I think I’m finally able to write about our trip to Arizona without wanting to weep. As many of you know, we spent months planning our epic trip to Arizona. Our plans included flying into Phoenix, staying a few days at the fabulous Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch, then driving about two hours north to stay in Sedona for a few days to hike, take a Pink Jeep Tour, and visit the Grand Canyon.
As it turns out, we spent all six days at the Hyatt Gainey Ranch due to my son coming down with the flu the day after we arrived. We were disappointed, to say the least, but we couldn’t have been stranded in a more glorious place, and we were so very thankful that they had room for us to extend our stay.
This was not my first visit to the Hyatt Scottsdale, so I knew we were in for at treat, but it had been almost 15 years since our last stay, and we all know how things can change. I was thrilled to find it every bit as luxurious in 2015 as it was in 2001. I was able to secure a media rate in exchange for sharing our experience with you, so for those considering the Scottsdale area as a vacation destination, here is everything you should know about the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch. If I don’t cover it, feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to get an answer for you!
This luxury resort is teaming with flowering cactus and framed by the majestic McDowell Mountains, providing stunning views no matter if you are gazing out the window of your hotel room, sipping drinks in the courtyard, or reclining by one of the myriad of swimming pools on the property. Plus the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale is located just minutes away from the many outdoor adventures and cultural attractions the Scottsdale area has to offer.
If you’re a golfer, you will appreciate the championship 27 hole course.
If the spa is more your thing, you will swoon over the tranquil and rejuvenating Spa Avania. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to experience the spa on this trip, but if I ever go back, that will be high on my agenda.
If adventure is what you seek, the concierge can hook you up with any of the excursions, hot air balloon flights, hiking and biking trails, and jeep tours that are available in the area.
My girls’ favorite haunt was the newly transformed 2.5 acre water playground with the 30-foot, 3-story, high-speed waterslide.
There is even a sandy beach area for the little ones.
They literally spent every day but one in the pool.
We soon learned to get there early to stake out prime seating. I would wake up around 6:30 and grab a coffee and oatmeal at the cafe in the hotel, and by 7:30 I was sitting by the pool, claiming my spot. I didn’t mind at all. You know how I like my “me time”.
Others would leave towels and a few possessions on their chairs and go back to their rooms, but hotel employees would come around periodically and leave warning notes. You basically had an hour to return or they would remove your belongings. This makes total sense, otherwise you have people hogging chairs they weren’t using for hours. I wanted to be sure we kept our seats, so I usually stayed by the pool until my family joined me a bit later in the mornings.
By 9AM, the water was usually full of kids — full, but never crowded, not even on this busy Spring Break weekend.
At 11AM, the poolside grill would start serving. Again, I was impressed with what a well-oiled machine they had created. Servers would walk around and hand out numbered placards and menus. Then they would come back around to take your order. They were attentive throughout the day to check in on you and get you anything you could possibly want from the grill or bar.
The food was good too! This is not ordinary fast-food pool-side fare. Everything was delicious. They even had healthy options for those of us who wanted that.
Another thing I loved is how they had employees walking around constantly, removing wet towels and discarded food and beverage containers. We definitely felt pampered.
Rooms range from standard guest rooms to luxurious suites. We experienced two standard rooms during our stay. The first had an upgraded view that included a nice deck/balcony off of our room. It overlooked the pool area, but was far enough away that it wasn’t noisy at all. Here is the view from our deck.
The second room was a regular standard room that overlooked the courtyard, so it was a bit noisy in the evenings, but the room itself had a slightly different layout than the first, which actually afforded us more space. Since we are a family of 5, they provided a cot for our son on the far side of the room, by the patio.
We particularly liked how the sink and vanity in this guest room was separate from the bathroom/shower rather than all in one area. I don’t know why all hotel rooms aren’t set up that way. It is so much nicer when you’re traveling with others. I tried my best to get a picture, but there was really no good angle so you can use your imagination.
We were thrilled with the quality of food, and you know I’m persnickety. We took all of our meals but one in the resort, due to the extenuating circumstances with our son, and we were never disappointed.
There are several dining options. SWB is a southwest bistro where we ate breakfast once and dinner several times. This is their main restaurant, with both indoor and outdoor seating options. Of course, we always chose to eat outdoors, as the weather was PERFECT during our stay.
I had an amazing frittata our first morning there.
Everyone else was thrilled with their breakfast choices as well. We ate dinner here a few times. The fajitas are to. die. for. And although we didn’t try it, their Sunday Brunch is supposedly the most popular one around.
Alto ristorante e bar is an Italian restaurant, which we did not try out, as it sounds like more of a romantic spot than one for families. They serve fresh, seasonal cuisine, and you can even take a complimentary gondola ride along the resort’s waterways, complete with singing gondoliers.
Cantina Due is a bar located between the two restaurants serving handcrafted cocktails made from freshly squeezed juices, artisan syrups, and organic ingredients.
Again, we didn’t experience it personally, as we weren’t feeling that festive on this trip, however, we enjoyed their drinks in the Courtyard in the early evenings.
At least one of us sat out there each night with the girls, either before dinner or in lieu of a full dinner, and enjoyed the scenery and the mild Scottsdale spring weather. The menu included culinary delights from both restaurants. Our favorite was a tossup between the ceviche and the sushi.
Finally, Canyon Market is their coffee shop, but it is also a 24-hour market. They serve Starbucks coffee and pastries along with detoxifying smoothies, yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, bagels, performance food and gear, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and homemade ice cream. After our first morning dining at SWB, we bought all of our breakfasts at Canyon Market. I had steel cut oatmeal every morning, and the kids enjoyed sampling their pastries and bagels.
I’ve already touched on the activities available, such as the spa and golf course and excursions. But there is also a schedule of events that changes daily including activities such as art classes and tennis lessons for kids, Native American dancing and birds of prey presentations, wine tastings, and poolside movies. We were there over Easter weekend, and there was an Easter Egg Hunt, pictures with the Easter bunny, and other fun activities for the kids.
My kids loved the Birds of Prey presentation where they got to see this HUGE bald eagle up close and personal.
Another afternoon, they brought in live reptiles for the kids to see and even touch.
There is live music every night at the Center Stage Bar, which is located in the downstairs lobby area between the two restaurants and near Cantina Due.
Suffice it to say, there is never a lack of things to do at the Hyatt Regency Gainey Ranch. While we intended to make it one of the stops along our way, we ended up staying for six days, and we were never bored.
I should also mention the service. From the concierge to the front desk staff to the wait staff to the housekeeping, the service was outstanding. Everyone went out of their way to make our stay comfortable. When we mentioned our son was sick, they sent up crackers and ginger ale at no cost. When we asked them to switch out bedding and pillows, they did so cheerfully.
When I write a review, I always try to offer some constructive criticism to keep it real, and because I want you to know the good and the not-so-good so you can make an informed decision, but I honestly have nothing but the highest accolades for this resort.
Whether you’re looking for a home base while you explore the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, or you want a unique resort experience that is a destination unto itself, the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch is the place to do it. If we ever return to the area, we would be thrilled to stay here again.