Arizona Timezones Explained: It’s a Prickly Situation

Traveling to Arizona soon?

You might want to get a little familiar with the time zones in Arizona because they can be a bit confusing, especially for tourists trying to book activities in the northeast region of the state.

In this article, I’ll break down what time zone Arizona is in and make sure that when you visit you’re not just a tourist, but a true Arizonian time wizard!

So grab some cactus juice and let’s get started!

What time zone is Arizona in?

Arizona remains in mountain standard time (MST) throughout the entire year. It does not acknowledge daylight savings time which creates some oddities and confusion for outsiders.

This is basically how it works in simple terms.

During the winter (from early November to mid March), Arizona will be on mountain standard time (MST) which means that it will have the same time zone as neighboring states like New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, etc.

However, whenever daylight savings time takes place, Arizona does not convert to mountain daylight time (MDT) and remains on MST. Therefore the time rebels in Arizona do not change their clocks.

The result is that all of the mountain states mentioned above become one hour ahead of Arizona. So effectively Arizona (MST) gets on Pacific time with states like California.

If you need an easy way to remember this think:

  • Winter = visiting snowy mountains (mountain time)
  • Summer = visiting California beaches on Pacific ocean (Pacific time)

So that might be relatively straightforward but it does get a little bit more confusing because one of the reservations located in Arizona does acknowledge daylight savings time.

Navajo and Hopi reservations

In the northeast region of Arizona you can find the Navajo and Hopi reservations.

It’s a vast area that is located just east of Flagstaff and Page and that occupies the entire corner of the state, while also making up a portion of southern Utah and western New Mexico. It’s actually the largest reservation in the US and home to over 300,000 people.

Arizona Navajo nation hopi reservation map
Map via BLM.

But here is where things get interesting.

The Navajo Nation observes daylight savings time but the Hopi reservation does not. This means that in the summer, the Navajo Nation will be one hour ahead of the rest of Arizona. This can be really important for travelers to know.

That’s because a lot of tours in the stunning slot canyons and other places take place on the Navajo Nation. You might have a tour scheduled at 10 AM and when you arrive you may find out that it’s actually 11 AM on the reservation and be really confused.

To make things easier for tourists, some of the tour operators schedule the time of the tours based on MST. So even if your tour is technically at 11 AM local time, they will schedule it at 10 AM MST.

That could be helpful for some but for those who are factoring in the time differences between MST and MDT, it could throw them off!

Antelope Canyon

The way to avoid confusion or missing tours is to always confirm with your tour operator what time the tour begins.

Specifically, I would recommend confirming the time in two different time zones. Basically, ask what time does the tour begin in MST (the time zone that most of Arizona is on) and in local reservation time.

Remember, the largest cities in Arizona will always be on MST. These include:

  • Phoenix
  • Tucson
  • Flagstaff
  • Prescott
  • Sedona
  • Grand Canyon
  • Yuma
  • Page

So let’s say you were doing a tour in Antelope Canyon and you were leaving a hotel in Page, AZ. You could confirm with the tour operator the time of your tour in local reservation time and in the city you are staying in (Page, AZ).

You will just have to remember that whenever you pass through the boundary of the reservation or even get close to it, your clock may go forward an hour so don’t let that throw you off.

Arizona Navajo nation hopi reservation map Time zones
Image via Wiki (creative commons).

Six time zone changes in 100 miles?

One of the biggest quirks of Arizona’s time zones can be found along Highway 264. This highway branches off from 169 near Tuba City and runs through the Navajo and Hopi reservations.

The boundaries of the Hopi reservations are not continuous in this region and because they are located inside the Navajo Reservation, this creates a very interesting effect on the time zones.

Basically, there is a 100 mile stretch along Highway 264 that will take you through six time zone changes during the summer because of the odd boundaries and time zones!

It’s like time traveling, but without the DeLorean.

Why doesn’t Arizona acknowledge daylight savings time?

The main reason why Arizona does not acknowledge daylight savings time is it’s just not needed in a place that gets so much sunshine and heat.

For one, the additional hour of daylight would cause energy consumption to soar because homes would have to crank the AC up to make up for that extra hour of heat.

People in Arizona like to venture out as temperatures begin to cool in the evening and so it’s not in their favor to extend the heat of the day out into the evening.

Lots of hikers and other people enjoying the outdoors would have to finish up an hour later which would be particularly inconvenient if they had to get up early the next day for work.

This may not be an issue in places like Flagstaff or some of the higher elevations around the state but for people living in cities like Phoenix or Yuma, they certainly can use all of the cool temperatures they can get.

At the same time, the Navajo Nation does not acknowledge daylight savings time because it has boundaries that extend into states like Utah and New Mexico where daylight savings time is acknowledged.

This makes it easier for them to conduct business in those regions but comes out the cost of confusion when it comes to dealing in Arizona.

Final word

Because Arizona is one of the only states that does not acknowledge daylight savings time, confusion can often creep in when scheduling things such as tours or activities.

It helps if you can just remember that during the summer or from March to November, Arizona will essentially be on the Pacific time zone since MST aligns with the time zone on the West Coast.

But during the winter, Arizona will be in the same time zone as the mountain states such as Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.

And if you are heading to the Navajo Nation, remember that they do acknowledge daylight savings time so they could be one hour ahead of Arizona (although tour operators will likely be operating on MST).

And if you ever find yourself driving on Highway 264 during the summer, be sure to watch out for your clock as it makes a number of time zone changes in only a short stretch of 100 miles!

Arizona Airports Guide: Which Airport Should You Use?

When it comes to flying into and out of Arizona, you have quite a few options.

While the state is pretty large (6th largest overall), the airports are clustered mostly in the middle of the state which makes it practical for a lot of people to have different airport options to choose from.

In this guide, we will break down the major airports in Arizona and give you some insight into which airport might be best for you based on where you need to go and how you’d like to get there.

List of major airports in Arizona (w/map)

First, here’s a list of the major airports in Arizona.

  1. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX): Located in Phoenix, this is the largest and busiest airport in Arizona.
  2. Tucson International Airport (TUS): Tucson International Airport is located in Tucson and is the second-largest airport in Arizona.
  3. Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA): Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is a smaller airport located in Mesa, just east of Phoenix.
  4. Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG): Flagstaff Pulliam Airport is located in Flagstaff, in northern Arizona.
  5. Yuma International Airport (YUM): Yuma International Airport is located in Yuma, in southwestern Arizona.
  6. Prescott Regional Airport (PRC): Prescott Regional Airport is located in Prescott, in north-central Arizona.
American Airlines taking off at PHX.

Who should use PHX

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) is by far the busiest and most equipped airport in Arizona.

The great thing about Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) is that it is centrally located among the major cities in Arizona.

It’s right in the heart of Phoenix but also roughly in the middle of Tucson, Sedona, Flagstaff, and Prescott. Basically, you can get to all of the popular cities within about two hours.

This is why flying into PHX can make exploring Arizona so easy.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) is one of the top 10 largest airports in the US and the only airport in Arizona that offers an extensive selection of airport lounges.

They have a Delta Sky Club, Amex Centurion Lounge, Escape Lounges, Admirals Clubs, and quite a few others. So if you want that premium airport experience when heading out of Arizona, you likely will want to fly out of PHX.

PHX is an American Airlines hub so you can expect to have lots of options when flying American Airlines or American Eagle. Southwest Airlines also has a pretty large presence here along with Frontier Airlines, so you do have some budget options out of Phoenix.

Popular destinations out of PHX include: Denver, Colorado; Las Vegas, Nevada; Seattle/Tacoma, Washington; Chicago–O’Hare, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; San Diego, California; and Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota.

If you want to fly to Hawaii (HNL), you’ll have a few different options from PHX with nonstop flights on Southwest, American, and Hawaiian Airlines, including their lie-flat product.

They also have a nonstop flight to Anchorage, Alaska.

You’ll have different options for heading to Canada and Mexico including some of the vacation hotspots like Cabo and Cancun. You can also hop across the pond on a nonstop flight to London with British Airways or American Airlines.

However, if you’re trying to get to lots of different international cities in Europe or Asia or elsewhere, you will likely have to connect to a larger gateway airport on the West Coast or East Coast (or in London).

While PHX is one of the busiest airports in the US, it doesn’t have the same level of international reach that other airports in the top 10 do. (Geography probably plays a large role in this.)

Scottsdale, near Phoenix, does have an airport called “Scottsdale Airport.” This is a small municipal airport located 9 miles north of downtown Scottsdale. While small, it’s a very busy single-runway airport serving lots of smaller jets and also has US Customs available during certain hours so that international visitors can come through.

Who should use TUS

Tucson International Airport (TUS) is much smaller and less busy than Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX). In fact, PHX serves about 14 times the amount of traffic!

This makes TUS ideal for people who prefer a simpler and less hectic airport experience. You can quickly get in and out of this airport which makes it ideal for short and easy trips for those living in or visiting the Tucson/Pima County area.

This airport is served largely by American Airlines but also by a lot of the hubs of all the legacy carriers. This means that you usually should not have much trouble finding at least one nonstop flight from the hub cities for United, American, and Delta.

However, if you are trying to fly to a non-hub city, you’ll likely have to work with at least one connection. Southwest also serves a lot of destinations out of Tucson.

Tucson International Airport (TUS) entrance

This airport does not have airport lounges like PHX. If you have a Priority Pass membership that comes with restaurant access, you can enjoy a free meal at one of the airport restaurants but for now the actual lounges (other than the Military Liaison Office) are nonexistent.

The international flights out of TUS are limited. Because of that, you will have to connect to a larger airport in order to fly on long-haul flights across the Pacific or Atlantic or to get down to places like Hawaii, Alaska, or South America.

So you can go about scheduling your longer flights in a few different ways.

One way is for you book a connecting flight through a neighboring airport like PHX or LAX. With LAX offering so many more international flights than PHX and being such a short hop from TUS, it’s often easy to utilize that airport as your gateway for long-hauls.

Another option is to simply drive to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) when they serve your destination. Depending on which side of Tucson you’re coming from, this drive could be as quick as one hour and 30 minutes. (An Uber ride would cost you about $130 to $150 for a basic vehicle from Tucson to PHX.)

It’s a pretty scenic drive with mountains to admire along the way and is particularly beautiful to do around sunrise or sunset so it’s not a bad drive. Traffic between Tucson and Phoenix is not usually an issue along I-10, unless there’s a major accident.

You can find lots of airport hotels nearby PHX which makes it easy to take advantage of some of those cheaper, early morning flights.

Tucson International Airport (TUS) flight tower

Who should use AZA

Phoenix–Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA) is located in Mesa, Arizona, 20 miles (17 nmi; 32 km) southeast of Phoenix. This means that it is in prime location for those who live in Phoenix but also for those willing to drive a couple of hours to get to the airport from places like Tucson or Flagstaff.

If you want to utilize ultra low cost carrier Allegiant Air to get around the US then AZA could be a good option.

Typically, you would be hopping between smaller cities and airports like Idaho Falls, Idaho (IDA), Knoxville, Tennessee (TYS), Laredo, Texas (LRD), McAllen, Texas (MFE) Medford, Oregon (MFR), etc. However, occasionally Allegiant Air will serve a large airport such as MSP.

