Whether you want to treat Mom for Mother’s Day or you’re just having withdrawals from Downton Abbey, high tea at a Phoenix area resort is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
Hosted by their very own in-house tea sommelier, Jeffrey Hattrick, afternoon tea at The Ritz Carlton is Wednesday – Saturday at noon and 3 p.m. Three courses are served – finger sandwiches, fresh-baked scones, and French pastries.
One lump or two? High Tea at the Arizona Biltmore is offered in two seating’s at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. in the Lobby Tea Court every Thursday through Sunday from November through May. You’ll indulge in an exceptional variety of gourmet teas, freshly baked scones, miniature pastries and delectable tea sandwiches.
In the English tradition, afternoon tea is served daily in the Lobby Tea Court. You’ll feel pampered while being treated to finger sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream and preserves, pastries and a selection of fine blends. Classical music provides a charming backdrop for a relaxing afternoon break. First seating is at 2 p.m. and reservations are required.
Many of the golf courses in Greater Phoenix were designed by the greats, and most don’t have merely one signature hole, but many. Some courses occupy desert canyons where civilization feels a world away, while others are part of opulent resorts where golfers can indulge themselves with a post-round spa treatment. Here are a few featured resort courses that are offering specials this summer.
Resort: Arizona Biltmore
The Arizona Biltmore Country Club boasts 36 challenging holes and a pair of premier resort courses: The Adobe and The Links. Built in 1928 and restored in 2004, The Adobe offers wide fairways and classic cross bunkers. The Links is defined by rolling fairways, desert ravines and five pristine lakes that call for bold shots and demanding accuracy. Equipment rental and professional golf instruction are available.
Specials: Check with the golf course for special summer rates. Guests of the Arizona Biltmore get preferred tee times.
Golf Course: Arizona Golf Resort Golf Course
Arizona Golf Resort’s PGA-rated championship course is known for having some of the most picturesque and challenging par three holes in Arizona. The lush fairways are lined with massive cottonwood and eucalyptus trees. You’ll also find serene lake settings, mature vegetation and gently sloping greens. With a slope of 120 and a rating of 70.8, the 6,542-yard, par-71 course offers a test for all skill levels.
Specials: Steak and Golf (a round of golf with cart fee, plus a steak dinner in Annabelle’s Restaurant or Anna’s Grill), $39-$59.
Stay and Play (overnight accommodations in a traditional room, a round of golf with cart fee, and breakfast for two in Annabelle’s Restaurant), $79-$159.
Resort: The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Golf Course: TPC Scottsdale
Home of the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale has hosted some of contemporary golf’s greatest moments since opening in 1986. During the 51 weeks of the year when the Stadium Course isn’t hosting the pros, recreational golfers can test their skills on the same pristine fairways. Rivaling its famous sister course in beauty and playability, the Champions Course meanders between natural ravines and through picturesque foothills. A quartet of challenging finishing holes promises to leave even the best players with goose bumps.
Specials: Summer pricing on the Champions Course, Monday through Friday; play for $35 plus tax, and $49 plus tax on Saturday and Sunday. Includes greens fee, cart fee, and unlimited golf for the day. (Rates valid on the Champions Course only, from June 3 through Sept. 8. See www.tpc.com/summer for additional details.)
Resort: Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort
Whirlwind Golf Club at Wild Horse Pass features a 36-hole public facility located on the Gila River Indian Community. The Devil’s Claw and Cattail courses, both designed by Gary Panks, provide golfers with a straightforward and enjoyable challenge. Settled in the basin between Phoenix’s famous South Mountain and the Estrella Mountains to the west, Whirlwind lives up to its name with swirling winds nearly every afternoon that put shot-making ability to the ultimate test. In the distance, clouds of dust can often be seen, kicked up by wild horses that roam the land surrounding the course.
Specials: “Swings N Things” special includes 18 holes on Cattail or Devil’s Claw, lunch in the Sivlik Grill and a dozen premium golf balls. (Please call or visit www.whirlwindgolf.com for availability and pricing.)
Golf Course: The Boulders Club
The Boulders Club, nestled in the high Sonoran Desert north of Phoenix and Scottsdale, features two championship golf courses, both designed by Jay Morrish. The courses, known for their rugged beauty, are among the most demanding in the Southwest. The North Course is a 6,811-yard, par-72 track featuring spectacular views of Black Mountain. (Wildlife is often visible during play.) The par-71, 6,726-yard South Course features holes tucked amid boulders, including two iconic rock formations, “Boulder Pile” and “Rosie’s Rock”.
