A Phoenix Getaway
Updated: Jun 13, 2019
Fair warning- this post is long! We had so much fun and got to see and do so many things while in Phoenix. Before we got there, I had searched pinterest for the top things to do and places to eat in Phoenix and it was a tremendous help! I write this in hopes to help someone else who may be taking a vacation to the city of Phoenix! For my quick tips and overall summary of what we loved best, skip down to the bottom.
So here we go, let's be honest - most of us work long and hard! Every now and then we deserve a little getaway to re-set and relax our minds! My mom and I recently started a new tradition after visiting The Brice, a Kimpton Hotel in Savannah Georgia last Summer. After the stay at The Brice, it was a done deal. From then on out we decided that we loved our stay so much at a Kimpton Hotel, that we would always try to plan our girls trips at a Kimpton Hotel across the states - maybe we will even make it to the Amsterdam Kimpton in the Netherlands one of these days! This time we stayed at the Palomar in Phoenix, AZ and it lived up to it's expectation and then some!
First off the decor not only at the hotel, but also at several of the restaurants we visited were on point! As an interior designer I am greatly affected by what surrounds me and am fascinated with what the designers come up with in places like these, its truly inspiring! I cannot get over how adorable the hotel room was and how well designed the lobby and main areas were!
Once we arrived at the hotel, we grabbed brunch at The Breakfast Club right next door to the hotel. If you're staying in the Palomar or in the downtown area, I highly recommend it! The food was ahhh-mazing and the interior was quite charming! I got the Traditional Bene and mom got the Smoked Salmon Lox Bene with Mimosas. If it's nice outside they have an adorable little patio you can sit at!
After brunch our good friend, Natalie joined us for our stay followed by our other good friend Faith a few days later! The ultimate girls trip! Naturally I am a planner and want to make sure we maximized our stay in Phoenix and ate really good food while we were at it, so after Natalie arrived we sat down outside of the BlueHound, the hotel restaurant, to make our plan for the next few days! We did end up eating at the BlueHound the next night - they serve skillet style dishes, it was pretty good and I loved the vibe, but was not my favorite of all restaurants we ate at. I did love the convenience of it however, since it was connected to the hotel.
We arrived on Friday early afternoon and made plans as follows:
Frank Lloyd Wright Home followed by shopping and dinner in Scottsdale
Brunch at The Henry followed by hiking to the top of Camelback Mountain
The Phoenix Botanical Garden, brunch in the gardens, followed by picking Faith up from the Airport and Dinner in downtown Phoenix, dinner in downtown Phoenix
Day trip to Sedona, dinner and desert in downtown Phoenix
Spa day at the Alvadora Spa at the Royal Palms Resort and lunch at Chelsea's Kitchen before heading to the airport
We planned to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Home in Taliesen West and go on a tour since he was one of the best architects known to man in the 1920's. The Frank Lloyd Wright Home is located really close to the main Scottsdale area, which worked perfectly since we wanted to head there afterwards. I was SOO bummed when we got there and the security guard, Jack, had informed us that the tickets were all sold out for the 4pm tour, which was the last tour of the day and we didn't have time to come back. The Frank Lloyd Wright website was a little misleading because it said reservations not required for the tour, but I would recommended it just because they do sell out fast. I think he felt pretty bad, so he recommended checking out 5th and Wine for happy hour in downtown old Scottsdale. Sweet Jack!
5th and Wine was adorable! You would never know from looking at the outside of the lounge that it was so charming on the inside! We ordered a bottle of wine and a few appetizers and enjoyed soothing live music by a local. It was a great location if you're looking for wine, food and soothing music!
After appetizers we headed to Olive and Ivy down the street, a Fox Restaurant Concept. A common re-occuring trend for us: we didn't make reservations and the wait was over an hour, so we decided to eat 'at the bar' where they had open seating. We got pretty lucky and found a little lounge booth in the bar as a few ladies were leaving it. The food was great, the ice-cream looked even better, but we were all soo full. We had full intentions to stop back by later in the trip for ice-cream there, but it never happened!
Brunch at The Henry, another a Fox Restaurant Concept, was by far on of my favorite restaurants we visited! I kind of learned my lesson regarding reservations from the day before and attempted to make a reservation at The Henry early on in the morning, but all reservations were already full up until about 1pm. We headed there anyways around 10 to see if we could get in with their open seating, but did have quite the wait. It was 100% worth it! Amazing brunch, great coffee, amazing atmosphere, adorable outdoor patios! I wish we had something like The Henry back in my hometown, I'd hang out there all the time!
After brunch, around 2pm, we headed over to hike Camelback Mountain. We had asked a few locals for their advice on which trail to hike, as there were a few, and most of the online reviews mentioned Camelback being really crowded during this time of year because of the more mild weather (End of January). We decided on Cholla Trail. A few told us it was the easier hike out of the few around the Mountain, but afterwards we heard it was one of the more extreme hikes. Natalie and I absolutely loved it, though about midway it does become kind of like rock climbing! Totally worth it once you get to the top! Make sure you do bring water, be prepared for the 'crowd' and be prepared to park far down the street - probably about a mile down from the trailhead.
We were sooo tired after our long hike, and headed back to the hotel downtown. After we freshened up, we decided that we really were too tired to head back to any Scottsdale destinations for dinner so we ate at the hotel Restaurant, The BlueHound. We absolutely loved their Charcuterie board!
We figured that Brunch anywhere would unfortunately take half our day and we had big plans for the day! We grabbed juices and smoothies from Grabba Green across from the hotel! If you're into juicing or healthy smoothies, Grabba Green is perfect for that! Juices in hand, we grabbed our car and headed to the Botanical Gardens. Words cannot describe how beautiful this place was! If you're into pretty scenery and learning about all the succulents and cactus of the land, the Botanical Gardens is a must! After touring the gardens, we ate at the restaurant on the gardens property, Gertrude's. The hummus dip was one of the best I've ever had! I also recommend the berry lemonade, which had an interesting pink color from the Prickly Pear Cactus juices.
