Talking Stick Resort Grand Ballroom Show Review | Scottsdale, Arizona

I drive past the Talking Stick Resort every day on my way to work.  It looks like a nice resort from the distance.  Recently, I had concert tickets in the Grand Ballroom.  The tickets were more expensive than some of the intimate shows (small venue) that I have been to lately.  The majority of the ticket price was venue fees that nearly doubled the ticket price.

Rock concert or Get Rich Quick Seminar?

Walking in, I felt like I was at a get-rich-quick seminar, not a rock concert.  Ahh, the trick to get rich quick is to overcharge for venue fees and pocket the money.

Before the show started, we were treated to 30 minutes of sound check, which they never really got right.  As the performer was on “stage”, she had to do another sound check before the first and second song which helped to reduce the distortion.  This room was not designed for music, the sound was horrible, and everyone talking near the bars and doors overwhelmed the performance.

In order to fit more people into this ridiculous space, never intended for music, they sold standing room only seating.  At least they could see the stage.  The seating area is flat and level (not graduated or stadium seating)  combined with a low stage, meant that we could only see the temporary rigging for the lights and speakers mounted to the ceiling.

Minor offenses include, the usher tried to sit us in someone else’s seats, no announcement or explanation of the 40 minute delay, and lack of signs to find the Ballroom rather than the Showroom.  The nicest thing that I can say is that the seat rows were spaced far enough apart to walk past people sitting, some venues you practically have to climb over people the rows are so close.

Cash bars were located at each end of the ballroom.  Drinks were posted as $7 each.  We ordered 2 drinks, a single and a “double” that by my math should be $21 (highway robbery), but Talking Stick F-you math is $25.50, no receipt. Hmmm, a little much for tiny, water-down drinks.

Bottom line, I will NEVER give this place another cent!  It was the worst, overpriced, terrible venue that I have ever been to.  I could go on and on, about how bad this place was, but I have spent far to much time and money on Talking Stick Resort to last me a lifetime!

Luxurious Spa Avania in Hyatt Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona

This time of year can be stressful, we are in a rush to finish projects before year-end, family travelling or just providing the extra “drama” to the day, crowds and traffic for holiday shopping, and many other unpleasant activities.  If you are looking for a great way to relax and recoup your energy, then book an appointment at Spa Avania at Hyatt Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale!  Also a great present if you want to give the gift of relaxing.  The spa offers Arizona residents discounts on certain services, and it is a beautiful resort for our out-of-town visitors (or locals that need a staycation).

Spa Avania gift certificates were part of my Birthday present this year, and today I needed a facial!  Previously, I enjoyed the best deep tissue massage of my life here and the facial was pretty darn good, too.

Spa Avania entrance, Resort lobby to the left
Spa Avania entrance, Resort lobby to the left

Updated August 2015 – During an amazing day of group pool time, eating, and treatments here, several friends commented that it is difficult to find the spa.  Spa Avania and the mineral pool (pictured below) are located in a stand alone building, southeast from the lobby across from the front parking area. Continue reading “Luxurious Spa Avania in Hyatt Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona”

Hotel Monte Vista Flagstaff

I love unique, boutique-style hotels. Hotels will a bit of history are even better. The Monte Vista is a four story, red brick hotel with a rich history located in downtown Flagstaff, Arizona.  Typical for buildings of this age, the rooms are small, but decorated for full use of the space.  It was built in 1926 and was visited by old-Hollywood actors, many have rooms named after them. We stayed across from the Jane Russell room, due to a last minute booking. Next time, we will plan better and that Bob Hope room will be mine!

The hotel is off of the famous Route 66 (which offers its own sight-seeing and history), walking distance from NAU campus, near the Amtrak train station, a short drive to Snow Bowl, 81 miles south of the Grand Canyon, and very close to some of my favorite hiking trails!

Flagstaff is a great place to visit year-round.  It is a refreshing place to cool off in the summer, at nearly 7,000 ft elevation.  Be sure to avoid NAU graduation (usually early May) and homecoming (end of October), as these weekends tend to be crowded and expensive.

Arizona Inn | Tucson’s Best Boutique Hotel

The idea for this blog originates while my Sister and I were lounging by the pool at Tucson’s Arizona Inn. Discussions turned to the “what are some fun activities around here?” from several Canadian families visiting, as well as the pool staff who were new to Arizona. We mentioned some of our favorite sights and activities for the area, which grew into all of the cool things “off the beaten path” in the Wild West! My Sister and I started a short list of things close by, and as we relaxed our definition of “close by” the list grew to several pages long. Several months have passed and the list just keeps growing.

It is only appropriate that I start off with Arizona Inn, where the spark began! Arizona Inn is a gem hidden away in the heart of Tucson, Arizona just minutes away from University of Arizona.

Arizona Inn interior room

The 1930’s resort has a vintage Hollywood style from the immaculate grounds for croquet to the classic swimming pool. The casita-style rooms have a simple charm for the ultimate relaxing vacation. Many of the rooms have a private patio for total seclusion.

Arizona Inn hotel room Patio
Arizona Inn hotel room Patio

This little hide-away is perfect for a mid-week break, or to celebrate that special anniversary.  Room rates are reduced in summer for a great price and tons of seclusion!  Any time of year, Arizona Inn is wonderful.

Arizona Inn Pool

 During Summer, the Inn provides an Ice Cream Sundae bar pool side. They offer a variety of flavors, hot fudge & syrups, nuts, sprinkles, and a wide assortment of toppings. There is nothing more decadent than eating a custom made Ice Cream concoction by the pool!

Lovely Summer day at the Arizona Inn Boutique Hotel of Tucson, Arizona
Arizona Inn