Specials: Cool Summer Golf Package. Enjoy a round of golf and lunch. After 9 a.m. Sunday-Thursday, $62; after 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday, $72. This special runs from May 27-Sept. 12.
Resort: The Phoenician
Golf Course: The Phoenician Golf Course
The Phoenician’s 27-hole golf course is grouped into three distinctive (and aptly named) nines – the Oasis, the Desert and the Canyon – so golfers can play several 18-hole combinations in the pristine desert at the base of Camelback Mountain.
Specials: Daily unlimited golf for each guest on either of our championship courses (valid for stays through Dec. 31, 2013). Rates start at $269 for one person, $299 for two. When you reserve your stay, please ask for rate plan GOLFPKG.
Resort: The Wigwam
Golf Course: Wigwam Golf Club
The Wigwam Golf Club features three courses: The Gold, The Patriot and The Heritage.The Gold Course was created in 1964 to rival another of Robert Trent Jones’ courses, the famed South Course at Firestone Country Club. At more than 7,430 yards, this long, winding par-72 course will challenge even the finest of golfers. The Patriot, also a Jones creation, has been described as the “great contradiction” in that it behaves so very differently from front to backside. Golfers must negotiate a number of perilous bunkers, thirsty ponds and challenging dog-leg fairways. The Heritage is nearly 6,900 yards and plays alongside an abundance of natural water features and lush trees. The par-72 layout has generous fairways and greens, but its finishing stretch is as tough as any.
Specials: Tee It Up Package. Play 54 holes of championship golf. Tee off on The Heritage Course, followed by The Patriot Course, then take your shot on the final 18 on “Arizona’s Monster,” the Gold Course. This package Includes a one night of Adobe Fairway accommodations, breakfast at Red’s Bar & Grill, and unlimited same-day consecutive play golf. (Offer subject to availability. Blackout dates and restrictions may apply. Use promo code TEEITUP to book.)
You've probably heard of Camelback Mountain, but there are plenty of other trails in Greater Phoenix that are perfect for any outdoor enthusiast. Here's a list of a few of our staff members' favorite hiking trails in the metro area.
Nature Trail at Piestawa Peak
Don't mistake this hike for a nature stroll. Even though it's located in the middle of the city, it can be a little rugged. This is a great hike for learning about the desert, thanks to the informational plaques placed along the trail.
The trailhead is located at the Apache picnic area at the end of the entrance road in Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area. Paved parking, drinking water and restrooms are available. This hike is about 1.5 miles.
Fat Man's Pass
Located within the 17,000 acres of desert in South Mountain Park, Fat Man's Pass is a great hike for families. This trail gets its name from the 20-foot-long passage between smooth granite boulders that are only a foot apart in some places. (Claustrophobes, don't worry: You can go around the boulders if you want.)
This hike begins at the Buena Vista Lookout, which is approximately 6.5 miles from the park entrance. Follow road signs along Summit Road to the "Buena Vista/Hidden Valley Lookout". The parking area for this trailhead has limited spaces and is usually full during peak seasons. The trail, which is initially paved, provides direct access to the National Trail. At that junction, head east on the National Trail. You'll reach Fat Man's Pass in about 1.8 miles.
Sunrise Trail at McDowell Mountains
When you reach the high point of this hike, you'll likely forget that you're on the edge of the sixth-largest city in the U.S. The Sunrise Trail is located McDowell Sonoran Preserve, a 21,400-acre desert jewel in the northeast Valley. This isn't an easy hike, but it pays off in the end with sweeping views of the desert floor.
The Sunrise Access Area is located at 144th Street and Via Linda. There is an upper parking lot and a lower parking lot. The one-way trek to Sunrise Peak is a little less than 2 miles; from there you can turn around or hike another 3 miles or so to Lost Dog Overlook.
Coach Whip to Sunrise Pass
This dog-friendly hike is located within Thunderbird Conservation Park, a 1,185-acre park in the Hedgepeth Hills. From the top you'll look down on homes and golf courses with views of mountains to the north. This is also a great trail to run.
