Intercontinental Montelucia Resort & Spa, Paradise Valley Arizona

On arrival in Phoenix I took the airport rental car bus over to the shared rental center, where Avis had waiting for me a brand new Cadillac with 3 miles on it.

And off we went to the Intercontinental Montelucia Resort & Spa.

I had booked the Facebook promo $99 per night rate with a $25 daily room credit. This booked into the lowest category room, but I was given a first floor Oasis Village Suite (room 501). My reservation became inaccessible online shortly after I had booked it, presumably due to the room type change being made long in advance as a Royal Ambassador.

We arrived and found valet parking $15, apparently reduced over the summer, though self-parking is also almost as convenient. Walking into the resort it’s not entirely clear where reception is, there’s an open courtyard area that’s surrounded by buildings and not much in the way of signage.

After finding the small reception building, we were sent on to our room with a staff member in a golf cart. Room service was finishing up delivering a fruit plate and charcuterie plate along with a large fiji water as Ambassador amenity when we walked in to the room.

I logged on to the wireless internet, it wanted a password or PIN. I rang the front desk, “It should be on the bottom of the form that explained the resort fee.” I wasn’t given one of those… she read off a PIN for internet.

The suite’s bathroom was large, nice, though not all that well provisioned (eg no cotton balls, just the basic shampoo/soap/lotion). It was certainly large enough for dual sinks but they only had one. There was an outdoor sitting area but it didn’t have much of a view, it looked straight at the Oasis (adults-only) pool but the bars around it and growth are designed to obscure that view so there wasn’t much to look at.

We heard folks above us in their room walking around, not what we want out of a relaxing weekend at a resort. I rang up the desk and let them know it was unacceptable — these weren’t guests who needed to be told to quiet down, it just seemed like there wasn’t enough noise absorption between the rooms on the first and second floor. So they moved us to a much larger suite at the very back of the property, it was a one-story building so no one on top of us and much more secluded so we weren’t as likely to hear other noise, either. This was much appreciated.

The new room was technically an accessible suite, but that just meant no shower door which was actually fine since the shower was still large enough that water didn’t escape out onto the bathroom floor. And there was no door on the separate toilet room. But otherwise you’d never know.

The dining room table had seen a good bit of scratches and wear, but otherwise the room was excellent. Vaulted ceilings and a living room with a large L-shaped couch made it a very comfortable room for sitting inside and looking out directly at the mountain. There was a guest bath in addition to the main bath. And the outdoor sitting area was twice as large as with our original room, and with its own semi-private yard.

Everyone at the resort was exceptionally friendly, but service was still lackluster. I suspect that all of the financial problems the resort has seen has probably led to insufficient staffing levels. Any time we picked up the phone we had to wait several minutes for someone to answer, whether the front desk or spa. And busy staff can be forgetful, once I rang and made a request but the person at the desk simply forgot. Perhaps they weren’t expecting to be so busy over the weekend, I guess the ultra-cheap rates they’re pushing over the summer are doing their part to fill up the rooms.

I did once call to request housekeeping at a specific time, since no one had been by the room year at 1 p.m., and the response I got was “housekeeping services rooms from 8:30am to 4:30pm.” Umm, wrong answer. They came when asked.

The pools were very busy, especially the resort’s main pool which had a definite party vibe to it (and to the adjacent café). The adult pool was quieter but still a lack of chairs for the number of guests when the resort is full.

No matter, we spent our pool time relatively early — it is hot out there! — and much enjoyed the back yard of our suite.

Room service wasn’t very good, the better meals certainly came off-property and I’ll mention those in another post. But my wife thought the spa was fine, and a value for a resort in the US with summer massage rates of $105 for an hour-long treatment.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I was just out there recently and am also a RA and didn’t get the charcuterie plate. Just the three pieces of fruit and the water. The staff was very friendly when I was there but I agree, the main pool and the bar had a party atmosphere.

  2. Gary, i cracked up when i saw the “3” in your pic! after nabbing a rental car like that, how could your trip have gone wrong? (ok, don’t answer)
    ps: i’m going to link to your post on my blog – hotel check-in.

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