I’ve been a downtown dweller for a decade now. I’ve lived in the historic district of Phoenix since before First Friday brought in the cool kids, long before there were bars in the Roosevelt district to attract the hipsters, and well before CityScape made downtown Phoenix a destination for something other than a sporting event or employment.
So I’ve never viewed downtown Phoenix as a place to go to get away from it all. Boy, was I wrong.
I took advantage of one of the summer “Staycation options” offered by the Hotel Palomar Phoenix at CityScape. The deals run through September 8 and there are three options:
$102 and a Round of Brew: Deal includes beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, a round of four beers at Palomar’s Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails. Rates start from $102 (Rate code: BREW).
Laugh Like a Local: Life just seems a bit better when you’re laughing. Beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, two tickets to Stand Up Live. Rate starting from $129 (Rate code: LOCAL).
Downtown Discovery Family Package: Beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, choose your own adventure with two children’s tickets to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix or the Arizona Science Center, two welcome kids packs. Rates starting from $124 (Rate code: PFAM).
I’m not a big drinker, so the $102 and a Round of Brew was out. And getting away from the kids is sometimes the reason you NEED a Staycation, so the Downtown Discovery Family Package was out. Since the laughter is the best medicine, the Laugh Like a Local was the perfect pick.
We arrived at the Palomar at around 5 p.m., just in time for the evening wine hour for all guests from 5-6 p.m. It was the pefect way to start our getaway. Immediately, we were on vacation. The Hotel Palomar is as cool as it comes. It is contemporary, connected and cosmopolitan, yet comfortable and welcoming all at once.
After we checked in and put our things in our amazing room with breathtaking views of the city and South Mountain, we went to the pool and its adjacent Lustre Rooftop Garden, which has sweeping views of the city’s stunning skyline and recently underwent several upgrades in addition to launching a new menu. The new menu highlights fresh bites, juice-infused cocktails and a fun and vibrant environment where guests can play table tennis. Local, seasonal ingredients are staples of the new menu, which features leafy green salads, veggies, local and grass-fed beef, a variety of flatbreads, kombucha on tap, fresh-squeezed juices and cocktails.
We had a couple cocktails — I highly recommend the Vida Del Oro: Square One Vodka, lemon juice, carrot juice, ginger juice — and had perhaps the most amazing burger I’ve ever consumed. The Lustre burger comes with avocado, jalapeño, pepper jack cheese and cool ranch aioli. That drip you’re hearing is the drool streaming from the corners of my mouth as call upon the memory.
Lustre is the perfect escape — great food, great drinks, great service, great views, amazing music and the people watching is phenomenal. Lustre was so perfect, we almost missed the 9:45 p.m. comedy show because we didn’t want to leave.
The great thing about the Laugh Like a Local package was the the Palomar has reserved tables for guests at Stand Up Live, so there was no waiting in lines and our seats were great. As it does every weekend, Stand Up Live delivered so many laughs that our abs were sore the next day.
What would a Staycation be without sleeping in, so we stayed in bed until a little after 9 a.m. I was able to get a workout in thanks to the complimentary use of Gold’s Gym, which is adjacent to the Palomar in CityScape. After the workout, I went for a quick swim in the Palomar pool, then soaked in the enormous tub in the room.
We ended our Staycation with a highlight that has the drool flowing again. It was fitting that our brunch at the Palomar’s Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails was on Sunday morning, because it was a religious experience. The Blue Hound is a brilliant blend of modern industrial with a touch of rustic. Friends have been raving about Executive Chef Stephen Jones’ food, but it was my first visit … the first of many. Here is what we chose:
* Eggs Benny with dungeness crab, swiss chard and hollandaise on an english muffin
* Fried Chicken and Waffles with Brown family farms maple syrup
The eggs were poached perfectly, the waffles were heaven-sent (keeping with the religious theme), and the bottomless mimosas were exquisite.
Our Staycation lasted about 18 hours, but eveything the Hotel Palomar Phoenix offers — its proximity to downtown’s shopping, dining and entertainment; the wine hour; the Blue Hound and Lustre Rooftop Garden; the third-floor outdoor pool with views of the city skyline — made it the perfect quick getaway where we were able to let everything go.
As soon as we got into the car, we both looked at each other and said at the same time, “I want to go back.”
That’s when you know a Staycation has become the perfect vacation.
Booking: www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com or 602-253-6633