The Clarendon Hotel Phoenix Arizona

The Clarendon Hotel Phoenix Arizona

The Clarendon Hotel Phoenix Arizona

Just slightly north of the downtown core, The Clarendon Hotel is nestled away in a quiet neighbourhood. It’s the perfect spot to step back in time all while enjoying modern amenities and design. I was originally drawn to its midcentury vibe only to discover it was actually built in 1972! That might explain the artful use of mirrors vertically throughout the stone facade. A little further research and I discovered that a journalist by the name of Don Bolles was murdered outside the hotel when a bomb was placed under his car in June of 1976. One of my favourite attributes a hotel can possess is the intrigue of having a rich history, just like the Hotel Congress in Tucson. I swear these hotels find me! Anyway, I very much enjoyed staying at the Clarendon Hotel Phoenix Arizona, and here’s why:

Breakfast at Tranquilo

Question: What’s better than a hotel with a restaurant attached to it? Answer: A GOOD restaurant that serves Mexican food. And that’s exactly what Tranquilos is. The horchatas are perfection, the service was amazing, and the menu was super flexible for dietary options (hello vegetarian choices!). If that wasn’t enough, we even saw Aquaman dining one morning. 

Unlimited Snacks

If you’re aren’t sated from the delicious menu of Tranquilos, not to worry! The Clarendon Hotel offers a wide variety of complementary snacks from the concierge desk. I can confirm that I was a regular visitor of this endless candy counter. Any offer of a peanut butter cup and I’m there. 

Location, Location, Location!

The location of accommodations directly affects what kind of trip you will have. If the hotel is far from everything, the trip will be spent commuting to the places you want to be. Fortunately, The Clarendon Hotel Phoenix Arizona is, dare I say, the perfect location. Keeping a mindful distance from the downtown core where parking can be a real nuisance, especially during the event of a cattle convention (true story.) Not only is there covered parking for the hotel (which turns out is pretty important in the desert heat) but also ample street parking as well. In addition to that, it’s quick and easy to get to a number of notable spots within Phoenix. 

The Suite Life

Any hotel suite that comes with a full closet, a fridge, and a sitting area is alright with me. The Clarendon goes one step further by having their suites situated all around the courtyard pool, and that is a true delight. I love being close to the water! Aside from that, another feature I was stoked on was all the storage space for my toiletries. I know this sounds like a minor detail but as a person who travels with a few many products, it’s nice to have somewhere to put them that isn’t in the way. 

PRODUCTS I TRAVELLED WITH

Speaking of the few many products I travelled with… here’s a couple things on the shelves that I particularly love:

TOP SHELF
EVA NYC clean it up shampoo / soften it up conditioner – c/o
BIODERMA Sensibio H2O Make-up Removing Miceller – c/o

SECOND SHELF
NARS afterglow lip balm in orgasm – c/o
GLOSSIER haloscope in quartz – c/o
NUDE BY NATURE moisture shine lipstick 05 pale coral – c/o

THIRD SHELF
SKINCEUTICALS Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF50 – c/o
SKINCEUTICALS C E Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment – c/o
ESSIE nail polishes – c/o

FOURTH SHELF
THE WITCHERY cedar oil – c/o
KIEHL’S midnight recovery concentrate – c/o
IMAGE SKINCARE the max stem cell creme – c/o

FIFTH SHELF
SAJE exotic deodorant spray
OUAI hair oil – c/o (this is one of the few things from the line that I like the smell of)
SHEA MOISTURE 100% pure shea oil – c/o
IMAGE SKINCARE the max stem cell facial cleanser – c/o

The Outdoor Amenities

Duuuuuuuuuuuude. As I mentioned before, the courtyard pool is one of the dreamiest features of the Clarendon. After a day exploring the city, coming back to luxuriate in the hot tub was the best. There was always the option to make a visit to the rooftop deck with a view of downtown Phoenix instead. I would recommend both at least once. 🙂

The Clarendon Hotel Phoenix Arizona

And that is the Clarendon Hotel Phoenix Arizona! As a person who visits the state at least once a year, I love continuing to discover new spots to share. For more Arizona related content check out my posts here. And for more travel in general, peep my travel section.

