Destinations / North America / Arizona

Royal Palms Resort & Spa Review: Is It the Best Romantic Getaway In Phoenix?

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Are you looking for a romantic getaway in Phoenix or Scottsdale? Today I’m sharing one that’s hard to beat! We’ve visited the Valley of the Sun more times than I can count over the decades, but we were lucky to sneak away for a kid-free weekend recently. We were looking for pure relaxation with a dash of desert beauty, and Scottsdale’s Royal Palms Resort & Spa fit the bill to a T.

In this Royal Palms Resort & Spa review, I’ll give you the rundown of everything you need to know before booking or staying!

About Royal Palms Resort & Spa

The Royal Palms Resort & Spa has just 119 guest rooms and occupies a property that started off as a private home nearly a century ago. It has undergone expansion and renovation but you still feel like you’re stepping back in time when you walk up the stairs. The entire property simultaneously exudes warmth and elegance, and there’s an Insta-worthy photo op around every corner. It’s truly beautiful, with fountains and tile work everywhere.

The hotel is located just 20 minutes from the Phoenix airport at the foot of Camelback Mountain. Once you’re inside the hotel’s walls, you wouldn’t know that you’re in the middle of one of America’s largest cities!

Rooms at Royal Palms

Royal Palms offers a huge range of rooms, casitas, suites and villas. Even the most basic rooms – which we booked – are well-appointed and clock in at nearly 500 square feet.

Because of the way we booked (more on that later) we were upgraded to a casita with two patios, one facing the beautiful Arcadia courtyard and the other a private walled terrace off the bathroom.

Our room also featured a fireplace, soaking tub, double shower and a walk-in closet with a mini fridge – perfect for chilling the water bottles that were thankfully replenished twice per day. Apparently it’s a special premium casita (room 123) because it’s connected to the Presidential Villa. The two share an entrance, which is otherwise private.

In an era when most hotels are cutting back on service, Royal Palms really excels. Not only was our room tidied in the morning while we enjoyed brunch, but turndown service was provided every evening as well – with extra waters constantly provided to keep us hydrated in the desert heat. The housekeeping staff is so on their game that they bring around a leaf blower to remove fallen bougainvillea petals from the private patios as they go. It’s truly an attention to detail I’ve never seen.

Dining at Royal Palms Scottsdale

The on-site food at Royal Palms is great overall as well. The main dining venue is T. Cook’s, which serves up daily brunch and dinner. We ate brunch there both mornings of our stay and overall really loved the food – I’m a sucker for a good avocado toast and a mimosa to kick off the day. While we didn’t get to try it, the burger has an excellent reputation. The courtyard in the back is exactly as charming as you’d expect, and the misting fans make it a pleasant place to sit even when temperatures rise to triple digits (as they did during our June visit).

The Mix Up bar is attached to T. Cook’s and offers a pared down version of that menu (in addition to the extensive craft cocktail list). They serve up excellent fish tacos, and I have to give a nod to the extremely nice staff working there! It’s the perfect place for a late-night dessert while you enjoy the live music on weekends.

We didn’t love the poolside dining at Cabana Cafe as much as the others, but it’s served by a different kitchen. The cocktails are unexpectedly strong though!

Things to do at Royal Palms Hotel in Scottsdale

While there are plenty of things to do in Scottsdale, on this trip I’ll be honest and say that Royal Palms was our main destination! It’s an awesome place to relax and feel like you’re doing vacation right.

Be sure to book yourself for a massage in the spa, and you can also consider signing up for a complementary yoga class. The spa also offers a hot tub and steam room in each locker room, though the women’s steam room wasn’t working when I visited. We were very happy with our couples massage and would recommend it.

We had a great time at the mixology class, which is free for hotel guests and offered daily – the amount of prep work the bartenders put into preparing creative ingredients in-house is really incredible. Each participant selects one cocktail from the menu that they’d like to learn how to make, and the bartender explains every ingredient as well as the proper tools and techniques. It was fun and we learned a lot as well! Sign up here to ensure a spot. Some days there’s also a free history tour of the property, but it wasn’t offered during our visit.

