One of the country's most romantic resort properties, the Royal Palms Resort and Spa's place in Arizona's history dates back to 1926 when Delos Willard Cooke purchased 65 acres at the base of Camelback Mountain to build a home for his wife. Inspired by their European travels, their 3,500-square-foot Spanish Revival villa was completed in 1929.
Over the ensuing decades, a series of owners put their mark on the stunning home, eventually transitioning to a resort property which welcomed its first recorded guests in 1948. Early visitors included Groucho Marx and Helena Rubenstein, and now this exquisite property spoils travelers with luxurious amenities such as ALVADORA SPA, a full-service salon, fitness center, swimming pool, and award-winning dining at T. COOK'S AND THE MIX UP BAR.
Here are five ways to make the most of your vacation at Royal Palms.
1. CHECK IN to one of 119 guest rooms, casitas and grand villas as you are handed a glass of bubbly (such a nice touch!). A member of the Historic Hotels of America, Royal Palms Resort has been designated a AAA Four Diamond resort, offering rooms and suites boasting private terraces and patios taking in the scenic surroundings. On a past visit, we loved our lovely Spa Terrace Suite, and on this visit we were just as enamored of the panorama seen from our beautiful Montavista Terrace Room. Our private balcony overlooked the picturesque Montevista Courtyard.....
....and these amazing Camelback Mountain views.
2. WANDER. One of the reasons the Royal Palms is so special must be experienced at your leisure. Be sure to explore and search out the idyllic vignettes you'll discover as you meander along the cobblestone paths.
You'll discover six outdoor fireplaces, 14 water fountains, and hidden gems such as the Orange Grove, Garden of Love, Reflecting Pool, and Florence's Alcove, all surrounded by the lush terrain of swaying palms, vibrant bougainvillea and fragrant frangipani trees.
On Saturdays, you can arrange a tour with your concierge to be guided by a hotel historian to learn more about the artwork, architecture, and flora, such as the palms trees imported from Egypt by the original owners.
3. LOUNGE BY THE POOL. I love the exclusive feel of the pool at the Royal Palms, lined with mother-of-pearl tiles and surrounded by adults-only cabanas for the ultimate private relaxation.
Cabanas and daybed rentals include amenities such as chilled towels and stocked refrigerators, and additional food and beverages can be ordered from the convenient poolside Cabana Cafe.
4. LINGER OVER DRINKS. You'll want to allow plenty of time to visit the Mix Up Bar. Not only can you enjoy your adult beverage (or non-alcoholic refresher) in a variety of settings - ensconced in a cozy leather chair in front of the fireplace, joining friends at the convivial bar, or sipping al fresco in the Mansion Courtyard - but you'll find some of the best craft cocktails in the Valley to pair with the food menu.
Lead bartender Tyler Strasser's talents are showcased in his wonderful seasonal cocktails which currently include The Spaniard combining tequila, mezcal, lime and tempranillo wine syrup, and the Flower Girl made with gin, Lillet blanc, grapefruit, lime, and Maraschino cherry liqueur. I also recommend his riffs on classics such as the popular Prickly Penicillin, a perfectly-balanced union of tequila blanco and smoky mezcal, embellished with prickly pear and lemon-honey-ginger syrups, and crowned with an airy cap of aquafaba (TIP: Also look for weekly specials such as Sangria Sundays, $1 Oyster Mondays, Tacos and Tequila Tuesdays, Wine Wednesdays, and Bourbon & Burgers Thursdays).
5. DINE AT T. COOK'S. As I've mentioned previously (such as here, here, here, here, here, and here), I'm a frequent visitor to T. Cook's for memorable dinners and special events. No need to dine off-site when you have a restaurant of this caliber to stroll to. Chef Todd Allison's menu, as befits the Mediterranean-inspired setting, draws upon these flavors with a fresh, seasonal approach
My latest visit was on a hot summer evening, and a light starter and seafood were calling my name: Garden Vegetable Salad with local Crow's dairy cheese and a tangy oregano vinaigrette, followed by a filet of Glacier 51 Sea Bass with summer squash and Tamai Farm corn ratatouille and roasted red pepper puree.
My husband opted for the beet salad with wild arugula, marcona almonds, and feta dressing, and a fat, juicy rib eye steak accompanied by whipped creme fraiche potatoes and sauteed mushrooms.
Too full for dessert, but I suggest a sweet ending from a previous visit - tiramisu and salted caramel gelato with a pairing of Inniskillin icewine.
Royal Palms Resort offers all this magical ambiance a mere 20 minutes away from the Phoenix airport, and 5 minutes from the shopping and dining scene of Old Town Scottsdale. It is located at 5200 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018, and reservations can be made by calling 800-672-6011 or visiting this link.
For locals - you'll want to check out these summer specials available through the end of summer.
- Arizona residents can take advantage of up to 25% off the best available rate by using code AZRES for one or two night stays, or AZRES1 for three or more nights. The Royal Summer Retreat offers a $50 dining credit, and includes the nightly resort fee and parking.
- Alvadora Spa specials include a selection of 50-minute treatments for $125.
- T. Cook's is offering a two-course summer prix-fixe for $38 per person. First course choices include grilled prawns, summer corn chowder, or garden vegetable salad, with entree options of grilled Mary's Chicken with pancetta, piquillo peppers, and tzatziki, pan-roasted branzino, or T. Cook's signature Valencia paella.
I was hosted by Royal Palms Resort and my stay was complimentary.