photographs – Jesse Sand + Sandy Joe Karpetz

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ON THE ROAD | Reykjavik Residence Suites

ON THE ROAD | Reykjavik Residence Suites

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Reykjavik Residence Suites

Now that IcelandAir has resumed services to Edmonton, it’s a great time to start considering stopping there on the way to Europe! Reykjavik is a gorgeous city that I had the pleasure of spending three days in. While I was there, I stayed at the quaint and centrally located Reykjavik Residence Suites. To say I felt right at home is an understatement. The Reykjavik Residence Hotel has a plethora of housing options from studios to three bedroom suites. They can easily accommodate small and large parties. I was a party of one but was fortunate enough to get a taste of a spacious two bedroom with a red velvet couch. Sigh. Keep scrolling for the highlights of my stay at the Reykjavik Residence Suites.

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Breakfast In A Basket

Every day while I was out, a basket was delivered to my fridge. It was full of delicious Icelandic made provisions as well as the basics to make a truly wonderful sandwich. A fresh loaf of bread from the Sandholt Bakery was hanging in a tote bag on my door handle every morning. Sandholt opened in 1920 and is the oldest bakery in Iceland; it’s still family run. I could have eaten a dozen slices plain. A bread so good it doesn’t need anything on it! Back to the breakfast basket, it has lava crackers, jam from native berries from Iceland, and tea! In addition to hard boiled eggs, cheese slices, fresh tomatoes etc. A perfect continental breakfast is just one thing to expect from the Reykavik Residence Suites! 🙂 They’re even able to accommodate food allergies or dietary preferences like vegans and vegetarians. How much do you love this hotel?

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In the Heart of Reykjavik

Reykjavik is a coastal town on the western part of Iceland. The majority of the city is on a peninsula and is incredibly walkable. If you’re unfamiliar with the city, then Reykjavik Residence Suites is a great place to begin your exploration. It’s central to everything! From the Hallgrimskirkja, the famous modern and foreboding cathedral, to several noteable museums, the Sandholt bakery, and all the boutique shops and cafes on street. It’s also two (short) blocks away from the water. The Blue Lagoon bus even stops right at the hotel too which made my jetlagged life so much easier. Getting stressed out about transportation is the last thing I want to do before going to relax in blue water.

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Like Home But Better

Both rooms I had the pleasure of staying in were both cozy and spacious. It was like being at home but better. The beds were super cozy, the extra blankets were a nice touch. I was in Iceland after all and it was chilly, make no mistake. I made use of the extra blankets and bath robe while cozying up on my choice of couches. The red velvet was probably my favourite. Also, they were kind enough to include a full length mirror in the suite. This is a feature that is shockingly absent in many hotel rooms to my frustration and annoyance. The en suite kitchen and grande bathroom with the massive walk in shower was practical and decadent.

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the infamous Sandholt Bakery bag delivered by some sweet bread elves 🙂

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Reykjavik Residence Suites

After that relaxing stay, I’m visualizing my next trip to Iceland hoping to manifest it sooner than later! This time I’ll have to check out their Early in the Morning restaurant and book their personal driver to squire me from the airport to the hotel. They offer all the most useful amenities to tired international travelers. For more information, head on over to their website here. And check back soon for my upcoming weekend in Reykjavik post!

photographs – Sandy Joe Karpetz

Many thanks to the Reykjavik Residence Suites for hosting us on this stay!

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ON THE ROAD | The Sacajawea Hotel

ON THE ROAD | The Sacajawea Hotel

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The Sacajawea Hotel

Historic hotels have always held a soft spot in my heart since growing up in a home from the turn of the century. It’s an even bigger treat when a historical hotel has been restored to their former glory and updated to modern times too! The Sacajawea Hotel in Three Forks, Montana is both of those things and more! It’s a landmark hotel opened in 1910 to accomodate the traffic from the booming railroad. By the early 200’s, it was boarded up and in disrepair. Thankfully the Folkvord’s, a 3rd generation Montanan family, spent 8 months resurrecting the original grandeur. It was then reopened in 2009 to host guests year round. Keep scrolling to see my stay at the Sacajawea Hotel!

