Review: JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort and Spa, Arizona, USA.
My trip to Scottsdale, Arizona found in the Southern United States had me searching for a great resort styled property that would allow some space to unwind during my limited time on this weekend trip. After substantial searching, I ended up at the legendary JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort and Spa for a brief stay. Did the historic property live up to it’s legacy name? Take a look at our in depth stay experience, where we tested out almost every feature of the property.
This post is one chapter on my brief trip to Scottsdale, Arizona, United States of America. This trip was enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and Air Canada’s Aeroplan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.
✈️ Read more from this trip:
- Introduction: A Mileage Run to Scottsdale via Air Canada Business Class
- Plaza Premium Lounge – Vancouver Transborder
- Air Canada Business Class: Vancouver – Phoenix
- My Experience Renting as a Hertz President’s Circle Member at Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport
- The JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, Arizona, USA
- The American Express Escape Lounge – A Centurion Studio Partner, Phoenix, USA
Review: JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort and Spa, Scottsdale, Arizona, United States
“The Original Marriott Resort that is still frequented by the Marriott family, as an old school luxury getaway in a spacious tranquil old fashioned resort environment.”
I needed one remaining elite qualifying night to renew platinum status, along with a short amount of Elite Qualifying miles to maintain Air Canada Aeroplan Elite status. With rainy winter coming upon us in the Pacific Northwest, I ended up booking a cyber money deal which took me down to Phoenix Arizona. After looking at several properties, I ended up at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort and Spa.
About the JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa:
The JW Marriott Camelback Inn was created in a different time. It was initially built and opened on December 15, 1936 as a horse riding resort with 75 Casita’s. It was eventually acquired as the very first Marriott Resort by the Marriott family in 1967. It’s so popular amongst the Marriott family, Bill Marriott is supposed to spend his birthdays at the property.
Booking JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resprt & Spa:
I ended up booking direct on the Marriott website. During my Saturday night stay in the middle of Airzona’s sunny winter high season, the best available rate I was able to get was a AAA rate for $347 USD.
I booked this stay via the Marriott website direct. As I booked with Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite level status, I was promised an upgrade to the best available room (including suites), lounge access, and a guaranteed late check out to 4 PM.
This upgrade strategy ended up working out, as I would end up receiving a no cost Marriott Bonvoy Elite upgrade to a Signature View Casita – Guest Room – 2 Queens ,on check in.
Marriott Bonvoy Redemption Opportunities:
The JW Marriott Camelback Resort & Spa was a Marriott Bonvoy Category 6 prior to the move to variable pricing. As a result, rooms are now approximately 40,000 – 62,000 points per night, with 55,000 points a night as an average standard. I did notice that the hotel seems to black out a lot of reward availability between January and April, so if you’re looking to come during this popular high season time, you’ll either be booking nine months in advance if you can find availability, or paying a cash rate.
If you value Marriott Bonvoy points at $0.005 a point, you’d have to spend more than $275 USD to come out ahead for a 55,000 point redemption. While can represent reasonable value, it would get even better if you were able to spend five nights at the property and get the fifth night free.
Getting to JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa:
After arriving off of Air Canada Business Class Vancouver – Phoenix, I picked up a Hertz Car Rental and self drove up to the property in a black Mercedes CLK 250. It was a short twenty minute drive under pleasant Arizona sunny skies. Courtesy of Google Maps, the property was really easy to find.
The nearby mountains set against blue sky also made the drive all that more enjoyable.
Today, the property has grown from its original 75 Casitas to a massive 453 Casitas spread across a sloping hillside tucked against nearby Mummy Mountain. The JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa offers individual rooms called Casitas that offer a drive up feature with convenient nearby parking.
After the short drive, I arrived to the front of the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa. The valet staff took my keys, and backed in my car into the front loading zone while I handled the check in process.
Checking into JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort and Spa:
After arriving to the property, I left my bag in the car and wandered up to the front desk. It was a short three minute walk from the valet loading area up to the front desk.
On the walk up to the front desk reception, I passed by the outdoor patio of the Lincoln Steakhouse. Bring right before the holiday season, the resort was decorated in holiday themed decorations with wreaths and other Christmas lights and décor.
I continued up through a unique and old school looking single door that might have been a barn or restaurant door. Either way, it had an old school historic feel to it, unlike the usual glass sliding doors of many modern inner city hotels.
