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Lonely in Phoenix? This hotel offers goldfish room service

The rooftop pool at the Hotel Palomar Phoenix.

Hotel Palomar Phoenix
2 East Jefferson St., Phoenix;; 242 rooms from $249.

When Canadian weather is at its worst, an escape to the sunny Sonoran Desert and the arid beauty of Arizona's mesa is in order. Head to the palm-lined streets of Phoenix and you'll find Hotel Palomar, a new boutique hotel that combines both urban pleasures and stunning views of South Mountain Park.

Location, Location

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From all accounts, downtown Phoenix was once quite desolate after business hours. But in the last few years, the city has spent $4-billion (U.S.) on revitalizing and repopulating the downtown. CityScape – two pedestrian-friendly city blocks of retail and restaurants – is part of the rebirth, and Kimpton's Hotel Palomar Phoenix is right in the middle of it all. When you're out exploring the town, stop at the James Beard award-winning Pizzeria Bianco, housed in an old machine shop on Heritage Square and the popular local lunch spot Chloe's Corner, with its 50-cent cup of coffee.


The second-floor lobby lounge is like a cozy living room, take your morning coffee here or stop by during the complimentary wine hour for drinks. A bright green chandelier – which looks a bit like an upside down ocotillo (desert coral) – adds punch to the floor's more subdued desert colours. On the unseasonably chilly afternoon I was there, a roaring fire was welcome, too.

The rooms are modern, sleek and comfortable, with quirky elements such as some still-standing laws you'll find written on the inside of the armoires ("Donkeys can't sleep in bathtubs"). The outdoors is incorporated inside my room as well, a lamp base replicates the Palo Verdi tree and a cactus wren sculpture evokes Arizona's state bird.

Even the squiggly design in the rug conjures up the image of a snake in the sand.

Whom you'll meet

During the week, you'll find mostly youngish professionals – serious during their daytime conferences, more relaxed in the evenings, especially during that daily free wine hour. Weekends bring locals on staycations.

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Room with a view

The one-bedroom suites facing west offer the best sunset views – and the 10th-floor presidential suite is ideal for sun rise.

Eat in or eat out?

Although room service is friendly and quick – my granola and pot of coffee took only 20 minutes – I liked the inexpensive nosh served next door at the Breakfast Club. Keep an eye out for pro-ball players who, I'm told, come here for freshly squeezed juices and high-protein breakfasts. (It's close enough to Chase Field and the U.S. Airways Center – home to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns.) As for dinner, a table next to the big windows at the hotel's Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails is ideal. Sit at the long wooden tables and order from a smorgasbord of tapas. Wait staff brought out cheddar scallion biscuits with quail eggs, pulled pork on johnny cakes, caramel popcorn with touch of ancho chile and diver scallops on a bed of pistachio guacamole.

One thing to change?

I would offer a bathtub in all the rooms, not just the suites. Mine had a shower only and I longed for a relaxing bath after my early morning flight from Toronto.

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Best amenity

For those who are lonely, a goldfish can be ordered as your overnight guest. It's very quiet and won't hog the covers. Perfect.

The writer stayed as a guest of the hotel.

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