You voted for more than 4,000 nominees in nearly 400 categories (equaling 1.5 million-plus views at AZFoothills.com). Now, it is time to get to know your Best of Our Valley 2014 winners. From your favorite restaurants and resorts to your choice schools and shops, Arizona Foothills Magazine presents Best of Our Valley 2014.
Check-in—and let your cares check-out—at one of these top dogs in local luxury hospitality.
Story by Melissa Larsen
BEST LOBBY BAR AND MOST LUXE ACCOMMODATIONS – THE RITZ-CARLTON, PHOENIX
IN THE HEART OF THE CAMELBACK CORRIDOR, The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix is home to 281 of the Valley’s most gorgeous guest rooms. After checking in, guests can look forward to super-plush bedding; bathrooms decked in marble and granite; jaw-dropping views; and more first-class amenities. As luxe as the accommodations is the hotel’s The Club Bar where guests gather for the juicy Club Bar Burger and hand-crafted cocktails in a vintage cigar lounge-style atmosphere. Stop by for the just-unveiled Club Bar Happy Hour; plus, the hot spot just announced it will start aging its own tequila in an oak barrel which will be on display at the bar. www.ritzcarlton.com/phoenix.
BEST CASINO – TALKING STICK RESORT
HOME TO ARIZONA’S LARGEST POKER ROOM, The Arena, Scottsdale’s Talking Stick Resort is a gaming favorite, especially for fans of Texas Hold Em, Omaha and 7-Card Stud. (The Arena actually hosts the Arizona State Poker Championship every August.) The resort casino’s main floor houses more than 50 game tables and 800-plus slot machines, including Wheel of Fortune Triple Spin, Lord of the Rings and Ghostbusters. www.talkingstickresort.com.
BEST RESORT AND BEST RESORT POOL ACTIVITY – WESTIN KIERLAND RESORT & SPA AND WESTIN FLOWRIDER
FROM ITS SCOTTISH PIPES AT SUNSET SERIES to its Adventure Water Park (with a 900-foot lazy river ride and a 110-foot waterslide), The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa sets itself apart from other area resorts with its long list of on-site activities for the entire clan. One of the newest additions to the agenda of any Westin Kierland guest is the Kierland FlowRider. The boardsport simulator—the only one of its kind at any Valley resort—gives thrill-seekers the chance to take on a gnarly wave—in the middle of the desert. www.kierlandresort.com.
BEST DOG-BOARDING FACILITY – SONORAN DESERT PET RESORT
Heading out of town? Put your pooch in the capable hands at Scottsdale’s Sonoran Desert Pet Resort. The safe, professional facility offers spacious condos and suites for your four-legged friends, as well as a state-of-the-art indoor dog park that’ll get their tails wagging. Sonoran Desert Pet Resort also offers grooming, training, day care and pet sitting. www.sdpetresort.com.
BEST DOWNTOWN PHOENIX HOTEL – HYATT REGENCY PHOENIX
Those who want thisclose access to the best that Downtown Phoenix has to offer check into Hyatt Regency Phoenix. The 693-room resort has plenty to keep guests busy as well, like a sun deck, a pool and hot tub, a stocked fitness center and the revolving rooftop restaurant, Compass Arizona Grill, providing a 360-degree view of the Valley. phoenix.hyatt.com.
BEST RELAXING RESORT POOL – SANCTUARY CAMELBACK MOUNTAIN RESORT & SPA
SOAKING UP THE SIGHT OF CAMELBACK MOUNTAIN while wading in Sanctuary’s infinity-edge pool is on the top of the to-do list of many locals and visitors. (It happens to be the largest infinity-edge pool in the Valley.) Rent a cabana and enjoy comfy lounges, TV’s, a mini fridge (stocked with two six-packs of guest’s choice soda and/or juice), a selection of fresh fruit and more. Be sure to check out the new-and-improved jade bar for refreshing cocktails and small bites aprés-pool. www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com.
BEST MOVIE THEATER – HARKINS THEATRES
Founded in 1933, Harkins Theatres has been a favorite of local movie-goers for more than 80 years. Thanks to Harkins’ Loyalty Program, the popular Summer Movie Fun lineup and IMAX and Cine Capri theaters, it has become the fifth largest theater chain in the nation. And don’t forget that award- winning popcorn. www.harkinstheatres.com.
BEST MOVIE THEATER: DINE-IN – iPIC THEATER
Reserved super-cushy seating that rivals your own living room recliner, pillows, blankets and a premium in-theater menu (think Thai coconut shrimp, sliders and truffle fries delivered directly to your seat) set iPic Theater at Scottsdale Quarter apart from any ole’ theater. And the deliciousness doesn’t stop once the credits start to roll due to the on-site Salt Lounge and Tanzy Restaurant. www.ipictheaters.com.
BEST PARTY RESORT POOL – HOTEL VALLEY HO
Since 1956, Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho has been the place to go for happenin’ pool parties. This spring and summer, Elvis Before Noon will play a mix of covers and original songs for Happy Hour Fridays, Feb. 28 to July 4 from 3 to 6 p.m. DJ Mr. P-Body spins new and old tunes on Session Saturdays from March 29 through the end of September from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. (He can also be heard on Sundays of holiday weekends.) Drink specials are featured on Fridays and Saturdays. Note that Saturdays and holiday weekends are restricted to registered hotel guests only. www.hotelvalleyho.com.