As soon as the press release hit my inbox, The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician Unveils Hypoallergenic Accommodations, I knew what the next lifestyle feature would be for Allergic Living magazine. I had the honor of researching and writing the article on hypoallergenic hotels (viewable in the Winter 2013/14 issue), which includes some pretty phenomenal resorts, but none dazzle like The Phoenician.
Over the past few years, hundreds of restaurants have stepped up their customer service to accommodate food allergies, and now hotels are seeing the value in special needs clients, too. The grand Phoenician (rated as North America’s #1 Resort) in Scottsdale, Arizona, is one that has gone above and beyond to show that they care. In recent years, the property underwent over $100 million in renovations, adding program after program to help “make your stay memorable.” The idea to cater to allergies, from seasonal to food, came from the General Manager, who has allergies himself.
We were too busy relaxing to take many pictures, but managed to capture one out front at sunset.
Dedication: The Canyon Suites is a luxury Forbes 5-Star hotel located within The Phoenician resort, and it could be viewed as the heart of their allergy program. Beginning in 2013, they dedicated 2 sizable rooms and 2 spacious suites (complete with dining area) as “hypoallergenic.” They are located in a cluster, so a room and suite can be adjoined for families or groups. More of these guestrooms are a possibility in the future.
A glimpse of the dining area, and just a peak at the large balcony and living area
A Breath of Fresh Air: The hypoallergenic rooms at Canyon Suites have monster air purifiers that somehow go unnoticed – perhaps due to the gorgeous interior decoration and expansive size of the rooms. They are industrial, and constantly running to keep the air pure, along with dedicated filters in the air conditioning that contain natural herbs to continuously battle bacteria. And yes, it is a smoke-free property.
Green Clean: These rooms are serviced every six months by Phoenix-based EcoClean. They use organic products and disinfectants to thoroughly sanitize and shield the carpets and upholstery. Though there are larger national cleaning services, Canyon Suites opts to “keep their business local,” according to Denise Seomin, the Phoenician Director of Public Relations and Marketing Communications.
Sneeze-Free Sleep: To repel dust mites and other unwanted organisms, the mattresses and pillows are enclosed in special hygienic casings. They also offer foam pillows and feather-free bedding, but believe me, this isn’t a crinkly hospital stay. Canyon Suites cloaks the comfortable beds in luxurious Italian sheets.
These rooms are HUGE with gorgeous views – the pictures don’t do them full justice.
Sensitive Skincare: The staff is very proud of the Malin+Goetz hypoallergenic bath products supplied in guest bathrooms. And you might want to pamper yourself with some downtime in the spa-sized tub (complete with TV, though they really need to upgrade to HD!), primping at the star-worthy oversized vanity, or enjoying a long hot shower, complete with filtered showerheads to remove potentially irritating chlorine.
Nice Noshes: Though they are happy to drive you into town (seriously!), there isn’t much reason to leave the property with all of the amazing on-site restaurants and room service that even accommodates food allergies! Gluten-free is readily available on the menu, but a quick call to order will have you speaking with a knowledgeable food staff member who can address any food concerns (dairy-free, peanut-free, you name it) and will gladly liaise with the kitchen to ensure proper communication.
Prior to arrival, and upon your request, the staff will even customize the mini bar (yes, you can use it to store your own food, too), stocking it with allergy-friendly foods that you request. When I asked if they would even go to Whole Foods to grocery shop for guests, the response was an emphatic, “of course!” Many of these special services are included with the price of the room, but always double check.
Privacy from Pets: This new generation of over-accommodation means a rise in pet-friendly policies, too. So how can allergy- and pet-friendly coexist? Canyon Suites sequesters pets (dogs only) to the first floor, while their hypoallergenic rooms are on the second floor. They say that this prevents the animals, and their dander, from strolling by or floating into the hypoallergenic rooms. Thus far, they’ve had no complaints, only praise, from pet allergic guests.
Free-From Menus and More: In addition to the Canyon Suites’ room service, all of the restaurants at The Phoenician (and there are many!) are trained in food allergies and cross-contamination issues. They offer gluten-free and food allergy menus and a chef will appear tableside to address all food concerns. We got a visit from not one, but two chefs when dining at Relish Bistro (Amazing dairy-free burgers! And yes, they do offer gluten-free buns.). The first took our order and made clarifications about the menu, the second came out to confirm when we later made a “special order” that didn’t match one of our food allergy requests. We also got to speak with the restaurant manager, who was beyond proud of his staff and their communication when it came to customer needs.
Fancy for a Burger Joint, but actually inviting, comfortable and a lively social vibe
Not wanting anyone to feel left out, even the smaller concessions do their best to accommodate food allergies. When they had an ice cream eating contest at The Phoenician Café & Ice Cream Parlor, they swapped in milkless sorbet for a contestant that couldn’t eat dairy.
