How to describe the idiosyncratic Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix? There kind of isn’t really anything in Phoenix itself apart from a sort of downtown high-rise bit, with offices and banks, so you probably really need a place like this to hang out. Surrounded by desert and mountains, Phoenix in the summer is blisteringly hot – 40c/110f. Everyone says it’s dry heat so you don’t feel it – well that’s nonsense – you feel it from your feet slowly traveling up your legs until you know that you badly need a dose of air conditioning.
But luckily there is the Clarendon Hotel. It all feels quite camp, from the reception to the bar and beyond. No further comment needed! The rooms are clean and quite pleasant, large with essential industrial-powered air con, but there are really three main attractions – the pool (voted the best in Arizona), the bar (where they mix incredible cocktails) and the restaurant. Where if ever you doubted whether you like Mexican food, then this is the place to dispel those doubts.
I should also mention that the service at this hotel is second to none – absolutely nothing is too much trouble. Especially when the lift is broken.
The pool is a very popular place to be and it is clear that on Friday evenings through the weekend all the 30-something party animals party here hard, spending their time between the pool and the bar.
But most important of all is the bar. Ruled by Matt who allegedly mixes the best margaritas in Arizona. And they are really good. He also knows about many things. The Old Tortoise and a drinking companion had worked about half way down the cocktail board when the conversation moved to whether we preferred modernist architecture, at which point it was time to accept that we were in the wrong conversation. But the cocktails, well they were to die for.
Oh – I nearly forgot to mention … take a look in the Gents if you ever get to visit. This is a visit that you won’t forget in a hurry!