If you can fly without a carry-on bag on Allegiant Air, then you can take advantage of some super cheap rates to get around the US from Phoenix–Mesa Gateway Airport. For example, you could get to Houston for $44 or to Minneapolis for $59. So Phoenix–Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA) could be one of the cheapest airports in Arizona.

For most of your international flights, you likely would want to head to PHX or a different airport as discussed above. However, you can find routes from AZA to certain Canadian destinations with airlines such as WestJet and Lynx Air.

Who should use FLG

Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG) is located a couple of hours north of Phoenix in the city of Flagstaff.

It offers significantly fewer options for flights compared to all of the options above.

At the time of this writing, you only have nonstop flights to Phoenix and DFW via American Airlines. You can book connecting flights to/from lots of other airports (flying on American Airlines most likely) but the prices may be pretty high compared to just flying in/out of Phoenix.

If you can deal with the higher prices and possibly a couple of connections, the convenience of flying into Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG) can be worth it for some. It will save you a two hour drive from Phoenix and it also puts you only about 1.5 hours from Grand Canyon National Park.

It’s worth noting that if you’re headed to the Grand Canyon, you might be tempted to fly into Grand Canyon National Park Airport, located in Tusayan, which is the closest airport to Grand Canyon National Park. This is largely an airport used for air taxis, tours, and charter flights, though. It has extremely limited commercial flights, so don’t expect a legacy carrier to get you there.

Flying into Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG) can also make it easier to explore other areas of northern Arizona. For example, if you wanted to visit Page (Antelope Canyon), Monument Valley, Petrified Forest National Park, and other similar spots it could make sense to fly into FLG.

Bottom line: If you are pressed for time and want to explore these areas then heading into FLG could be better than dealing with the extra drive time (and possibly traffic) to and from PHX.

Related: Review: El Tovar Hotel, Amazing Grand Canyon Lodge!

Flagstaff pine tree woods

Who should use YUM

Yuma International Airport (YUM) is similar to Flagstaff in that it is a very tiny airport that only has extremely limited nonstop flights (Dallas/Fort Worth and Phoenix–Sky Harbor), so you’ll likely be connecting from those places on American Eagle.

One difference though is that YUM is a joint use airport (civilian and military flights) operated in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps.

It’s about a 3 hour drive from Yuma to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), so it’s definitely within driving distance for some but not exactly a quick little road trip.

Some people might consider driving to San Diego International Airport (SAN) for longer flights since that airport is a little bit closer than PHX.

Yuma Arizona

Who should use PRC

The smallest airport on this list, Prescott Regional Airport (PRC) is home to lots of training flights from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Guidance Aviation and North-Aire. While the flights are very limited here at PRC, it does offer nonstop service with United Airlines to Denver and Los Angeles.

This allows people to travel with minimal connections to far-flung destinations when going with United Airlines and their partners. For example, you could fly from Prescott to Tokyo with only one short connecting flight to LAX. Not bad for such a tiny airport.

LAX airport

Arizona airport codes

If you’re looking for a list of the major airports in Arizona with their corresponding IATA and ICAO codes, here you go:

  1. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX/KPHX)
  2. Tucson International Airport (TUS/KTUS)
  3. Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA/KIWA)
  4. Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG/KFLG)
  5. Yuma International Airport (YUM/KYUM)
  6. Prescott Municipal Airport (PRC/KPRC)
  7. Grand Canyon National Park Airport (GCN/KGCN)
  8. Kingman Airport (IGM/KIGM)
  9. Show Low Regional Airport (SOW/KSOW)
  10. Lake Havasu City Airport (HII/KHII)


What is the closest airport to Sedona, Arizona?

Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG) is the closest commercially served airport to Sedona but Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) offers many more flights and will be more convenient for those willing to drive a little farther.

How many many airports are in Arizona?

Arizona has a handful of main airports which include:

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX/KPHX)
Tucson International Airport (TUS/KTUS)
Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA/KIWA)
Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG/KFLG)
Yuma International Airport (YUM/KYUM)
Prescott Municipal Airport (PRC/KPRC)

Is there an airport in Scottsdale, Arizona?

Yes, there is an airport in Scottsdale (SCF) but it is not used by commercial airlines.

What airport is closest to Scottsdale, Arizona?

The closest large airport to Scottsdale is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).

Final word

For the most part, when you travel to or from Arizona, you will be utilizing Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) or Tucson International Airport (TUS). Because these airports are relatively close to each other, you may want to opt for one over the other depending on your destination and travel preferences.

The outlier airports can also come in handy when flying low cost carriers or when shaving driving time but they can require more connections and other times be more expensive.

Does It Snow in Tucson Arizona? Your Guide to a White Tucson

Tucson has a reputation for being warm and sunny as it is a city located in the arid Sonoran Desert.

But does this city located in one of the hottest areas of the country ever receive snow?

In this article, we will talk about when this town becomes a winter wonderland and some of the best ways to go about exploring the area!

Does it snow in Tucson, Arizona?

Yes, it does occasionally snow in Tucson but it is not very common.

During the years that I lived just outside of Tucson, we would usually get a snow shower one to three times a year. Usually, the snow melts very quickly but on occasion it can hang around for a while.

The good news is that Tucson is surrounded by high elevation mountains which means that you can regularly find snow in these places every winter. But more on that below!

Related: Does It Snow in Hawaii? Where & When Can You See It?

Cactus with snow

Where can you expect snow?

While the downtown area of Tucson has an elevation of around 2,389 feet (728 meters), it is surrounded by mountains on every side.

Some of these mountains rise to over 9,000 feet such as those found in the Santa Catalina Mountains and in the Santa Rita Mountains.

During the winter, you can expect to see snow up on these mountains even weeks after a snow storm has blown through.

Santa Catalina Mountains with snow
Mt Lemmon summit covered in snow.

Sometimes a winter storm blows through and snow falls on the mid elevations surrounding Tucson.

I’ve seen several times where the snow stops at about 4,000 to 5,000 feet. This is not going up to actually fall on the city of Tucson or on the neighboring cities like Vail, but it does provide a beautiful snowy backdrop on the foothills and lower mountains.

Finally, it is sometimes possible to get snow in the city of Tucson proper.

According to the National Weather Service, the average snowfall in Tucson is less than 0.5 inches per year. Often the snow is going to consist of small flurries or trace amounts of snow that may not even be measurable.

But that doesn’t mean that big snow storms can’t come through.

In 1967, 6.8 inches of snowfall came down on December 8th/9th according to measurements at the Tucson International Airport. That’s a lot of snow for Tucson!

More recently, on February 22, 2019, the Tucson International Airport recorded 1.3 inches of snow, which was one of the last major snow events for the city.

Tucson backyard with snow
Backyard near Tucson with snow.

What happens when it snows in Tucson?

One of the challenges of exploring Tucson’s surrounding mountains and parks whenever it snows is that you may have to deal with road closures to areas that receive substantial snowfall.

The most popular place people like to head to when it snows is Mount Lemmon, which actually has a ski resort. They have quite a few cabins, Airbnb’s, and a little town up there called Summerhaven, which is a fun place to stay for a night or two.

However, the road up to Mount Lemmon is often closed during and after a snowstorm and only open to select individuals such as those who live up on the mountain. This could last several days making winter tourism up on the mountain a challenge or even impossible at times.

Another area that builds up with snow is the Wrightson Wilderness/Madera Canyon area but again road closures can make it difficult to access this area coming off of a fresh snow fall. Traffic can also be an issue to these spots shortly after the snow blows through.

Santa Rita mountains with snow
Wrightson Wilderness/Madera Canyon with snow.

So the more practical places to visit when it snows would be the lower elevations like going to Saguaro National Park. But even then, if there is a good amount of snow they could close off the roads until it melts.

Saguaro national park with snow

Sabino Canyon is probably an easier place to get to when it’s snowing on the lower elevations because you should be able to walk into the park and to get to trails easier than you would be able to at Saguaro National Park.

Seeing saguaro cactuses covered in snow is such a unique site and one of the coolest things to see you with your own eyes – I highly recommend it!

In the days and weeks following a snowstorm, it’s one of the best times to explore the Tucson area.

The mountains and canyons surrounding the city are full of running creeks and waterfalls that come alive whenever the snow begins to melt. In fact, sometimes water levels can be raging during this time which can be both a fascinating and dangerous time to visit.

The good thing is that unlike in the late summer when monsoon season happens, you don’t have to worry about flash floods as much. That’s because the spring runoff is more consistent versus the monsoon rains which can cause an unexpected downpour in a hurry.

Another great thing about this desert area is that if it receive a lot of snow, the desert blooms go into full effect!

creek flowing

Final word

It does occasionally snow in Tucson but it is usually a very small amount. However, every year the mountains surrounding Tucson receive a fair amount of snow. It can be a little difficult to explore these places when it snows because of road closures but if you can wait a while for the roads to open up, you’ll have your own winter wonderland in the desert to enjoy.

Arizona Biltmore Waldorf Astoria Resort Review

The Arizona Biltmore is a Hilton Waldorf Astoria Resort property located in Phoenix, Arizona that delivers on many levels.

The hotel has a lot to offer in terms of its history, dining, and amenities, and it can be a perfect getaway for both couples and families.

Below, I’ll take a thorough look at this property and I’ll share with you everything you need to know before you arrive.

Arizona Biltmore Overview

Coming off a mega $70 million renovation in 2021, the Arizona Biltmore is chock-full of history and home to quality dining and luxurious and fun amenities.

Its architectural roots stem from the 1920s when it was designed by Albert Chase McArthur who received guidance from his mentor Frank Lloyd Wright, arguably the most famous American architect of all time.

Since then, it’s been a magnet for notable guests.

Every US president has stayed at the Arizona Biltmore since Hoover such as LBJ and JFK and it’s also where Ronald Reagen and Nancy Reagan honeymooned after their wedding. (Their favorite cottage was “Cottage I.”)

Related: Hotel Paso Del Norte, Autograph Collection Review

Arizona Biltmore picture collage of presidents

Hollywood celebrities like Marilyn Monroe have relaxed by the pool and actors like Clark Gable navigated secret passageways from hidden speakeasies during Prohibition.

It was at one of the bars at the hotel where the Tequila Sunrise was born and still to this day you can enjoy quality upscale drinks and dining in a setting that takes you back to Hollywood’s golden age.

Here, thrill seekers can get their fix on a 65 foot drop water slide and pool lovers can hang out by the water 24 hours a day. With unique spa features and top-notch fitness facilities, it’s truly an all-around notable resort.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Arizona Biltmore front grounds


The resort is located in the Biltmore Area which is an upscale area in north Phoenix, roughly between Glendale and Scottsdale. It’s about 15 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).

While the resort offers some good dining options, nearby you can find upscale restaurants like Wrigley Mansion & Geordie’s. Just down the road on E. Camelback Rd. you can also check out Zinburger, Hillstone Restaurant, and Keegan’s Grill.

If you’re looking for outdoor activities there’s plenty to do in the nearby vicinity.

The Arizona Canal Path runs directly in front of the property so if you are a runner you have an awesome trail near the front door of the property.

Arizona Biltmore Canal path
Arizona Biltmore path along canal
The trail that runs along the canal.

