Arizona hotels and golf resorts shine on national travel magazine's rankings

By Mike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

What's the No. 1 hotel property in Arizona this year? According to Travel+Leisure magazine, it's the Royal Palms Resort & Spa in Phoenix, and it's just one of 15 Arizona hotels or resorts to be listed among the magazine's best 500 in the world.

The Phoenician - Lobby
The Phoenician was the highest ranked resort in Arizona that has its own golf course.
The Phoenician - LobbyFour Seasons Resort at Troon NorthBoulders South Course - Hole 5The Phoenician Golf Course
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Of the top 15, the Phoenix-Scottsdale area led with 10 selections, followed by the Tucson area (three) and Sedona (two).

Arizona ranked third among U.S. states behind California (48) and Florida (28) on the list, which was compiled through a survey of the magazine's readers. Last year, only eight Arizona resorts or hotels were named.

The Royal Palms Resort & Spa does not have a golf course on its property, but like many top resorts, it does offer golf concierge services and packages. Dubbed as one of the most romantic hotels in the region, the Royal Palms unseated last year's top Arizona pick, the Four Seasons Resort at Troon North in Scottsdale, which this year dropped to sixth.

The Enchantment Resort in Sedona was the second-highest ranked Arizona property, followed by The Phoenician in Scottsdale, the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley, and The Boulders Resort & Golden Spa in Carefree.

The Phoenician was the highest-ranked resort to have its own golf course among Arizona properties. It also has a $25-million art collection, ranging from Navajo rugs to 17th-century Dutch landscapes, in case you get bored with the 27-holes of golf at The Phoenician.

Homer Flint designed the original Oasis and Desert nines, and, as part of a renovation in 1996, architect Ted Robinson created the Canyon nine, which boasts a great view of the city. The golf club is open to resort guests, as well as the public.

The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa was the next retreat on the list with its own golf course, and it has two of them - the widely-acclaimed North and South courses, both designed by Jay Morrish, both of them difficult tests, and both carved around the resort's unique landmarks - giant boulders. Aside from the courses and its legendary spa, the magazine also says not to miss taking "a stroll in the new 5,280-square-foot organic garden" at The Boulders.

The Four Seasons has some pretty fair golf to offer as well - the Monument course and Pinnacle course of Troon North. Considered by many to be the top public golf courses in Arizona, the Sonoran Desert layouts were reconfigured in 2007 by the original designer and former British Open Champion, Tom Weiskopf.

"Both courses can now be played exactly as the land dictates, the way Mother Nature intended," Weiskopf said.

Other Arizona properties to make the list, in no particular order, are: the 1920s-era Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix; Camelback Inn, a J.W, Marriott Resort & Spa in Scottsdale; the Ritz-Carlton Phoenix; The Fairmont in Scottsdale; the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale; L'Auberge de Sedona in Sedona; and the J.W. Marriott Star Pass Resort & Spa, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson and Westin La Paloma, all in Tucson. All but the Ritz-Carlton and L'Auberge have their own golf courses.

click here to see T+L's entire list.

Mike BaileyMike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

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