In the spirit of this brand new year, I'm starting with a resort from whence I came. My first job out of college was at The Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale doing PR & communications. I loved every 5 a.m. TV call time, every journalist visit, and learning the nitty-gritty of the hotel world. The people that work in Arizona & Scottsdale tourism are some of the best people I've ever met (special shout-out to Laura McMurchie, who got me my job at The Phoenician and is now the VP of communications for the Scottsdale CVB). The job made me realize I wanted to do what I'm doing now, though I didn't know how I was going to get there or what exactly I was supposed to do. And I took more than a few wrong turns along the way. I'm still taking them but I'm quicker to get back on the right route now.
Over Christmas, I went back when I was visiting my family. It took me straight back to nervous, bumbling 22-year-old me who didn't have a clue about the corporate world. I remember smiling like an idiot and hoping no TV host that I took around would discover that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. And I just wished I could be like those glamorous journalists who traveled, wrote, and lived adventurously.
The Phoenician is nestled at the base of Camelback Mountain (my favorite AZ hike) and is the epitome of the word resort. You are just totally surrounded and blissed out by Arizona luxury. There's even a separate building called the Canyon Suites for a resort-within-a-resort experience. Having worked there, I know the behind-the-scenes and so it's not as magical for me. But seeing the Serenity Pool again, the bright orange Koi fish in the canals, and the views of the Valley from the lobby lounge reminded me why it's one of Arizona's most beloved properties.
The spa, the Centre for Well-Being, is still in desperate need of an update but the three golf courses, dining, and shops area are all nearly perfect. Dining institution Mary Elaine's closed a few years ago and it became J&G Steakhouse by Jean-Georges, a great spot for a big night out. The Phoenician also does an afternoon tea that is a ritual for girls growing up in Scottsdale especially during the holidays.
I have a soft spot for the Cafe & Ice Cream Parlor, where I would go in high school with friends. It's best for lunch with a dash of nostalgia.