This trail originates at the 67th Avenue parking lot at Patrick Lane and intersects with the Sunrise Trail on the west side of the park. The distance varies from 2 to 5 miles depending on your return route; there are several options for looping back to the trailhead.
Hieroglyphics Trail in the Superstitions
This is easy hike to ancient petroglyphs that resemble Egyptian hieroglyphics. Start at the Hieroglyphic Canyon Trailhead in the southwest corner of the Superstition Wilderness Area. You'll soon reach a spring where clear water pools in the rocks. In the stone cliffs next to these pools are several petroglyphs carved by the Hohokam.
To reach the Hieroglyphic Canyon Trailhead, take U.S. 60 to Kings Ranch Road, between mile markers 202 and 203, and turn north. Proceed 2.8 miles, then turn east on Baseline Road. This round-trip hike is about 2 miles.
The most edible week in Arizona is almost here. Explore Arizona’s best restaurants at amazing prices May 18 - 27 during Spring Arizona Restaurant Week. The Greater Phoenix area is fast becoming a foodie destination, so this is a great opportunity to see what the buzz is all about at an affordable price. Reservations will fill up fast for the most popular restaurants so make your reservations today!
Which restaurants are you most excited to try during Arizona Restaurant Week?
Get in touch with your inner surf master and enter to win a getaway to Phoenix, where you can hang ten in the desert at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa.
Visit us on Facebook to enter for a chance to win a 4-day/3-night stay at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, plus two passes for the FlowRider surf simulator, a poolside cabana rental, dinner for two at Deseo, and a $100 gift card to Kierland Commons shopping district.
Our media relations intern Andrea recently visited the Desert Botanical Garden and it's new restaurant Gertrude's . She offered to provide her insider’s perspective of this popular attraction. Enjoy!
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Desert Botanical Garden, a popular attraction to both locals and visitors. It’s considered a “Phoenix Point of Pride,” and has over 50,000 desert plants to see and learn about.
The Desert Botanical Garden first opened in 1939 after a group of Phoenix locals saw the need to conserve the desert environment. Today, the Garden continues to grow and currently has 145 acres of desert plants not just found in the Sonoran Desert, but from other deserts around the world.
There are five thematic trails at the Garden that you can go on. My personal favorite is the Plants and People of the of the Sonoran Desert Trail which shows visitors the relationships between people and plants in our region and how the plants are useful when it comes to needing food, medicine and fiber. As you walk through this trail, you get an understanding of how past Indians used the desert to their advantage.
Walking along the other beautiful trails, you’ll find the scenic views are incredible. There are many hills surrounding the whole area that covered with hundreds of different types of cacti, as well as Papago Park in the distance. And, if you’re lucky, a roadrunner or quail might cross your path.
Earlier this year, the Garden opened a new restaurant called Gertrude’s, which was named after Gertrude Webster who founded the Desert Botanical Garden. The restaurant focuses on utilizing fresh ingredients from farmers and artisan food producers from around the state of Arizona and the Southwest. They kitchen even uses some of the fresh herbs and vegetables from their own garden located on the property.
Since the restaurant just opened at the end of January, I was very excited to go. Our group was seated outside on the patio, which was gorgeous. There were beautiful desert plants surrounding it and thankfully, a lot of shade to keep the Arizona sun at bay.
Everyone at my table ordered from the lunch menu and everyone seemed to be happy with their choices. Some unique items included:
- Chicken Sandwich (Achiote + Citrus Marinated Chicken Breast, Apple Wood Bacon, Avocado, Arizona Cheese Co. Pepper Jack, Jicama, Napa Cabbage, Brioche Bun)
- Beets Salad (Garden Beets, Seasonal Lettuces, Crow’s Dairy Cherve, Maple-Sherry Vinaigrette, Hazelnuts)
- Sonoran Dog (Bacon Wrapped Shriener’s Beef Hot Dog, Avocado, Tepary Beans, Queso Fresco, Tomatillo Relish, Poppy Bun)
The food was absolutely delicious and the atmosphere is great. If you want to get away from the city and enjoy a few hours getting drinks and food, Gertrude’s would be a great place to go.
Overall, my experience to the Desert Botanical Garden and Gertrude’s was fantastic - I highly recommend going. And if you want to be surrounded by hundreds of butterflies, be sure to go between now and May 12 for the Spring Butterfly Exhibit.