Royal Palms Resort and Spa - Phoenix, AZ: Located a short drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and strategically placed between the Biltmore area and downtown Scottsdale, Royal Palms Resort, with its Camelback Mountain background, was to be our home for a long weekend when we visited the Phoenix area.
Months prior to our trip, I called the hotel directly to get more information and prices about the rooms and villas. Their description of their Alvadora Spa Villa having a large patio sounded perfect, as we wanted to invite friends for dinner. The following day I called the hotel back to book it, however this time, I was quoted a price almost double what I had been quoted one day earlier.
After a few calls back and forth over the next few days, they finally honored their original quote and then informed me about the $25 daily resort fee, which of course, does not cover the restaurant, bar or room service. So what exactly does it cover, I wondered.
First Impression/Lobby: As we pulled into the palm tree lined driveway of Royal Palms Resort, I thought to myself, “what a fitting name for this luxury resort”. We were greeted and warmly welcomed as soon as our car came to a stop. Instantly, I was sure Royal Palms Resort was going to be as good as we were hoping!
However, my certainty came to an abrupt end when the bellman saw how much luggage we had and gave out a big sigh. I was tempted to ask him what he thought the job description of a bellman was, but with the warm Arizona sun shining down on me, I was just too anxious to get to our villa and start enjoying our stay in Phoenix.
Reception: After a quick registration in the cramped reception area, we were off to our villa. The front desk clerk was efficient and definitely made us feel welcomed; we left feeling like we were in good hands, and off to our villa we went.
The bellman that greeted us upon our arrival escorted us (with the full luggage cart) to our villa; the only problem was he didn’t know where our villa was. As we roamed the property looking for our villa we got an impromptu tour; seeing the various courtyards and lush landscape was nice, but after our long flight, we just wanted to get into our villa.
Of course by this time, the bellman’s attitude went from a big sigh to huffing and puffing. His warm welcome had long since worn off and by this time, my excitement of this luxury resort was fading fast. He finally left us standing in a courtyard as he went to get the specific location of our villa. All in all, it took us almost twenty minutes to get to our villa. Was this really a five-star, luxury resort? I truly expected more from the Royal Palms Resort.
The Villa: Once the bellman figured out where our villa was and which door got us into it, we entered the Alvadora Spa Villa.
The villa was made up of a large living room with two rooms connected on either side; one a king-sized bedroom and the other a bedroom with double beds. We had booked the room with the king bed. The décor of light colored walls, dark wood floors and comfortable, cushy furnishings gave it a homey feeling, more than a luxurious feel I was expecting (and hoping for). It felt more like a summer home than it did a Southwestern luxury resort.
The master bedroom had the same feel to it, but its wood bench, desk chairs with their tall wooden backs and the white upholstered side chair gave it country cute feel; not exactly environment I was anticipating.
The master bathroom had twin sinks, a private toilet stall and separate shower (with steamer) and deep soaking tub. The bathroom was on the small side and again, lacked the luxurious feel I was expecting.
The patio, which was accessible from each room via glassed and wood framed doors, was not as large as I imagined. It was long and narrow, with two fireplaces, one off the bedroom, the other off the living room. Honestly describing the patio, I could never call it large. Our plans for dinner on the patio with friends were quickly dashed.
To make matters worse, the view of Camelback Mountain we were promised was almost non-existent. Having to look over a high wall and through the trees to see the “hump” of the mountain is not what I call a great or even good view of Camelback Mountain! The patio and view were not at all like reservations had described to me months before.
In addition to our disappointment in our villa at Royal Palms Resort, we also had issues with the steam system in the bathroom shower. Two of the three days it was inoperable.
Finally, Royal Palms Resort is big on water conservation, or so they say, which I applaud. However, because of the location of our villa, a long distance from the hot water heater, we literally had to run the shower for 10 minutes before the hot water made it to our villa. I asked reception about this and they said, yes, this was correct; it just takes that long for the hot water to reach the villa, so much for water conservation!
Room Service: Luckily the food was good (notice I didn’t say great), as it helped us to overlook the sloppy service. I am not sure who eats off the delivery tray but apparently that is how they expected us to do it.
Two people, each having our own dishes and the room service attendant simply came in, placed the tray on the table and left. Don’t they realize part of the service from Room Service, especially at a luxury property like the Royal Palms Resort, is setting up the table and making, or at least attempting to make a presentation?
It would be like going to a restaurant and the waiter putting the tray of food, dishes and silverware in the middle of the table and telling everyone to fend for their selves. This was not five-star service. I found it hard to believe I was actually at a luxury resort.
Housekeeping: Housekeeping ranged from excellent to downright poor. There seemed to be absolutely no consistency in what they were to do when servicing the villa and no consistency on how to do it. For a five-star, luxury resort like the Royal Palms, their housekeeping was an embarrassment.
One night at turn down service, they took the pillows off the bed only to pile them on a chair, apparently a reverse game of Jenga, seeing how high they could stack the pillows before they toppled over.
Another night they left the dirty dishes and tableware, and the leftover food and drinks from our dinner on the coffee table. Maybe it wasn’t their responsibility to clear them, but one simple call to Room Service and the dishes could have been cleared.
Another night they skipped turndown service and so for the next night we scheduled a 9 PM turndown, only to have them knock on the door at 8:15 to see if they could do turndown service. Apparently they don’t understand the concept of a schedule.
Easily put, the Housekeeping at Royal Palms Resort in Phoenix was not bombastic!
Concierge: The concierge was nice enough, but saying she was detailed oriented would be an overstatement. Booking a rental car for a trip to Sedona took way too many conversations. I had to correct her about dates, time and type of car again and again. I am confident if I had not reminded and reconfirmed with her multiple times I would have either been without a car the morning I required it or had over-paid compared to what she originally quoted. Luckily she was pleasant and likeable, but it was far from hassle free.
Pool/Spa/Activities: No luxury resort would be complete without a pool and spa, and Royal Palms Resort did not fail to deliver.
Living up to the Royal Palms’ splendor, the elegant Alvadora Spa offered all the traditional spa treatments plus their signature treatments: the Royal Body Polish, Orange Blossom Body Buff and Citrus Grove Facial to mention a few.
The pool however was tiny for a resort this large and lacked the luxuriousness of the Royal Palms Resort’s grounds. It was a pool more fitting of three-star hotel, than it was a luxury resort in Phoenix. While service at the pool was attentive, the small pool size and lack of personal space kept it from being as amazing as the pool could have,
and should have been.
Overall ImpressionRoyal Palms Resort simply did not live up to our expectations. We were planning on a truly luxury experience at this resort, but what we got was a sad excuse for a high-end experience. It seemed with each turn we encountered another issue and another failure in their service.
With that said, the property itself is stunningly gorgeous and it surely does have a relaxing feel to it, but the service just never reached the level of bombastic and to this day, I still wonder exactly what the $25.00 service fee was really for' if it was for the general services, then we truly did not get our monies worth.
My rating for the Royal Palms Resort in Phoenix is a disappointing between bombastic and not.
Royal Palms Resort address and telephone number: 5200 East Camelback Road Phoenix, Arizona 85018
Ph: 602.840.3610 | Fax: 602.840.6927