A STORYBOOK CHRISTMAS
AT THE RITZ CARLTON
Story By: Robin Roth
Most photos by Robin Roth
The task of describing the Ritz Carlton, Phoenix is complex and difficult to express in just a few simple words or adjectives. Therefore, I won't even try narrowing it down to just a few. This truly, alluring hotel is distinctive, classy, stylish, exclusive, opulent, brilliant, luxurious, plush, pampering, chic, stylish, lush, elegant, lavish and affluent, all cradled into a warm, friendly, cozy ambiance. This secluded resort atmosphere is ironically situated right in the heart of Scottsdale's bustling business district. Nothing can possibly make this hotel more fabulous until you sprinkle in the festivities, joy, holiday cheer, and Christmas décor. Christmas at the Ritz is nothing short of fairy-tale-Esq. Although, it doesn't have to be the holiday season to realize you have stepped into a unique and special chic world.
The Ritz Carlton brand is dedicated to excellence, as well as the highest caliber in service and hospitality for its guests. I found all and I do mean all, of the hotel staff completely and graciously willing to please my every need and desire with a smile. I was assisted and looked after beyond any hotel I have ever stayed in. I was greeted and indulged from the moment I arrived, to the hugs when I left. The ever so accommodating and charming Eddie Gonzalez greeted me by name at the hotel entrance and guided me personally to the front desk to check in.
The staff at the Ritz Carlton, Phoenix is professional, thoughtful, personable, overwhelmingly, abundant in their assistance and simply put, impeccable. It is obvious that the personnel are more like a family than employees. Most everyone I spoke with has been there for years. It is clear every one of the staff members I came in contact with love their job and it shows in every act they perform. Although the hotel is grand, it is also, exudes a comfortable and relaxed feeling. I felt like I was in a boutique hotel or someone’s mansion rather then a cold hotel atmosphere.
The charming spirit of the American Southwest came to life for me in this magnificent hotel. The scenic trails, stunning canyons and rugged mountains of the surrounding Sonoran Desert make this part of the world different from all others. That being said, allow me to break it all down.
The Ritz is set against the beauty of the Southwestern landscape and nestled in the midst of the Camelback Corridor. Upon walking through its doors, I was immediately impressed by every detail of the décor which is finely appointed with style and richness.
Every one of the 281 guest rooms, 14 suites, as well as the 21 Ritz-Carlton Club Level Rooms, are lovely, plush and welcoming.
Each room is well-appointed with every amenity you will need or desire. If not, just call down and request it. These amenities include:
Twice-daily housekeeping service, 24-hour room service, Pay Per View movies, Concierge, 100% goose down and frette linen,
Multi line telephones with voicemail, Computer and fax hookups, In room safe, High-speed Internet access, Oversized marble bathrooms,
Plush terry cloth robes, Complimentary daily newspaper, Overnight laundry service, Complimentary overnight shoeshine,
Premium bath essentials, Stocked mini bar and more.
The hotel offers an outdoor-heated swimming pool, Sundeck cooled by hydro-misting system, Fitness Center, Technology Butler,
Business Center, Valet parking (covered), Safe deposit boxes, Gift and sundry shop, Barrier-free accessibility, Golf bag and luggage storage, multilingual staff, Mail and package service, Conference and Catering Services department.
There are two spa treatment rooms to enjoy massage therapies and body wraps or you can indulge in a treatment in the comfort of your hotel room. There is also, a fully equipped fitness center complete with dry saunas.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
The location of the Ritz Carlton is fabulous and the perfect access to anywhere you will want to go in the great city of Phoenix. The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix is centrally located in the Camelback Corridor – Phoenix’s most exclusive dining, shopping, and financial district. Set against the beautiful Southwestern landscape, and offers resort and business amenities.
For shopping lovers, the Biltmore Fashion Park, is just adjacent to The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix, The Scottsdale Fashion Square (12 minute drive), the Fifth Avenue Shopping District, as well as the Old Town Scottsdale, featuring art galleries and Southwestern Jewelry (15 minute drive),
The Arizona Center, offers many shops, restaurants, and night clubs (15 minute drive) as well as The Borgata, a Mediterranean village featuring many well-known boutiques (15 minute drive).
For activities and places to visit the hotel also, is the perfect location to be at. For example you can visit:
Chase Field, home of Arizona Diamondbacks Baseball team (15 minute drive).
Day trips to Grand Canyon, Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon, featuring beautiful scenery and authentic Southwestern arts and crafts (2 hour drive).
The Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Gardens (15 minute drive). US Airways Center, where the Pheonix Suns play (15 minute drive) and Jobing.com Arena where the Pheonix Coyotes play (20 minute drive).
University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals football team (15 minute drive).
And The hotel is just 15 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
For you avid golfers, although there is no golf course on the hotel premises, the hotel can arrange a round for you or any group of golfers at several of the outstanding courses near the hotel.
The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix’s Meeting Space
The Ritz-Carlton Phoenix is ranked at the number one business hotel in Arizona by Travel and Leisure and ranked number one Ritz Carlton hotel for meeting planner satisfaction. There is over 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor newly renovated ($4.5 million in renovations) meeting and event space available at the hotel. It has become a luxury, multipurpose meeting destination.
Each room has been redesigned with a sophisticated style. The Ritz-Carlton Ballroom, offers guests 7,728 square feet of space for events with the ability to hold a reception of 650 guests.