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Arriving at The Sacajawea Hotel

This is the second American Historical Hotel I’ve had the pleasure of staying at (you may recall my post on the Hotel Congress Tucson, AZ) and it did not disappoint! The stunning facade was just as gorgeous in person as in photos. We entered the warm and impeccably decorated lobby and were greeted warmly by the staff.  The second we stepped inside we were immediately offered a warm facecloth infused with lavender. A small but immensely wonderful gesture after having driven through a snow storm on Christmas Eve. A hot cocoa later, we were checking into room 305.

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The Royal Treatment

Our first night we enjoyed some prosecco in the king sized sleigh bed. The chocolate covered strawberries were a real treat for us road weary travelers, not to mention the massive walk in shower! (We’ll get to that in a minute!) Each night there was a little piece of huckleberry chocolate waiting on our pillows too.

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No Bad Views

Every window we looked out revealed a picturesque view of Montana. When the snowstorm cleared, we were able to see the Tabacco Root Mountains from our room! That’s part of the Rocky Mountain range that we love and enjoy in Jasper & Banff! Out another window, you can see the old train station too. The snow just added to the magic coziness that Three Forks exudes.

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Location, Location, Location!

The Sacajawea Hotel is located in such a prime spot. Three Forks is a short drive to Bozeman, Montana; a hub of local eateries, cute stores, and the most adorable main street you have ever seen! (I’ll be posting about it soon enough so check back for more on that). The Sac is also an hour and a half drive to West Yellowstone, a gateway to the infamous park. Being in the area of such geothermal activity means that Three Forks is also near a myriad of hot springs: Bozeman, Norris, and Boulder hot springs to name a few!

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Bathroom Goals

The second I saw the wainscotting in the bathroom, I was ready to move in! Not to mention the giant square pedestal sink and an abundance of fluffy towels. They even had lip balm in addition to the normal toiletries one gets at a hotel. If there is one thing you need in Montana during the winter, it’s definitely lip balm!

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Breakfast in Bed

The Sacajawea Hotel does their continental breakfast a little different than any other hotel I’ve ever stayed at. It arrives on a tray at your door! Or wherever else in the hotel you choose to dine. A card with delicious options is filled out the evening before and it arrives at your specified time! There’s even a tea and coffee bar on the second floor so we were able to make our own London Fogs every morning.

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The Property

The grounds surrounding the Sacajawea Hotel are extensive. Since they host many events on their property, they have maximized their entertaining space. Starting with a gorgeous back porch illuminated from above with strung lights which leads to a tented area. You may have seen a dreamy wedding or two on their Instagram feed! In the summertime they host a cocktail hour on their wraparound deck. I may have to plan a return visit to get the full experience of the Sac year round! On the second floor is where The Spa is located. They even recently opened separate cottages for those seeking a little more privacy and space.  Find out more about booking a room at the Sacajawea Hotel. Did I mention there’s two places to eat and drink within the hotel too? You’ll never have to leave!

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Pompey’s Grill & The Sacajawea Bar

Want to grab a delicious meal in Three Forks? You don’t even have to leave the hotel to have a full fine dining experience. Pompey’s Grill, is conveniently located across from the main lobby and offers some truly delightful cuisine. Check back next week for a full Food Coma post featuring this dreamy eatery! The Sacajawea Bar in the basement of the hotel is the place to go for live music, dancing, and of course delicious bar food too! Montana is home to some incredible breweries so be sure to try some local craft beers at The Sac as well.

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Take a Road Trip!

This was one of the best roadtrips for gorgeous scenery I have ever been on. The picturesque drive through the mountains of Montana only to arrive at this stunning hotel. What more could you want? There are so many things to do and see in Montana and we just scratched the surface! I can’t wait to plan my next getaway to Montana. A trip which will have to include a stop at the Sacajawea Hotel, if only for an order of their fried cheese curds from the Sac Bar!

photographs – Jesse Sand & Sandy Karpetz

Many thanks to The Folkvord Family at the Sacajawea Hotel for hosting us on this stay!

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ON THE ROAD | A Weekend at the Hotel Arts

ON THE ROAD | A Weekend at the Hotel Arts

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Driving down to Calgary may only be a three hour time commitment but the stark contrast in the change of scenery makes you feel as though you are worlds away. There are a number of different neighbourhoods to check out, the downtown core is so impressive with the looming skyscrapers giving that infinite tunnel feeling when you cross the street and look down the road, and of course, there is the luxurious Hotel Arts to rest your head at the end of the day when you’re done exploring.

