TRAVEL THERE: MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE PHOENICIAN
See that happy face. I’ve dreamed of this day for a long, long time. Let me tell you how it came about.
Love at First Sight and Beyond
So, way back in 1995, Bill and I took a trip to Arizona. It was about three weeks long and included a side trip through Utah for skiing in Steamboat Springs. With all the traveling we have done, it remains one of our very favorite vacations.
Two things contributed to its success – one was free airfare, thanks to Southwest overbooking a flight to Corpus Christi and a ski trip with the Lone Star Skiers. We saw all of Arizona from the BioSphere outside Tucson, to the Grand Canyon, to Monument Valley. It was our first of many trips to Sedona and we hope to make many, many more.
Did we stay at the Phoenician on this trip? No, we did not. Bill and I like to go check out resorts – have a drink or a meal and then wander around. We loved it and told ourselves that one day we would be back for an extended stay.
Our next trip through Arizona in 2000 did not take us through Phoenix. We were California-bound and stayed in Sedona instead, but that’s when we started talking about spending our 10th wedding anniversary at the Phoenician.
In 2003, I passed through Phoenix with my parents. Bill and I had bought Aunt Edie’s Cadillac. Bill was in the throes of getting the Pismo Beach house finished, so I had to drive the Caddie from Temple TX to our new home in Cali. As it turns out, my parents weren’t about to let me make a cross-country drive all by myself (even though I sort of relished the idea) so I took them on what I called The Cadillac Tour.
It was a tough trip, with flat tires, the leatherette roof peeling off, a speeding ticket and Mom losing a crown, but it was also a trip of great memories and I love that we did it. Phoenix was one of the places we stayed. Mom and I visited Fashion Square and had afternoon cocktails at the Phoenician. Though no photograph was taken, that respite from travel has stuck vividly in my mind, like a beacon, for all the years since. That’s when I found out they had afternoon tea.
In 2004 we had our 10th wedding anniversary, but our dream of the Phoenician did not come to pass. Our nephew was graduating from Wharton and the whole family would be there. Instead of the Phoenician, we did a ramble that started in Philly and included the Brandywine Valley, Hudson Valley, the Adirondaks, 1000 Islands and Niagara Falls.
In 2006, we happily left California to return to Texas, but we drove all the way through AZ without staying anywhere. Talk about a tough trip. The hotel in Gallup, New Mexico was so bad that our cat went into her crate all by herself while we were getting ready to go. She wanted out of there. We had so much going on I didn’t even have time to wish we could go to the Phoenician.
On our return to Dallas, the Phoenician faded from our minds. Not completely, but we were doing a lot of international and family-related travel. After the Anniversary Cruise, we’d decided we were going to travel in the States for a few years and certainly Arizona was on our list, but we weren’t talking about an actual trip until that Westin invitation ended up in our mailbox. As soon as I had approval to book the trip, I was back down in Bill’s office lobbying for afternoon tea at the Phoenician. It’s not like its price is totally outrageous, but its more than Bill would usually want to pay for finger sandwiches, in our usual pursuit of happiness.
It didn’t take a lot of lobbying. He virtually had no interest in it, but he always wants to please me, so Afternoon Tea at the Phoenician was on. Someday we may actually stay at the Phoenician, but come back next week and enjoy finger sandwiches and other delights with us.