Unless you visit in the winter, you’ll undoubtedly spend some time in the pool at Royal Palms. It’s not fancy but it gets the job done for the adult guests. There are plenty of deck chairs, but I’d say not enough umbrellas that aren’t for the cabanas. We had no problem finding shady chairs in the morning, and when we returned in the afternoon some shady chairs opened up about 15 minutes after we got in the pool. That said, the daybeds and cabanas are pretty reasonably priced if you want to treat yourself to some shade for the day – you can check prices and book here (note that holidays can be much more expensive). Because you’re able. to book day passes, it’s a popular spot for locals to visit on the weekend.

If part of your personal relaxation includes exercise, there’s a two story fitness center adjacent to the pool (in addition to fitness and yoga classes offered through the spa). It has weights, treadmills, climbers and even a Peloton bike.

It’s worth noting that parking is $38 per night and only valet is offered. That’s middle of the road as far as nice hotels go, but it’s worth weighing whether or not to bother renting a car. The hotel is not even 20 minutes from the Phoenix airport and we only paid $30-40 each way for Lyft Extra Comfort rides. If you plan to do all the things I suggest in this itinerary it may be more economical to rent a car, but if you plan to spend more time at the hotel then you can probably forgo it this time.

Get my best tips for how to save on rental cars every time!

How to Book Royal Palms Resort & Spa

I promised that I’d discuss how to book Royal Palms Resort & Spa, because it turns out there’s some strategy involved. This hotel is part of the Hyatt hotel group in its Unbound Collection – I love this unique, often historic properties!

Cash bookings

If you aren’t particularly loyal to Hyatt, you can check the cash price at Expedia. It’s easy to reach their Silver status by booking a few activities and a hotel stay here and there, and that’ll land you a discount on your room (lots of travelers have status with Expedia without even realizing it!). Even better, if you time your booking right you can often snag 10% cash back by going through Rakuten.

Another option if you have the World of Hyatt business credit card is use your Leverage small business discount code to book directly with Hyatt. This discount has saved me several thousand dollars in the last year alone, and the Leverage rate for Royal Palms is also a compelling one at 15% off the standard rate despite being a refundable booking. The card comes with two $50 Hyatt credits per year, which will come in handy for spa service and on-site dining.

Booking on points

If you’re visiting during popular times, you may be best off redeeming Hyatt points – earn them through the Chase Sapphire credit card (especially combined with Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Ink Business cards) and then transfer to your World of Hyatt account. Hyatt doesn’t charge a resort fee on award stays, so your out of pocket cost for the hotel is $0!

You can also rack up Hyatt points with the World of Hyatt business credit card or the Hyatt personal card. I have both and use them regularly!

The best “secret” deal

If you’re visiting at a time when cash prices are relatively low (like summer), there’s a great trick for booking that we used – and so did almost everyone we met at the hotel! If you hold an Amex Platinum card (either personal or business) you can book Fine Hotels & Resorts through the Amex Travel portal. You’ll still be able to enter your Hyatt member number and get any benefits associated with your tier, but you’ll also get some amazing VIP benefits:

  • room upgrade
  • breakfast for two
  • $100 property credit (perfect for your spa treatment or dinner!)
  • early check in and late check out

The rate is often a little higher than booking normally but it comes with serious perks, especially if you don’t have Hyatt Globalist status. If you do have Globalist status, know that you won’t have to pay the resort fee per your benefits. If you have the personal Amex Platinum card, once per year you’ll get a $200 statement credit toward a Fine Hotels & Resorts booking – a crazy good deal. At the time of our visit there was an additional offer on Amex Platinum cards for a $100 statement credit toward a $400 charge from a Hyatt Unbound property.

Since I’m all about transparency, I’ll share that our Amex FHR booking was $445 for two nights in June, but we essentially got $200 of that back to use toward spa and dining. If we had used a personal Amex Platinum card, we would have gotten back another $200 once per year. Talk about a deal!

A quick note for Hyatt lovers: FHR bookings do count as nights toward achieving/retaining your Hyatt status. They do not earn base points on the room rate. You’ll earn 5x Amex Membership Rewards on the room rate and you’ll earn 5x Hyatt points (plus your tier bonus) for on-property spend.

Planning your trip to Arizona

Don’t miss these helpful resources as you plan an amazing trip to Scottsdale!

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