A vintage Spanish Colonial desert escape

Intimate and tranquil, the Royal Palms Resort and Spa is a boutique hideaway with quiet pathways, lush gardens, acclaimed cuisine, elegantly appointed guestrooms, villas and casitas, and a storied tradition for providing an exceptional welcome to all guests of this romantic and cozy retreat colored in a golden patina at the base of Camelback Mountain, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Stone walkways lead through the resort’s nine acres, taking you through colorful archways and wrought iron gates, past beautiful fountains, courtyards, orange groves and unique private spaces, small sitting areas tucked into the corner of a garden or beside a courtyard fireplace where you can sit quietly and relax.

Once upon a time, guests and nearby residents would gather at the resort’s Orange Tree Dining Room to hear Frank Sinatra Jr., Tony Martin and Patty Andrews along with local talent. Today, new singers and musicians make the music that draws locals and visitors to the resort where they settle into their favorite spots for a night of catching up and relaxation. T. Cook’s restaurant is the treasured dining spot at the resort. Its imaginative complement is The Mix Up Bar.

A short walk from the resort’s Mother-of-Pearl-tiled pool is the luxurious, Mediterranean-inspired Alvadora Spa. In keeping with the residential style of the resort, the spa offers open-air treatment rooms decorated in rich woods and fabrics and enhanced with outdoor fireplaces and water features. Watsu and other water therapies are offered along with massage and body therapies, skin treatments and the spa’s signature citrus treatments. Manicures and pedicures are offered in soothing spaces with soft light, candles and a view of the outdoors.

The resort’s original mansion built in 1929 remains in use. Over time, Mediterranean and Mexican Hacienda design styles have been incorporated into the dominant Spanish Colonial style. Antiques and original art are on display throughout the property. In the library, a hand-carved fireplace that survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 can be seen. Outdoors, custom carved stone rams, bronze javelina and other animal statues peer out from among orchard vines, bushes or from atop a courtyard wall. As evidence of the resort’s respect for its past, the original Lady of Spain tile mural still overlooks the mansion courtyard.