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Earlier this year, before Baby S arrived, I knew we wanted to take one more short trip as a family of three. We are normally fortunate enough go on lots of exciting summer excursions, but since I was due to have a baby in July, I knew we were going to be pretty home bound this summer. This means I wanted to have a “summer getaway” a little before summer officially kicked into high gear.
Thanks to all those dynamics at play, I had several criteria for this family getaway.
1. It couldn’t be more than a 2 – 2.5 hour nonstop flight from Houston since we only had a weekend to work with and flying was pretty uncomfortable for me by that point.
2. It had to be an all-in-one resort location in order to maximize our time and relaxation. While I often love exploring cities, for this trip I wanted to go to a nice resort and pretty much stay there.
3. Swimming had to be a major activity. This was both for the fun factor for my five year old, but also for my own 32 weeks pregnant self. I wanted to go somewhere that would have virtually guaranteed good weather for comfortable swimming in mid-May.
4. The trip had to be either affordable with cash or points/miles friendly thanks to a pretty tight budget with the family expanding.
5. The destination had to be domestic and close to major medical facilities. Since I was so far along in my pregnancy I wasn’t comfortable leaving the country or going to any domestic rural or remote destinations.
Given all of these criteria, I was able to quickly narrow the likely destinations to Arizona or Florida. Since we had already been to Florida and have another trip planed there later this year, we opted to head to Arizona. Specifically, we decided to take advantage of using SPG points at The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. We booked the points reservations shortly before the property increased from a SPG Category 5 to a Category 6 property earlier this year, so it cost us 12,000 points per night.
Check-In at The Phoenician Resort:
Thanks to long hours at a new job and really really bad Houston traffic, my husband ended up missing the flight to Phoenix by a few minutes. This means that my daughter and I arrived to the resort excited for the weekend, but a bit sad we were starting our vacation missing a key member of the family. We had a slight delay getting squared with our rental car upon landing in Phoenix, but after a short drive 15-20 minute drive, we arrived at the resort and headed straight to check-in. Thankfully check-in went very smoothly and we were warmly welcomed to the resort.
I had taken advantage of an offer auto-emailed out after making the reservation to upgrade to an executive suite for an additional $100 per night. This added about $200 in costs to the weekend, but it resulted in well over 1,000 square feet, an outdoor terrace, huge bathroom, separate sitting room, dining table, and more. For our family it was $200 well spent and we were thrilled at check-in that our upgrade was confirmed.
Executive Suite at the Phoenician Resort:
We knew that the suite was going to be larger than a standard room, but when my daughter and I opened the doors and actually saw just how big the room was, we were pretty impressed. She especially loves exploring big hotel rooms, so even though it was getting late, we were suddenly pretty awake and excited.
In fact, we were so excited we headed out for a nighttime swim (that turned out to be too chilly) and then returned to the suite to order some room service dessert that we were able to eat not on a little computer desk or in our bed, but at an actual dining table!
The bedroom itself was oversized with many closets, and was connected to not only the parlor and bathroom, but also to a large outdoor terrace.
Needless to say, the bed was absolutely amazing…Little C even loved the “little kid bed” at the foot of the real bed as she called it!
We made very good use of the large outdoor patio by eating room service breakfast out there one morning. It wasn’t the cheapest meal we have ever had, but it certainly ranks as one of the most fun and enjoyable hotel meals thanks to good food, great weather, and amazing company.
The “parlor” section of the suite was actually really functional as our family of three needed some extra sleeping space via a rollaway bed. We were also all getting up at different times thanks to the time change and different sleeping patterns, so this afforded a place to not disturb those that were still slumbering (aka, me).
My daughter’s favorite room in the suite was the ginormos bathroom that not only had a separate shower and soaking tub, but also a TV in the mirror – aka “best thing ever” for a pre-schooler who can have cartoons with their bath.
I’ve already mentioned room service a couple times, and the truth is that we used it more than normal on this trip even though we weren’t on any special rate or had any particular elite status that got us “free” room service. We wanted to relax and enjoy on this trip, so we indulged in breakfast in the suite a couple of times even though it cost a bit more I like to spend on meals.
Our room service (and other) meals we had at The Phoenician were all tasty, prompt, and very enjoyable so worth tthe added cost this time.
I’ll do a separate post on all the activities, amenities, and on-site restaurants that we visited during our brief weekend stay. As a preview, I’ll say that the swimming indeed as a highlight of the weekend and the numerous pools, water slide, and kid’s splash pad were all exceptional!
Being able to use a combinations of points and a cash co-pay to enjoy a 1,000+ square feet suite at an exceptional resort was a great move for us, and the perfect final getaway as a family of three. The room didn’t make or break the stay, but it was the perfect (huge) space to recharge between visits to the pool!
If you want to use some of the points earned via the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express note that the resort is currently 20,000 points per night on points or 10,000 points + $180/night via a cash and points rate. I also recommend simply checking cash rates as during some times of the year you may get better deals that way rather than using valuable SPG points.
Stay tuned for more details on this resort!