THE BACKGROUND: Part of the Starwood hotel group, the AAA Four Diamond Resort opened in 2002. It is one of several five-star resorts in Scottsdale – but one of the most family friendly and innovative, with a big reputation for its excellent cuisine.
WHERE IS IT? Ten miles from historic downtown Scottsdale, on the edge of the Sonoran desert. The Westin Kierland is an easy 30-minute ($50 taxi) transfer from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport.
THE ROOM: One of 732 rooms, 55 suites and 32 casitas my standard room had a king-size bed, 40-inch flat screen TV, a Heavenly bed with 300-thread Egyptian cotton sheets, coffee machine and great views of the golf course and mountains beyond. WiFi was available ($6.95 for four hours).
RESTAURANT: Deseo, meaning 'desire' in Spanish, serves Latin (Nuevo) American-influenced cuisine, including seafood prepared in Cerviche style – that’s marinated in citrus and coriander. Diners watch the colourful plates being prepared from The Rail, a counter surrounding the 'exhibition kitchen'. There's an upmarket lobby bar and The Waltz & Weiser Saloon, a sports bar-style pub and grill. At the adjoining golf club, the Brittlebrush Bar and Grill has a new Scottish-influenced menu.
THE FACILITIES: Agarve, The Arizona Spa, has ‘traditional native treatments'', fitness options like yoga classes, walks and a ‘Desert Renewal Hike’, a moderate three-mile hike to the base of the Mcdowell Mountains. A water park has several swimming pools and a water slide. Unique features of the resort's golf course include segways instead of golf carts, kilts for hire – a nod to the game’s early roots – and a drinks trolley serving Johnny Walker whisky. Kierland Commons, a major upmarket mall, is located across the street, with stores such as Banana Republic and Tommy Bahama.
RECOMMEND TO: Families with kids. The Westin Kids’ Club (4-12) runs a daily programme, with activities like Kids in the Kitchen, which sees children don the chef whites to take direction from the resort's culinary staff.
THE COST: A year-round ‘Better Tomorrow’ offer is sold through UK tour operators. For every night paid at the regular rate, the next nights qualify for 50% off. Minimum stay is four nights. Try BA Holidays, Virgin Holidays, North America Travel Service, Gold Medal, Jetsave and Funway Holidays.
THE DETAILS: 6902 East Greenway Parkway, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85354, USA. Tel: +1 480 624 1000
The Westin Kierland is classy but informal and comfortable. Its many different restaurants, bars – smart and sporty – spa, golf course, kids' focus, and across-the-street multi-store mall make this a great recommendation.
By Steve Hartridge