Review: Hyatt’s Royal Palms Resort, Phoenix

The Royal Palms Resort Phoenix may be my new favorite hotel in the area. The grounds are beautiful, service is excellent, and the food is even good. My own quibble would be with the rooms, which could very much use a refresh.

I stayed at the Royal Palms Resort on East Camelback Road in Phoenix at the end of 2022. The holiday period is peak of peak time, though the Phoenix area isn’t warm and in fact it was unseasonably cold and rainy.

  • I was looking for a hotel where I could use points, and where I’d have a separate room for my four year old. That meant I needed a suite of some kind. The Westin Kierland Villas would have been perfect, and I’ve stayed there on points before, but it wasn’t available.

  • The only place I could make work where I was certain to have the space I wanted was Royal Palms, where I could use points and confirm a suite as a Hyatt Globalist.

My best stay ever in the Phoenix area was the old Intercontinental Montelucia, where I had an $89 rate over July 4th weekend and was upgraded to a standalone home with backyard facing Camelback Mountain. The hotel is now the Omni. But without that upgrade? It’s okay…

The Royal Palms has beautiful public spaces. It’s a great property when you’re outdoors. And service is really friendly and excellent. In fact it’s as personable as I’ve found in the United States. The rooms, though (or at least my room), was meh.

Overall the property isn’t as flash as Phoenician. I like it better than the Biltmore, the Kierland, and the W. But with great service and the ability to ensure I’d be in a suite of some kind, it really works.

Service

One of the real highlights of the Royal Palms Resort was service. Everyone was extremely friendly, and prompt.

I left my car at valet on arrival – as a Hyatt Globalist using points for the stay (category 6, 21,000 – 29,000 points per night for an award night) the parking would be free – and proceeded to check-in. From there, a staff member escorted us to our room. I was offered a drink on arrival but declined.

There’s a phone in the room, and you can call the desk, but they encourage you to text for service. I’ve found that many hotels try that and simply do not respond promptly. I received responses generally in under a minute throughout my stay – whether for valet to bring my car around, to have housekeeping service my room while I was out, and for room service.

While Hyatt elite status of any kind offers a bottle of water each day complimentary, I find that hotels usually provision two. This property did as well, but they were enormous complimentary bottles. Kudos.

The hotel offered proactive housekeeping, without request, each day of the stay. And they offer turndown service which has become quite rare. However it came quite late, between 7:45 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. nightly. There was no do not disturb sign in the room to place on the door and my daughter was asleep by then so I requested they not come by via text, and this request was honored for the back half of our stay.

Grounds

The hotel’s entrance, right off of Camelback, features numerous palm treats and a fountain.

At check-in we were given a map of the hotel. The property isn’t huge, but it had numerous paths and small courtyards to explore.

While we were being walked from check-in to our room, the manager who escorted us told us a little bit about the property, from being built as a mansion for a New York family in the late 1920s (it was then sold to the head of Greyhound) to shedding much of its acreage and ultimate conversion to a hotel.

The emphasis on how the property dated back to the 1920s struck me as somewhat like Alicia Silverstone in the opening of Clueless, “Isn’t my house classic? The columns date all the way back to 1972.”

Backed up against Camelback Mountain makes for a dramatic spot, from most any part of the resort.

The hotel’s pool is heated, so both the pool and jacuzzi were in use during our stay even through temperatures hovered around 60. Our daughter was thrilled to be able to go in. Towels around the pool were plentiful, there’s a poolside bar with food service, and you can order room service to deliver there as well.

Junior Suite

A confirmed upgrade at the Royal Palms Resort is to a ‘standard suite’ which the hotel considers its junior suite (I understand they used to be to a casita).

The room had a living room, then as you walked further the bathroom, followed by the bedroom. You could close off the bathroom on either side, creating effectively separate rooms.

Here’s the living room. The sofa is a pullout, which was perfect for our daughter. Giving her a separate room is the main reason I value a suite when we travel.

The bathroom had a large main room, though much of the space was taken up by the tub. There was a very small toilet room (some will have to squeeze in and out), and a small shower. There were full-sized bath amenities in the shower, which – if they were fresh for each guest – I would love. I do not like full-sized amenities that carry over from guest to guest, however.

The bedroom was fairly small, with a closet and television. There was no room for an additional chair. One of the outlets next to the bed didn’t work.

In a way the layout reminded me of an old Embassy Suites. There was a window at the far end of the room, in the bedroom, so the rest of the room didn’t get very much light. In my case, the view was of an alleyway of sorts, so completely uninteresting.

I’d recommend requesting a top floor room. On the second floor I could hear footsteps in the room above, which is far from ideal when your upstairs neighbor comes in after you’ve gone to bed.

Royal Palms Resort Breakfast

The hotel restaurant T.Cook’s is available for Globalist breakfast from 6:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., and they serve both breakfast items and lunch items throughout that time. I was told that since the breakfast covers four people (two adults and two children) I could order up to four entrees, plus four juices and four coffees, and it would all be taken off the bill.

Here’s the restaurant menu:

The seafood pasta, at around 10 a.m. one morning, was quite excellent.

I suppose guests are really anxious to take advantage of the breakfast, and afraid to miss out, because one couple apparently came straight from the spa – in their spa robes, and little else. They were shown to a table and enjoyed breakfast at the table next to mine.

Weather wasn’t really accommodating while I was there, but there’s an outdoor courtyard area to the restaurant which would have been lovely for taking breakfast (or, I imagine, dinner in appropriate weather as well).

