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Oyster Hotel Review
A wonderful hotel. A wonderful resort? Not quite.
In order to appreciate FireSky -- and it is a hotel worth appreciating -- one must first accept that it is not a resort in the same way that Boulders or The Sanctuary or the Westin Kierland is. Located in Downtown Scottsdale, amidst Phoenix's ever-expanding suburban sprawl, FireSky's 196 guestrooms and eight suites are consolidated into a collection of low-rise buildings just off a major thoroughfare. Even calling FireSky a hotel is a bit generous; given that the great majority of its rooms directly attach -- and most often face -- a network of parking lots, a motel would actually be a more apt description. A fair assessment: It's the most luxurious motel in Arizona.
In 2007, the Kimpton Hotel Group -- a popular nationwide chain of boutique-style properties -- transformed a worn out motor lodge (also carrying an over-inflated misnomer, the Caleo Resort & Spa) into an exceptionally comfortable, service-oriented, family-style, pet-friendly, wedding-friendly, business-friendly, couples-friendly, weekend vacation retreat. Which is to say: the hotel is friendly, but also crowded with a broad base of overlapping guests who, often, struggle to find a lounge chair anytime after 11 a.m. But in its efforts to please everyone, FireSky is an anomaly: It actually pleases just about everyone. A cozy lounge; a lively bar scene; a quality restaurant with organic fare; free Wi-Fi; free wine every day for happy hour; free s'mores kits for kids to use at the evening bonfire pits; perfectly comfortable beds; a stylish lobby (see if you can spot representations of all four Greek elements); exceptionally attentive bellmen and concierges; a well-regarded (if not extraordinary) spa -- all this, and more, at a fair price. So while it's not in the same league with the big guys, and it might be better suited to a long weekend than a week-long vacation, most guests check out feeling entirely satisfied. Just note that when they return, they'll likely upgrade to a pool-view room.
Prompt, attentive, even intuitive; service standards are a cut above.
- Attentive, often friendly bellmen
- Top-notch free wine hour every day in the lobby
- Free shuttle service (three-mile radius)
- Valet parking
- Concierge services -- help scheduling restaurant reservations, tee times, and anything else
- Free newspaper, delivered every morning; the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Arizona Republic, and New York Times available at the front desk
- Free travel items (like a toothbrush) from the "Forgot it? We've Got It!" program
- In-room yoga and spa services, available by request
- In-room dining, available 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. (until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday)
- Poolside dining and drinks service from Aqua Bar
- Free goldfish, if you're in need of extra company
In the middle of Scottsdale, a short walk from great dining, restaurants, shopping, and more (should someone in Arizona decide to walk anywhere at all)
A scenic escape, FireSky is not. Depending on your point of view, this can be a good thing. While the views are far less spectacular here -- unless you are looking up at the stars -- a central location makes it a lot easier to dodge paying inflated resort prices for every single meal. While great restaurants and bars are within walking distance, it's worth noting that no one really walks in Arizona, even across the street.
Scottsdale's main drag, Scottsdale Road, varies from office complexes, to strip malls, to large-scale department stores -- all near FireSky. Great restaurants and bars are scattered throughout the city, often attached to hotels. Overall, Scottsdale is a quiet, upper-middle-class suburb with the occasional unique restaurant, bar, or boutique.
- Safe, suburban location
- Minutes from upscale department stores (Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, and more at the Fashion Square Shopping Center) and superb restaurants (Maestro's City Hall Steakhouse, Petite Maison, and J&G Steakhouse, among others) on downtown Scottsdale's main drag, East Camelback Road
- Free drop-off and pickup service anywhere within three miles of the hotel
- About a dozen golf courses within an hour's drive; among them there's the Phoenician (about 5 minutes away), T.P.C. (a stop on the PGA tour, about 20 minutes away), and Talking Stick (two new courses about 15 minutes away).
- About a 25-minute drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Clean, comfortable, and up-to-date, if not thrilling
Deluxe Patio Guestroom
- The standard room, the Deluxe Patio Guestroom (400 square feet), comes with a king or two double-size beds (a bit of a squeeze), as well as a private patio or balcony that overlooks the parking lot. The Deluxe Garden Courtyard and Deluxe Pool Lagoon rooms are basically the same, though they look out on the hotel's interior garden or pool, respectively (a big improvement).
- One- and two-bedroom Deluxe Suites are basically the same as the standard rooms, though they have an adjoining living room. The 800-square-foot Presidential Suite (small, as far as presidential suites go) comes with a separate dining and living area and a larger balcony.