The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix has amplified the technological capabilities through out the entire space. The new business center is complete with today’s most innovative technology. You can surf the web before catching a flight all the way to building a business proposal from start to finish. I found that the hotels business center offers an office environment perfect for any situation. Guests have the choice between using PCs and MACs on-site.
Tea at the ritz-carlton is a time honored tradition
The Ritz Carlton is famous for its annual Teddy Bear Tea Service that runs from November 27 to December 19 with services at noon and at night.
However, Jeffrey, the tea room host turns a very wonderful tea time into a magical storybook tea experience. I call it, "Christmas in a teacup"!
Teddy Bears Care with Teddy Bear Tea
This year The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix asked those who attend their annual Teddy Bear Tea to donate a bear to Homeward Bound’s Teddy Bears Care program. These are children who are transitioning into the Homeward Bound Program after leaving many of their belongings behind when fleeing domestic violence or due to homelessness. For many children the teddy bear will be the first stuffed animal of their very own to love. How awesome is this!
Guests will enjoy carols, a visit from Ted E. Bear and a very special story time with Jeffrey. Children can select a teddy bear of their choice from The Ritz-Carlton Teddy Bear Collection to take home with them and will no doubt remember this delightful experience forever. I know I will!
Tea goers are served delicious assorted tea sandwiches of classic egg salad, smoked salmon tartar, cucumber with cream cheese, black currant smoked chicken salad, goat cheese and mascarpone mousse with fig and caramel. I must admit, being a tea-time lover since I was a child, totally enjoyed the children’s special tea finger sandwiches of perfect peanut butter and jelly and happy ham and cheese. I found they went excellent with my Perrier Jouet Royal Champagne and tea selection. As part of the champagne service, I was able to take home the stunning commemorative hand-painted Champagne Flutes. Children were served hot chocolate and marshmallows instead of tea. What made this tea even more cozy and relaxing were the plush table and chair arrangements and or the couch and table configurations. It was “Oh so comfortable”, I never wanted the ceremony to end.
My favorite part of the tea was of course, the amazing freshly baked scones with Devonshire cream and fruit preserves served in chocolate cups and the teddy bear pastries. YUMMMMMM! If you can't be in England to enjoy a proper tea, taking and enjoying tea at the Ritz Carlton is as close as you will get. Jeffrey makes it royally fun and completely British-style perfect! You go Jeffrey!!!!! Don't forget to ask about Jeffrey’s special seasonal teas that you can purchase to take home!
THE RITZ-CARLTON CLUB, PHOENIX:
This club is the only true executive club lounge in phoenix. Here, I was offered the utmost in personalized service. I almost felt guilty as the knowledgeable concierge hosts Joyce Ponder and Jean Hengst, made me feel as if I was the only one they were assigned to. They are nothing short of lovely and amazing.
In addition to the complimentary services offered to the club guests, included is a wonderful continental breakfast, an afternoon light fare, yummy evening hors d oeuvres and delectable late night desserts and cordials. Also, part of the concierge staff in the lobby, is the stellar and elegant Jaclyn Kimmel, who will make sure all of your travel and entertainment needs are met with the highest knowledge and finesse. I extend a big thank you to all of these brilliant ladies.
RESTAURANTS AND LOUNGES:
bistro 24, The Lobby Lounge, The Club Bar, The Pool Bar & Grill (seasonal), Afternoon tea, Private Humidors and Cocktails and appetizers
This classic French Bistro offers an elegant yet casual and relaxed atmosphere. You can also, choose to dine in the outdoor, street-side patio. The culinary team takes traditional standard dishes and brings them to a new level of culinary excellence.
Even if you are not lodging at the Ritz Carlton Phoenix, I strongly recommend you dine at bistro 24. Whether you are looking for breakfast, lunch or dinner you are in for a foodie lovers treat at this fine bistro. I enjoyed at this marvelous bistro one of the best dinners ever. With the help and suggestions of the educated and knowledgeable bistro 24 staff, Victoria Babbitt the Maitre D, my lovely server Ashley and my charming assistant server Mathew, I could not have gone wrong. I started out with the luscious lamb chop with humus, apples, and artisan bread appetizer. I also. paired this with their unique Caesar salad. They were marvelous together and simply, outstanding…
Then for my entrée, I ordered the house specialty Steak Au Poivre with peppercorn cognac sauce, robust, tasty and very much to die for…
I also, recommend, the Tenderloin Filet Mignon Bordelaise. These two steaks were the finest steaks I have ever enjoyed. Their meats and produce are all organic from local farmers, Cedar River Farms. There is something special, fresh and delicious about organic foods. What a memorable dining experience from the ambiance, the special friendly service to the outstanding specialties served.
Don't ignore desserts. I recommend with all my heart, everything and I did devour them all… I am not embarrassed either; they were worth the calories! Go with the New York Cheesecake and raspberry sauce, the Crème Brulee, the Double Fudge Chocolate Cake, and the Warm Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake with banana ice cream. Out-of-this- world. Bravo!
I would like to thank the amazing and helpful Kaitlin Crawford, public relations coordinator for making this article possible. She was absolutely extraordinary. So readers, whether you are looking for a holiday hotel or just the very best in hotels, I cannot impress upon you enough how wonderful the Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix is from the moment you walk into its doors till you leave. Here is where I found hotel perfection at its best! A+
The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix:
2401 E Camelback Rd
Phoenix, Arizona 85016
Phone (602) 468-0700
For more information on the Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix: go to www.ritzcarlton.com