Just back from another memorable trip. This is my all time favourte Marriott, ever! I go there for the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains and the peace and quiet of the resort and spa. There is simply no other place like it. The hotel will celebrate its 75th year in 2012 but because of its recent makeover, many areas have a contempory feel that blend in with the beautiful original arcitecture. Unlike most other Marriotts, the Camelback is built over a massive area with lots of casita style room either on one single or double level. There are some suites that have their own private swimming pool which look stunning, though I've never tried them. The room I had was huge with an outside terrace on the ground floor, a kitchen area and a very large bathroom. All of the rooms are beautifully furnished in a southwestern style that is so different to the usual kind of standard Marriott room. Some of the rooms on the upper level have wonderfully large terraces. The gardens and grounds of the resort are fantastic with little streams here and there and you often see tiny rabbits hopping around. I presume that the named "Jack Rabbit pool" and "Hoppin Jacks" outdoor poolside restaurant for lunch, take their reference from the rabbits. Everywhere there are stunning and beautifully tendered gardens, flowers and huge cactus plants. When I heard the hotel was going to get a makeover I was horrified as I imagined it would lose its unusual quirky and unique feel. However, Marriott have worked wonders and the new additions and alterations simply compliment the wonderful original decor whilst bringing certain areas like the bar and restaurant up to date. The new Ritas bar and casual restaurant is stylish and extremely comfortable. If you want a real bargain, go to Ritas between 3pm and 6pm for some great cocktails for $6 and some surprisingly good food at great prices; angus beef sliders (2) for $7 and large portions of spicy buffalo chicken tenders for only $6 plus some other great food. For something more formal, their new BLT steak restaurant is amazing. It's not cheap but you get some amazing steak dishes that are to die for and I highly recommend it. The service in both Ritas and BLT steak are first class. There is the almost obligtory Starbucks on site, but is a welcome added casual offering.
The Spa has just won another award for spa of the year and well deserves it. This is an area of real tranquility with a beautiful outside deck and large swimming pool. I was pleased to see a member of staff advise a man to turn his cellphone off as he kept on getting phone calls and not only did it have the loudest ring tone I;ve ever heard, but he had the loudest voice (there are signs in the spa and at the entrance that this is a cellphone free area). After being told to turn it off, he still got more calls and so was advised again (handled in a very polite way by the staff member). The spa also has an excellent healthy eating restaunrant called Sprouts, for breakfast and lunch and this can be served poolside by the amazingly attentive sprouts staff (you wont go short of a refill of iced water or offers of drinks/food round this pool). The spa does charge a daily fee unless you are having a treatment but there are seperate mens and ladies steam, sauna, jacuzzi, cold plunge pool (for the very brave!) and relaxation areas, plus an excellent gym. There is also another seperate gym located at the side of the Jack Rabbit pool which is open 24 hours and is free to guests.
At the main entrance the sign says "In all the world only one" and this is just the rightway to describe the Camelback. Over the reception area the sign says "Where time stands still" - well I can tell it does here, this resort is so peaceful and relaxing that it really does feel like the clock is on a go slow. Fabulous!
Every single member of staff I met were very friendly especially the front desk team. I was lucky enough to be checked in and out by the same man and he had a genuine and caring persona. The concierge team are one of the best I've encountered and the new concierge area is a pleasant space to sit and talk with them. Please note that this is a resort hotel and therefore does not have an "executive or concierge lounge". There is also a good gift shop on site with the usual needs and local gifts with a couple of lovely ladies working there who are very friendly and helpful. This hotel is clearly very well managed, everyone starting with the bellman on arrival greet you with a smile and a genuine welcome. I think its clear I like this property!!!!
I also understand that the Cameback is Bill Marriots favourite? I might be wrong, but thats what I heard. Also, the late great actor Spencer Tracy said of the wonderful Claridge's Hotel in London
“…not that I intend to die, but when I do, I don’t want to go to heaven, I want to go to Claridge’s.”
Well, i dont want to die soon, but when I do, I dont want to go to heaven either, I want to go to the Camelback Inn!