One of the most unnerving parts of traveling is dealing with the unknown. When you have to visit a city for the first time, you don't know what to expect. You have to worry about the weather, finding your way around, where to eat, and of course finding a safe place to stay for the night. Fortunately, there is no shortage of world class hotels in Phoenix, AZ.
Whether you are visiting for business or for pleasure, here are four Phoenix hotels that I think really stand out from the crowd.
Sheraton Phoenix Downtown
If I had to sum this place up in just three words, it would be "The Crown Jewel." The Sheraton Phoenix Downtown has set a new standard for hotels that will be extremely hard to beat.
Since it opened in October 2008, the Sheraton has claimed the title of Arizona's Largest Hotel. With one-thousand rooms (47 of which are executive suites), it is absolutely gigantic. Besides being Phoenix's newest and largest hotel, it has also received the coveted Four Diamond Award from the Automobile Association of America.
So what is it that makes the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown so special? It's not the 32-inch flat screen TV in every room. It's not the 24-hour gym or the outdoor heated lap pool. It's not the 80,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.
What makes the Sheraton so special is the level of warm, friendly service you will get from the staff. I had the pleasure of eating lunch at the hotel's District American restaurant and was extremely impressed with how polite and courteous everyone was. After all, a hotel is just a building - it's the people that make it worth remembering.
Cool Fact: All of the herbs used in the Sheraton's restaurant are organically grown in a garden on the 4th floor.
Even if you've never been to the Valley of the Sun, you've probably seen this hotel before. It's on every postcard and in every aerial flyover shot of downtown Phoenix. The Hyatt is an architectural icon thanks to the unmistakable shape of the restaurant perched on its roof.
True to its name, the Compass Grill and bar sits atop the Hyatt and makes one full rotation per hour. It is one of the few bars in the world that will literally have you spinning before you order your first drink! However, the rotating restaurant is just one of the many unique aspects of the Hyatt Regency.
Located in downtown Phoenix just a short drive from the airport, this hotel features an impressive 693 guest rooms. All of the rooms feature 37-inch flat screen TVs and luxury bedding. The Hyatt also offers a 24 hour gym and an outdoor pool with hot tub.
When it gets down to business, the Hyatt Regency offers 48,000 square feet of meeting space amongst 32 rooms. They even offer special rooms for business travelers with deluxe workspaces, a full breakfast, and daily newspaper service.
Of course, it's not enough to be a physical icon of the Phoenix skyline. The Regency is also an icon of excellent customer service as evidenced by the hotel's AAA Four-Diamond award.
Cool Fact: The Hyatt Regency offers special hypo-allergenic rooms for allergy sufferers.
Built in 1975 and remodeled in 2005, the Wyndham Hotel is another of downtown Phoenix's architectural gems. The semi-circular arches over the windows are the building's most striking feature. Conceived by architects Schwenn and Clark, the uniquely-shaped arches provide shade for each of the guest rooms while adding a charming mid-century modern flair.
Look beyond the building's distinctive exterior and you'll find 520 luxurious guest rooms with all of the modern amenities. The Wyndham features a heated outdoor pool, a gym, and it is the only hotel on my list that features a sauna.
Business travelers will appreciate the Wyndham's 60,000 square feet of available meeting space plus a state-of-the-art business center with telephones, Internet access, fax, and printing services. A full service hair and nail salon are on the premises, along with two restaurants and a coffee shop. The Wyndham has been recognized with a AAA Three-Diamond award.
Cool Fact: Enjoy the view and a refreshing swim on the Wyndham's rooftop terrace.
Hotel San Carlos
History buffs, look no further: this is the place for you. Hotel San Carlos is Phoenix's only historic boutique hotel. Open continuously since 1928, the building features ornate Italian renaissance style architecture nestled in the heart of downtown Phoenix. At the time it was the first high-rise hotel in Phoenix to feature air-conditioning, and the first high-rise hotel in Arizona to feature elevators.
The old-world charm of the San Carlos Hotel is evident from the moment you walk in the door. Everything from the copper-clad elevator doors to the crystal chandeliers and travertine floors just oozes class and style. You'll find more of the same in each of the hotel's 128 guest rooms, along with plenty of modern amenities such as wireless Internet access, satellite TV, and luxury beds.
The hotel also offers two restaurants, a lounge, and a barber shop. Such top-notch amenities made the Hotel San Carlos a hotspot for Hollywood celebrities including Mae West, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Spencer Tracy, Jean Harlow, Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart, and Gene Autry. Wow!
Cool Fact: The Hotel San Carlos is a rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a woman who leapt from the hotel's roof in 1930.
These are four of what I feel are the most interesting hotels in Phoenix, AZ. The next time you're in town, I would encourage you to stay at one of these fine places instead of some brand-new chain hotel. Look for my reviews of Phoenix resorts in an upcoming post!