Walking into the lobby, you’re greeted with a lengthy blown glass grand light fixture that looks suspiciously like a collection of the most delicious sweets. There’s a dual sided fire place flanked with ample seating on either side as well as a delightful view of the outdoor pool which also features a smattering of art pieces along the patio. There is no shortage to the intricate sculptures peppered throughout the hotel; there is always something more you can look at!

Hotel Arts is also home to two exceptional restaurants – Yellow Door Bistro, a breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner spot as well as the Raw Bar a modern take on Vietnamese cuisine one can enjoy from 4pm and on. The cocktails at the latter are quite a delight.

All of that sound pretty great to you? Then keep on scrolling for some accompanying visuals:

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The most important part of checking into a hotel is immediately throwing on a robe and cozying up the crisp bed sheets… especially if the room you’re in happens to be at the Hotel Arts. The pillows are heavenly and I love that a king size bed allows you the option to sleep length or width wise. What a decadent treat compared to my lil double at home.

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Have you heard of Skoah? They originally started in Vancouver in 2001 as the antithesis of a typical spa. Since then, they have grown immensely opening more locations as well as creating their own product line comprised of rich natural oils. That product line, my friend, are the bath products stocked at Hotel Arts. Their minty body wash and cream will have you tingly clean and loving every minute of it while you indulge yourself in the marble walled bathroom. Sigh.

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Another wonderful amenity the Hotel Arts offers is a bike borrowing program complete with helmets and locks. There is no better way to discover a city and all of its green spaces than being able to bike around it at your leisure. We packed up our picnic lunches from the Yellow Door Bistro (they do takeaway!) and headed down to the bike paths along the Bow River for some people watching, sandwich eating, sun soaked good times.

Calgary has a well organized bike lane system through its core and luckily for us hesitant cyclists, one of the bike lane thoroughfares runs right in front of the Hotel Arts. We were on the path and by the river in no time while cruising on our cute borrowed Brooklyn Bicycles.

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The Pink Lemonade from the Yellow Door Bistro was simply wonderful on a sunny afternoon in Calgary.

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Staying at the Hotel Arts is the perfect mixture of being beside the downtown core but also in an eclectic area with independent restaurants and cafes. It’s safe to say I love the Beltline area in Calgary! Every thing you could ever want is within a reasonable walking distance… including my favourite haunt 10 Foot Henry – it’s legit across the street from Hotel Arts.

photographs – Jesse Sand & Sandy Karpetz

Many thanks to Tourism Calgary for hosting us on this stay!

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ON THE ROAD | Lodge K Marrakech

ON THE ROAD | Lodge K Marrakech

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Back in March, I embarked on a trip to Africa. Morocco hadn’t really been a place that was on my radar until my adventurous friend Emily decided to pack up her life and move there to teach. Her sporadic updates and photographs over the past year were enough to convince me that I had better get there to experience it for myself. Two connections later I landed in Marrakech exhausted and astounded by their gorgeous airport. First stop: Lodge K Hotel and Spa.

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Lodge K is an oasis hidden away from the bustle of the Medina. When you drive through the gates, you’re transported to a tropical dream land complete with a spa hidden under a grassy hill which evokes thoughts of hobbit living. Each of the 5 tented suites has it’s own theme – we stayed in the Balinais room and it was a decadent dream. We were greeted with a full fruit spread and a massive tub after a day wandering around the centre as well as our own private pool.

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We were treated to a spa day as well. The day started off with a facial that was MIND BLOWING – both Emily and I agreed we had experienced nothing like it thus far. The whole treatment was created around fresh local ingredients; we essentially could have eaten everything that was applied to our face. Some of the highlights were a banana based mask, having our face rubbed with ice cubes, and most interestingly a technique of applying argan oil before a face mask.

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The facial was followed up with my very first Hammam experience. If you’re wondering, a Hammam is akin to a Turkish bath. We were washed with black soap, scrubbed down with the Moroccan mud and an abrasive glove, rinsed, then treated to some acrobatic yoga in a giant steam room. Life. Changing. (If you’re curious to learn more, my partner in crime Emily made a youtube video HERE)

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Night time by the pool was so relaxing – everything about the lodge was serene.