I also passed underneath the famous sign “The Place Where Time Stands Still”, which was a fitting saying for this particular property, given it’s long history and timeless environment.
The lobby was beautifully decorated for the holiday season. The decor was American traditional looking, but approachable and festive.
The check in desk was pretty small and there were a few in line in the desk area that only had space for two. The check in was efficient, with two others in line behind me at 3:30 PM. During check in, there was no mention of an upgrade, but I did have the usual Marriott Elite welcome offer of bonus points or breakfast. Being on a leisure stay, I took the breakfast option. I was explained that breakfast was located in Rita’s Restaurant just off the lobby.
I was also able to get a late check out to 1 PM without any issues, courtesy of Marriott Bonvoy Titanium status. I was also provided a card outlining the resort fee ($40 USD a day) and its various inclusions.
While it is nice to have some inclusions, I really didn’t find myself using anything on the resort fee list. I ended up using the free parking and the high speed wireless internet, but I never located the whereabouts for the golf driving range.
The Room: Signature view Casita
Guest Room – 2 Queens
After checking in, I self drove up to Room #363; navigating myself using the above map. I parked just cross the street from the room on the private resort roadways. I didn’t need assistance with the luggage. If you need assistance with your bags, I’d signal that to the valet pool before leaving the front desk and valet area, since it can be a way from the lobby to get to your casita room. You’re completely on your own when you get there.
I had booked a base level Resort Casita – 1 King. As I was following along in the Marriott App, a day before my arrival, I was upgraded one room category into a larger room Oversized Deluxe Casita. On the day of arrival, I was further upgraded and assigned to this Signature View Casita 2 Queens, as a Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Level member.
The Signature Resort Casita I was assigned was in a centrally located building which was a six-plex structure. Two of the units in the building were located on an upper floor with an outdoor deck space.
After parking, I had to get a little assistance from housekeeping in the neighbourhood to locate my actual room. The room numbers are a little recessed from the street, and without knowing exactly where you were going (or with a map in hand) you could spend a little time locating your room. I eventually navigated down a few stairs and into Room 363.
The Signature Resort Casita Room was recently upgraded as part of a twelve and a half million dollar renovation at the property. The room had comfortable modern colours, and was remarkably spacious for a room with two queen configuration.
The room offered a large flat screen television, as is standard in this luxury category.
The room offered a pleasant deck area, along with a small occasional table for two AND an occasional lounger chair.
Looking back into the room, the ceiling of the room contained wooden beams, which added to an authentic feel to the room.
Table storage space is always appreciated. The Signature Resort Casita offered a small round table, along with Scottsdale Lifestyle magazines.
In an old school touch, the Signature Resort Casita offered a small wet bar located in a closet type area off the bedroom area. The area offered a sink, a Keurig Coffee Maker, a microwave and a mini fridge that was empty.
The room also featured a bathroom. The bathroom was a little compact; similar to the hotels of the era. The bathroom offered a double vanity sink, although the second vanity was located within the WC itself and could be partitioned by a door.
The WC offered a stand up shower that was reasonably spacious for one.
The JW Marriott Scottsdale toiletries were the upscale but somewhat forgettable Aromatherapy Associates toiletries. I found their soap to be a little fragile, and it disintegrated pretty quickly after a few days in the shower.
One of my favourite features of the room was the view from the room’s outdoor deck. The Signature View Resort Casita offered a view of Camelback mountain across a beautifully landscaped resort cactus garden.
My unit ended up being an end unit. While I was located next to a resort pathway, it wasn’t noisy and I wasn’t interrupted as a result of the location.
I would really enjoy the patio and outdoor deck area. The ability to enjoy a morning coffee outside against the backdrop of such a pleasant view of Camelback Mountain was particularly engaging.
In terms of sleep quality, the room was really quiet. I didn’t experience any wedding celebration noises, nor any noises from the surrounding guests. The JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa got top marks for a tranquil sleep.
Around the Hotel Property:
Among the best features of the resort property are the hotel grounds at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa. After arriving to the property, I took a walk around to orientate myself.
The JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Resort & Spa has among the most interesting resort grounds. As a mature property, there were robust and well landscaped gardens that displayed a strong variety of catcus.
