Boutique Hotel with a Palatial Pool and Stylish Guest Rooms
The Oasis pool at The Clarendon Hotel was voted Phoenix’s Best Hotel Pool in 2012 by the Phoenix New Times, and for good reason. At 60 feet wide and two stories tall, the pool’s glass water wall is one of the largest of its kind in the world, according to hotel co-owner Ben Bethel. The water cascades straight down behind the pool, which is bordered by colorful mosaic tiles flecked with 24-karat gold. Underwater, speakers pipe in Rat Pack–era music, and above water, staff members hand out Otter Pops and polish guests' sunglasses. At night, the bubbling fountains and scalp-massage jets are turned down, and 1,000 stars etched into the pool's bottom illuminate, creating an inverted night sky.
Also named Best Boutique Hotel in 2010 by the Phoenix New Times, The Clarendon Hotel blends midcentury modernity with Southwestern kitsch. In a nod to the nearby landscape, original pop-art-style posters from famous Western films hang in the guest rooms. Acrylic-accented desks and dressers sit on geometric-patterned rugs near flat-screen televisions.
Celestial views hang above the hotel’s SkyDeck lounge, which is set to reopen in late August. The recently renovated rooftop spot offers 360-degree views of the Phoenix skyline and the nearby Phoenix Mountains. The all-natural redwood deck hosts sunset cocktail hours beneath a canopy of string lights. Downstairs at Gallo Blanco Cafe and Bar, chef and owner Doug Robson prepares authentic Mexican-style street food from scratch, including acclaimed tortas and the restaurant's signature Pico Rico burger, a 7-ounce patty topped with roasted poblano chilies and aji aioli.
Phoenix: Bustling Metropolis and Native American Culture Surrounded by Desert
Phoenix enjoys about 300 days of sunshine a year, which has helped it to balloon into the sixth-largest city by population in the United States. It's also one of only 12 US cities with at least four major sports teams: the Arizona Cardinals (NFL), the Phoenix Suns (NBA), the Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), and the Phoenix Coyotes (NHL).
Though the topography of the Phoenix area is all desert, it's by no means desolate. Camelback Mountain is a designated city park area with scenic trails that wind past boulders and red-sandstone formations; climb to the very top for a view of the entire city. Or hit the themed trails at the Desert Botanical Garden filled with southwestern flora such as huge sonoran cacti and other moisture-hoarding succulents. Either way, plan hikes in the early morning or twilight hours to catch the most stunning sunlit views and stay cool.
For an in-depth look at the cultures of Arizona’s indigenous population, browse the 12 exhibition galleries and sculpture garden at the Heard Museum.The collection’s nearly 40,000 pieces of art range from 500 Hopi katsina dolls to a full-size Pueblo oven. In nearby Scottsdale, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West was the renowned prairie-style architect’s winter home as well as a campus for his architecture school.
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