unlimited, so I wouldn't pay for delivery. We ordered from http://thekitchen18.com/ which is next to the Chabad house, and is under Chabad Hechsher. Ultimately that was actually almost the only meat place we ate from the next few days.
We ordered a min, some sides and drinks. The food arrived approx 45 min after we ordered. The postmates dropped it off at reception and they golf carted it to our room. The food arrived hot, and delicious. I didn't take pics of the food so I won't go into what exactly we ordered, but everything was nice sized potions, and very tasty. Even all the dipping sauces were delicious.
Our total order was $75. We had way too much food, so we put some in the fridge.

Monday morning we woke bright and early (after all it's 2 hours behind). I went to daven at http://www.chabadofscottsdale.org/. Never mind that shachris is 6:45. I didn't check it out, but there should be another daily minyan at http://www.ahavastorah.org/.

For Brunch we ordered some small stuff from https://www.imperialkosher.com/home/ They have a Milchig and Fleishig store. We ordered Milchig as they are PY & CY. I heard that https://www.milkandhoneyjcc.com/ is a nice place, but they told me not everything is CY. So I ordered from Imperial, again with Postamates, and delivery worked out perfect.

During the day we used the spa, the spa is very nice. Gender separated Dressing, showers, sauna, hot tub, relaxing area. And for any treatments they come and fetch you and take you thru the waterfalled outdoors to your room.
We took a babysitter for a few hours. We used the recommendation we had gotten from the concierge, http://www.achildsgardenaz.com/ And I have to say, I was very hesitant at first to use a service like this, but it was perfect. They have a whole group of sitters, all screened, fingerprinted. When booked them I got a text with all the info on my sitter. She was a young lady with BA in education and some other stuff. They come fully equipped with toys etc. They charge $19 an hour with a minimum of 4 hours. The owner worked around even though we booked last minute so that we had the same sitter every time we asked for one. Using this service allowed us to really enjoy our vacation, even though we went with an infant.

To explain the area. All around all you see is mountains. Even when driving around the local roads, all houses are 1 story (I wonder if intentional so as not to ruin the views). All the greenery is either palm trees or cactus. The weather by day was 70 and evening 55. We didn't see a drop of rain. The air is dry and crisp. It really was wonderful.

There are some trails for sunrise and sunset to go up to the mountains to see them, but with the baby I didn't want to go. But even from the resort, watching sunset was something else. I doubt the pictures capture it well. But the mountains turn red!

Dinner was again Via Postmates, from http://manhattanpizzeria.com/. By the time we got the food it wasn't that hot, so we had to use the fireplace to warm it up...
Food was huge portions, and delicious. One of us is Gluten Free, so we took the GF pizza, and it was better than any GF pizza we'v tasted in the northeast.

Tuesday was Asarah B'teves so we didn't do much (which was anyway the aim of the whole trip). After Mincha-Mariv in Chabad we had dinner at Kitchen 18. And like previously, the food was delicious, with many unigue flavors. Portions were huge, and the prices actually not that bad.
Our waiter was very knowledgeable about GF, and kept on substituting whatever we wanted with foods that would be good for both of us.

Wednesday we went to buy some souveneirs for back home, and our kids only wanted Cactus plants, so thats what we went to go get. We found a nursery that sells cactus, and they packed it up for us nicely in paper and boxed it, so that we can take it on the plane.

I found an app called Alltrails that has all the walking trails around. We chose something labeled Moderate as we were taking along our baby in a carrier. It was a very interesting walk, as its on desert mountains with barely any greens around, and cactus trees and plants as far as the eye can see. The walk wasn't so moderate after all so we headed back midway.

Our flight back was 11pm. They let us have late checkout and we went out some more.
We stopped by The Phoenician (TP). We wanted to see how it looks and how it compares to the Sanctuary Camelback (SC).
Here's my opinion. TP is a much larger and much nicer complex. There are Huge grounds, golf courts, walkways, grass etc. So for serenity, it's much better. It has many large pools, plus some water slides and climbing activities for kids. So it's better for when traveling with children.
It has one main building, which has 5-star modern lobbies etc. It's a beautiful hotel building. Besides for that it also has a separate building called The Phoenician Suites which is like an independent hotel building with its own lobby and pool. There also are some separate buildings for other types of rooms, I wasn't sure what. It also has Residences which are much larger, but we didn't go to check it out. On the other hand, there were many areas that didn't look well maintained and clean. So seems that while they're a new (or redone) resort, they're lacking in maintenance.
They also have a "Cactus Garden" which is a few acres of trails in gardens full of all different cacti species.
SC isn't as large, it doesn't have any large buildings. All rooms are in structures spread around the area. As such there is no grand lobbies or hallways. On the other hand, the reason I still am happy I went to SC is for the privacy. I didn't want to have hotel building with hallways etc. In SC I had my own entrance from the paths into my suite. And the main thing is that the balconies in SC have solid walls, so when sprawled on the chair all I see is above that which is the sky/trees/mountains, while in TP the porches have gates, so there is no privacy from them to anyone below, and they're low 2-3 story buildings, so everyone sees everything.

Dinner was again at Kitchen 18. The place was packed, I really don't know where they get that many people. Food was again delicious, I should just remember not to order that much!

We headed back to the airport pretty early, returned the car and checked in and went to the lounge. We went to admirals lounge. No great shakes. Pretty small and not many amenities, but still much better than just sitting at general gate seats. Our return we flew AA in first. I'm still debating if economy with extra seat might be better, especially with a baby so we have where to put him down.

In summary, We thoroughly enjoyed this trip. While the travel time is a bit long, to be able to travel in the US, to warm climate, beautiful 5 star lodging, daily Minyan, great food, and not be with multitudes of other Yidden, it was worth every penny!

While looking for a listing of all food and hechsherim, this was a good resource https://www.ahavastorah.org/restaurants.html


I don't have too many pictures, but I do have some. But never having posted pics here, how is the best way for me to put them all in? I dont want to just post 4 at a time


December 28, 2018, 03:42:39 PM
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