3 Palms Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The 3 Palms may look like a motel on the outside, but this affordable Scottsdale boutique has tasteful, contemporary rooms, solid freebies (including self-parking and Wi-Fi), and friendly service. The big, heated pool is impressive, and downtown Scottsdale is only a five-minute drive away. The bathrooms are a bit small, though.
FireSky Resort And Spa Rating: 4.0 Pearls
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.
Carefree Resort & Conference Center Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The Carefree Resort and Conference Center is a landmark in the beautiful Sonoran Desert foothills, with mid-century design, attractive cacti-covered grounds and mountain views. Its mid-range rooms are extremely spacious, but some are starting to show their age (a multi-million dollar renovation of the entire property is currently underway). Still, it's less expensive than other resorts in the area, like Boulders.
SpringHill Suites Phoenix Chandler/Fashion Center Rating: 3.0 Pearls
This mid-range hotel is located in Chandler, Arizona, across the street from two large shopping areas. A renovation in January 2011 transformed the property, and it’s now colorful and modern inside. It’s got the same free amenities (Wi-Fi, breakfast, self-parking) as its older neighbor, the Marriott Residence Inn, but the SpringHill gets higher marks for its stylish rooms.