Praising Arizona: A Review of the Andaz Scottsdale Resort and Spa
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I had to travel to Phoenix at the last minute in mid-May, and instead of staying downtown, I thought it might be nice to spend my time at one of the resorts in Scottsdale, given it was just a slightly longer drive to the event I was in town for. Thus, I decided to make a reservation at the Andaz Scottsdale Resort and Spa, one of the newest resorts in the area.
Because my stay was midweek and right before the summer low season, I thought I might get a good deal on hotels in Phoenix. That turned out not to be the case, though, since I was booking at the very last minute. Room rates weren't unreasonably high, but they were certainly not as low as I expected them to be, and they varied wildly from day to day.
I wanted to stay at a relatively new property and earn Hyatt points, so I settled on the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa. I looked at room rates on Tuesday for a stay on Thursday night, and they started at $314 per night with rooms in all categories available. Then, when I checked back a few hours later, the Hyatt site said the hotel was sold out.
Undeterred, I checked again the next morning and found that room rates had dropped significantly. I’m not sure what was going on, but I do know that there was a corporate event taking place at the resort that weekend.
For the night of my stay, room rates ended up being $232 per night in the starter category of an Eames king-bed room. For $10 more, I booked a room in the next category up, a Knoll king room.
With the resort fee of $39 per night plus taxes on the room rate, my room ended up costing $317 for the one night. Resort fees are a huge pet peeve of mine. If you’re going to make all guests pay them, why not just include them in the room rate in the first place?
The hotel site broke down the resort fee into a host of conveniences and privileges most guests probably don’t use. (You can find the full list in the image below.) If you were going to take advantage of the golf services, the Tesla service or the 10% discount more than I intended to, I'm sure you eke savings out of this, but it did not fit my needs at all.
Eames rooms were also available for 20,000 points per night — I came out ahead using cash for my stay, though, since those 20,000 points are worth $360, according to TPG's latest valuations.
Though I do have the Hyatt Credit Card, I paid for my stay with my Chase Sapphire Reserve, which allowed me to "double dip" in points earning. I earned 5x World of Hyatt base points for my stay, plus 3x Ultimate Rewards points for my purchase. If I'd paid with the Hyatt card, I would have only earned the Hyatt points.
The Andaz Scottsdale is located off Rose Lane, near the intersection of Scottsdale Road and Lincoln Drive, both major thoroughfares. It was a quick 20-minute drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX).
A lot of other resorts are nearby, including the Omni, the Hilton and the W. The Andaz’s location was a bit odd, though, because it was behind a strip mall (albeit an upscale one with a Trader Joe’s and Blanco Tacos + Tequila) and The Enclave at Borgata, a condo development. Basically, it felt like I was staying in the middle of a regular neighborhood rather than a resort destination.
My flight got into Phoenix at 11:30am, and by 12:30pm I was pulling into the resort’s driveway. There were several valets on duty, and I asked if I should leave my car with them (which was included in the resort fee).
One of them suggested I keep the keys because I’d likely be driving to my room anyway, so I held onto them as I headed to the lobby, which was called the Guest House.
Like other Andaz properties, there was no formal reception area to speak of. Rather, it's set up more like a swanky living room where hosts greet each guest individually, using tablets to carry out the check-in formalities.
There was also a Refresh station with ice water, sunscreen and aloe vera gel.
Though there was a big corporate group checking in at the same time as me, one of the hosts spotted me and came over to check me in separately. She handed over a resort map and a calendar of events happening at the resort during my stay.
Rather than rooms in a single large building, the Andaz’s 201 accommodations are spread out across many smaller single-story buildings with five or six rooms each. I would describe the aesthetic as midcentury modern adobe. In fact, the 25-acre property used to be a resort called Cottonwoods, which was built in 1980, and Hyatt retained the footprint of the bungalows but built an all-new main building for the lobby and restaurant, plus conference rooms, a spa and two swimming pools.