The hotel is also just minutes away from Piestewa Peak, which is a short but strenuous hike that’s popular with Phoenix hikers. The exact specs are 2.1 miles out and back with elevation gain of 1,148 feet. At night, you might be able to see hiker headlamps making their way up and down the mountain.

Arizona Biltmore grounds with mountain
Piestewa Peak looming in the distance.


We booked our first night through the Amex FHR program which was a great choice because there was a special promotional deal offering an additional $250 in property credits.

Utilizing the $200 FHR credit on the Platinum Card, this meant the out-of-pocket was only around $130 for night #1 and we were able to take advantage of the following dining credits:

  • $60 FHR breakfast credit
  • $50 Diamond food and beverage credit
  • $100 FHR Property food and beverage credit
  • $250 FHR Promotional Property credit
  • Two Diamond free drink coupons up to $25 in value each

All of that was just for the first night so we had approximately $500 to spend in food and beverage credits in 24 hours.

For the second night, we used one of our free night certificate issued from the Hilton Aspire. Our upgraded room total ended up coming out to around $488 with all taxes and fees so that was pretty good value for the free night certificate.

If you have the $250 resort credit with the Amex Hilton Aspire, you can use that to cover any overages including the resort fee.

Arizona Biltmore check-in FHR papers

Parking and Check-in

Arriving at the hotel via car is a little bit confusing because of the one-way traffic that runs through the entryway of the property.

Depending on how you arrive, you may have to cross the canal and then cross back over to pull up in front of the property. They have signs posted to help you out but it can confuse you/your GPS.

You can choose to use valet parking or utilize the self parking garage which is a little bit cheaper. We decided to use the self parking since we had plans to be out and about during the day.

Also, I believe the valet cars are left parked outside which I didn’t really care for considering how hot it was.

Related: Are Phoenix Resorts in Summer Worth it? (Here’s How to Survive)

Arizona Biltmore lobby

The drawback to the self parking option is that the garage is located on the far side of the property.

It’s not that bad of a walk but during the peak of summer the walk gets a little old.

To cut down on the temperature exposure, we would walk through the conference center and ballroom areas which allowed us to take advantage of AC a little bit longer (more on those buildings later on).

Arizona Biltmore breezeway

The check-in process was a little bit rocky.

I’ve found that combining a paid reservation with a free night is sometimes problematic and that turned out to be the case here.

Initially, our room was ready when we arrived but when we needed to combine reservations that meant we did not have a room immediately available for us for both nights. (We had previously called and linked the reservations hoping to avoid this outcome.)

We were okay to wait but that wait ended up lasting until around 5 PM which is one hour after check-in.

Arizona Biltmore front desk

Eventually, I spoke with someone who was able to switch us to a different room but it’s been extremely rare to be delayed one-hour past check-in time in my hotel experiences, especially in off-peak season.

On the bright side, the lobby area is interesting to check out and you can easily get to any of the bars or restaurants if you need to wait.

I also really liked the hotel’s luxury scent with notes of bergamot, jasmine, and vanilla which you can buy if you really are into it.

I’ll also point out that the service was top-notch throughout this stay so this hiccup was not the norm.

The front desk staff was exceptional, the waiting staff at the bars and restaurants were usually very good, and we were always greeted with a smile by other staff members.

Arizona Biltmore lobby

After check-in, I was excited that they upgraded both nights of our stay although the upgrade was not that special if I’m being real.

We were upgraded to a Valley Wing room with a fire pit but the fire pit is not exactly the most attractive amenity when the temperature is already above 113°.

I honestly would’ve preferred to stay in a normal balcony and perhaps have a little bit of a view.

Anyway, when you are ready to go to your room, you can head through the ramp with the guest room sign pictured below so that you can wheel your bags into the courtyard.

Arizona Biltmore lobby


Because we were traveling with my brother-in-law, we decided to book a room with two queens. Overall, it was a pretty standard room but I did not have any real complaints other than it being a little bit warm for my liking.

Arizona Biltmore guest room

As soon as you enter, you’ll notice the counter with the coffee maker, mugs, and glasses. They provide you with two short water bottles which is not nearly enough if visiting in the summer.

In fact, if you’re visiting during the peak of summer when temperatures get extreme, I would advise you to purchase a 24 pack of water bottles and load up your mini-fridge as soon as you get there. Then, be sure to crank the cool setting up somewhere around five or six to ensure that you have cold water to cool you down.

Arizona Biltmore guest room coffee bar
Arizona Biltmore guest room coffee bar
Arizona Biltmore guest room ice bucket and water
Arizona Biltmore guest room refrigerator

As for the room furniture, there’s a seat in the corner with a small side table.

Arizona Biltmore guest room chair

I loved the look of the large TV set into the wall. Very modern and clean.

Arizona Biltmore guest room TV

The beds were comfortable with bedding that was of luxury hotel quality.

Arizona Biltmore guest room queen beds

The branded Waldorf Astoria duvet covers were a nice touch, although we were sleeping with sheets due to the warm temperature of the room.

Arizona Biltmore guest room queen bed

The nightstand between the beds had two outlets and one USB port within easy reach (for one side of the bed).

Arizona Biltmore guest room power outlet and USB

There’s a large lamp on the nightstand with a small switch at the bottom that can be easily missed so look out for that. Then on either side of the lamp you’ll have the phone and the alarm clock.

Arizona Biltmore guest room telephone and TV remote
Arizona Biltmore guest room alarm clock

The room features a beautiful workstation that can also function as your in-room dining table. I loved the look and feel of the table along with the desk lamp. It also has two power outlets and a USB port for easy charging.

The only thing I didn’t care for is that it was really easy to knock my shin into the desk when trying to get comfortable. This led to a couple of random outbursts during Zoom calls for me that I could’ve done without.

Arizona Biltmore guest room desk work area

You’ll also find a phone and a small stationary notepad with a pen.

Arizona Biltmore guest room desk work area

In the closet, you’ll find a hotel safe and two robes along with additional bedding.

Arizona Biltmore guest room closet with safe
Arizona Biltmore guest room bath robes

You’ll also have an iron and iron board.

Arizona Biltmore guest room ironing board

The bathroom is somewhat basic but pretty spacious and modern enough.

Arizona Biltmore guest room bathroom

I really liked having the double sinks and plenty of counter space.

Arizona Biltmore guest room bathroom

The shower, which reflected an obvious influence from the hotel’s cubism theme, was very spacious and came with quality body wash and conditioner from Salvatore Ferragamo. Meanwhile, the shampoo came from Gilchrist & Soames.

Arizona Biltmore guest room shower
Arizona Biltmore guest room toiletries

On the bathroom counter, you could find both body moisturizer and hand sanitizer. Q-tips and cotton balls along with a shower cap can be found in the small canister.

Arizona Biltmore guest room toiletries
Arizona Biltmore guest room toiletries
Arizona Biltmore guest room soap

The outdoor patio is semi-private with two chairs, a small table, and the main feature of the fire pit.

I think I would have enjoyed turning on the fire pit on one of those cool desert evenings but with the heat radiating from all of the concrete throughout the night, there was little to no appeal of firing up that fire pit.

Arizona Biltmore guest room balcony with fire pit

The views from the ground level are pretty limited.

Arizona Biltmore guest room balcony with view of courtyard
Arizona Biltmore guest room view of courtyard

Here’s what the patio looked like looking back towards the room. You’ll notice that one of the seats was missing an ottoman and I wasn’t sure if that was intentional or not.

Arizona Biltmore guest room balcony with fire pit

So overall the room was nice but did not really stand out in any major way. I was hoping that with a combination of being Hilton Diamond and booking through FHR, I could’ve secured a better upgrade but oh well….

With that said, the other elements of the hotel stay stood out enough to still make this a special stay so I don’t think coming here is all about the room — it’s more about the overall property experience.


I’d recommend you check out my detailed review of all of the dining options (with recommendations) but I’ll give you a brief overview of our dining experience below.

I was a huge fan of the breakfast at McArthur’s and especially the lemon cream cheese pancakes. They also served up a tasty chicken sandwich that had a nice kick and fish tacos that were bursting with flavor.

Breakfast at Arizona Biltmore McArthurs restaurant and bar

At Renata’s, the Chilean sea bass and New York steak were very good. Pretty much cooked to perfection. Just make sure you make reservations to these restaurants if visiting during busy times.

Housemade Salsa Flight at Arizona Biltmore Renatas Hearth
Roasted Chilean Seabass at Arizona Biltmore Renatas Hearth
Prime New York Strip at Arizona Biltmore Renatas Hearth

If you’re in the mood for drink presentation that has a bit of flair consider ordering the Los Muertos.

Los Muertos cocktail at Arizona Biltmore Renatas Hearth
Click to be amazed.

For the bar experience you’ll be hitting up either The Wright Bar or The Spire Bar.

The Wright Bar is a small yet beautiful bar that will take you back to Hollywood’s golden age.

You might want to give the Tequila Sunrise a shot since it was invented at that bar in the late 1930s by bartender Gene Sulit and is considered the hotel’s signature cocktail.

Arizona Biltmore The Wright Bar

If seating is cramped by the bar just find a nice place to relax in the lounge area adjacent to the bar.

Drinks and menu at Arizona Biltmore The Wright Bar
The original Tequila Sunrise.

The Spire Bar is a cool outdoor area with mood lighting, cozy fire pits, and large TVs, perfect for watching a game. It sort of feels like the nucleus of the resort and is definitely worth a night visit even if you don’t drink alcohol.

Arizona Biltmore Spire Bar at night
Arizona Biltmore Spire Bar mood lighting
Margarita pizza at Arizona Biltmore Spire Bar

You also have the option of booking a room with access to the Citrus Club or simply upgrading to get access.

Because we were on a two night stay I knew we would not have enough time to take advantage of that club while also eating at all the various restaurants so we did not bother with it.

It does look like an interesting way to enhance your stay though.


The Arizona Biltmore is home to a total of six pools which include:

  • The Paradise Pool (with The Twist slide)
  • Saguaro Pool (Adult’s only)
  • Catalina Pool
  • Ocatilla Pool
  • Bougainvillea Pool
  • Terrace Court Pool

I’d recommend checking out my detailed review of the pools but I’ll give you a brief overview below.

The Paradise Pool is what I would consider to be the main pool of the resort. It’s the biggest and most family friendly pool and it’s home to air conditioned cabanas for rent, a swim-up bar, restaurant, and The Twist slide which is a lot of fun.

The Twist slide is basically a tower with three different slides.

Arizona Biltmore Paradise Pool with The Twist slide

Two of the slides are meant to be racing corkscrew slides where two people can perfectly time their entry into the slide for a twisting race to the bottom.

Arizona Biltmore The Twist slide

The third slide is the 65 foot drop slide which was a bit more intense than I imagined it would be but a fun little thrill to enjoy. If you and your family like water parks and slides you’ll really like this pool.

Arizona Biltmore drop slide

Then there is the adults only Saguaro Pool which has more of a luxury vibe.

Like the Paradise Pool, it is open 24 hours and it’s a place where you can buy food and drinks when lounging around the pool. Cabanas are also available for rent.

Arizona Biltmore Saguaro pool

The hotel also has four additional pools which all are located among the different villas. These pools are on the smaller side and can offer a quieter experience if you are dealing with crowds.

