Phoenix is one of the largest and fastest-growing cities in the US. It’s a popular winter destination, so naturally, visitors can find plenty of places to stay during any season. Stretched over a huge area in a beautiful desert environment, the city has the largest concentration of luxury resorts in the country. They’re not your only option though. Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive house or an all-inclusive desert experience, there is a place to fit your needs at any price range. From historic favorites to chic urban boutique hotels, laid-back Airbnb desert homes to the best in luxury accommodation, here is a selection of the best places to stay in Phoenix.
Hotel San Carlos — In operation since it opened in 1928, the Hotel San Carlos is a State Historic Landmark and a historic boutique hotel. Once a favorite of Hollywood stars like Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Marilyn Monroe, Ingrid Bergman, and Humphrey Bogart, the hotel building was featured in Hitchcock’s Psycho, filmed in 1960. The hotel has its share of ghost stories, the most notorious one involving a young woman dressed in white who is said to appear on the roof or in some of the rooms. Far from being outdated, this renovated and modernized hotel competes with high-end accommodations while offering one of the lowest rates within walking distance from the Phoenix Convention Center and other downtown attractions.
Kimpton Hotel Palomar — Steps away from Cityscape, the Kimpton Hotel Palomar offers a great stay, including spacious rooms with yoga mats, a fitness center, and complimentary bikes to cruise around the city. The rooftop outdoor pool offers first-class views of the surrounding Phoenix landscape and is a perfect place to relax during the evenings. For live entertainment, the LUSTRE Rooftop Garden on the third floor has live music in the afternoon, and the hotel’s own Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails is worth staying in for.
Hilton Garden Inn — Housed in a historic building dating from 1932, once home to the Sun Valley Bank, the Hilton Garden Inn opened in 2015. Stepping in the Grand Lobby with its original Art Deco design, guests are transported back in time, but the rooms have all the modern amenities expected from a three-star hotel. The Nook in the lobby is a great place for dinner where the signature dishes are prepared with local ingredients. Sports venues, downtown Phoenix, Sky Harbor Airport, and a Valley Metro station are all within walking distance.
Pointe Hilton Tapatillo — Overlooking the North Mountain Preserve, Pointe Hilton Tapatillo offers comfortable rooms and suites with individual entrances. The two outdoor pools, one with an added underground slide and waterfall, make this hotel a great choice even in the summer. In the cooler months, guests can enjoy the North Mountain Preserve Visitor Center and learn about the surrounding desert environment, then hit one of the many trails in the preserve for a pleasant hike. The restaurant on the premises, Different Pointe of View, offers an unforgettable culinary experience with gorgeous views of North Mountain.
Arizona Biltmore Resort — Dubbed “the jewel of the desert since 1929,” the Arizona Biltmore Resort grew up with Arizona. Housed in a historic building near Camelback Mountain and designed by Albert Chase McArthur with the help of Frank Lloyd Wright, the resort and its unique garden sculptures are among the most recognized sights of Arizona. For a different Southwestern dining experience, guests can head over to the Wright’s then have a few cocktails at the Wright Bar, where the Tequila Sunrise was invented.
Wigwam Resort — Opening in 1929 with 24 rooms in the West Valley of Phoenix, the Wigwam Resort stretches over 440 acres and offers elegant and comfortable adobe-style casitas and suites. Over time the Wigwam hosted its share of sports celebrities and public figures and earned a reputation as one of the Southwest’s landmark resorts. Guests can relax in one of three world-class pools and enjoy the aptly named Tower Pool, which showcases a 25-foot-high twisting water slide. The resort’s signature restaurant, Litchfield’s, offers a dining experience in a casual atmosphere while supporting the local community with a menu based on produce from nearby farms. The closest attraction nearby, the World Wildlife Zoo, houses the largest number of exotic animals in Arizona and is committed to their conservation.
Hotel Valley Ho — Overlooking Camelback Mountain, the locally owned Hotel Valley Ho in historic downtown Scottsdale has a rich history in Arizona. Built in 1956, it was a hotspot and a hideaway for the era’s celebrities — like Bing Crosby, Tony Curtis, Zsa Zsa Gabor — who found privacy on hotel grounds, away from the paparazzi attention. Renovated and reopened in 2005, the hotel has kept its mid-century charm, adding contemporary rooms and suites, great dining options, spa treatments, and two pools. Plus, it’s dog-friendly. Guests can also enjoy free access to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art just steps from the resort.
Arizona Grand Resort and Spa — Sitting at the base of South Mountain, America’s largest urban park and nature preserve, the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa is the perfect place to come back to after a day of hiking and exploring the desert. What makes this resort truly unique is its convenience for a summer visit. The Oasis Water Park on the premises, one of the top 10 water parks in the country, features the Slide Canyon Tower along with splash pads, a wave pool, and the Zuni River. While at the swimming pool, guests can have lunch or a snack and drink at the Oasis Bar and Grill then dine at the Lobby Grill, where top chefs create dishes in an open-air kitchen and wood-fired oven.
Sanctuary Camelback Resort and Spa — Enclosed within the scenery of Camelback Mountain in Paradise Valley, the award-winning Sanctuary Resort and Spa provides high-end luxury. Cozy casitas overlooking the mountain showcase desert-inspired artwork and photography by local artists, and the world-class spa on the premises offers Asian-inspired treatments. Elements on the premises is a great dining choice where world-renowned chef and Food Network celebrity Chef Beau MacMillan plans the seasonal menu. Guests can also enjoy the signature cocktails at the Jade while listening to live jazz, pop, and R&B.
The Phoenician — This sprawling Scottsdale resort is well-suited for the whole family — with several pools, restaurants, a Kids Zone, and plenty of on-site activities. But if you’re looking to get away from the noise and treat yourself to a luxurious spa getaway, The Phoenician may be the best place in Phoenix to do so. Popular with the bachelorette-party crowd, the massive, newly renovated spa building is set far back from the main thoroughfare of the hotelf and features a rooftop pool, silent tranquility suite, saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs, and a laundry list of spa treatments so decadent you’re likely to forget about the hefty price tag 20 minutes into your massage.
The Scott Resort and Spa — If you’re more comfortable in a homey setting, The Scott is a happy medium of luxury hotel amenities and personal touches that feel like you could be crashing in a friend’s (very nice, very stylish) apartment. This intimate resort’s inspiration draws from both mid-century modern and classic Havana designs, from the navy grand bookcase behind the front desk to the gold bar-cart accents in your room. Be sure to stop at the Canal Club bar for a Hemingway Daiquiri and churro doughnut holes.
With so many budget hotels and Airbnb options, Phoenix doesn’t have a huge selection of hostels. But if you want to meet fellow travelers, here’s a very good option for hostel lodgings.
The Metcalf House — The Metcalf House in the Roosevelt Row Art District offers a combined hostel-cultural center experience. The old brick house filled with artwork and surrounded by lush vegetation provides hammocks, a rooftop patio, and a meditative garden. The well-informed staff knows all the off-the-beaten-path destinations in and around Phoenix, helping guests make the most of their stay in the city. Within walking distance from all the art and sport venues of Downtown Phoenix, it’s also close to the airport, a Greyhound bus station, the light rail, and rental cars.