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Posts tagged ‘golf’

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort and Spa, Carlsbad, CA

Last Friday, I was treated to a delightful tour of the resort by the marketing coordinator at the resort.  As you drive in via the main entrance you drive within the Aviara planned community and past the Four Seasons residence club which has time shares.  Real estate is available in this community but the jewel of this property is the beautiful AAA 5 diamond resort and Arnold Palmer 18 hole golf course.

The Spanish Colonial architecture is complemented by the lush landscaping on the 200 acres and the breathtaking view of the Batiquitos natural lagoon and the ocean beyond.  There are sculptures placed around the property and all the guest rooms have either a private balcony or terrace to access these views.  Even the pools are situated to best take advantage of the lagoon, ocean and landscaping views.

There are 329 sleeping room, from the 540 sq. foot guest room to the 855-2140 suites, including the Presidential suite.  All rooms are certified hypo allergenic with special cleaning processes, materials, etc. to provide this clean environment.   When I looked today, the rates ranged from $259 per night to $459 for the Park Suite deluxe, plus the $25 a night resort fee and a parking fee.

There is 78,000 sq feet of indoor/outdoor facilities for weddings, business meetings and events, and 17 meeting rooms. The meeting rooms are  held on one side of the hotel and the guest rooms on the other, to keep a separate and more private space available for guests and attendants.

There are five dining venues as well as in room dining. The Vivace is the fine dining venue, Italian, offering dinners and a Sunday brunch. The California Bistro has a wonderful buffet that the marketing coordinator says is exquisite, featuring locally sourced and organic food as much as possible.  The Argyle Steakhouse is located next to the 18th hole on the golf course.  The Ocean bar and grill is next to the pool and lastly, the Lobby lounge is in the library area and serves tea and finger foods as well as cocktails in the evening. Wed. through Sat. there is live music in the lobby and lounge area.

One of my favorite offerings at the resort is their quarterly Masters of food and wine events.  The event during the summer months is focused on teaching families how to make pizza dough,  mozzarella cheese and decorate cupcakes.  Earlier in the summer it focused on the local Carlsbad Aqua Farm, with a tour, and oyster tasting paired with fine California wines.   Later on the focus will be on Single Malt scotch tasting paired with cigars.  Bridgette stressed that food is one of the main focuses at this hotel, one that lifts it above the rest.

Other facilities in the hotel are various shops, 6 lighted tennis courts, a game room for kids and adults, a golf academy aligned with the Arnold Palmer golf course, 1/2 court basketball court, sand volley ball, movies, and camp Hyatt for the kids.  There is a large and lush family pool and a more secluded adult only Tranquility pool below that one. Another fun offering through the resort is called their Beach Butler service. They offer transportation to the beach, along with beach chairs, towels and umbrellas; a picnic lunch and/or morning coffee service.

I wasn’t able to view inside the spa as it was booked full with appointments but a friend of mine has visited there and says it is lovely.   It is 15,000 sq. ft, has 20 treatment rooms, an indoor solarium lounge, whirlpool, steam room, sauna and a fitness center. They offer various body treatments, facials and massage treatments. There is a salon onsite as well.

I am sharing the photos I took here but if you want more info or pictures, you can go to:

This is a view of the lobby and fountain, the view from the fountain and the view of the lagoon.

Lobby and fountain Aviara view from lobby looking west Aug 9 2013 Lagoon view

These last two photos are of the fine dining restaurant and the bistro:

Bistro Fine dining restaurant

Although this is a fairly large resort, it felt very comfortable and intimate to me.  Go visit yourself and let me know what you think!

The Scottsdale Princess, Scottsdale, AZ

I went to see the Scottsdale Princess in Feb.  They gave me a map and I just walked around on my own.  I did receive a tour of the spa and fitness center. This is a newer resort and is a 5 diamond resort.  It has a newly added 53,000 sq foot ballroom and conference center and caters to business meetings, events and business travelers.