- Special "Tall Rooms" are basically just Deluxe rooms with 96-inch long beds and adjustable shower heads; ADA compliant and wheelchair accessible rooms are also available.
- Tip: Ground-floor rooms, even those facing the pool, can be a bit dark because they are shielded from the sunlight by the above balcony. Request a room on a higher floor.
All rooms include:
- Flat-screen TV
- Quality bedding: down comforter with a duvet; fresh pillows and linens
- Free hard-wired and wireless Internet available throughout the hotel (provided you take a minute to sign up for the Kimpton InTouch loyalty program)
- Multi-line phone with voicemail and speakerphone
- Stocked minibar
- Plush bathrobe, along with the Kimpton's signature purple bathrobe
- Generally poor in-room insulation -- expect to hear doors slamming, and other neighborly racket
- Tip: Guest rooms don't normally have a coffeemaker, but you can ask for one when checking in. In addition, there's free coffee and tea available in the lobby (meaning you can get real milk as opposed to artificial creamer) and if you don't want to leave the room, just ask someone to deliver a cup.
It's a small hotel, but all the basics are well-executed -- beautiful pool deck; up-to-date gym; free, resort-wide wireless
- Free-form pool and whirlpools surrounded by a sandy beach area and fire pits; drinks and light fare from Aqua Bar
- Snagging a poolside lounge chair can be tough, especially on weekends and during spring break (both college and grade school); guests tend to arrive early and stake their claim with a towel (also in short supply)
- 24-hour fitness center (free to access) with weights, treadmills, bikes, and elliptical (no strength-training machines)
- 24-hour business center with laptop stations and a printer
- Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, provided you sign up for Kimpton's In-Touch loyalty program
- 13 flexible meeting rooms (14,000 square feet of space), including outdoor spaces for up to 500 seated guests -- like most Scottsdale resorts, FireSky is a popular venue for weddings and business events
Far from stunning, but perfectly sufficient
The Jurlique Spa, a nationwide spa chain with another outpost at the Mayfair Hotel in Miami, uses certified organic herbs (grown in the hotel's own garden) and other all-natural, biodegradable products not tested on animals. While its slight facilities don't quite compare to the more renowned spas in Scottsdale -- such as the Golden Door Spa at Boulders or the spa at the Sanctuary -- the facilities are clean, comfortable, and perfectly adequate.
- Six bright treatment rooms and a relaxation lounge (open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
- Full menu of treatments, including facials, waxing, wraps, hot stone massages, mani/pedis, and water therapies (soaking tubs); 60-minute massages from about $125
- In-room spa services available (for an extra $50)
FireSky offers a number of kid-friendly freebies, all part of the KimptonKids program.
- Cribs and Playards are free to borrow
- Highchairs and booster seats in the restaurant (you can have one delivered to your room)
- In-room child-safety kits include outlet covers, toilet latches, and nightlights
- Kids welcomed with a special gift
- Child-size animal-print bathrobes
- The concierge can help arrange for babysitting services and strollers, by request.
- While the room does have a fridge, it's packed full of minibar beverages.
- Free s'mores kits for the kids to roast over the fire pits
- Simple kids' menu available at Taggia and for room service; items include chicken nuggets, fries, and pizza.
A single, solid, on-site restaurant; ample other restaurants within minutes
- Coastal Italian cuisine at Taggia, a fine dining restaurant with fresh fish (flown in daily), cured meats, pastas, and wood oven-fired pizzas; open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Taggia's menu items, as well as cocktails, available poolside
- Room service available from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. (until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday)
Cats and dogs welcome; no extra fees
Cats and dogs are welcome in the Patio and Courtyard guestrooms at no extra fee. If you have allergies, not to worry -- you can request a pet-free room.
- Free doogie bed (to use during your stay), pooper-scooper bags, and water bowls
- Dog walking and sitting services can be arranged through the concierge
- Exercise area within walking distance
- No fee or deposit required
A middling motel in downtown Scottsdale turned boutique-style standout by the Kimpton Group, the FireSky "resort" offers something for everyone -- a sandy play space by the pool; free wine during happy hour; a cozy cocktail lounge; a small but sufficient spa; kid-friendly marshmallow roasts; the list goes on. It's crowded for a reason: value.
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Things You Should Know About FireSky Resort And Spa
- 4925 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
- Deluxe Garden Courtyard Guestroom
- Deluxe Lagoon Guestroom
- Deluxe Patio Guestroom
- Deluxe Poolview Guestroom
- Presidential Suite