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Alvadora Spa at Royal Palms


<p>The Valencia casitas are cozy, with leather chairs that invite you to settle in by the fire.  For people who like more spacious rooms with super-fabulous baths, Montavista overlooks a tiered courtyard and reflecting pool.  This is also where spas lovers will find the Spa Terrace rooms, with a canopied day bed that conceals a table so you can get treatments in your room.  The bathroom has a wonderful deep soaking tub and steam shower, and beyond that the bedroom has a fireplace and terrace that offers the property's most spectacular views of Camelback Mountain.

<p>While getting a treatment in your room can be nice, it would be a shame to miss out on the magical atmosphere of Alvadora Spa.  Everywhere you look there is something beautiful -- outdoor fireplaces, a tiled fountain in a Moorish Courtyard, Spanish-Colonial folk paintings. I was greeted by a therapist with a warm, scented neck roll, which felt wonderful, and the 60-minute massage ($125 Mon.-Thurs., $135 Fri.-Sat.) was deeply therapeutic.  

<p>I was having neck and shoulder problems (what else is new?) and the therapist was able to get significant release that I felt both at the time and the next day.  I helped out by getting there early to immerse myself in the warm outdoor plunge pool, take a cool outdoors shower, then head off to the eucalyptus steam room.   I like that all the treatments are 60 and 90 minutes long instead of 50 and 80 minutes, so you don't feel rushed.

If I were going on a honeymoon, a babymoon, an anniversary blowout, or trysting with a lover, there's no place I'd rather land than Alvadora Spa at Royal Palms in Phoenix. With winding paths that transport you past a grove of orange trees and Mexican-style fountains, this Spanish Colonial-style resort is the most romantic and intimate of Arizona's famous spas.

Part of the charm is its history. Set on the southern side of Camelback Mountain in an expensive neighborhood, Royal Palms was originally a 1929 mansion built as a winter home by a New York City financier who loved Spain.

In the 1940s it became an inn, named for the stately row of palms that still line the entrance, and attracted stars like Groucho Marx. In the 1990s new owners spent a fortune to make it an ultra-luxurious property that today has 117 casitas, guestrooms and suites, including a Presidential Villa where actual presidents stay. Alvadora Spa at Royal Palms

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