Because it has long been a winter getaway destination, Phoenix is home to one of the greatest concentrations of resort hotels in the continental U.S. However, this southwestern metropolis also provides a wide variety of accommodations to suit almost every taste and budget. Rates tend to spike during the winter months, so you should book well in advance to ensure availability. If you're looking for bargain rates in the downtown area, hotels generally lower their prices on the weekend and during the off-season, which runs roughly from mid-May to late September.
- Many people flee snow and ice to bask in the warmth of the Valley so winter is the high season, peaking in January through March. Summer season -- mid-May through the end of September -- is giveaway time, when a night at a resort often goes for half of the winter price." -- Fodor's
- The resorts tend to be a bit pricier than their hotel brethren, but they offer a mini-oasis of manicured grounds, multiple swimming pools, and adjacent golf courses. Their lavish amenities are well worth a few extra dollars a night. In summer, rates at all Phoenix hotels are dramatically discounted, as much as half off or more." -- Moon Travel Guides
Downtown and the Biltmore District
If you're here to sightsee, you're probably better off staying in the heart of the city. Downtown Phoenix and the Biltmore district are home to such top attractions as the Phoenix Art Museum and the Arizona Science Center. This is also the place to be if you enjoy fine dining and upscale shopping. However, nightowls might be disappointed to find that the downtown area is pretty quiet once the sun goes down.
Here, you'll find several historic luxury hotels like the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, the city's top resort since it opened in 1929. You also may be surprised to know that you're likely to find a large number of budget-friendly properties. One such place, the historic Hotel San Carlos in downtown Phoenix, once accommodated celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and Spencer Tracy. Hotels in downtown Phoenix cater mostly to business travelers, but also offer rates that accommodate the average traveler's price range.
- Metropolitan Phoenix is so huge that it's worth paying a bit extra to ensure that your accommodation is near the places you want to visit. Oddly enough, downtown Phoenix is not one of the more expensive areas, with cheap motels lining the somewhat run-down W Van Buren Street a few blocks north of the center. The summer room rates, given below, rise significantly in winter." -- Rough Guides
- Unless you're a sports fan or are in town for a convention, there's not much to recommend downtown Phoenix. This 9-to-5 area can feel like a ghost town at night." -- Frommer's
Scottsdale, Carefree and Cave Creek
Look for hotels north of downtown if you want to cash in on Phoenix's reputation as a relaxing getaway spot. In the surrounding areas of Scottsdale, Carefree and Cave Creek, you'll find an overwhelming selection of luxurious resorts. These hotels cater to vacationers with deep pockets, offering amenities like world-class spas -- such as the one at the Boulders Resort -- and expansive golf courses. This is also a great location if you're looking to do some walking: Old Town Scottsdale features rows of shops and art galleries, and Camelback Mountain is easily accessible from here.
When looking for rooms here, keep in mind that, while these resorts offer everything from mouth-watering restaurants to interactive children's programs, high room rates are a given. Avoid these areas if you're traveling on a tight budget.
- Swanky accommodations are also available a little further east on Resort Row in Scottsdale, which is known as 'the West's most Western town.' Resort Row is the name given to the portion of Scottsdale Road that extends between Indian School Road and Shea Boulevard. Excellent shopping can be found at the distinctive Borgata." -- Travel Channel
- Out Tucson way, check out The Boulders Resort and Golden Door Spa in a place called Carefree … where you can hit the hiking trails day or night. A 'Moonlight' hike is now on the menu, too. If you need to cool off, the Golden Door Spa has the solution with more body and skincare treatments than spots on a gecko." -- Forbes Traveler
Tempe's the place for the budget-minded. Because of its proximity to Arizona State University, this area overflows with affordable hotels and cheap-yet-tasty eateries. It's also the place to be if you're looking to let loose and party -- Mill Avenue makes for a great night out thanks to the many bars found here. This is also a convenient home base if you're looking to spend some time at the Phoenix Zoo, the Desert Botanical Garden or Papago Park.
For an even wider hotel selection, consider including Chandler in your room search. Sitting just south of Tempe, this up-and-coming area offers a new batch of brand new accommodations, including the Radisson Hotel Phoenix Chandler and the La Quinta Inn & Suites Phoenix Chandler.
- Apache Boulevard in Tempe becomes Main Street in Mesa, and along this stretch of road there are numerous old motels charging some of the lowest rates in the Valley. However, these motels are very hit-or-miss. If you're used to staying at nonchain motels, you might want to cruise this strip and check out a few places." -- Frommer's