Best of Our Valley 2018 Issue: Stay & Play

by Melissa Larsen

AFM Fave! Most Luxe Accommodations: Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia

As if cozying up in one of Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia’s guest rooms wasn’t decadent enough,
the resort has two standalone villa-style presidential suites that focus on elevated architecture, design and service. The 2,800-sq.-ft. Camelback Villa Presidential Suite has two bedrooms, three bathrooms, formal dining and social areas, a private workout room, a butler kitchen and a luxurious master bath where a glass-enclosed atrium houses an oversized soaking tub crafted from a single slab of marble. The two-bedroom, three-bath Andalusian Presidential Suite is tucked within one of the most remote points of the resort, surrounded by a 10-foot privacy wall, and is inspired by the palaces of Marrakesh with Moorish-style architecture. The in-demand suite is rounded out with a large private outdoor pool and spa. omnimontelucia.com.

Best Resort, Best Relaxing Resort Pool and Most Luxe Accommodations: The Wigwam

Over the next two years, The Wigwam in Litchfield Park will be marking two very special anniversaries: the 100th anniversary of The Organization House, built in 1918 to house Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company executives, and the 90th anniversary of opening their doors as an official resort. Guests of the historic resort can look forward to limited- time promotions, including a Centennial Thank You package, while the spring and summer months are brimming with fun, family programming (standouts include Easter and Mother’s Day brunches, Easter Egg-stravaganza, kid’s summer programming that will include the likes of poolside movies and raft races and an elegant Summer Wine Dinner Series). And, of course, guests can come by to simply enjoy time by the pool, on one of the resort’s three golf courses or at the award-winning Red Door Salon & Spa. wigwamarizona.comAlso a 2017 winner!

Best Lobby Bar: The Phoenician

Though it’s a AAA Five-Diamond resort with an endless list of accolades, The Phoenician was still somehow able to make itself even swankier. One of the Valley’s most beloved destinations for staying and playing (and sipping and savoring) has recently welcomed enhancements to its main lobby, the pool complex, the spa and select dining venues, in addition to its extensive 2016 room renovation. The resort’s famous Thirsty Camel Bar and Lounge was treated to a makeover as part of the update, now with a spacious bar and plenty of seating, swanky décor and a can’t-miss happy hour menu, which is available Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. thephoenician.com.

AFM Fave! Best Casino: Desert Diamond

The newest of four Arizona-based Desert Diamond Casinos, Desert Diamond Casino West Valley hosts 1,089 of the hottest games, with longer playtimes and better odds of winning (in addition to big-name concerts and tournaments). Plus, construction of the full-scale casino and resort is now underway. This will include a larger gaming floor with slots and table games, five restaurants and much more. ddcaz.com.

AFM Fave! Best New Resort: Mountain Shadows

After initially opening in 1959, Mountain Shadows in Paradise Valley experienced a rebirth in 2017, reopening its doors after being rebuilt from the ground up. In addition to its fun pool scene, divine dining at Hearth ’61 and eye- popping art collection, the resort impresses with its top-notch events like the just-introduced five- course Poolside Cabana Dinners available March through October. mountainshadows.com.

Best Downtown Phoenix Hotel: Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix

A perk of staying in Downtown Phoenix is that you are mere steps from endless dining, concert and sports venues, arts and culture and much more. Perks of staying at the 242-room Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix, located near CityScape, include cool, contemporary design, dining at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, and access to the third-floor LUSTRE Rooftop Bar and pool deck, to name just a few. hotelpalomar-phoenix.com.

Best Pet Resort/Boarding Facility: Sonoran Desert Pet Resort

Home of Arizona’s largest indoor air-conditioned dog park, Anthem’s Sonoran Desert Pet Resort offers boarding, day care, grooming and training services to its clients. Most importantly, though, it allows peace of mind to the doggy moms and dads who count on the pet-care team and has so for 12 years. sdpetresort.com. Also a 2017 winner!

Best Valley Adventure Experience: Rainbow Ryders Inc.

For more than 35 years, Rainbow Ryders Inc. has been giving passengers a bird’s-eye view of the Southwest. The company has the largest fleet of state-of-the-art hot air balloons and equipment in the United States, offering bucket list flights that last around an hour ending with a celebratory toast and post-flight eats. Seeking a private balloon ride? Rainbow Ryders Inc. can arrange that, too. rainbowryders.com.

Best Pool Party: Hotel Valley Ho

Visit the OH Pool at Hotel Valley Ho every Saturday and Sunday in the summer for DJ music from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. and drink specials. If relaxing with a rosé is more your speed, you’ll love Frosé Fridays with specials on the pink sip all day. (On Saturdays and holiday weekends, the pool is limited to registered hotel guests and those booking daybeds or cabanas.) hotelvalleyho.com. Also a 2017 winner!

Best Place To Discover Your Inner Artist: The Brush Bar

Whether you want to enjoy open studio time, follow along during a painting class or book your special event, Old Town’s The Brush Bar is the perfect spot for kicking back with friends—and some wine—and letting your inner artist do the work. Best of all, the first glass of wine is on The Brush Bar. Reservations are required. thebrushbar.com.

Fast Favorites

Best Valley Hiking: Camelback Mountain, climbcamelback.com.

Best Movie Theatre: Dine In: Studio Movie Grill, studiomoviegrill.com. Also a 2017 winner!

Best Movie Theater:  Harkins Theatres, harkins.com. Also a 2017 winner!

Best Casino:  Talking Stick Resort and Casino, talkingstickresort.com.

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