Out of all of the secondary pools for you to check out, I’d recommend the Catalina Pool. It’s where Marilyn Monroe was often seen sunbathing and is supposedly where Irving Berlin wrote the famous “White Christmas” song.

Pretty cool to have so much history attached to one of the smaller, less visited pools.

Arizona Biltmore Catalina pool

The resort premises

Some resorts are just made for wandering around and exploring and this is definitely one of them.

As you stroll through the property you’ll come across well-kept gardens like those found in the garden wing.

You’ll no doubt notice the Frank Lloyd Wright “Sprite” figurines which were made in 1914 and originally placed in the Midway Gardens in Chicago.

After World War II, the statues were all but abandoned and eventually they were restored and were introduced to the Arizona Biltmore Hotel gardens in 1985. Some of the originals were given to the property but I think others are reproductions.

Arizona Biltmore Garden
Arizona Biltmore cactus garden
Arizona Biltmore grounds with chairs

You can also find beautiful courtyards located among the villas along with stylish cottages, and as mentioned above, secluded pool areas.

Arizona Biltmore cottage court
Arizona Biltmore cottage

I really liked exploring the almost Hogwarts-esque corridors of the conference center (where you can find a FedEx station). Some of the ballrooms look really good too.

Arizona Biltmore conference center
Arizona Biltmore ballroom
Arizona Biltmore conference center lobby

At many places in the resort you’ll notice the “Biltmore blocks” which are the blocks with the interesting geometric patterns that resemble Optimus Prime’s face. These were made on-site from sand found in the desert which makes them all the more intriguing.

Arizona Biltmore entryway water feature

Be sure to pop a quick visit to the Aztec Room which was the original ballroom of the Biltmore. Its 18-karat gold-leaf ceiling and 1929 copper beams were the product of Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Gold Room, home to the second largest gold gilded ceiling in the world, is also a sight to see.

(Obviously, you want to make sure these rooms are not being occupied when you pop in for a view.)

Arizona Biltmore Aztec room

And take a moment to admire Wright’s stained glass window entitled “Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers” that was designed for a magazine cover for Liberty Magazine in 1926. The piece was later fabricated by Taliesin students and then added to the hotel in 1973.

Arizona Biltmore stained glass window

If you’re in the mood for tracking down some interesting history consider looking for the History Room on the third floor.

It’s in this room above the fireplace where you can find a key that was dropped on the hotel’s roof at the time of opening on February 23, 1929.

Arizona Biltmore key
Photo via Wiki.

If that’s not enough for you, check out the Mystery room.

Located on the second floor it was in this room where, during the days of Prohibition, a speakeasy could be found behind a revolving bookcase. Only the guests that knew the secret password were allowed in.

They even placed a spotlight on top of the hotel to alert the guests if police were coming in. If that happened, the guest could utilize secret passageways to get out of the room undiscovered.

It’s said that actors Clark Gable and Carole Lombard would stay in room 1201 (the Clark Gable room) which was right next door to the Mystery Room and connected by a secret passageway.

Arizona Biltmore Mystery room

The entire resort premises is a pretty large campus and if you are trying to make sense of the different wings and villas you can break them down to the following.

The different wings where you will find guestrooms include:

  • The main building
  • Garden wing
  • Paradise wing
  • Valley wing
  • Ocatilla wing
  • Terrace Court

The different villas include:

  • Fountain Court villas
  • Catalina villas
  • Saguaro villas
  • Bougainvillea Villas
  • Golf view villas

And finally, there are the cottages located on the northwest side of the property. There are in total 11 cottages and they are named by letters A through L.

Fitness facilities

The hotel has a fantastic fitness center with lots of equipment and room.

Arizona Biltmore fitness center weight machines

There’s a very wide range of dumbbells and a few benches for you to get different workouts done. They also have a good rack of curling bars with both straight and curved bars.

Arizona Biltmore fitness center free weights

They have an entire row of treadmills and also a stairmaster, climber, recumbent bikes, and ellipticals. You’ll also find a lot of the basic machines you would find at your local gym.

Arizona Biltmore fitness center treadmills
Arizona Biltmore fitness center

I was pretty impressed with their large station that was equipped with punching bag, monkey bars, and other types of workout stations.

Arizona Biltmore fitness center equipment

They also had a few Peloton bikes and various other forms of equipment.

Arizona Biltmore fitness center Peloton bike

If you are into tennis or pickleball they have courts located on the east side of the property.

Arizona Biltmore tennis or pickleball court
Arizona Biltmore tennis or pickleball court

Tierra Luna Spa

The Tierra Luna Spa experience is “inspired by the connection between the desert and the cosmos.” At the spa you can find an outdoor hot tub, plunge pool, steam room, and both outdoor and indoor treatments.

This is also where you can find the new outdoor Sol Garden where “the earth and sun connect” allowing you to experience tranquility and transcendence.

You can check out the spa menu here but be prepared to cough up some cash for these treatments.

Arizona Biltmore Tierra Luna Spa


There is a gift shop located on the west side of the Spire Bar area.

They have all sorts of different types of items and souvenirs including many that are themed with the hotel, such as Sprite statues, Biltmore block keychains, and even chessboards.

Arizona Biltmore gift shop
Arizona Biltmore gift shop

At the gift shop you can also pick up snacks if you happen to have a craving for anything.

Arizona Biltmore gift shop

On the other side is the Biltmore Shops. Here you can buy some higher-end, designer clothing and any apparel you would need on a warm day by the pool.

Arizona Biltmore shops

Final word

The Arizona Biltmore Waldorf Astoria is an impressive resort.

Even though I was not blown away by my room or my upgrade, I thought that the property had a lot to offer in terms of the history, dining, pools, and overall mystique of the hotel.

It can cater to both romantic getaways and also family resort trips making it a good fit for travelers of all walks of life. Visiting here during peak summer temperatures did have its challenges but it’s still doable.

If you can utilize benefits from your American Express cards, you can really make out like a bandit with value.

Review: El Tovar Hotel, Amazing Grand Canyon Lodge!

The El Tovar Hotel has been on my radar for quite a long time.

Situated on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, this is the place to stay for national park lovers and those who want easy access to the wonders of the Grand Canyon.

I finally got to experience what it was like staying at this historic hotel and below, I’ll tell you all about it.

Hotel Overview

There are a handful of hotels/lodges that you can find located right on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

These include:

  • Bright Angel Lodge
  • Maswik Lodge (1/4 mile from rim)
  • Thunderbird Lodge
  • Kachina Lodge
  • El Tovar Hotel

Each of these can offer a different type of room ranging from cozy historic units with a shared bath to standard lodge rooms with a private bath and satellite TV.

The “crown jewel” of these hotels is the El Tovar Hotel.

That’s mostly because of the ability to book special suites with great views and its history dating back to its 1905 opening.

The El Tovar was part of the initial wave of “destination resorts” that were built in newly-accessible areas like Yellowstone and Glacier National Park.

These were made possible by the railroads like the Santa Fe Railway, which played a major role in the creation of the hotel.

A former Harvey House hotel, El Tovar also has the most interesting and unique architecture out of any of the properties with a fusion of rustic Western-Swiss themes and southwestern Indian accents.

There’s a reason it was featured in National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) and why it was visited by presidents like Theodore Roosevelt.

It’s just a special place.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon


The El Tovar Hotel is home to 78 rooms and has a lot of different room types including quite a few types of suites.

We booked a queen room for $400 per night including all taxes and fees (when we booked, we were required to make a 50% deposit).

I really wanted a suite but we did not find availability when we were searching for rooms several months out.

While it would be pricey at about $900 per night, I’d love to stay in the El Tovar Suite, which has a massive private balcony with rim to rim views from the third floor.

You can see some of the balconies in the image above. I’m pretty sure the views from these would be pretty solid. But it’s ridiculously hard to find open dates for that suite.

Grand Canyon Sunset rainbow

Location: South Rim of the Grand Canyon

The El Tovar Hotel is located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, which you don’t want to confuse with the North Rim that is located approximately four hours away (where you can find the Grand Canyon Lodge).

If you want to get even more specific, the El Tovar Hotel is found just feet away from the South Rim in Grand Canyon Village.

If you’re trying to soak up every bit of the Grand Canyon that you can, it really is hard to beat the location of the El Tovar Hotel.

It’s right next-door to the Hopi House, Verkamp’s Visitor Center, and also very close to the Grand Canyon Rail where you can board vintage rail cars in true western style.

Find interesting gifts and architecture at the historic Hopi House.

If you want to venture down into the canyon, it’s a super convenient place to stay for an early start on the Bright Angel Trailhead.

If you’re feeling really adventurous you can go for an epic hiking adventure down to the river and back but most people should probably settle for going down no farther than Indian Garden or even the 3 mile house.

The bottom of the Grand Canyon.

And of course, it’s located right on the Rim Trail which you can take in either direction (east or west) for sweeping views of the canyon.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon

This location means that as soon as you step out of the hotel you are only steps away from admiring the magnificent views of the canyon.

While the Grand Canyon is pretty amazing in the daytime, it truly is something special at sunrise and sunset.

It’s not always easy to linger around here during twilight hours, so being able to basically roll out of bed to admire these views is priceless.

Grand Canyon golden hour

Plus, you never know what kind of wildlife might come roaming up to the property for some early morning grazing.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon elk


We arrived a little bit prior to the official check in time but were able to get a room at about 1:30pm. If you’re not able to get early check in, you could just relax on the patio or go for a stroll along the rim. Getting a bite to eat is always an option, too.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon patio

When you arrive, you’ll make your way through a dim lobby lounge and the front desk area will be on your left.

Since we were visiting in October, the lobby was accented with fall leaves and I’m pretty sure they get into Christmas as well. They’re pretty festive around here.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon lobby
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon lobby

There are two things you need to know about check in.

The first is that there is no guaranteed parking for your vehicle.

We were visiting on a busy fall day and struggled to find parking anywhere in the vicinity of the property.

Eventually, we found a spot but it was at the Bright Angel Trailhead.

For that reason, you might want to arrive before the afternoon rush and try to avoid moving your vehicle once you find a spot.

Luckily, the shuttle busses can get you just about anywhere you would want to go so you don’t have to drive to get to some of the various look out points, trails, etc.

The second thing to be aware of is that there are no elevators!

The hotel will offer you bellman to assist with your luggage so it should not be a problem for some people. But if stairs are a problem, book a room on the first level.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon lobby

The queen room

Our room was on the smaller side but honestly I thought it was a pretty solid hotel room considering this is essentially a basic room at a historic lodge in a national park.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom

It appeared that the “queen” bed was a bit on the small side, though.

We measured it out and it came out to a few inches under the standard dimensions for a queen bed of 60 inches.

That was a bummer because it made it difficult for us two to get comfortable. So unless you think you’ll be fine with a smaller queen, I would definitely try to book a king or two queens.

Nevertheless, the bed was comfy in a very fluffy type of way.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom

The room came with your standard hotel features including: a phone, alarm clock, glasses, ice bucket.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom

It also had a TV with standard satellite TV programming.

