Tim Foolery

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The Camby, Autograph Collection (Phoenix)

We visit Arizona every summer, usually around the July 4th weekend. These trips allow us to visit family, friends and spend some much needed time relaxing in the pool with a cocktail. We always stay the first night in Phoenix because after a long day of work and travel, the last thing we want to do is drive the few hours from Phoenix to Prescott or Sedona. Plus, Phoenix in July is sweltering, so hotel room rates are low and you can get access to nice properties at a great discount. 

For the past couple of years we would stay at the Aloft Phoenix Airport, but after last year’s interaction with the strippers doing a show in the lobby and manager playing it off as normal and acceptable, we decided to branch out.  Since Marriott acquired Starwood, I’ve been a bit less loyal to Starwood. I’ll get into that some other time.

I searched for great hotels and low prices and found the Camby for only $109 per night, plus taxes and fees, which was only $30 more than the whorehouse Aloft PHX, a good deal in my book. 

After a short delay out of Chicago and a quick pickup of the rental car (Silver Car), we arrived at the Camby around 22h30. The hotel doesn’t offer a self park option, but if you want to skip the valet, you can park at the movie theater that charges and hourly and overnight rate. We opted to pay the $33 per day for the valet…the idea of saving $10 (+/-) but having to walk across the parking lot in 100F heat didn’t appeal much to me.

We were greeted by the two front desk reps with big smiles and a hearty hello the second we were in their line of sight.  I had received a push notification that our room had been upgraded and I’d just need to stop by the front desk to pick up my keys.

The woman helping us was very friendly, she thanked me for my loyalty as a Platinum Member (which I earned by staying 50+ nights with Starwood then matched status with Marriott). She confirmed we’d been upgraded to a Luxe room…which seemed to just have a better view, which wasn’t all that beneficial for our short stay, but it’s better than that awful Zero Floor Upgrade I had years ago in Texas). I chose the 750 Mariott Point welcome bonus, in lieu of $15 off breakfast per person at the hotel (I’m not really a breakfast guy and hotels have such over priced and underwhelming offerings).  I did take the $10 bar credit in lieu of the 500 additional Marriott Points offered. After a long day I needed a drink.

We went to our room to drop off our luggage then headed straight back down to the bar.  The elevator to the guest room  appeared to have some smeared shit in the floor. When we headed back down to the bar, I told the front desk folks, but it was still in the elevator when we went back to our room more than an hour later. It was gone in the morning though.

It appears someone left some feces in the elevator

Broken hand rail in the elevator.

The hallways blended contemporary styles with classic Native American textiles

Our room was a larger standard room, with a king bed, a small seating area and a mountain view.
The bathroom was really nicely upgraded, with great (both smelling and acting) bath products by Nest. The bathroom initially seemed a bit dark, but the white tile really brightened up the area, despite having just two low output lights. The hot water took more than two minutes to actually arrive in our room, which was shocking to me. The only negative thing in the bathroom was the cheap plastic shower floor. It just made it seem a bit low rent, even though everything else was quite nice.

The single vanity bathroom worked fine for us. That shark / clothesline art was pretty cool, in my book.

The shower had great Nest products and wonderful water pressure, but it took an inordinate amount of time for the hot water to kick in.

I really enjoyed the Nest products offered at the Camby.

I really enjoyed the art throughout the hotel’s public spaces and in the guest rooms. It wasn’t the standard hotel cheap you see, it had a local vibe and a modern flair with neon, cacti and clean lines.

Cow skull lighted art in the guestroom. While I don’t want one for our house, I do dig it.

Our room was of decent size, with a quite comfortable king sized bed and a small sitting area.

Our couch continued the Native American theme found in the hallway.

The quintessential coffee and beverage bar.

The bar was a dark but nicely appointed space (it was actually the restaurant and bar). We stayed with the signature craft cocktails on the menu, but interestingly enough, these bartenders had no idea how to make these drinks, they had to frantically run around trying to find the recipe cards. They had the vibe of hipster craft cocktail masters (beards, matte black/gun metal grey linen shirts, red suspemders…yeah, you know who I’m talking about), but not the immediate knowledge. The drinks are good and well balanced and the service was quick too. 
I really enjoyed my 10 hour stay at the Camby and will definitely return if the price is right and the timing works. I don’t like to spend much on these short post flight stays, that being said, if I were spending more time in the area I’d definitely stay again.

Habe you stayed at the Camby? Did you like it better as the Ritz Carlton? What was your favorite cocktail?