24-Hour Room Service: Sanctuary, Arizona, US

Tucked between the rocks of Camelback Mountain, and almost invisible from below, Arizona’s Sanctuary Resort began life as the prestigious Paradise Valley Racquet Club. Back in the 1950s, it was the place for wealthy Californians to fly down to for tennis weekends.

This mountainside Shangri-La was designed by one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s protégés; Sydney Chaplin, son of Charlie, and the legendary Hollywood lothario John Ireland were two of the original investors.

It started off with a clubhouse, five tennis courts and a series of casitas (bungalows) set in their own grounds among the cacti and succulents. Big-name pros such as Ken Rosewall, and Pancho Gonzales would come to play matches with the stars.

In 1967, thanks to the efforts of Senator Barry Goldwater, all development of Camelback Mountain was halted above 1,700ft-level, preserving this luxury tennis ranch as an oasis in the red mountains. Celebrities such as Liza Minnelli, Dean Martin, Johnny Carson, Elton John and Bill Cosby were regulars at its programme of charitable events.

In the 1990s, as tennis began to lose its superstar cachet, the Racquet Club was transformed into a hotel, and eventually, after surrendering all but one of its courts to redevelopment and enduring many changes of name, Sanctuary was born in 2001.

Today, the hotel still houses its guests in casitas, and the atmosphere majors on rest and recuperation. Silent golf carts are used to ferry guests to rooms, and the only noise is the occasional flurry of wind or the sprinklers keeping the perfect grass green – you can almost hear the swoosh of a condor hundreds of feet overhead.

Guests of a slightly more active bent can float in the infinity pool, with its gorgeous view of Camelback, or allow themselves to be pampered in the spa. Anyone with energy to burn can scour the mountainside for rattle-snakes, bobcats, coyotes and lizards. But most folk just watch the sun rise and then watch it set. This is no place for rushing around.

LOCATION

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa, 5700 East McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley, Arizona, US (001 480 948 2100; sanctuary oncamelback.com). The craggy red rocks of Camelback Mountain rise above the Sonoran Desert. Sanctuary sits in 53 acres on the mountain’s northern slope, facing away from Phoenix. In the early morning, you can watch the sun flood the soundless Paradise Valley, and understand how it came by its name. Yet less than 10 minutes away is the hyper-affluent suburb of Scottsdale – the Beverly Hills of Phoenix – with its upmarket mall and chichi restaurants.

Time from international airport: allow 20 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International, and budget $25 (£18) in a taxi.

COMFORTABLE?

There’s no hotel block; instead guests stay in the 98 casitas that are grouped either round the spa or up the mountainside. Each is furnished in a contemporary style, with huge, colourful sofas, black-and-white photographs, Pacific Coast goose-down feather beds, open lava-rock fireplaces (logs provided) and outdoor terraces. Some decks even have their own hot tubs.

Every casita has a gorgeous view of Paradise Valley, and is decorated with modern art. There is also a small kitchen for preparation of the all-important cup of American filter coffee.

Freebies: Bathroom products are by Red Flower and leave you reeking of orange blossom. The black towelling, flannel-lined robes exclusively made for Sanctuary by Chadsworth & Haig aren’t free, but are worth buying ($110/£79). At turndown, votive candles are lit in each of the guestrooms and a calming lavender spray on the linen. A bottle of that fragrant spray is presented to each guest on departure.

Keeping in touch: Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel and casitas, and there are several phones in every room. Flatscreen televisions offer 71 channels, and there are DVD players if you would really rather stay indoors.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Double rooms start at $442 (£316) per night, room only. Bookings can also be made via Small Luxury Hotels of the World (slh.com).

I’m not paying that: The Hideout at Redbuck Ranch (001 480 471 0011; redbuckranch.com) is a cosy Scottsdale B&B with just one luxury suite, which starts at $218 (£156), room only.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Cooked up: reducing dietary animal fat might not be as healthy as government advice has led millions of people to believe
healthA look at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
Sport
Angel Di Maria poses with Louis van Gaal after signing for Manchester United
sport
News
peopleGerman paper published pictures of 18-month-old daughter
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'A voice untroubled by time': Kate Bush
musicKate Bush set to re-enter album charts after first conerts in 35 years
Life and Style
tech
News
people
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Voices
voices
Sport
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
News
Ukrainian Leonid Stadnik, 37, 2.59 meter (8,5 feet) tall, the world's tallest living man, waves as he poses for the media by the Chevrolet Tacuma car presented to him by President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko in Kiev on March 24, 2008.
newsPeasant farmer towered at almost 8'5'' - but shunned the limelight
News
Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in ‘The Front Page’, using an old tech typewriter
media
Life and Style
Could a robot sheepdog find itself working at Skipton Auction Mart?
techModel would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Web Developer / Software Developer

    £25 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Software Developer is needed ...

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Day In a Page

    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
    Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

    From strung out to playing strings

    Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
    The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

    A big fat surprise about nutrition?

    The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
    Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

    Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

    The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
    On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

    On the road to nowhere

    A Routemaster trip to remember
    Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

    Hotel India

    Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
    10 best pencil cases

    Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

    Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
    Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

    Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

    Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
    Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

    Pete Jenson: A Different League

    Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
    This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

    The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

    Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
    Britain’s superstar ballerina

    Britain’s superstar ballerina

    Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
    Berlin's Furrie invasion

    Berlin's Furrie invasion

    2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
    ‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

    ‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

    Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis