Here are some of our approximate costs on this trip.
Westjet round trip for two approx $800.00 Cdn
Rental Car approx $250 USD
Scottsdale Resort approx $1500 USD
This article relates some brief impressions of Scottsdale Arizona. I am sure there are a multitude of "complete" guides. The trip to Scottsdale from Calgary was a combination of a lark and also business. This fact is important, because it was June, and it was hot, really hot. It is not your normal tourist month.
The plane arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport mid afternoon. My cell phone suggested the temperature was 115 F. I hadn't experienced that degree of heat in a long time, not since our one road trip to Disney years ago. That trip took us through the Mojave Desert. Popping outside the terminal the immediate overwhelming heat confirmed what my phone had told me.
Phoenix Sky Harbor airport is a monstrous facility. Overwhelming in reality. To my surprise, the airport experience is actually efficient and well thought out. Like all airports though, be prepared for a long walk and wait, for your baggage. What was even more efficient is what comes next. Yes, the rental car experience!
I am going to cover both ends of the rental car experience now, just because I was so inspired by their efficiency. There are a fleet of buses that do a continuous loop of the airport looking for car rental clients. Every few seconds one leaves only to be replaced by another. You are whisked off to the rental car center, itself another enormous facility containing all the major companies. In our case, we had pre-booked Enterprise via Costco travel ( I am thrilled at the savings using Costco). A computerized sign in, a brief tour of vehicles available and quickly we were on our way. The return was even easier and efficient. Driving on the 202 freeway signs directing us to rental return began well in advance. Pull up in the lane, pass over the keys. The agent does a quick walk around and then confirms which credit card to use. After getting a receipt we head over to the waiting fleet of buses. Thankfully they were air-conditioned. (did I mention it was really hot?)
For this trip we had booked a casita at the Scottsdale Resort (McCormick ranch). The casita was advertised as being 1200 square feet with a kitchen area and two baths. Entering the hotel, I was wowed by its character and charm. For an older resort it was in good shape, in spite of that, the resort was about to get a major rework. Should we return in the future I will report on whether they managed to hang onto the charm. Two swimming pools, numerous meeting halls and a layout that followed the neighbouring golf course gives a general overview.
We tend to book large rooms like this casita because we are usually working while on vacation (workcation). The casita we rented was at the far end of the resort and as I had feared the internet signal did not reach well enough that we could work with it. Also, a kitchen area is apparently not the same as a kitchenette. No stove, no dishes of any sort and an antique fridge. "Hello, front desk. We have a problem". Their elegant solution was to provide us with the presidential suite.
The presidential suite more than exceeded our expectations. A generous space with a comfortable living room area, two bathrooms both quite large and our own balcony. For us, space is an important feature as we often spend the bulk of the day in the hotel room working (via internet). The room also offered a great view of the golf course. Overall the Scottsdale Resort did indeed feel more like a resort than a hotel.
On my bucket list for this trip was to try out some foods that are not currently available in Calgary. This included Chick-fil-A, Chipotle and In-N-Out Burger.
Chick-fil-A did not disappoint. We both had the grilled chicken club sandwich along with the waffle potato fries. It was an inexpensive meal and the ingredients were fresh and simple. I would be a regular if they open one in Calgary.
Chipotle also gets my rave review. I had the crispy corn tacos and my partner ordered the taco salad. On top of that we ordered corn chips with a guacamole dip. Chipotle has focused on high-quality ingredients which resonates with the current trend of health conscious diners. The décor is very Spartan but still interesting.
For me, In-N-Out burger was a disappointment. The burger is even thinner than McDonalds and the french fries were totally weird. On their website they claim the fries are done with vegetable oil. When I asked at this local branch, they said it was cotton seed oil. Yuck! I am OUT.
Perhaps the best experience came from a hankering for pizza. A little research showed a locally owned restaurant called Il Bosco. It is a small place, but that didn’t stop them from providing a great dining experience. The owner is actively involved with the guests and the cooking. Wood fired pizza and fabulous entrees, accompanied by fresh baked sourdough bread. We split an order of stuffed mushrooms and their famous meatballs, then we chose a pizza called a Carmela which includes, cheese, tomato sauce, sausage, spinach and onion. After our meal, the owner provided us with a taste sample of their own blend of Amaretto. The total bill for the food for two was in my opinion, only half of what we would pay in Calgary. So not only great but cheap too! You gotta eat here!
A notable mention goes out to US Egg which we also tasted. Personally I think Humpty's in Calgary edges them out.
So we drove around Scottsdale a bit, except for golf courses there is a definite lack of grassy lawns. Of course, I can fully understand this given the climate. We briefly visited Old Scottsdale but found it to be the usual tourist trinket type of shopping. I did buy a couple of US Marshall badges which will be perfect for Stampede attire at home.
Back to the airport and after a humungous lineup to get through security, it was a 2 and a half hour trip home. I truly enjoyed walking out into 20 Celsius weather. We will definitely go back to Scottsdale but hopefully during one of the more temperate months.