The resort has 4 restaurants and a lounge; 2 18 hole golf courses; 2 fitness centers (one free, one fee based); tennis courts; 2 catch and release fishing lagoons; 5 pools, one of them with 2 200 ft. water slides; a kids club and Family adventure center with a playground, sports courts various activities and games and seasonal dive in movies.

The spa and wellness center was my favorite part of the resort.  There was an adult lap pool; various fitness classes including simulated surfing; numerous  therapies including different massages, reiki , craniosacral , body and facial treatments; a salon; 2 wellness MD’s to create a wellness program; and my top favorite, a series of “waterfalls”, with varying water intensities,   that you stood under for neck and shoulder massage.

There are 649 rooms ranging in size from 525 sq. feet to 3150 sq feet and rooms start at $149 per night.

Photos are of the rooms, swimming pool and Wellness center.

Tower at hotel rooms Entrance to the spa, fitness center and Authentic Mexican food restaurant Fountain and hotel rooms Hotel room Pool and lagoon at the Princess



The Phoenician, Scottsdale, AZ

I went to tour the Phoenician, in Feb. 2013. They just handed me a map and I walked around on my own.  The history is interesting. An artist, Jessie Evans, fell in love with the land up against Camelback mountain in the early 1900’s, built a small house for herself, bought 40 more acres and gave 12 of them to her son and daughter-in-law. They decided to build a unique adobe home that they eventually opened up to visitors. This home still stands on the grounds and was featured in the movie “Raising Arizona”.  Charles Keating, bought the land in 1985 and decided to fashion it into something rivaling grand European resorts. It now consists of 250 acres. He brought in white tiles from Italy, had ceilings etched with 24 karat gold. It is a 5 diamond resort. He brought in workers from Tonga to create the tropical landscape.  The serenity pool is tiled with mother of pearl from Italy. The pool renovations cost $1 million.

There are various sizes of rooms from 530 sq. feet to the Presidential suite within the hotel and is 4000 sq feet. Prices start at $199 per night and go into the thousands.  There is a resort, the Canyon Suites, within the resort that has it’s own pool and a chauffeur driven car for the use of the guests.

Activities include the Family activity center that includes a theater, a basketball court, foosball, video games, pool, etc.; 9 pools that include a river like pool that has several sections, a kid’s pool and water slide; hikes to Camelback mountain, a playground;  a Koi Fish feeding activity; lawn games, bikes, art tours, wine and cheese tasting; tennis courts and lessons; a 27 hole golf course and lessons; fitness center with classes and facilities; a salon; a 22,000 sq foot spa/salon that offers body and face treatments, body therapies, astrology, hypnotherapy, chakra balancing, tarot readings and even golf imagery for golfers I was glad to see the guided imagery on their menu as I have successfully used hypnotherapy and other mind/body therapies for use with golfers.

There are 8 food venues and 5 private dining rooms available. They offer facilities for weddings, business meetings and other events. Locals can purchase membership to the tennis courts and golf course.

The pictures show the resort at the base of the mountain; the river and pool; the fountains and rooms; the landscaping.

Cabanas by pool with lobby and rooms and mountain beyond Entrance Fountain in part of lake with rooms beyond One of the pools next to the necklace lake Part of the grounds


Arizona Biltmore Resort, Phoenix, AZ

I also worked here in 1997.  I had less work here, but did enjoy it for the most part. The spa was ok when I was there, but just like the AZ. Grand, they completely remodeled it after I left. (is there a trend here? This also happened at the Cordillera resort where I worked in CO).

I went back to visit the Biltmore in early 2013 and paid to take their historical tour. We had been given a tour as an employee but I’m so glad that I took the extensive historical tour and I found out much more about it’s history.  When the Biltmore was built, it was considered out in the middle of no where. A man from the mid-west, created a car dealership in Phoenix, then gathered investors and started building the resort. During this time the costs doubled, the depression hit, and the man lost all stock in the resort and it became the property of the sole owner, Wrigley, of Wrigley gum.  He has a mansion built next to the resort. My family and I used to drive by it most Easter Sundays, and I loved all the bunnies jumping up and down the hill that the mansion is built upon.

