If you ever need a vacation to relax, recharge, and to be completely surrounded by paradise, then I have the place for you. My husband Mark goes on one “boys trip” a year that usually involves traveling to an away SEC game. This year he picked Arkansas because it is one of the few left that he hasn’t been to. My sister and I started researching and we both agreed that we wanted a spa resort. My sister forwarded me the link to the JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa and I was immediately looking at flights out. I am going to go in full depth because you know that is how I roll but let me just say this. I have been to many resorts in the past where it is over the top luxurious and you just feel uncomfortable the whole time due to the highfalutin and pretentiousness that so many give off. That was 100% not the case here. The entire staff was kind, welcoming, and over the top accommodating. Anything we asked we were greeted with a warm smile and no problem response (even when we locked ourselves out of the room……when you sit out on your patio with your hot Starbucks make sure not to close the door behind you!) This was the ultimate stay in luxury and relaxation. Let’s get into everything this vast resort has to offer.
JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa Travel Review
First A Little Background
The JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa is located in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was a 25 minute Uber ride from the airport which cost under $15. Completely easy and affordable. Walk right out of baggage claim and follow the signs for “car shares“. From there, request your Uber or Lyft. The property is a historic resort in that it has been around since 1937. They have tons of photographs around the property of the original grounds which shows sunbathers from the 40’s, horses drawn up to the sides of buildings, seriously the history is impressive. The property sits on the Southern slope of Mummy Mountain in Paradise Valley. Every single picture I have there is picturesque mountains framing my shots. It is breathtakingly beautiful. On the entrance of the building the statement “Where Time Stands Still” is still displayed which was the original mantra when it opened back in the 30’s. After spending four days there, I completely get it. I have never felt so relaxed and calm in my life.
They have over 400 room types (or casitas as they are referred to) ranging from a resort standard Casita up through two bedroom suites with private pools and Mountain views. We were in a standard room with two beds and a lovely patio. Our room was very spacious and had the perfect access to the main hub lobby area, the pools, and Spa. The bathrooms were newly renovated and spacious. I enjoyed waking up every morning to the gorgeous grounds and watching the sunrise with a hot cup of Starbucks (there is one on property). The beds were very comfortable. My favorite part of the room was the mini kitchenette, which included a fridge and microwave. I’m a big leftovers person so we definitely heated a few things up the next day.
I researched the surrounding area and had plans of additional places to dine at but the food was so good on property that we never left. Ritas for breakfast out of the patio while soaking in the Mountains views every morning. Then we would hit up the happy hour from 3-6. While at the Spa pool we dined from the menu there. The shining moment of all culinary dining for the weekend was at the Lincoln Restaurant.
The Lincoln Restaurant is located at the front of the property and had a “soft opening” while we were there. Where do I even start! It is pretty fair to say I am usually underwhelmed when it comes to dining out. The majority of times I think to myself, I can do this just as well. Seriously, I am still dreaming of our meal there. The service was impeccable. Our waiter was Johnny who was a seasoned veteran, knew just the right amount of attention to be given without making you feel smothered. The Chef Chris Neff was very involved with the front of the house or the dining area if you will. His passion for food is inspiring. He has a very impressive resume for being so “young“. He has roots back to Tampa, so naturally, I bonded with him right away. His accolades span from the Council Oak Steakhouse in Tampa to the Four Seasons in Orlando and then coming into the JW Marriott family just to name a few. I am not a “foodie” by any means but how I would describe the dishes were fit for a foodie but realistic for the everyday diner. Also, they were not wimpy servings. Isn’t that the worst when you pay a decent amount for an appetizer and there are two bites? Not the case here. The portions were generous and the dishes were inspiring. They stand behind a farm to table approach and when you listen to the Chef talk about his dishes you can hear his passion and creativity. He has partnered with 10 local farms to bring local fresh ingredients.