By the TV, you can find a room service menu, which offered pizza delivery from 4 PM to 8 PM. The pizza comes from the Maswik Food Court, which is located at the Maswik Lodge about a quarter mile from the rim.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom

There was a table with two sitting chairs where you could find the coffee maker.

Outlets were not plentiful near the bed so we had to move this table closer to us so that we could plug electronics into the lamp’s outlets. (You can use the alarm clock on the other side of the bed which has some outlets.)

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom

There’s a closet with an iron, iron board, safe, and room for your luggage.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom

One thing I was worried about was the Wi-Fi as I had seen reports of it being pretty spotty.

However, I was able to get work done without any problems at all.

If you want to do a bunch of downloading or streaming that might be a different story but I was still able to watch YouTube videos for example.

We also had solid cell phone service which made up for any potential shortcomings of the Wi-Fi.

So this was a very different experience from my recent lodge experience in Glacier Bay National Park where we were without Wi-Fi and cell phone service in our room.

As for the view, we did not have a view of the Grand Canyon but instead we looked out over the parking lot. There’s also a ladder that ran directly outside the window to the roof which was an interesting site.

Sidenote: there is a back entrance to the hotel in this parking lot which can make it a little bit easier to navigate when coming from the parking lot in the back.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bedroom

The bathroom surprised me in a very good way with its classic look.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bathroom
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bathroom
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon bathroom


We tried out the different dining spots located both in the hotel and in the nearby lodges. Overall, I would say that you can definitely get some quality meals although not every place was a hit.

The first restaurant we tried was the Fred Harvey Burger, which is located at the Bright Angel Lodge. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon Fred Harvey Burger

I ordered the Fred Harvey Burger, which came with fries and a potato bun.

It was a nice meal to have after being on the road for six hours but I wouldn’t rank this as one of the best burgers out there.

Keep in mind that there could be a long waiting time so I would head to make a reservation a couple of hours prior to your desired meeting time.

In our case, the waiting time was about one hour.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon Fred Harvey Burger

Next, we tried out the Arizona Steakhouse, which was in a beautiful venue that offered partial views of the rim wall. It’s also located at the Bright Angel Lodge.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon Arizona steakhouse

It’s still a little confusing to me because they don’t have steaks listed on the menu but instead offered one as a special. Just a little odd for a steakhouse if you ask me.

The menu also features beer and wine selections produced from local artisan brewers and vintners.

Reservations are recommended here and we made them for the earliest time available which was when they opened for lunch. However, it looked like people without reservations were able to get in without an issue.

I went with something light which was a turkey wrap ($16.50) that I thought was a perfect quick option for lunch.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon Arizona steakhouse

Brad tried the New York strip steak ($38), which he enjoyed but it was wayyy over cooked for a rare steak.

Then, there was the El Tovar Dining Room, which offers fine dining.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon Dining Room

This is the premier dining venue at the South Rim, where they also serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

It’s also the most formal of all of the dining places.

While it sounds like you need to dress up for dinner from the restaurant’s description, casual dress was accepted just fine during our visit.

We enjoyed a really nice dinner during our stay. I went with a special short ribs dish (~$41) while Brad went with the lamb shank ($~37).

The portions were more than plentiful, food very flavorful, and the service was top notch making this a pretty memorable experience. I would recommend not passing it up.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon Dining Room

To make your experience even better you should do two things.

First, definitely make reservations as far in advance as you can because all of the slots can fill up for both lunch and dinner.

Also, when you make a reservation you can request one of the tables with a view of the canyon if that’s the type of thing you’re into.

Here’s a look at the view:

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon Dining Room view

Personally, I would avoid booking a reservation during sunset so that you can take in the views from outside.

Grand Canyon South rim sunset


Inside the lobby, you’ll find a gift shop and a smaller news stand where you can pick up snacks and drinks.

There is definitely no shortage of gift shops anywhere in the Grand Canyon but it is nice having one in the lobby so close to your lodging.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon gift shop
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon gift shop
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon gift shop

Here’s a look at the news stand.

El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon newststand

Final word

The year prior to this visit we hiked from the rim to the river and back up to the rim in one day which was definitely a memorable and challenging hiking experience.

We were hoping to do something similar during this day but unfortunately life happened and made that an unrealistic option for us.

Despite the disappointment that came from that, I really loved this stay.

Hanging out at the rim during sunset is a really cool vibe and there’s something to be said about just looking off into the vast openness of the canyon that’s hard to explain.

Now that we live in Arizona, we try to make an annual visit to the canyon and I think this is a perfect place to stay for such an occasion.

USS Arizona Memorial at Bolin Memorial Park Guide

The state of Arizona has a special relationship to the USS Arizona and so it is no surprise that throughout the state you can find different memorials dedicated to the fallen Marines and sailors of the ship.

One of the most interesting memorials is the one found near the the Arizona Capitol at Bolin Memorial Park.

Below, I’ll walk you through the different sites you’ll see when visiting the USS Arizona Memorial at Bolin Memorial Park.

What is the USS Arizona Memorial at Bolin Memorial Park?

The USS Arizona Memorial at Bolin Memorial Park is a special part of the Memorial Plaza that pays tribute to those who lost their life while serving on the USS Arizona and also to all of the heroes of World War II.

At this memorial, you’ll find the USS Arizona anchor, signal mast, and gun barrels from both of the USS Arizona and USS Missouri.

This USS Arizona memorial is one of several memorials found in Phoenix.

Another USS Arizona memorial in Phoenix is called the USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River (read all about it here).

It’s a beautiful memorial to visit at night when you can stroll through rows of glowing columns that form an actual size perimeter of the ship.

The memorial also houses a relic from the ship, known as the “boathouse relic,” which was originally used for the memorial at the site of the sunken ship in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Eventually, the memorial was found unstable and they replaced it with the current memorial that stands today.

USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River

There’s another USS Arizona memorial on the campus of University of Arizona in Tucson.

It’s home to one of the bells from the USS Arizona and it’s currently hanging in a clock tower. (Each month, the bell would be rung symbolically but they recently stopped doing this in order to preserve the bell.)

USS Arizona memorial bell on the campus of University of Arizona in Tucson.

They also have a room full of artifacts like the original bottles that were used to christen the ship and a lot of other interesting items and photographs that tell the story of the people who served on board the Arizona.

USS Arizona football sweater University of Arizona in Tucson.

In the middle of the University of Arizona Mall, there’s a brick outline of the ship (made to scale).

USS Arizona memorial on the campus of University of Arizona in Tucson.

How to visit the USS Arizona Memorial at Bolin Memorial Park

USS Arizona Memorial at Bolin Memorial Park is located at: 1616 W Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85007. This is right next-door to the Arizona State Capitol.

There is free two hour parking located right next to the memorial on either side of the park (2-98 S 16th Ave Parking and 1-99 N 16th Ave Parking) so it is very convenient to drive yourself to the memorial to pay a visit.

Note: The arrows in the parking lot are a little bit confusing because they are basically backwards compared to the normal driving directions but just be careful getting in and out and you’ll be fine.

USS Arizona signal mast plaque Bolin Memorial Park

Sites at the USS Arizona Memorial at Bolin Memorial Park

The USS Arizona signal mast

The middle of the plaza is home to the upper 26 foot of the signal mast from the USS Arizona, which was dedicated and donated to the state of Arizona on December 7, 1990.

According to AZlibrary, the mast is located 1,177 feet away from the dome of the Capitol building which is symbolic for the 1,177 sailors and marines who perished on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor. An American flag proudly waves on top of the mast today.

USS Arizona signal mast Bolin Memorial Park

The gun barrels

Dedicated in 2013, this memorial is known as the “Guns to Salute the Fallen” and it honors the service members of Pearl Harbor and all World War II veterans. 

There’s a 14 inch gun barrel that belonged to the USS Arizona and a 16 inch gun barrel that belonged to the USS Missouri. These two gun barrels are located 405 inches apart and each inch represents 1,000 American lives lost in World War II.

Bolin Memorial Park gun barrels USS Arizona USS Missouri

The USS Arizona 14 inch gun barrel, which is 55 feet (17 m) long and weighs 70 tons, was not taken from the wreckage. Instead, it was one of the gun barrels on rotation and so that is why it is in such good condition.

It was previously on the Arizona but at the time of the attack it was located at the Dahlgren Naval Support Facility in northern Virginia.

However, the gun barrel did return to service when it was placed on the USS Nevada (BB-36) during World War II. It would be used to bombard the shores of Iwo Jima and Okinawa before making its way to Tokyo Bay.

Bolin Memorial Park gun barrel USS Arizona

If you’re not familiar, the USS Missouri was the last battleship commissioned by the United States and it’s well known for its “surrender deck” which was the site where the Empire of Japan surrendered, officially ending World War II.

Bolin Memorial Park gun barrel USS Missouri

Having both of these gun barrels on display near each other is perfect in many ways.

First, it was the bombing at Pearl Harbor of ships like the USS Arizona that launched the US into World War II and it was on the USS Missouri that the Empire of Japan finally surrendered in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

Second, the USS Missouri is located in Pearl Harbor and its guns overlook the remains of the USS Arizona, symbolically protecting over the ship. Just like in Hawaii, these gun barrels remain side-by-side.

USS Missouri looking over USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor

Blue steel pillars 

In-between the gun barrels you’ll notice nine blue steel pillars that bow out similar to the shape of a ship’s hull. These are meant to signify the nine minutes that it took the USS Arizona to sink after getting hit by bombs.

Bolin Memorial Park World War II memorial

On these you’ll find hanging stainless steel nameplates for each of the 1,902 Arizonans who were killed in WWII. On a sunny day when the wind is blowing, they appear similar to waves in the ocean.

Bolin Memorial Park World War II names

The USS Arizona anchor

You also can find one of the anchors for the USS Arizona on display. This 16,000-pound (7,300 kg) anchor is painted blue and it sits at the end of plaza, near a water fountain structure with a massive chain draped over it. It’s the oldest of the USS Arizona memorials at the plaza — dedicated on December 7, 1976.

Bolin Memorial Park USS Arizona anchor

Surrounding the base of the anchor, you’ll find all of the names of those who lost their life on the USS Arizona.

Bolin Memorial Park USS Arizona anchor

The anchor is located just behind a fountain that I imagine would look pretty beautiful when running but we caught it when it was completely dry.

Bolin Memorial Park USS Arizona anchor

Something interesting is that from the center flag pole (east of the anchor) to the first marker for BB-39 it is 608 feet and that represents the length of the USS Arizona from bow to stern.

And from the center flag pole to the second marker for BB-63, it is 887 feet and 3 inches representing the length of the USS Missouri from bow to stern.

Bolin Memorial Park USS Arizona anchor fountain

Another anchor is currently on display at Pearl Harbor and you can see it whenever you visit the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii. I believe there was also a third anchor but I’m not sure about its current whereabouts or if it even was salvaged.

Related: Pearl Harbor Ultimate Guide (Itinerary & Ticket Prices)

USS Arizona anchor at Pearl Harbor

Other memorials

Bolin Memorial Park has several other memorials on site for you to explore and pay tribute to and these include:

  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
  • Arizona Pioneer Women Memorial
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Purple Heart Memorial
  • Ernest McFarland Memorial Arch
  • American Merchant Seaman Memorial
  • The 10 Commandments Memorial
  • Civilian Conservation Corps Memorial
  • Armenian Martyrs Memorial
  • Navajo Code Talkers Memorial
  • K9 Police Service Dog Memorial Park

We got to check out a few of these but we also made the mistake of visiting in the middle of the day on a summer day where temperatures were hitting about 113°F.