Until the second owners, Talley Industries, had their grand opening in 1973, the resort was only attended by invitation only.  Heads of state, all of the Presidents, movie stars, politicians and sports stars were invited. In the beginning, the dining halls were adults only and families brought their nannies with them to care for the children and they and the children were housed in different quarters than the adults. Irving Berlin composed many songs by the pool, including “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”. Marilyn Monroe considered the Catalina Pool, made with tiles from Catalina Island, to be her favorite pool world wide.

The resort first opened in 1929, with the key in the photo dropped from a plane above. Thankfully, it didn’t land on anyone.  The ballroom and the main room were made with ceilings of pressed gold leaf. The architect had been a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the stained glass display in the lobby was from one of his throw away sketches.  Talisen West oversaw the remodel done by the 2nd owners, after Wrigley sold it to them. During that remodel, there was a fire, and miraculously the remodel was completely redone within 82 days.  All of the original blocks and the remodel blocks were made from an original design, made from sand gathered onsite, and produced on site.

The resort is on 39 acres. It also is surrounded by various housing developments and those home owners have access to the country club and golf course.  In addition, the villas are privately owned, managed by the resort and available to be rented out.  There are 740 rooms, from the basic 400-450 sq foot room with the rate starting at $99 a night, and extend to 78  1 and 2 bdr. villas up to 1600 sq. feet. The various rooms and villas are surrounded by lush gardens.

The spa, salon and fitness center are now in a 22,000 sq foot building.  There are tennis courts, the golf course, croquet, lawn chess, local horse back riding, tours, and numerous classes in the fitness center. The spa has several body treatments, facials and body therapies available.  There are 5 dining options and 8 swimming pools, including the Catalina Pool.

They have a green initiative and serve locally grown and organic food as much as it is available. They are moving toward having all organic gardening. They are available for weddings, business meetings and other events. I love the elegance and history of this place.

Biltmore Block designed by McArthur Catalina pool made with tiles from Catalina Island Ceilling of the Aztec room with copper struts Entrance to the Lobby Key dropped from airplane  for Opening Day Stained glass panel in lobby, from drawing by Frank Lloyd Wright, Saguaro Cactus with blossoms



Arizona Grand Resort and Spa, Tempe, AZ

I used to work here in 1996-97, and enjoyed the job, doing massage and body treatements, along with other great therapists and a wonderful supportive massage therapist manager.  The spa left a lot to be desired decor and space wise but we had access to the fitness center, the pools and employee dining. We were treated very well.  I recently went on a tour of the resort again, in early 2013 and was impressed with all the re-decorating and newly redesigned spa, salon, fitness center and added water park.  The place has changed owners and been renamed from “The Pointe, south mountain” to “The Arizona Grand Resort and Spa.” What is unusual about the property is that it is nestled a midst the amazing 17,000 acre South Mountain preserve ( wonderful hiking), has a business park next to it, apartments for rent, along with villas that are available for purchase. This allows all these home owners and tenants to access the restaurants and facilities.

The 4 diamond resort has 740 redecorated rooms, now decorated with a southwestern motif, ranging in size from the 400 sq ft rooms, starting at $109 a night, to the 1980 sq foot 3 bdr. villas.  There is a  golf course; a full fitness center that also offers memberships to locals and 45 weekly classes; 6 dining venues,; meeting spaces;  and a spa and salon that offer various therapies, services, wraps, scrubs, body treatments and has a saline pool. There are several pools on the property including the 7 acre water park.  This looks like great fun for the family with an 8 story water slide , a 25 person hot tub, a large wave pool,  swimming pool, and a sweet floating “river” that you can float down.  During the summer the water park offers dive in movies for the family on Friday and Sat. nights , a dance on Friday and Sat. nights and pool side dining.

I like that even though it is a large facility it still feels warm and friendly, not corporate.


View 3 of water park with river  to float and tall slide tower Adult only saline pool by spa and fitness center with view of golf course Entrance to hotel rooms and villas View 2 of water park with fake boulders

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