Our favorite appetizers were the Beets + Palm dish, the Chef’s Garden tomatoes, and the tuna tartare with the black sesame rice crisps.
For our entrée, I had the filet mignon which was cooked to perfection and my sister had the country fried mary’s chicken with gnocchi. I never order anything fried out but it was worth it. For sides, we had the mashed potatoes (which I could have licked the plate they were that good) the cream corn which had miso addition that gave it incredible flavor and the potato wedges which had a nice kick of heat to them.
The desserts, where do I even begin? The cheesecake was light and airy, the peanut butter mousse with popcorn and roasted cocoa sorbet was hands down my favorite. My sister loved the butter cake.
Last, the cocktails are mixology works of art that taste just as good as they sound. A few of the potions were even dreamed up by the very talented Chef Neff himself. He even found us the next day and snuck us new ideas that he wanted to add to the menu. His excitement for food and flavors was seriously inspiring. You must eat here, it will not disappoint.
The Happy Hours & Live Music
Our waiter informed us that a lot of locals come to the Happy Hour for the bites and drink specials. Plus, the live music was impressive. “The Saturday Guy” or Dave Emery (apparently he always plays on Saturday) was amazing. I was pretty much singing along to every song and his voice would have made Adam Levine hit that red button for sure. We ordered the filet sliders and caesar salad one night. There was a big piece of filet on each bun cooked perfectly. We had wine and cocktails, both did not disappoint. We struck up conversations with nearby patrons including the most lovely couple visiting from Waco (hi Kate and Bill!). The Happy Hour runs from 3-6 pm in the outside area with the picturesque hanging lights and stunning views of the mountains.
The main pool was right by our room and had sweeping views of the mountains. Since we were having spa treatments we ended up at the Spa pool the entire time. Talk about the scenery, relaxation, and first class service.
Meticulously maintained, everywhere you looked there was something tending to the sweeping grounds. I mean just look at them.
I had a facial treatment and my sister had a massage, both were the best we’ve ever had. From the heated tables and plush furnishings, we were completely pampered. The spa has all the amenities you would come to expect with showers, lockers, and a waiting room with fresh steeped tea. It was the ultimate in luxury and lives up to expectations. We finished our services with pedicures and french pressed coffee. It was the perfect ending to our spa experience.
Other On-Site Accommodations
There is a 36 hole golf courses, local hiking, bike rentals, and plenty of space for meetings. There was a workout studio with a ballet barre that offered courses throughout the day (including a power pilates) that was excellent. There were weddings taking place that did not take over the resort and was a beautiful addition to the ambiance. Basically, anything you could dream up, they would be able to accommodate it. I should also mention, the on-site wifi was insanely fast. I was able to get work done and keep up with my Instagram. It was really the best of both worlds, ultimate relaxation but knowing that work never stops and fast wifi is essential.
Proximity to Downtown
The resort is an Uber ride away from local shopping and downtown Scottsdale. It is close to where the Cardinals and Diamondbacks play (how I could get my husband to come). It was a very convenient ride to Phoenix airport, we did not rent a car and were completely fine.
My sister and I are already looking at our calendars for the next time we can go. I honestly didn’t think that Mark would have liked this resort but now I know it was a place he has to come back with me to indulge in again. He would enjoy the golfing, the outdoor activities, and the close proximity to the various sporting events. The food was excellent and the staff genuinely goes out of their way to make sure you are completely taken care of. I mean just read all the reviews on Trip Advisor, this is a must travel to Resort for the ultimate luxury experience. I will say if you time it right, your stay can be quite affordable since there is a range of rooms to choose from. We stayed from Thursday to Sunday and it was just enough time to unwind and recharge. If you have any questions please feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment. I am so happy to be able to share this experience with you and hopefully, it will now be on your radar as well!
Thank you to the JW Marriott Camelback Inn for hosting me for this travel review. All opinions are 100% mine and I thank you for supporting the brands that work with Meet at the Barre.