The buildings are situated around large lawns and open spaces with desert landscaping and paths between them. Overall, the look is beautiful and definitely fits the setting. There's also a resort within the resort — just 23 rooms around a private pool. It's called the Retreat, and the added privacy translates to higher room rates. One of the hosts I spoke to said the compound was usually rented out for corporate events and weddings.
I asked if I might get an upgrade thanks to the Discoverist status I enjoy as a Hyatt Credit Card member, but she said the resort was fully occupied and that the Knoll room I had booked was already available, so I didn’t push back.
She ran me through the resort amenities, though she did not actually mention Andaz hallmarks like the free Wi-Fi and complimentary nonalcoholic minibar. Then she pointed out my room on the map, in one of the buildings closest to reception, and suggested I drive and park myself, since there was a lot just adjacent to the room block.
As you might have noticed from the room names, the theme of the resort was based on famous architects and designers who were influenced by the Southwest.
My Knoll room (named after architect and designer Florence Knoll, who emphasized open, uncluttered layouts — think "Mad Men") was in the back one of the buildings closest to the lobby, so my private-entry courtyard faced a wall with an A/C unit on it.
The room photos made it look like it should have faced one of the central lawns. As it was, I had a view of my sitting area and a concrete wall. On the plus side, it meant I had a lot of privacy and didn’t have to leave my shades down.
My Knoll room was 420 square feet, which is 65 square feet bigger than the starter Eames rooms. Just inside the entrance was the minibar, with a variety of snacks and candy.
There was a Keurig machine, and below that was the fridge stocked with sodas, juices, water and beer.
The bedroom was to the right, and I found it to be bright and pretty, though spare. I especially liked the two mod green armchairs at the foot of the bed.
The bed itself was comfortable, dressed with a sheet and a duvet, with a backlit headboard.
Next to the bed were power and USB outlets — it's great to have both AC and USB outlets so close to the bed.
The nightstand had a bowl of taffy on it.
The bedroom was carpeted, which felt out of place, but the rest of the structural elements had a distinctly Southwestern feel, thanks to hand-troweling on the walls and wooden beams in the ceiling.
The 65-inch TV was mounted on the wall opposite the bed, and you could watch regular channels or stream your own content over it, since it was Wi-Fi enabled.
Speaking of Wi-Fi, internet access was free, and when I logged in with my room credentials, I was redirected to "premium internet access." Given these speeds, though, I shudder to think how slow regular internet service would have been.
According to the art section of the room compendium, the blue and white painting on the wall was by local artist Janet Towbin. The hotel works with local artists through a partnership with the nearby Cattle Track Arts Compound, artist-in-residence programs and workshops at the hotel itself.
The closet was an open area past the front door. It consisted of a hanging rack, a luggage rack and a couple of drawers.
The hotel provides flip flops, which came in handy for going to and from the pool, so save space in your luggage if you plan to stay here.
Past that was the bathroom, which included a single sink and a full-length mirror.
The WC had the toilet and two small paintings by artist Larry Passey.
A large glassed-in walk-in shower with a single wall-mounted shower head was nice, but the knob only controlled the temperature, not the pressure, so if you wanted more or less flow you had to adjust the stream on the shower head itself.
The hotel stocked Argan bath products, which were fresh and light.
Overall, I thought the room was spacious and comfortable, but not phenomenal. I could hear my neighbors early the next morning even when they were talking at a normal speaking volume. I was also disappointed that my room did not have a view. Finally, though the single window let in a lot of light, you had to lower the blinds for any privacy whatsoever, and it did not open for fresh air if you wanted it. That wasn’t a big deal for my stay, since temperatures were in the mid-90s, but if you come here in the fall or spring, it would be nice to have windows that opened.
After having a look around my room, I decided to walk around the property and check out the other amenities. The landscaping is beautiful, incorporating not only rolling green lawns but towering pine and palm trees, olive trees, cacti and other succulents.
