Friday, December 25, 2009


Woo...who! Yippee Ki yea! It was finally homeward bound for us.

First stop, Scottsdale!

I know, I know, Scottsdale is only 110 miles from Tucson (but that's two hours and thirty minutes in the overloaded Jetta Jane). We deserved a break, so it was off to our favorite hotel.

Our favorite hotel?
The Royal Palms Hotel ( The setting is incredible; from the palm lined entrance to the Camelback Mountain backdrop, everywhere you look is a visual feast. Driving up to the hotel looks like an oasis in the desert. Granted our car with sheets and towels stuffed into the back window, looked more like the Clampet's truck pulling up to their new Beverly Hills mansion, sans Granny in a rocking chair on the trunk.

Left: The fresco ceiling of the exterior Vestibule to the Hotels Guest Reception Hall.
Right: A pair of upholstered Knole Loveseats greet you on arrival.

Left: The carved stone fireplace and beamed and fresco ceiling in the Guest Reception Hall.
Right: A tile window surround with Pediment in the Guest Reception Hall


Left: Venetian Plaster walls in the Guest Reception Hall.
Right: Fresco ceiling detail.

I loved the look on the Valet's face as we pulled up in the front of the hotel. He had a puzzled but pleasant look on his face. So, when I stepped out of the car, he politely asked if we were checking in, attempting to hide the concern in his face.
I said, "Yes, we have a reservation"

"Oh", he said, trying to act like he wasn't surprised, "Have you stayed with us before, uh, Mr., uh..."
"Yes, we have. It's Thompson. Steve Thompson"
"Of course sir!" he said, snapping to attention. "Which bags would you like?" He asked somewhat hesitantly.
"Uh...all of them!" I replied with sincerity.

He stood there, blankly, not knowing what to think, when MC said, "Oh, Dad!"
Her tone, more than her words blew my little fun. Thanks a lot MC!
We checked in and learned that they had upgraded us to a suite. Very Nice!
History: The hotel, was originally built in the 1920's as desert home for Delos Cooke (nephew of J.P. Morgan) and his wife, who commissioned the building of a grand Spanish colonial style mansion on 65 acres. Today a stunning collection of antique furniture, fresco ceilings, huge stone fireplaces remain, and views of the spectacular gardens awaits the weary traveler, like us!

It's pricey, but there is something for everyone: Free standing Casitas, private Villas, or a simple (well they're not exactly simple) Guestrooms. How pricey? Here's how to contact them:

The Royal Palms Resort and Spa
5200 E. Camelback Road
602.840. 36.10

Great to know: The Royal Palms is pet friendly, up to 30 pounds.

Don't miss: Dinner at the four star T. Cooks Restaurant, winner of the Wine Spectator, Award for Excellence, 2000-2009.

PHOTOS: T.Cookes Restaurant
Left: Private Dining Room with carved stone fireplace and beamed ceilings
Right: The main Dining Room opens to an outdoor Dining Terrace and fireplace.

The hotel was probably a bit of a luxury, since we hadn't arrived until after 10:30 P.M., but the bed is worth the price of admission, and the service is five star. We needed a little pampering by this point, so I sprung for it.
We ordered room service, and passed out without setting up a wake up call.

PHOTOS: Details, passageways, and fountains abound on the hotel property.


PHOTOS: The outdoor Ballroom/Pavilion is one of my favorite things about the Royal Palms. The water of the fountain abuts the edge of the Pavilion. Guests are separated from the water by a single heavy chain draped across a beautiful arched opening. The room has high beamed ceilings with wonderful wrought iron chandeliers, a carved stone fireplace and old stone floors. Incredible!

Somehow, we rose early the next morning, showered and were on the road by 9:00 A.M.
Now on Day 4 of this adventure, it was California here we come!

PHOTO: We saw miles of this beautiful Arizona scenery


PHOTO: And we even saw this sign on the door of the gas station when we were getting gas, literally out in the middle of nowhere!


But we were the happiest when we finally saw this!

Day 4 continued until tomorrow!
Good Night Moon

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