Boutique Hotel with a Palatial Pool and Trendy Lounge
At 60 feet wide and two stories tall, the glass water wall at The Oasis pool is one of the largest its kind in the world, according to the Clarendon Hotel co-owner Ben Bethel. The water cascades straight down behind The Clarendon's pool, which is bordered by colorful mosaic tiles flecked with 24-karat gold. Underwater, speakers pipe in Rat Pack–era music, while 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.
The celestial views also hang overhead the hotel’s Skydeck lounge. Renovated in October, this retro 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 chilis and aji aioli.
Named Best Boutique Hotel 2010 by the Phoenix New Times, the Clarendon Hotel blends mid-century 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.
Phoenix: Modern Metropolis Steeped in Southwest Heritage
Tucked next to the cactus-filled Tonto National Forest, Phoenix features the same cultural offers of any major metropolitan city while retaining the desert's climate, with winter average temperatures hovering between 65 degrees and 75 degrees. Located near the downtown business center in the Midtown Museum District, the Clarendon Hotel is a short drive from The Heard Museum, which houses one of the world's largest repositories of Native American art. Nearby, a green quartz and mica exterior highlights the palatial Phoenix Art Museum, which houses masterpieces from Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Rousseau, as well as the 1-inch to 1-foot replica rooms in the Thorne Miniature Collection, an ideal stop for sentient action figures to take a nap.
A 20-minute car ride east, Camelback Mountain ascends dramatically from the Sonoran Desert landscape. Dotted with luxury homes, resorts, and golf courses, the 2,706-foot sandstone and granite mountain is also a popular hiking destination, its dusty red inclines attracting more than 300,000 visitors each year. Camelback Mountain's ceremonial cave on the northern side of the mountain—a religious site left behind by Hohokan Indians—has motivated many to rename it "the Sacred Mountain."