With no shade, it got uncomfortable pretty quick out there and so I would love to come back when temperatures are better so that I can check out all of the memorials without thinking about how sunburned my neck is getting.

Ernest McFarland Memorial Arch

The Arizona Capitol Museum

If you have the time you should definitely go check out the USS Arizona exhibit at the Arizona Capitol Museum.

They have an exhibit displaying artifacts from the USS Arizona including a US flag that was on the ship when it’s sank, a large 500-pound piece from the ship’s superstructure, and 59 pieces of the ship’s silver service donated to the Navy in 1919.

Final word

The USS Arizona Memorial at Bolin Memorial Park is a well done memorial and worth the visit.

Try to time your visit when temperatures are cool so that you can comfortably visit all the different sites, as you’ll probably end up spending much more time there than you originally anticipated.

Arizona Biltmore Dining Options (Recommendations & Prices) (Waldorf Astoria)

The Arizona Biltmore Waldorf Astoria is one of the premier resorts in Phoenix. It boasts a lot of history, fun pool areas, and quality dining options for you to choose from.

In this article, I’ll walk you through all of the different dining options at the Arizona Biltmore. I’ll give you some insight into the menu and prices and also provide you with some suggestions that we really enjoyed.

Arizona Biltmore Dining overview

You’ll find many dining options at the Arizona Biltmore including:

  • McArthur’s
  • Renata’s Hearth
  • The Wright Bar
  • The Spire Bar
  • Saguaro Pool
  • Paradise Pool
  • The Cafe
  • In-room Dining

Below, I’ll talk about what each of these has to offer.

Related: Full Arizona Biltmore Waldorf Astoria Resort Review

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!


This restaurant once went by the name of Frank and Albert’s but is now called McArthur’s (named in honor of Albert Chase McArthur, the hotel’s architect).

Arizona Biltmore McArthurs restaurant and bar.

It’s a restaurant with a cool vibe and is home to a bar along with a pool table, shuffleboard, and foosball table. Large flatscreen TVs also aren’t hard to find.

Arizona Biltmore McArthurs restaurant and bar inside pool table.
Arizona Biltmore McArthurs restaurant and bar.

They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and during our stay we tried them for both breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast did not disappoint at all.

I would highly, highly recommend you to try out their lemon cream pancakes with blueberry compote. The lemon flavor is subtle and paired nicely with the compote. Warm maple syrup is provided but use it sparingly (or not at all).

Related: Tips for Planning Your Dining When Traveling

Lemon cream cheese pancakes at Arizona Biltmore McArthurs restaurant and bar.

It’s an amazing breakfast dish and if you want something savory consider going with a classic like eggs Benedict which also lived up to expectations. It came with a choice of a hash brown slab or seasonal fruit.

Tip: If ordering for two, ask them to split up the pancakes and savory dish so that you can each have your own plate of each dish.

Breakfast at Arizona Biltmore McArthurs restaurant and bar

On another morning we tried the breakfast sandwich and the Belgian waffle, which came loaded with freshly cut strawberries, whipped cream, and a drizzling of Nutella.

I felt Day 2 breakfast options were pretty good but not quite as good as what we chose the first day.

Belgian waffle at Arizona Biltmore McArthurs restaurant and bar.
Eggs Benedict at Arizona Biltmore McArthurs restaurant and bar.

Brad also decided to give the loopy milk a try which was essentially a twist on a white Russian but in a gnarly saguaro glass dressed in nothing other than Fruity Pebbles. It hits light with only a hint of vodka balanced out with a bit of creaminess and Fruity Pebble sweetness.

They also offered other cocktails with breakfast including mimosas and bloody Marys.

Loopy Cereal Milk at Arizona Biltmore McArthurs restaurant and bar.

If you’re curious about prices here is a look at some of the prices:

  • Greek Yogurt & Berries – $17
  • Bakery Basket – $18
  • Belgian Waffle – $18
  • Lemon Cream Cheese Pancakes – $19
  • Classic Breakfast – $18
  • Biltmore Benedict – $23
  • Breakfast Sandwich – $19
  • Smoked Salmon & Bagel – $26
  • Huevos Rancheros – $24
  • Loopy Cereal Milk – $18

You can find the full menu here.

For lunch, we went with the Nashville style chicken sandwich and the fish tacos. Both of these meals were very enjoyable.

The juicy chicken sandwich was fresh with a nice spicy kick and came with crispy, well-seasoned fries. Think of it as a gourmet Popeyes chicken sandwich. Very mouthwatering.

Nashville Style Chicken Sandwich at Arizona Biltmore McArthurs restaurant and bar.
Nashville Style Chicken Sandwich at Arizona Biltmore McArthurs restaurant and bar.

The fish tacos were bursting with flavor and fresh cilantro goodness. They are on the smaller and lighter side so if you have a larger appetite you might want to supplement these with an appetizer or go with something heavier.

Ensenada Fish Tacos at Arizona Biltmore McArthurs restaurant and bar.

After the smashing success of our lunch entrées we decided it would be worth giving desert a try. We definitely made the right decision because the chocolate cookie skillet with ice cream was a major hit. The cookie was perfect: warm with a crisp outside and chewy center. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Chocolate Cookie Skillet at Arizona Biltmore McArthurs restaurant and bar.

If you’re curious about prices here is a look at some of the prices:


  • Spinach Cream Dip – $18
  • Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail – $24
  • Parmesan Fries – $20

Hot Sandwiches

  • Grilled Cheese – $19
  • Impossible Burger – $25
  • The Big BLT – $21
  • Nashville Style Chicken Sandwich – $24


  • Lobster Mac & Cheese – $38
  • Steak Frites – $58
  • Ensenada Fish Tacos – $25

You can find the full menu here.

Renata’s Hearth

Renata’s Hearth is an upscale and Old World Latin eatery with a smoky focus.

The first thing you need to know about eating at Renata’s Hearth is that you might want to make reservations.

We showed up around 6:45 PM on a Tuesday evening in non-peak times (during the summer) expecting that we would be able to just walk in and get a table. But there was a small wait.

Arizona Biltmore Renatas Hearth.

They do take your number and will text you when your table is ready. It was kind of perfect because it gave us some time to check out other areas of the resort without the fear of missing our name being called.

I could imagine that things pick up a lot during peak season so I would consider making a reservation for dinner. Reservations can also be made for McArthurs.

Arizona Biltmore Renatas Hearth.
Arizona Biltmore Renatas Hearth.
Arizona Biltmore Renatas Hearth.

After making our way past the guacamole and Spanish charcuterie cart, the craft cocktail cart, and the beautiful hanging lanterns, we were seated at a table tucked away at the end of the restaurant.

We started off with the flight of salsa that offered totopos, chicharrones, smoked cashew salsa, salsa verde, Renata’s pico, salsa roja, and San Marzano salsa.

It was the perfect starter at a restaurant like this and I loved the smoky undertones in some of the flavors. The chicharrones also stood out, light and crunchy with a little bit of tang.

Housemade Salsa Flight at Arizona Biltmore Renatas Hearth

We definitely wanted to try out the Los Muertos cocktail which is a margarita served with serrano-infused reposado tequila, activated charcoal, agave, lime juice, black lava salt, and smoke. It came with a lot of smokiness and a heck of a presentation, too.

Los Muertos cocktail at Arizona Biltmore Renatas Hearth
Los Muertos cocktail at Arizona Biltmore Renatas Hearth.
Los Muertos cocktail at Arizona Biltmore Renatas Hearth.

For our main dishes, we ordered the Chilean Seabass and the Prime New York Strip

The Seabass was fluffy and buttery and did not disappoint. The fish had a near perfect balance of crispiness on top with tenderness on the inside. It was easily one of the best entrées I’ve had at a hotel restaurant in quite a while.

Roasted Chilean Seabass at Arizona Biltmore Renatas Hearth

Meanwhile the pre-cut New York strip was paired with salsa verde and perfectly cooked. The steak, finished off with a light sprinkling of flaky salt, just melted in the mouth.

Overall, the dinner items were extremely pleasing and we felt great about our dinner selections.

Prime New York Strip at Arizona Biltmore Renatas Hearth

If you’re curious about prices here is a look at some of the prices:


  • Guacamole – $16
  • Spanish Cured Meats & Cheeses – $32
  • Homemade Salsa Flight – $19


  • Steelhead Trout – $34
  • Chile Relleno – $26
  • Roasted Chilean Seabass – $44
  • Prime New York Strip – $58

For The Table

  • Mesquite-Smoked Whole Jidori Chicken – $55
  • Tomahawk – $120
  • Crispy Slow Cooked Pork Belly Roast – $46

You can find the full menu here.

Later on, we decided to order dessert from the restaurant and pick it up instead of ordering from room service. We went with the churros and the chocolate cake.

The churros were warm and tasty, especially with the cream sauce that came along side.

Churros from Arizona Biltmore Renatas Hearth.

On the other hand, the chocolate cake was pretty underwhelming. It’s one of those “chocolate cakes” that have only the faintest hint of chocolate in them. Not really the best selection for chocolate lovers.

Chocolate cake from Arizona Biltmore Renatas Hearth.

The Wright Bar

The Wright Bar is one of the iconic features of the hotel and just a beautiful bar.

The bar itself is a bit small and so it likely gets very crowded during peak times. But there is lounge seating in the adjacent area in the lobby and also outside so you can probably easily find a place to sit.

The servers in these areas were very attentive so it was not hard to put an order in.

Arizona Biltmore The Wright Bar

Here’s a look at the extended seating area which is where we decided to hang out for a while.

Arizona Biltmore The Wright Bar.
Arizona Biltmore The Wright Bar menu.

Since this bar is known for inventing the Tequila Sunrise ordering one from here was a must. These are old school Tequila Sunrises, though. They hit harder and are more straight to the point than more modern iterations.

Drinks and menu at Arizona Biltmore The Wright Bar

You can find the full menu here.

Spire Bar

The other main attraction when it comes to drinking and eating venues here is the Spire Bar, located in the center of the resort. You can almost feel yourself getting pulled towards the Spire Bar as you make your way through the hotel premises.

Arizona Biltmore Spire Bar.

The name is inspired by the 30 foot spire that stands next to the bar and pays tribute to Wright’s legacy via scallop-patterned mosaics. Look at it lit up brilliantly below.

Arizona Biltmore Spire Bar at night.

This outdoor bar has a cool vibe with lots of blue mood lighting, water features, cozy fire pits, and plenty of open lounge seating. The bartenders were also very nice and attentive as well.

Arizona Biltmore Spire Bar at night
Arizona Biltmore Spire Bar mood lighting

This would be a great place to catch a game with the large TVs hanging from the center of the bar as if you were in an arena. Good views are offered for everyone.

Arizona Biltmore Spire Bar.

Brad ordered up a Pink Eldorado cocktail and if you like grapefruit juice this is your drink.