T. Cook’s is beside their Mix Up bar which offers food throughout the day as well.

I ordered room service for my daughter early one morning and that charge was removed from the folio as well – even though we hadn’t been told this was a benefit – and on a day that I also went to the restaurant for breakfast.

It’s worth noting that while we were likely well underneath any dollar cap that may be set for reimbursement, this bloody mary (with bacon and shrimp!) was not reimbursed, because alcohol is not included in the breakfast benefit.

Royal Palms Resort Overall

The staff is lovely. The food is good. The grounds are beautiful. There are numerous nooks and crannies of the property. I really liked the Royal Palms Resort. I just wish the rooms would be given an update. But I’ll definitely return.

One additional upside to the property? Surprisingly close to the airport! That meant an extra 15 minutes in the morning, before heading back home. It’s in Phoenix proper and just a 15 minute drive to rental car return. It’s also an easy drive to countless restaurants, so I’d generally consider location a plus.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. Nice review, thanks!

    I had thought a junior suite meant no door to the bedroom so hadn’t considered it.

  2. My wife and I stayed there for a couple nights last year. I’m Globalist and we were upgraded to a Casita which was like our own little studio. She loved it and the food was great. I bought a house in Scottsdale prior to our stay and we holed up there waiting to get our keys. Great place!

  3. Noooo!!! This is our “secret” Hyatt redemption!

    I kid I kid.

    We LOVE the Royal Palms. They have a room classification called Casitas, which is essentially just a large room, but they are in stand alone buildings. They are very quiet and make the resort feel even more like a hide-a-way. In the summer its amazing to have breakfast brought to the deck they have for a nice wakeup.

    Also, they have a couple of cabanas at the pool that are reasonably priced ($100/day). We always reserve one in the summer and it makes a full day at the pool in 110 weather bearable. The constantly refreshed waters, great pool service and cool water makes it a great getaway.

    Also, the happy hour at the bar is great. If you are in to octopus it is truly a fantastic dish.

    The one thing that has gone away last I was there was the house car. You used to be able to get shuttled around within a few miles in a house car that was great for going to dinner or shopping in downtown Scottsdale. Sadly this was not offered last time we were there.

    Glad you enjoyed your stay!

  4. Can’t use points, but next time, check out the Four Seasons Troon North in Scottsdale. Hit me up before you go! 😉

  5. Sorry, I can’t resist, but I stayed at the property a while ago (pre-Covid) and don’t remember needing to squeeze into toilet room. Gary, it’s not the room that small 🙂

  6. @Andy – to be fair, we put a stool and a child’s potty seat in the toilet room so that our daughter is fully independent and that blocks the way somewhat

  7. I don’t mind classic or shabby chic, like an old European palace or stately home. But that bedroom decor feels like it was decorated around 2002-2004 on the cheap. Those fixtures look like a Holiday Inn or Embassy Suites sink and fixtures. The sofa looks like something from a Towneplace Suites. The assorted wall art looks like it was bought as a hotel liquidator. How does a suite at an upscale resort not have a fully stocked mini-bar, let alone wine glasses for that bottle of J. Lohr Hilltop cabernet sauvignon? And in the bathroom, there appears to be no dental kit and no mouthwash.

  8. I LOVE Phoenix/Scottsdale and visit a couple of times a year, but this place looks really underwelming. I recently stayed in a somewhat reasonable priced suite in a new(-ish) Doubletree in Scottsdale and that looked much, much nicer than this property.

  9. Desperate review. Don’t be such a blind fan boy. Place is run down and overpriced. Your junior suite is not a suite. Your standards are going downhill.

  10. “There were full-sized bath amenities in the shower, which – if they were fresh for each guest – I would love.”

    You’re ridiculous.

  11. You probably didn’t notice given the time of year you stayed, but the pool situation is pretty disappointing, especially if you have kids (or if you don’t have kids, but other guests do!). Small pool, even less chairs.

  12. Having lived in the Phoenix area most of my life, the urban sprawl heat Island just doesn’t inspire, and nor do the resorts. I still think I’d go for the Biltmore over this.

    Of course my needs are more about where I need to be when I go “home” for a visit. Last stay was at Marriott’s Adero in Fountain Hills (putting Scottsdale in the name is a stretch). Was a decent use for my last 2 suite nights, and they kindly gave me the suite for 3 nights.

  13. For about a decade I lived close to the Gainey Ranch Hyatt and often went there to have a drink, listen to live music and enjoy the patio (the large “walls” open up so the interior kind of merges with the patio). I only actually stayed there once when I was renting out my house and living out of state but had to visit. Personally I didn’t care for a lot of extra fees that place added and thought some place like the Hiltons on Scottsdale Road were better values.

    I’m pondering whether I will buy another place back there (sold the other one) to retire. I had tons of fun in Scottsdale but Arizona can be a strange place to live.

  14. @ Rich
    Considering the same to retire in Scottsdale be curious to know what’s strange about
    living in Arizona?

  15. All the funny comments here. Phoenician built by a bankrupt Madoff is a dump. Biltmore a dump unless you use the hotel within a hotel. Gainey ok, I have a house there but the hotel hasn’t been renoed in ages. The point of Palm is its ageless. It’s basically LA ranch style. I guess no one owns ranch style houses there. That definitely wasn’t a suite per se. Mine had a full bathroom and then a full jacuzzi for 10 inside the bathroom. I love hyatt, but they know whether you are a fake globalist or loyal member and upgrade accordingly as they should.

  16. Lol I found out the “hard way” about the bacon Bloody Mary not being part of the breakfast benefit when I stayed here like 5 years ago, too.

    Looks like you didn’t get one of the more refreshed rooms, Gary.

    Wonderful place, though. Very serene.

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