The Guest House contained not only the reception area but the hotel boutique, called Textiles & Objects. They had interesting design pieces, including handmade jewelry and (expensive!) wooden dolls by late designer Alexander Girard.
The Guest House was also home to the hotel’s restaurant, Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen. I’ll get into the specifics of that in the next section, but this was where one of the hotel’s resident artists led a painting class (and wine tasting) the afternoon I was there.
There was a deck at the back side of the Guest House with a few tables looking out onto the main pool.
I think the resort expected to be more of an adults-only setting than it actually was. The pool was livelier than I thought it would be with the children were splashing around. That didn't bother me, but if you expect peace and quiet here, don't.
The pool was surrounded by loungers and cabanas (some of the guest rooms along the southern side of the pool had their own private cabanas), and the Turquoise Pool Bar was at one corner.
I especially liked the station near the entrance where staff members placed clean towels and refreshed trays of ice water and bottles of sunscreen and aloe vera that guests could help themselves to.
The fitness center and Palo Verde Spa were at the other southern end of the property. The gym was in what looked like a former garage, with glass doors that could be raised or lowered to let in fresh air.
There was a small selection of cardio and weight equipment, and a counter with refrigerated water, headphones, hand towels and disinfecting wipes.
The spa was a short walk around the corner from there, and the attendant showing me around could not have been friendlier.
Like other Andaz spas, this one had an apothecary-style concept where guests could customize their own blend of botanicals and aromatics for their treatments. Guests could also purchase skin and healthcare products here.
The spa had four treatment rooms, each named after a desert plant, though they were in use while I was there. The men’s locker room had a steam room, showers and an area for grooming and styling.
It also had an outdoor patio with a private pool deck for pre- and post-treatment relaxation.
Though small, the facilities were nice, and if the scene at the main pool were to become too boisterous, you could buy a day pass to access smaller, quieter pool area here.
The spa also had a salon for hair and nail services.
Food and Beverage
The resort’s main restaurant, Weft & Warp, occupies the majority of the space in the Guest House.
The restaurant has an interesting glassed-in kitchen, so you can watch the staff at work.
The bar is at the front near the host stand.
There are smaller dining areas along one of the walls with shelves holding books, sculptures and other bric-a-brac.
The main dining room has a variety of different table types, and two of the walls are floor-to-ceiling windows, so there's a lot of natural light streaming in.
I didn't eat here, but the breakfast menu had items like chilaquiles, avocado toast, Belgian waffles and Greek yogurt with chia seeds, while the dinner menu was a mix of small plates, like smoked salmon rillettes and goat-cheese dumplings, and larger dishes like a grilled flat-iron steak with mole sauce and seared scallops with a potato-corn emulsion.
The Turquoise Pool Bar menu was more casual and included items like nachos, a salad of roasted squash and Brussels sprouts and various sandwiches and wraps. The bartender suggested the shrimp quesadilla, so that’s what I ordered. It was simple but filling and came with a side salad. If I hadn’t had somewhere to be, I might have tried the house margarita or a specialty cocktail like the Gila River gimlet with house-infused orange-rosemary Tanqueray gin and lime juice.
The resort offers 24-hour room service. Just be aware that, from 10:00pm to 6:30am, the late-night menu only had five items, including a cold chicken wrap, a romaine salad and a chocolate-peanut butter tart.
When I woke up the following morning, I had received an email offering me express check-out. I should have taken it because when I went to the lobby to check out, there were just two hosts on duty, and each was dealing with customers. It ended up taking around 15 minutes for me to get taken care of. It wasn’t a big deal, but it did almost make me late returning my rental car.
Though brief, my stay at the Andaz Scottsdale was a pleasant desert getaway. I don’t think I’d pay a rate quite this high to stay there again, but at the normal rates, it'd be worth it.
The hotel has a beautiful midcentury vibe, thanks to the expansive layout, the sprawling lawns and the distinctive room décor. But if you like a more classic vacation resort, one of the other options in the area may be a better choice.