We had a little extra time before picking Faith up from the Airport, so we drove over to Papago Park down the street to check out The Hole in Rock.
After navigating the Airport and picking up faith, we headed to the hotel for a little R+R before dinner. We hung out at The Palomar rooftop pool deck, Lustre, for a drink and to make our dinner plans. Unfortunately January is just slightly too mild for any sun bathing in a swim suite, but I can only imagine how nice it would be to hang out at the pool deck on a warm sunny day!
Dinner was at Nook Kitchen in downtown Phoenix, just down the street from the Hotel. I didn't get a ton of pictures of our food or the aesthetic of Nook because it was too dark, but it was one of my favorite dinner spots of the Trip. We all got an interesting version of their Moscow Mule, which had vodka and whipped cream that made it taste kind of like a Key Lime Pie. An absolute must! Everything on the menu looked soo amazing that we all decided to order something different and share our plates all around.
Day trip to Sedona. A quick drive from Phoenix just under two hours out to Sedona is so worth it! The scenery is everything and like nothing I have seen before! We found a helpful little map via pinterest of a Sedona driving route and followed it a little. We didn't do the entire Sedona park area, just because we didn't have enough time. We visited or drove past Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Chapel of the Holy Cross, Midgley Bridge, and finally made it to the Devils Bridge parking lot. we had high hopes to hike Devil's Bridge, but made that our very last destination and didn't get there until about 3:45 pm, which was far too late to start hiking the 3 mile trek there and back. Plus a few warned us that there were a few icy patches - yes there was snow on the mountains in higher spots and it was gorgeous against the red rock.
Just a good excuse to go back and spend more than a day in Sedona, which I highly recommend. And guess what?! There is a Kimpton Hotel in Sedona too! After we enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Hudson, (one of my favorite of all places we ate) with a gorgeous view of the red mountains in the background, we checked out the Amara Resort and Spa, a Kimpton Hotel, because duh! All the Kimpton interiors are so amazing, we just had to! And when we come back, we have it scouted out! Maybe next time we'll bring our guys along!
Another thing in Sedona we really wanted to do, but didn't have time for was the Pink Jeep Tours. If you're there for more than a day, I would recommend doing the Pink Jeep Tour first so you can scout out the places you want to go back and hike to. They'll also give you plenty of useful information about the Sedona area and the history of the area.
We got back into the Phoenix area right as the sun was setting and grabbed dinner at The Arrogant Butcher, another restaurant close by our hotel. The food was pretty good, but I prefer a little more upscale of a setting, whereas The Arrogant Butcher felt a little sporty. Which makes total sense as it was right across from Chase field. Up until Monday, we were all soo full from dinner and hadn't gotten desert at all, which was shocking! We couldn't leave without having desert at least once! Someone at the hotel front desk recommended Hanny's for desert and it didn't disappoint. Though, you may be in for a surprise if you check out their basement - kind of creepy! Our server also told us that it was a pretty hopping place for tender dates on the weekends, so if that's not your thing, maybe avoid Hanny's on a weekend.
Our very last day! We were all sad to be heading home, but all booked our flights for later in the afternoon so we could enjoy our last day. On Friday I insisted that we schedule a spa appointment at the Alvadora Spa at the Royal Palms Resort in Scottsdale, a recommendation I found on TheEvery Girl Blog. Oh my gosh, it was one of THE best massages I have ever had! My mom had a reflexology treatment and the rest of us had a hot rock massage. Following the spa, we hung out my the outdoor pool for a while as we came out of our daze from the spa. Absolutely call days in advance if this is something you want to do - we had to schedule two of us at 9AM and the other two at 10AM because they were already partially booked when we called to schedule on Friday.
Before heading to the airport, we headed to Chelsea's Kitchen, a recommendation by a local - and it didn't disappoint. They had an adorable outdoor patio and the best swordfish street tacos I have ever tasted! I highly recommend making Chelsea's Kitchen one of your food destinations! Another thing we kept noticing across all the restaurants we went to were Deviled Eggs listed on the appetizer menu. In Savannah Georgia, it was Fried Green Tomatoes. When in Savannah, we made a rule, if it's a local thing and it keeps popping up on the menu, we have to try it! And so we tried the Deviled Eggs at Chelsea's Kitchen. While, I'm not a huge egg person, they were actually pretty delicious!
Take aways and recommendations from the trip:
- Definitely rent a car! There are so many great destinations to visit within a short distance! There's only so much you can do downtown within walking distance
- Make reservations the very day you arrive, or even the day before if you're a huge planner for the things you want to do the most, including restaurants you want to eat at, the Frank Lloyd Wright Home tour, and a spa date.
- Bring Allergy medicine - allergies usually don't bother me too much but little be-known to me, allergies are higher in the Phoenix area.
- If you're going to a destination spot like Sedona, plan any hiking attraction you want to do the most and do that first! I was bummed that we weren't able to hike to the Devils Bridge, because we got there too late and would have been hiking back in the dark. No thanks!
- Plan extra time to enjoy Scottsdale. I didn't feel like we had quite enough time there to enjoy all the shopping since we got there so late in the day!
- If you're eating at one of the Fox Restaurant Concepts, you really can't go wrong!
All Time Favorites Restaurants from the trip:
For Brunch: The Henry
For Lunch: Chelsea's Kitchen (or The Hudson if you're in Sedona)
For Dinner: Nook Kitchen
Travel On my Friends!