Looking south from my room, I had views towards the Camelback Mountain and the main reception building. This was an exceptionally inspiring view to see whenever you walked towards the main buidling.
During my visit, there happened to be a wedding set up on the resort lawns. I didn’t stick around to see the nuptials, but all the guests appeared to be in a great mood.
Looking in a northerly direction, the resort is nestled against the upper mountains of the Camelback valley.
Walking south through the resort, guests to the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Resort & Spa are treated to terrific botanical gardens. I eventually arrived to the main lobby building, which contained a large outdoor patio and deck.
The JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Resort & Spa had wonderful grounds. There were a lot of things to look at, amid a very peaceful environment. Landscaped gardens were situated throughout, with the occasional interesting first nations sculpture.
I give the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Resort & Spa high marks for it’s grounds. It’s clear that the property takes a lot of pride in it’s appearance and upkeep, and it easily shows.
After a walk through the property, I went up to the Jack Rabbit Outdoor Pool. The Jack Rabbit Outdoor Pool was located in a central area in the middle of the resort.
The outdoor pool offered a substantial amount of deck space. Given that I was visiting in winter months, the pool area was pretty quiet in the late afternoon.
The Jack Rabbit Pool was a nice outdoor pool, although it was not the most exotic looking. You won’t find an exotic infiniti horizon pool feature. Instead, would describe it as much more old world glamorous with plenty of deck space and and nicely teared space against the hill.
The JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa also featured a smaller Adult Pool that was located a short tier down from the main pool. The deck was much smaller and more intimate.
Given that the sun was setting, I decided I would enjoy my few remaining hours of Scottsdale daylight by enjoying a margarita at the pool. I would end up taking sunset at the pool, which was a lovely orange colour this winter evening.
Hiking the Mummy Mountain Trail:
Tyner’s Hiking Trail:
The JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa offered a small hiking trail called the Tyner’s Hiking Trail located on the north side of the resort. On my morning of departure, I set out to check out the trail.
I started walking up the resort roadways at sunlight. I had to get directions to the trial head at the nearby spa. I eventually located the trial head, which was located behind the Mummy Mountain Cook Out area bbq stage (on the right).
The Tyner’s Hiking Trail offered a small twenty minute loop trail around the hills on the north side of the resort. The trail itself was 1,200 yards. The trail was a little rough on the shoes, and I’d recommend bringing proper running shoes or hiking shoes. Ability wise, it was a relatively easy up and down trail by West Coast hiking standards.
The views of Camelback Mountain were pretty inspirational. I’m not often surrounded by catcus at home, so it was a unique landscape to be surrounded by these prickly plants.
Food and Beverage:
Being a proper resort, there were quite a few options for dining on site. Given the resort’s location, everything in Scottsdale is a little way’s away from the resort by car. As a result, it’s likely you’ll spend some time eating on the property as a matter of convenience.
Lincoln Steakhouse and Bar:
The property’s flagship restaurant is the Lincoln Steakhouse and Bar. The restaurant is themed after “The Lincoln Red”; a famous English breed of cattle. It describes itself as “A tried-and-true steakhouse with a 21st-century stance, serving up locally sourced American cuisine, shareable plates and craft cocktails”.
The Lincoln Steakhouse and Bar is located just off the lobby reception. The hallway to the restaurant contains historic photographs of the Marriott family visiting the resort from times past.
I booked on reservation through Open Table for an easy additional 100 Open Table Points. I was happy to get a same day reservation for 8 PM on a Saturday night. Coming in from the Pacific Standard Time Zone, my schedule believed that it was 7 PM. I didn’t mind eating a little later.
The interior of the restaurant was modern contemporary, and what I would imagine a steakhouse to be in the South West.
Being a modern steakhouse, there were quite a few options on the menu. There were also substantial choices of wine by the glass, which was perfect for someone like me that was dining alone.
I always enjoy the larger portions of food in the United States. Taking this into account, I ordered lightly. I went with a flat iron steak with JW Garden Chimichurri Sauce, along with a side of green chili mac and cheese, and a glass of deep velvety red Justin Cabernet Sauvignon wine from Paso Robles, California, USA
I was presented with a vertical bread tasting, with whipped butter. It was absolutely devine, and crumbly like a croissant.
The ten ounce flat iron steak was presented and cooked to medium, along with the green chili macaroni and cheese. It was perfectly cooked. The JW Chimichurri Sauce was also really tasty, and added some zip to the steak.