Special Treatment: At 22,000 square feet, the spa experience at The Phoenician can’t be beat. Whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms, a relaxation atrium, fruit-enhanced waters, teas, and of course, the services. But how does this fit into allergies? They use simple, all-natural ingredients to create their own oil and lotions, all of which are nut oil-free (sunflower oil base in massage oils). I believe they are dairy-free, too, or at least the ones I enjoyed were. The Phoenician realized that skin issues can arise from both chemical sensitivities and food allergens, so they do their best to avoid both.
Sure, they’ve made your stay comfortable, but what is there to do? A lot:
Golf: It’s hard to miss the theme of this resort. Everything surrounds the 27-hole championship course, and the staff drives you around the property in zippy golf carts.
What a view.
Tennis: With 11 competitive courts, including a Wimbledon championship grass court (they offer four different playing surfaces), you can usually find an open spot to enjoy a match, hit with the ball machine, or take a lesson. Select courts are even lit for nighttime play.
World-Class Hiking: Nestled at the foot of Camelback Mountain, The Phoenician is supremely positioned for day hiking adventures. To accommodate, Canyon Suites offers a complimentary hiking kit (for an additional fee, they can even pack up a lunch for you) and transportation to and from the trailhead.
Kid’s Club: Lest you think that luxury means honeymooners only, The Phoenician offers their fabulous Funician Kids Club program, complete with whimsical clubhouse and abundant outdoor activities, from croquet to an impressive 165-foot waterslide.
If I had actually spotted the waterslide when we were there, I so would have been there.
Seriously, your kids won’t want to leave – a playground, Xbox Kinect, iMac Computers, KidiZoom Digital Cameras, and more – just check this out.
Thanks to the clubhouse, I’m strongly considering bringing the whole family next time.
Pools: Adults seeking peace will be happy to know that The Phoenician provides two children’s pools (one with the above mentioned waterslide) plus seven other pools for lounging, lap swimming and more. Several of the pools are cabana-lined, and oh-what-a-treat that is. Each cabana has a private, full bathroom, endless beverages, shaded lounging area, and doting pool attendants.
All of the pools were this gorgeous and the cabanas at Canyon Suites were like mini-lodging!
Shopping: Another complimentary Canyon Suites’ service is a chauffeur-driven ride (in a Mercedes SUV) to and from Old Town Scottsdale.
Wine Tasting: Every evening, a sommelier pours different varieties of vino for your pleasure. An endless supply of tasty appetizers accompanies the tasting, which you can enjoy indoors or out.
Art Tour: Setting themselves apart from the ordinary, The Phoenician has a $25 million curated art collection. After viewing that load of eye candy via their complimentary self-guided audio art tour, the staff will give you tickets to the Phoenix Art Museum! No car? Just ask them for a ride, and they will personally shuttle you there.
Gorgeous water features were everywhere at The Phoenician.
Desert Garden Tour: On the grounds of Canyon Suites, a resident horticulturist maintains their two-acre Cactus Garden, featuring 250 varieties of cactus, and even offers complimentary guided tours. Around the holidays, the garden becomes a spectacular lights display.
Tea Time and Treats: We had the pleasure of enjoying afternoon tea. If you are dairy-free, the bites to enjoy are sparse (I had a few tea sandwiches), but the tea and atmosphere is divine. For gluten-free, they offer a few more options. When a cooler treat is in order, the ice cream parlor offers cones and candy – sorbet for us dairy-free types.
Personal Pampering: Let’s say you arrive and your clothes are wrinkled or your favorite dress has a tear. Your ambassador (Canyon Suites’ version of private concierges for each guest) will gladly take your garments for pressing (at no cost) or call on their on-site seamstress (for a small fee) to come to the rescue. While their working away, you can get gussied up at the spa!
Spa Time: Details on this amazing experience are detailed above. It it’s within budget, it is a must for all adults seeking relaxation.
This atrium was where we all relaxed with a magazine after an hour and a half scrub and massage.
Location: Scottsdale, AZ – just a hop skip and a jump from the Phoenix airport.
Cost for the Hypoallergenic Rooms: $349-$1299/night for the suites; $249-$899/night for the large guestrooms. Other services, like the spa, restaurants, golfing, etc., are extra.
When to Go: The weather in Scottsdale rarely dips into the frigid range, so it is a great vacation option year round. High season is February through April, when many escape the cold north, and as the temperatures begin to creep up in Arizona. The summer is toasty, but the pools offer respite. Spring and Fall offer the most amiable temperatures, with October to the holidays offering “shoulder season” rates.
Basic Amenities: Beyond what is listed above, there is a fitness center, wireless internet, and all that jazz. At Canyon Suites, both self-parking and valet are complimentary.
Tagged food allergies