Phoenix, Arizona

The pool at Phoenix Marriott Tempe at Buttes (Taken by Shelley Kassian)

The pool at Phoenix Marriott Tempe at Buttes (Photo by Shelley Kassian)

A peaceful silence waits to be found in the desert; a peace that can’t quite be discovered anywhere else. An arid and dry oasis with crushed rock, sand, and various cacti that nestles against a backdrop of red mountains standing tall in the distance. I enjoy the calm beauty every time I visit Phoenix, Arizona. This desert city offers superb accommodations, fantastic shopping experiences, and attractions such as the Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Gardens. The summer months are known to elicit a powerful heat wave both day and night. When I arrived in Phoenix this past Sunday, the temperature had climbed to an astonishing 108°F (42°C). Damn, it was hot, hot, hot!

I accompany my husband on many trips, and during this particular journey we had three goals in mind: Business meetings, shopping and resting by the pool. We accomplished all three.

Shopping

Premium outlets Phoenix was our first shopping destination. We had a Volcom mission to replace some board-shorts, but when this pursuit failed, we left the outlets. Walking from store to store at an outdoor outlet would be pleasant in the winter months, but walking outside in high temperatures was stifling. Especially after arriving from a much cooler climate. We were baking! No choice but to leave the outlet for a discount option at Arizona Mills Mall.

This mall is fantastic if you’re a bargain hunter, and many families filled the walkways. I think the hundreds of people moving around us were not only looking for back to school specials, they were also escaping the heat in an air-conditioned facility. Hungry by this time, my husband and I stopped to enjoy a meal at the Rainforest Cafe.

Restaurants

The Rainforest Café is a themed restaurant designed to depict the rainforest. I like the animatronic figures of gorillas, elephants, and tigers that decorate this jungle. I love listening to the gorilla sounds, and watching the star ceiling brighten up the room. The restaurant does not do food substitutions without the guest paying extra for their meal, and I was not interested in paying $4.00 more for salad, so I only had the Natural burger. No sides. However, this amount of food was enough for me and the burger was delicious. My husband’s wrap was good, but the pita bread was tough as steel and difficult to eat, so he only ate the inner filling. This did not take away from our experience and we would return. This restaurant probably exists more for the enjoyment of kids and family who would enjoy this jungle themed experience! After eating, we walked the full circuit of the mall and then braved the heat once again to travel to our hotel.

Accommodations

When In Phoenix, we like to stay at the Phoenix Marriott Tempe at Buttes. Their rooms are comfortable and the hotel has four dining options. The Lobby Lounge, Market Café, Thirsty Cactus pool bar & grill, and the fine dining restaurant Top of the Rock. My husband and I had a delicious meal at the rock where we sipped wine and beer while watching the sunset. I have never had a Caesar salad made with Kale before, and this Caesar had a delicious tang. My Sea Bass was excellent too. My husband had a vegetarian option, which he claimed was the best veggie meal in terms of presentation and taste––ever!

 

Duncan Trading Kale Caesar

Seared Sea Bass with Breaded Shrimp

Composition of Local Farmers Vegetables

Composition of Local Farmers Vegetables

The Marriott Tempe has two pools with a connecting passageway between them, at least two whirlpools, and an unobtrusive water slide for the kids. The pool area is beautiful with the surrounding hillside. I like how the patio chairs not only circle the pool, but also rest on varying ledges above the pool. This gives the guest the opportunity of seclusion if you act fast, but most people seem content to rest around the main pool. To me, this is the best hotel to stay at in the Phoenix area. And if you like a good breakfast, ask Kevin (chef from Detroit) to make you an omelet!

A Chuckwalla Lizard as seen on a previous trip. (Photo by Shelley Kassian)

A Chuckwalla Lizard as seen on a previous trip. (Photo by Shelley Kassian)

Sometimes if you’re extra lucky you’ll see a Chuckwalla Lizard lounging on the large rocks that decorate the pool landscape. It was very hot on this trip so we only saw a few tinier lizards scurrying down the hillside. I think it was too hot for these creatures to lounge about the pool area, but for my husband and I swimming in the pool, it was very nice indeed!

When my husband had meetings on the second day of our trip, I travelled to Chandler Fashion Center. The cost both ways by Cleanair Taxi was expensive and cost me $100.00 round trip. The expense was worth the cost to arrive at my destination. I shopped at my favorite stores, which include Macy’s, Dillard’s, and Ann Taylor. I was looking for board-shorts and this mall had the stores and the clothing I wanted: Pac Sun, Tilly’s, and Zumiez. It was a good choice and my arms did not leave empty handed.

This trip was short and only lasted three days. I’ll visit again when the temperature drops to a more respectable level.

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