I can’t even begin to comment how enjoyable and rich this macaroni and cheese was; super tasty, luxuriously creamy and tasty with bread crumbs and snipped chives over top of it. It was exquisite.
The service at the Lincoln Steakhouse was excellent. I was asked twice, by both my server and the manager if the steak was cooked to my liking. During my evening, I was addressed by my surname at each and every point of contact.
All in all, I really enjoyed the Lincoln Steakhouse and Bar. It’s wonderfully suitable for a fine dining special occasion where you don’t have worry about driving afterwards along with their great selection of wine.
Rita’s Cantina and Bar:
Marriott Bonvoy Elite Platinum Breakfast
The next morning, after enjoying a morning coffee on the beautiful Siganture View Resort Casita patio, I wandered down to Rita’s Cantina and Bar for breakfast.
Rita’s Cantina and Bar was located off the lobby. There was a short wait to be seated when I arrived on Sunday morning at 10 AM but it wasn’t more than five minutes.
My table for one had a great outdoor view of the grounds, along with unlimited fresh coffee.
My breakfast was courtesy of Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status. At the time of my visit, the elite breakfast benefit included a continental breakfast, with the option to upgrade to. the regular buffet breakfast for $6 USD. This was an easy decision.
The rest of the menu also looked pretty interesting and engaging, with south western favorites like huervos rancheros, smashed avocado toast and breakfast quesadilla.
I opted for the full buffet breakfast to get enough food for my homeward journey. I enjoyed a Rita’s Speciality Omelet; 2 eggs, chorizo, pepper jack and cilantro which was prepared from the omelette bar.
The breakfast buffet contained everything that you could imagine from a large weekend breakfast buffet. There was tasty shredded hashbrowns, mexi fries, sausage links along with cheeses, fresh fruit,
I really enjoyed the Rita’s Speciality Omelette. I topped it off with some guacamole, fresh salsa and a good sausage link for good measure.
The omelette was super tasty and I left feeling pretty satisfied. The check was only $6 USD, along with additional gratuity.
Breakfast Brunch with bubbles was just getting going on the outdoor deck when I left Rita’s Cantina for Breakfast. While I didn’t get the opportunity to enjoy, it looked worthwhile enough to return in the future!
Hopping Jacks’ Poolside Dining:
The resort also featured Hopping Jack’s Poolside dining. The property featured the usual poolside favourites. As indicated upstream, I particularly enjoyed the Mummy Mountain Margarita.
Checking Out of the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa:
I had a friendly check out the next day with a 1 PM check out. At check out, the bill was presented and was all in order.
I drove back towards Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport for a visit to the American Express Escape Lounge – A Centurion Studio Partner, Phoenix, prior to my onward flight home.
The Bottom Line: The JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa
The JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa was a legacy stay in what I’d imagine to be the most old world resort property in the Marriott Resort Portfolio.
The rooms are configured in an older style, but are all nicely renovated. The hotel grounds are remarkably beautiful, and there are easy walking trails around the property suitable for almost all ages. The dining options on the property were very pleasant, and despite spending a few dollars, there was some value for money hidden in there. It is indeed the place “Where Time Stands Still”.
I’d mark this JW Marriott as a place to visit for those not looking to travel all the way to Mexico or South East Asia, that are looking for a larger resort experience.
What a fabulous looking place. The views and planting are very different from those that I’m used to here in the South of England! The sunset shot is great, a very enjoyable read.
The Scottsdale area in Arizona, USA seems to have a lot of interesting vegetation. It was certainly a highlight of staying at the property, especially one that has this much history to it.
Thanks for reading ThingsHelenLoves.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi, Great review which made me to change our existing reservation 🙂 already booked desert ridge but now I want to try out this one cause it looks more relaxing and welcoming and also can give us the cozy feeling what we really prefer instead of a huge, crowded luxury hotel. I’m looking forward to experience what this beautiful resort can offer! Btw I thought you don’t get complimentary upgrade in Scottsdale, this was the negative point why i did not check this one before. Thank you for your review.
Best of luck with your travels Greenysi. The JW Scottsdale does feel pretty resort like and welcoming. During my visit, despite a wedding occurring on site, it still felt pretty uncrowded.
Thanks for reading.