Pink Eldorado drink at Arizona Biltmore Spire Bar.

I was feeling a little bit crazy so I ordered up a mocktail called the Tiki Take Away. If you like ginger, it’s the perfect alternative to the more ginger-intense Mule drink and strikes a good balance thanks to the addition of lime juice and cool coconut water.

Tiki Take Away drink at Arizona Biltmore Spire Bar.

We were curious as to how good the bar food would be so we decided to order a margarita pizza for dinner from the Spire Bar. It was a tasty pizza on the lighter side with a satisfying crunchy crust. Perfect for folding or rolling up your slice.

Margarita pizza at Arizona Biltmore Spire Bar

You can find the full menu here.

The Saguaro Pool

We didn’t get a chance to try out the food or drinks at the Saguaro Pool but here is the menu that you can choose from.

Related: Arizona Biltmore Pools Review (Crazy Slide!)

Arizona Biltmore Saguaro pool.

Paradise pool

The paradise pool also will offer a selection of food and drink and you can find the menu here.

Arizona Biltmore Paradise pool.

In-room dining (room service)

Although we did not try the in-room dining, below are the menus with prices.

Arizona Biltmore In-Room dining menu.
Arizona Biltmore In-Room dining menu.

Final word

It’s honestly kind of rare to have dining at a 4-star hotel meet your expectations at every corner and every meal.

But that’s exactly what happened during our stay at the Arizona Biltmore.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner all delivered on a high level and so did all of the drinks and cocktails.

So if you’re looking for a resort that will deliver a quality dining experience, I doubt you will be let down by the Arizona Biltmore.

Arizona Biltmore Pools Review (Crazy Slide!) [2022]

The Arizona Biltmore Waldorf Astoria by Hilton is a fun and historic resort located in Phoenix, Arizona.

In addition to its history, it’s known for housing several pools including one special pool that houses a large, winding waterslide fittingly known as the “The Twist.”

In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the Arizona Biltmore pools including what to expect, your food and drink options, and how you can go about renting things like cabanas.

Arizona Biltmore Pools overview

The Arizona Biltmore is home to a total of six pools which include:

  • The Paradise Pool (with The Twist slide)
  • Saguaro Pool (Adult’s only)
  • Catalina Pool
  • Ocatilla Pool
  • Bougainvillea Pool
  • Terrace Court Pool

I’ll provide more detail about each of these pools below and give you some insight into visiting them even if you are not a hotel guest.

Related: Full Arizona Biltmore Waldorf Astoria Resort Review

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

The main Arizona Biltmore pools

Although there are a total of six pools here, the main pools that people visit are the: Paradise Pool (with The Twist slide) and Saguaro Pool (Adult’s only). That’s because these are the two larger pools that are also more equipped with things like cabanas and food and drink options.

Let’s take a look up with these pools have to offer.

The Paradise Pool and The Twist slide

The main pool of the resort is the family-oriented Paradise Pool.

The pool is open 24 hours a day and features temperature controlled water, food and drink services, a splash pad, swim up bar, hot tub, and even air conditioned cabanas for rent.

There’s also a shop near the entrance where you can purchase things like hats, sunglasses, and take care of things like extra towels.

Arizona Biltmore Paradise Pool
The entrance to the Paradise Pool.
Arizona Biltmore Paradise Pool

It’s a pretty large and wide pool area lined with pool chairs and umbrellas, which will allow you to get some reprieve from the sun. (Each chair has a towel already on it so you don’t have to bring your room towel with you to the pool.)

In total there are three adjacent pools that make up the Paradise Pool, with one of those being a small splash pool.

You can see some of the private cabana suites in the middle of the image below.

The prices for renting these can differ based on the day of the week or season but for a weekend in the summer you would be paying $500 for one of the smaller cabanas that suit up to six people and $750 for one of the larger suite cabanas that suit up to 10 people. Non-hotel guests may be paying up to $1,000 for the larger suite.

The larger air-conditioned cabanas come equipped with a restroom, shower, pool attendant, and complimentary items like snacks, water bottles, and a fruit plate.

Arizona Biltmore Paradise Pool

Here’s an aerial image of the Paradise Pool pool area with a good look of the swim up bar on the bottom left.

Arizona Biltmore Paradise Pool
Arizona Biltmore Paradise Pool

If you want to order food or drinks you can also do this at the restaurant and bar that is located poolside. Food and drinks are available 11 AM to 4 PM on weekdays and 11 AM to 5 PM on weekends. You can check out the menu here.

Arizona Biltmore Paradise Pool

If you head towards the back of the pool, that’s where you’ll find the entrance to the waterslide known as “The Twist.”

I don’t think I’ve seen any hotel with a legit 6-story waterslide like this so this is definitely a unique attraction that adds a lot of value to this resort, especially for families with kids.

Tip: If you think you will be into the slide, consider booking a poolside room which lets you out only steps away from the slide.

Arizona Biltmore slide the twist

If you want to ride the slide you simply head to this back area when the slide is open which should be 10 AM to 4 PM weekdays and 10 AM to 6 PM on weekends.

You’ll need to abide by the rules of the slide which basically state that you just can’t bring any loose items up there with you.

For example, they state no watches, jewelry, and if you have eyeglasses they need to be attached with some type of head strap.

Therefore, I would keep all of your valuables in your room unless you have someone that can watch over them while you enjoy the slide.

Arizona Biltmore slide the twist

You’ll take the spiral stairs up to one of two slide decks. There are some mister fans to help cool you down on the way up but on a really hot day your feet might still get a little toasted so walk quickly.

Arizona Biltmore slide the twist

The lower slide deck is a dual competition slide where two people can compete by trying to beat the other person down since the two slides mirror each other. You’ll simply wait in line and then once you see the light go green, that means you are good to go down the 45-foot slide.

Arizona Biltmore racing slide the twist

Be sure to use the steel bar to give yourself a good boost so that you catch some speed.

This is a relatively tame slide so I think it’s a good option even for people who are a little bit weary about a high flying waterslide.

But you definitely spend some time corkscrewing so if you are prone to dizziness get ready to feel a little bit wobbly when you finish. I certainly developed a case of the spins after a few rides.

Arizona Biltmore slide the twist

The second slide, which is a 65-foot drop slide, is about two stories higher.

Once you’re up there, you actually have some pretty good views of the resort and some of the surrounding mountains, which can take your mind off the fact that you’re about to go virtually free falling down an enclosed wet tube.

This is a drop slide which is something that I had never tried until my stay at the hotel. Whenever it is your turn you will step into a pod that closes and then an anxiety-inducing countdown will begin.

Arizona Biltmore slide the twist drop

Once you hit “one,” the floor will give out beneath you and you will drop nearly vertical into the 65 foot slide. This thing is fast and a whole lot of fun — but the drop is a little bit intense. While kids certainly will have fun on this, this is also suited for adults as well.

Arizona Biltmore slide the twist

Although the slide closes at night it does look pretty cool lit up. During the winter months, when the sunsets earlier in the day you might be able to ride this with the lights on when visiting on the weekend.

Arizona Biltmore slide the twist night

Here’s a look at the walk-up up poolside rooms near the slide and the splash pool. There’s a little fountain area with water that shoots from saguaros near these rooms, making these rooms a good selection for families with small children.

Arizona Biltmore Paradise Pool

The Saguaro pool

The Saguaro Pool is the adults only pool that is meant for people 21 and up. It’s located in the middle of the resort behind the open field next to the Spire Bar. You really can’t miss it.

The pool is open 24 hours and is temperature regulated, staying around 82°.

Compared to the Paradise Pool, this pool is much smaller and narrower but has more of a luxurious feel to it. It was hardly ever busy during our stay but that almost certainly had to do with the temperatures soaring close to 115°.

Arizona Biltmore Saguaro Pool

A large 140-year-old Saguaro cactus, known as Lloyd, stands guard over the Saguaro Pool, which I assume is where the pool gets its name from.

Arizona Biltmore Saguaro Pool

I liked that they had umbrellas set up near the steps of the Saguaro Pool so that you can get a little bit of relief from the sun even when in the water. As for the pool depth, you’re looking at about 3 feet to 3 1/2 feet.

Arizona Biltmore Saguaro Pool

The cabanas, complete with TVs and chaise lounge chairs, looked pretty tempting.

They also had mister fans to help cool you down, a mini-fridge, and a private safe which could really come in handy when securing your valuables. Renting one of these also comes with the complimentary fruit plate and bottled water.

These cabanas are made to suit up to six people. Expect to pay about $500 to rent these for a weekend day. Non-hotel guests may have to pay $750.

Arizona Biltmore Saguaro Pool  cabana

You can also rent day beds for two people that you can see in the photo below on the far side of the pool.

The price to rent these is about $250 for a summer weekend day but those prices may drop to about $150 for a weekday, although I’m not sure if that price only applies to non-guests.

Arizona Biltmore Saguaro Pool

You can also find a bar and poolside dining at this pool as well.

Not many hotel pools are open 24 hours so that was a nice surprise. Considering how hot it gets in Phoenix in the summer, this also allows you to enjoy the pool without worrying about getting cooked.

I also really liked the vibe of the Saguaro Pool at night. With the mood lighting and fountains gently pouring in the water, it was very relaxing. And I dare say that with a little bit of breeze, it even got a little cool while hanging out in the pool, despite triple digit temperatures.

Arizona Biltmore Saguaro Pool  night

They have a pretty spacious hot tub tucked away in the corner of the pool area.

Arizona Biltmore Saguaro Pool  hottub

The secondary pools

The Arizona Biltmore has four smaller pool areas located throughout the property. Fewer people visit these pools so some of them can be a lot quieter and more laid-back than the two larger pools shown above.

These smaller pools are tucked away inside of select villa areas. We tried to access a couple of these to check them out but our key card did not give us access through the gate so we assumed these were private pools.

But later whenever we checked with the front desk they told us that any guest could have access to those pools so I think there was just an issue with our key card. Oh well.

The pools that you may want to check out include:

  • Catalina Pool (a personal favorite of Marilyn Monroe)
  • Ocatilla Pool
  • Bougainvillea Pool
  • Terrace Court Pool
Catalina Pool. Image via Arizona Biltmore.

Visiting the pool without being a hotel guest

If you want to visit the pools at the Arizona Biltmore you can do so even if you are not a hotel guest. You can head to ResortPass and purchase different types of day passes that will give you access to the pools. You can also use that platform to reserve things like cabanas and daybeds.

The website does a really good job of outlining everything included in your booking. For example, if you booked the Saguaro Pool Daybed, which starts at $150 you could have the option of getting:

  • Cushioned daybed for up to 2 people
  • Outdoor adults-only pool kept at 82-84 degrees
  • Towel service
  • Personal pool attendant
  • Poolside food and drink service from Saguaro Pool bar
  • Access to resort retail and dining, including The Biltmore Shops, Spire Bar, Wright Bar, Renata’s Hearth, and McArthur’s Restaurant & Bar
  • Live DJ entertainment Fridays and Saturdays through Labor Day weekend
  • Complimentary chef’s daily fruit selection plate
  • Complimentary water
  • Complimentary wifi
  • Complimentary valet parking

Based on what the hotel told me, it seems that non-guests will have to pay more for the rentals which makes sense. The price increase varies based on the product and timing but you could be paying a couple hundred dollars more than a hotel guest.

