Earlier in the year, in need of some sun during a trip to the United States in the middle of a particularly cold northern winter, we visited Scottsdale, near Phoenix AZ. The 493-room Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch is located on nicely landscaped and meticulously kept grounds located near to the 27-hole Gainey Ranch Golf Club.
Gainey Ranch was once a 640-acre horse ranch (source), but has become a high end Scottsdale suburb. The Hyatt resort here features a Regency Club lounge, Spa Aviana and ‘2.5 acre water playground’.
We pulled into the hotel (the hotel has a massive free outdoor lot for parking) and were promptly assisted by a bellhop. We noticed that there were a few black cars waiting around (also available using Uber).
Inside, we were promptly checked into our with Palm Suite with Regency Club. We would note that the Gold Passport Diamond priority check-in position was not staffed, but that seems to be pretty standard in all hotels regardless of brand.
A handy touch was that the hours of the club service was printed on the back of the Regency Club keycard. We were also offered welcome margaritas (which came out of a premixed dispenser behind the reception desk), but we declined these.
Regretfully the hotel charges a ‘resort fee’ of US$25 + tax per night, which it justifies as covering ‘Internet, shopping shuttle, health club admission and more’. Given those things are Gold Passport benefits (save the ‘shopping shuttle’, whatever that is), we do wonder who the hotel is trying to fool. As a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond member we got a paltry US$5 per night discount on the resort fee, which just goes to show how questionable the whole fee is in the first place at this property. Another example, would be how the resort fee hasn’t changed despite Hyatt offering all levels of Gold Passport free internet.
Of course this is not the only property that charges a ‘resort fee’, but we found it particularly egregious, given what was included. If the hotel feels it should get more revenue for its rooms, then it should put its room rates up rather than tacking on a ‘resort fee’. In the alternative, offering value added services that are both useful and not Hyatt Gold Passport benefits would justify the fee.
We had a Palm Suite (the entry level suite at the property). We would suggest this room category would be better described as a junior suite. The room was comfortable, but looked a bit dated.
The hotel has made clever use of space by putting the bed in a nook in the corner with only a small gap around on either side. Unfortunately this means the hallway was just behind your head while sleeping. We found this exacerbated the transmission of noise from the hallway (particularly when some kids decided that knocking on people’s doors while they were sleeping would be funny).
The room also had a balcony, with a nice view over the hotel’s courtyard.
In addition to the noise of other guests in the hallways that we alluded to earlier, guests here have to put up with the live music from the bar downstairs drifting upwards to there rooms. It is loud, even on the top floor.
The bathroom was well lit, and felt modern.
We were disappointed with housekeeping at this property. One day, when our do not disturb sign was on the door the maid knocked loudly and repeatedly on the door. We ignored that, only to find the maid returned a few minutes later to do it again. This is unacceptable.
The Regency Club, which is located on the lower level, is accessed with your keycard. Once inside, we found the staff to be relatively inattentive. They do not ask for room numbers (a stark contrast to the approach taken in hotel club lounges down under). During mealtimes the lounge was crowded with families and noisy.
Inside, the club is nicely appointed and very spacious. It looks like it might have originally been a restaurant in a former life.
The fridge has a number of non-alcoholic beverages, available all day on a help yourself basis. There is also a coffee machine.
Each evening, the hotel puts out a nice spread – including one substantial hot item. Dessert followed as a separate service later in the evening. The hotel also operates an ‘honour bar’ for liquor, which was US$4 / beer from memory.
Outside of the hours of the meal services, a number of snack mixes are left out.
There is a sign for adults seating only, but this didn’t stop any number of families with the most noisy kids in the whole hotel from sitting in that area (often right in front of the sign). The club staff didn’t move them on.
The club also has a computer and printer facilities, although these were often monopolised by unsupervised kids playing internet games.
The club also has an outdoor patio that leads to a gazebo. It overlooks ponds full of water lilies. It was mostly too cold during our visit to sit out here, except for in the middle of the day when it had direct sunlight. We imagine during the warmer summer months this would get much more use.
The hotel’s Spa Avania is located in a separate building. Access is complimentary for club guests.
Some days the staff were very insistent to see our club keys before they give us the liability waiver to sign. Other days, they would just produce the waiver form. They were insistent it was daily waiver and we couldn’t fill it in once for the duration of our stay.
The spa has separate men and women’s areas, with a little waiting area…
… lockers and bathrooms…
…steam, sauna, and hot and cold outdoor plunge pools, along with outdoor showers…
… and a relaxation room.
Out back is a communal outdoor relaxation area…
… which opens out into an outdoor heated mineral pool and lotus pond.
The hotel markets its ‘water playground’ as having ten swimming pools, sand beach, three-story waterslide, whirlpool spa and two poolside bars!
Of course, some of the pools are bigger than others. The picture below has 3 pools in it.
One of the pools also has a sand beach. There is also a separate adults pool.
The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale is a great setting with nicely landscaped and meticulously kept grounds. The Spa Aviana is a great place to relax and unwind, while the ‘water playground’ is also excellent. However we were disappointed by the rooms at this property, particularly the lack of soundproofing.
One final point: if this property wishes to charge a ‘resort fee’ it should provide some value added services that are not (i) Gold Passport benefits, and (ii) actually useful to justify the fee.