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Lunch was served poolside with each dish more delicious than the last. We started with some Moroccan rosé wine paired with lobster and a gooseberry garnish, followed by a main of fish which was so tender, and finally a chocolate dessert. No meal is complete without a glass of the famous Moroccan mint tea.

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When anyone asks me what I thought of Morocco, the first words out of my mouth are “life changing” which is what I’ve repeatedly said in this post and has a lot to do with the wonderful hospitality we experienced staying at Lodge K. After staying there, my relaxation level was at the super chill sunglasses emoji face. I cannot wait to return.

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ON THE ROAD | Hotel Congress Tucson

ON THE ROAD | Hotel Congress Tucson

Standing prominently on the corner of Congress Street and Toole Avenue is the legendary Hotel Congress, a Tucson gem. Built in 1919, this historical landmark is home to a music venue, restaurant, and a few happy haunts.

Last month, my sister and I were lucky enough to spend a couple nights in room 223 while experiencing all that the Hotel Congress and old Tucson had to offer.

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Not only is each room is outfitted in antique furniture, the washrooms have original fixtures. I could not get enough of the porcelain soaker tub or the tile floor. The verbena scented soap was a real treat too.

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Each time we had a minute to relax, I immediately flopped on the super comfy bed (complete with antique iron bedframe) and read Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen’s latest offering. It felt fitting considering how many bands have rolled through the Club Congress. Highly recommend this for a vacation read if you’re a fan of The Boss.

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Hotel Congress is home to many quirky details… the penny floor is a prime example. Comprised of 177,000 pennies, this distinct floor is in the Cup Cafe and is quite a sight to behold, not to mention an excellent place to take a shoe selfie.

The hotel also has a pretty fascinating history that they cover in a succinct timeline here. Hint John Dillinger may or may not be involved in their legendary existence.

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If the rooms weren’t already amazing enough with their antique decor, vintage show posters, and ultra comfy beds…. their snack bar is thoughtfully curated as well. Katie and I immediately fell in love with the packaging of the Prickly Pear Cactus Candy. Can confirm that the packaging is just as magnificent as the actual jelly candy itself. So good that Katie couldn’t even wait 5 minutes to bite one before I took the shot.

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Katie and I managed to swan around to Tiger’s bar, the back patio, and to Club Congress to see the locals and all the interesting characters in town for the Tucson Rock & Gem Show. Katie was wearing an eye patch all the while as she was having some complications with her eyeball. Our official story was that she got into a fight with a polar bear; we’re from Canada after all.

After a long day of rock shopping and an evening of the craziest karaoke I have ever experienced (and I’ve been to Japan!) it was nice to take a leisurely soak in the tub.

No evening at the Congress would be complete without a little haunting though. As I drifted off to sleep listening to the club hits of the 90s playing in the distance in the bar, I felt someone sit on my feet at the foot of the bed. Katie was comatose in the bed beside me, so I knew it wasn’t her. Rather than take off my sleep mask and have a peek (I’m such a wuss) I slowly moved my legs over to the other side of the bed. Problem solved! Here’s an overview of some of the alleged haunts in the building.

 

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For breakfast we headed down to the Cup Cafe located off the lobby right in the hotel. Besides the awesome penny floor, the food and service were unbelievable. Their Eggs Benedict blew my mind and I’m sure the horchatta latte would have too had they not of run out of horchatta 🙁 – I guess I’ll just have to go back to make sure!

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The bar in Club Congress was originally from another bar in Tucson called Talk of The Town and it is definitely nice enough to write home about. It’s all about the details! The embossed booths, the cowboy patterned curtains, even the lighting!

I had first heard of the Hotel Congress when my pals from The Wet Secrets played a show there. I wasn’t able to attend but my parents made sure to make an appearance. They repeatedly told me of the Congress and how I would love it; they weren’t wrong.

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Our last experience at the hotel had to be in their photobooth complete with my one-eyed sister, Katie rocking her eye patch with all the flare. I can’t wait till I’m in Tucson next to stop by for a horchatta latte…. or maybe even another haunted sleep!

Want more info? Check out their website and Instagram.

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