Final word

The pools at this resort are definitely a major highlight of the property.

I think when it comes to families, this resort has a lot to offer because of the many different pools and especially the mega waterslide.

The fact that these pools are open 24 hours a day is also a major plus especially if you visit during the summer when temperatures can reach 115°.

If you think you will be spending a lot of time in the pool I would highly consider a poolside room so that you can have a quick and easy access to the pool without having to store your belongings far away in your hotel room.

Phoenix USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River Guide [2022]

The state of Arizona has done a good job of building memorials to honor the legacy of the USS Arizona.

One of these is located in Scottsdale and it is the USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River. It’s a beautiful site worth checking out, especially around sunrise or during twilight.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know to prepare for your visit and make the most of it.

What is the USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River in Phoenix?

The USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River is an outdoor display that comes to life at night while paying respect to those who were on board the USS Arizona during the Pearl Harbor attacks when over 1,000 people lost their life. It’s one of several USS Arizona memorials found in the state of Arizona.

Related: USS Arizona Memorial at Phoenix Bolin Memorial Park Guide

USS Arizona Memorial Gardens night
USS Arizona Memorial Gardens.

Where is the USS Arizona Memorial Gardens?

The address for the USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River is: 7455 N Pima Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85258.

It is located right by the Great Wolf Lodge Water Park and the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

You can park at a large parking lot right next to the USS Arizona Memorial Gardens entrance (the Salt River Fields home plate lot) which offers free parking.

There is no admission fee and it is open from dawn to dusk. The website states the hours are 7 AM to 7 PM but we visited (along with several others) after 8 PM without any problems.

Visiting the Phoenix USS Arizona Memorial Gardens

I’d recommend you begin your visit by going straight to the main structure located in the middle of the garden, near the water.

As you wander through this memorial, notice some of the features like the ground pavers, raised planters, and the gathering circle, which come from the Salt River Indian Community’s influence on the project.

USS Arizona Memorial Gardens
USS Arizona Memorial Gardens

Just outside the main structure, you’ll find interpretive panels giving you an overview of the attack and salvage operations.

The salvage efforts, which would end up taking a few years to complete, included over 5,000 dives and removal of huge 14″ guns, .50 caliber machine guns, and as much ammunition that they could possibly save.

Sometimes the salvage efforts got risky. For example, during the diver retrieval efforts, the divers faced underwater explosions due to trapped oxygen and oil fumes.

Related: The Oil Leak at The USS Arizona Memorial: A Moving Yet Controversial Site

The main structure houses a USS Arizona relic in a clear, temperature controlled case.

During open hours, you can enter the structure to get a close view of the relic. But even if the structure is not open you can still see it from the outside clearly, even in the dark.

USS Arizona Memorial Gardens Boat House

The relic is known as the “boathouse relic” and it’s a pretty large structure about 12ft x 5ft x 7ft.

Back in 2018, it was given to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and its American Legion Post 114 and a garden was built around it. (The full gardens opened up in February 2020.)

This relic is a significant and historic structure because it served as the original temporary memorial at the site in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where the USS Arizona was sunk.

The planks you see inside were used for a visitor staging area but after about a decade the temporary memorial was found to be too unstable.

Eventually, the Navy committed to creating a permanent memorial and The Pacific War Memorial Commission was created in 1949.

After plans were slightly derailed due to the Korean War, the permanent memorial was designed by Honolulu architect Alfred Preis and was formally dedicated on May 30, 1962 (Memorial Day).

If you make it inside, it looks like there are some additional exhibits to check out like a detailed blueprint of the USS Arizona.

Related: USS Arizona Memorial Review (Pearl Harbor, Hawaii)

USS Arizona Memorial Gardens Boat House

Just outside of the relic room there is a beautiful row of suspended stacked blocks with each block containing the name and rank of a person aboard the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941.

Panels give a timeline of the first 85 minutes of the attack and tell stories of the survivors.

USS Arizona Memorial Gardens blocks of Names
USS Arizona Memorial Gardens blocks of Names

After you check out the main structure, you’ll want to explore the columns.

USS Arizona Memorial Gardens

There are over 1,500 columns and they outline the perimeter of the USS Arizona with the exact length and width measurements.

It’s kind of difficult to fully appreciate from the ground level but if you had an aerial view of it you would be able to clearly make out the outline of the ship. It’s actually pretty impressive.

(The idea is very similar to the profile of the USS Arizona found at the University of Arizona’s memorial in Tucson.)

During your visit, I’d recommend strolling through the walkways in the evening when they columns are all lit up. It’s a very peaceful experience and perfect opportunity to reflect on those who were lost that day.

USS Arizona Memorial Gardens lights

You can also take a seat on a bench to relax and further contemplate the sacrifices made by so many sailors and marines.

USS Arizona Memorial Gardens

Walking through the light columns brought me back to visiting the USS Oklahoma Memorial which has a similar look and feel of “manning the rails” although without the special lighting.

You’ll notice that some of the columns are shorter than the others and those shorter columns represent the survivors of the USS Arizona attack. In total, 1,177 are lit up each glowing light is meant to memorialize the individual’s internal light.

I appreciated that they paid tribute to both the fallen and the survivors since I could only imagine how traumatic living through something like that would’ve been.

On one end of the memorial you’ll see the shape of the bow (you’ll need to cross the street in order to get there).

USS Arizona Memorial Gardens lights

The other side of the memorial is partially in a reflection pool and has several bench areas where you can sit and relax and admire the beautiful site.

USS Arizona Memorial Gardens bench

It’s a very well done memorial but my one complaint is that at night the lights from the ballpark do detract from the experience a bit.

Some of the columns may not be lit and I think those have just gone out and they do not serve any symbolic importance from what I can tell.

If you would like to help support the memorial and keep the structure lit consider offering a donation of $250 to become an Illumination Partner.

Final word

The is a well done memorial and worth visiting. I would try to time my visit to around sunset to make sure that you can view the beautifully lit columns at night. You might also consider donating if you are really inspired by the mission of the memorial.

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Review

If you’re looking for a decent airport hotel near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) you may want to consider the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Phoenix.

And even if you are not needing to be close to the airport, this property just might be a great base location for visiting Phoenix and the surrounding area.

In this review, I’ll take a close look at the hotel and tell you everything you need to know to prepare for your stay.

Location: PHX

The DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Phoenix is located just outside of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).

If you have your own vehicle it should only take you about five minutes to get to one of the parking garages at the airport. Like you would expect at a good airport hotel, there is also a 24-hour PHX airport shuttle.

The other great thing about this hotel is it is like a 10 minute straight shot on E Van Buren St into Downtown Phoenix. It’s also really close to Tempe and Arizona State University and not far from Mesa or Scottsdale. So this is definitely an airport hotel that you can use to easily explore the surrounding Phoenix metro area.

But I would be careful in the immediate surrounding area. Like some other airport hotels, there may be some sketchy parts in the immediate vicinity around the airport.

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Phoenix exterior

Check in

We arrived around sunset so we did not need to utilize early check in but the check in process went very smoothly.

hotel lobby

One thing I always look forward to at DoubleTrees is the famous chocolate chip cookie. It’s almost impossible to turn this thing down!

Related: The Hilton Doubletree Cookie: The Ultimate Sweet Guide

Doubletree chocolate chip cookie

We were assigned a room on the sixth floor which is the top level of this hotel. These are known as “Business Class suite rooms” and I believe we were upgraded to one because of our Hilton Diamond status.

There are a couple of different elevators you can use to get up and because it was a little bit dark we struggled to find one of them.

But once we made our way up on the sixth floor it was a really beautiful sight.

Watching the glow from the sunset out over the city and the mountains is one of my favorite things about the desert and we caught it just in time.

I have not seen many DoubleTree hotels with exterior hallway layouts but in this case it was nice because of the cool breeze hitting in the evening. On a hot summer day though I’m not sure I would be so happy with it.

Related: Do You Have to Check Out of Your Hotel?

View of the sunset from sixth floor
View of the sunset from sixth floor

From the top, we had a good look at the pool area, which for an airport hotel is actually a pretty big area complete with a hot tub. This airport hotel definitely has some resort vibes going on, which is why it is a good fit for people who don’t just need proximity to the airport.

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Phoenix pool

Here’s a look at the pool area in the daytime to give you a different view.

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Phoenix pool

The suite

The business class suite was pretty spacious and overall a pretty quality room. Remember, this is an all-suite hotel so everyone will be provided with a suite.

My only complaints were that there was a bad scent and some of the furniture was a little bit stained.

In terms of the scent there was a faint almost cigarette-type odor I picked up as soon as II entered.

And you’ll see what I’m talking about with the stains…. Those factors, combined with the dated appearance of the hotel, knocked it down a notch for me although it still was not that bad.

In one corner of the living area you have an L sofa with an oval coffee table.

And on the other side of the room you have a large flatscreen TV.

Near that you have a workstation with an ergonomic chair and phone.

Behind the workstation is the small kitchenette area with a small sink, microwave, coffee maker, and mini fridge. It’s kind of an odd layout to have a workstation so close to a kitchen area but I guess it works.

Related: Are Hotel Coffee Makers Safe & Clean? (YIKES!)

The bed was pretty comfy and I did not have any complaints.

On each side of the bed there will be a nightstand with two power outlets and two USB ports.

The outlets don’t really blend in with the furniture piece at all but I don’t mind that since it makes it even easier to locate the outlets. You also have standard nightstand features like an alarm clock, phone, and lamp.

Related: Should You Use USB Ports In Hotel Rooms? (Stay Away!?)

There is another pretty good size TV in the bedroom.

Here is the stained cushion I was referring to earlier. It’s not that bad considering this cushion is meant to be utilized for luggage bags but it’s still nothing you ever want to see.

And again, combined with the unpleasant scent, this just knocked my enjoyment of the stay down a peg or two.

The bathroom was quite nice and featured a large and decorative mirror. Counter space for the sink was a bit limited but still doable. Also, the quarters for the toilet were a bit cramped.

They provided EST bathroom amenities, which is a collection “created with luxurious resorts, boutiques, and high-end hotel establishments (hence, EST!) in mind.” I found them to be pretty high-quality and it was kind of a surprise that they would be used at a three-star airport hotel. But again, it makes sense given the resort style approach of this hotel.

The hotel features a very nice fitness center with a beautiful blow up of Monument Valley on the wall. You’ll find a good number of cardio stations including treadmill’s, recumbent bike, etc.

They also have a nice set up for free weights.

We decided to try out the bar and restaurant “Brix” since we had some time to kill in the evening and had worked up a bit of an appetite.

We each ordered sandwiches which were actually not bad. The service was really good as well making this a worthwhile meal.

Final word

I enjoyed our short stay at the Hilton Doubletree.

It had a much different vibe from other Doubletree hotels (which was both good and bad) but I really appreciated the views from the sixth floor, especially around sunset.

The location made arriving at the airport for an early flight the next day very easy and I would say that this could be a good property even for people who don’t need to close proximity to the airport.

The only thing is they need to work on the condition of the rooms in order to deliver an experience more in line with what you would expect at a Doubletree.

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