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May 1999

The Orange Tree Resort
The Orange Tree Golf Resort
10601 N. 56 St.
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
1-800-228-0386
Orange Tree Home Page

Welcome to www.weloveourlife.com. This is our page dedicated to our experiences while staying at The Orange Tree Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.


Accommodations Amenities Food Bar/Lounge Service Attractions Dining Nightlife Weather Tips



Accommodations

The Orange Tree has 160 suites. The unit we traded into was a nice size and very comfortable. The bedroom was in an alcove off of the living room. It contained a king size bed and a heavy curtain could be closed to keep any light out of the bedroom while sleeping.

The living area contained a comfortable pull out sofa with a full size bed and a chair. There was a small kitchen area with a sink and mini-refrigerator.
The bathroom was unbelievably huge! It was divided into two large areas separated by a door. One part contained a double vanity and a jacuzzi, the other with the shower and toilet.

The bedroom, living area and bathroom (yes, the bathroom) each contained a TV. A private terrace with lounge chairs was accessible off of the living area. While the unit was nice, be fore-warned that the parking area is a very long walk away from all of the units. It is a good quarter to half mile walk from the parking area to the units. There are resort employees driving golf carts available that will take you to your unit, but they expect to be tipped.

Resort Amenities

The resort includes a pool and a golf course. We decided to forego the golfing since the temperatures hovered around 100F. We spent a lot of time in and around the pool. The pool area includes a spa and snack/drink bar.

One thing to be cautious about is that local families use the resort's pool to drop off their children and leave. This practice seems to be tolerated by the resort, since the resort workers by the pool knew that non-guests were using the facilities. Also, the towels for the pool area are very small, not full sized towels. We thought this was strange for an upscale resort.

Resort Food

We ate lunch at the poolside snack bar. They had typical fare, burgers, sandwiches, etc. The food is actually prepared at the Fairway Pavilion and brought to poolside. The Fairway Pavilion offers casual outdoor dining overlooking the golf course. We did not try Capers, the resort's restaurant, but we did walk by it and it smelled delicious.

Resort Bar/Lounge

We used the bar by the pool for drinks. There is a lounge by the main entrance that has live music in the evenings. We tried to go there one evening but it was closed to guests as they were having a "private affair." Bummer.

Resort People/Service

All of the people that we met were very friendly.

Area/Attractions

The Phoenix/Scottsdale area is known for beautiful weather.
We took a day and travelled to Sedona to see the "Red Rocks". It was worth the drive as the views were incredible.
One thing, though - Lori saw a map of the "scenic route to Sedona" in a brochure and suggested we take that route. We did, and it sure was scenic, but it took us twice as long (4 hours!) to get there and Keith had to maneuver quite a few hairpin turns up and down the sides of mountains he could have done without.

Olde Town Scottsdale features specialty shops and restaurants along 5th Avenue. If you have a few hours to spare, take a drive up to Cave Creek (we stopped at Pinnacle Peak on the way for lunch). Cave Creek has many shops and is home to the Satisfied Frog and its famous Cave Creek Chili Beer.

Dining

Buster's Restaurant, Bar & Grill - Mercado del Lago Center, 8320 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale, AZ. 602-951-5850. Buster's Home Page
We went here for dinner our first night, when it was over 105 degrees Fahrenheit. We were relieved when we walked into this deliciously cool restaurant. There was an outdoor function on their terrace and they were turning on the outdoor air conditioning. Our server was most accommodating and even walked outside with us in front of a canal to take our picture (and then we rushed back inside where it was cool). Lori had crab legs and Keith had the pistachio chicken. It was more of New-York style restaurant with lots of wood and high ceilings. It was loud and perhaps not the best choice for an intimate meal, but we had a nice Dinner.

Cafe Terra Cotta - 6166 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ. 480-948-8100. Cafe Terra Cotta's Home Page
We highly recommend this restaurant, and did so to some fellow guests at the resort. (They loved it.) The food is southwestern, some dishes were spicy (the way Keith likes them), and all were very creative. Keith had a luscious filet mignon wrapped with smoked bacon that was delicious. Lori had some very large prawns stuffed with herbed goat chese on tomato coulis. If you like lots of lime in your margaritas, this is the place to order one. The dining area was attractive and very southwestern in appearance.

Macayo Mexican Restaurants - 11107 Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ. 480-596-1181. Macayo's Home Page
This is your garden-variety Mexican chain restaurant. The food was good if unimaginative (the American view of Mexican), and the service was fine. Keith ordered poppers and the baja chimi, and Lori had a very good cheese crisp and shrimp fajitas. OK, we admit...we ordered the special margaritas just to take home the cute ceramic glasses with Cha Cha and Senor Bob on them.

Pinnacle Peak Patio - 10426 E Jomax Rd, Scottsdale, AZ. 480-585-1599. Pinnacle Peak's Home Page
Keith remembered this place from his first visit to Arizona, in 1986, when he went to see Penn State beat Miami for the National Championship in the Fiesta Bowl. Don't think the restaurant quite lived up to his memory. It is a kitschy tourist place with sawdust on the floors (kind of like the playgrounds in elementary school). One interesting note is that if you wear a tie there, they cut it off and hang it up. The ceiling and walls were covered with unfortunate fragments of neckwear. This is not a place for vegetarians, as meat is the main feature of the menu. We had two huge, tasty hamburgers. It was a bit odd because we were the only patrons in the place. Apparently it is more of a dinner place.

Carlsbad Tavern and Cafe - 3309 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ. 602-945-4155. Calrsbad Tavern's Home Page
We found this place listed in a restaurant directory. It was a great little place with extremely friendly servers. Ask for a table outside...they overlook quaint little lagoons. Keith ordered the chicken over habanero pasta, and Lori had shrimp pasta. Afterwards, we went inside to the bar and Keith indulged his newfound taste for sipping tequilas. The bartender was most informative and talked knowledgeably about tequila and offered up some to try. Keith spent some time sipping Porfidio Silver. Inside was nice, too, with lots of intimate wood booths and festive strings of lights. It would also be a good place to take kids, especially if dining outside, as there is enough to keep them visually stimulated. We definitely enjoyed our evening there.

Hops Bistro and Brewery - 7000 E Camelback Rd, Scottsdale, AZ. 602-945-4677.
We visited this brewpub for lunch one day. It is sleek and light inside, most visually appealing. The beer was very good and frosty cold (a good thing in Arizona). Lori ordered a sampler of beer and we enjoyed trying their different offerings. Lori, in her ongoing search for perfect guacamole, ordered some, and it was fresh and tasty (although not the best she's ever had but certainly satisfying). The guac was accompanied by three different colors of fresh, home-made tortilla chips. She followed this up with some shrimp. Keith had a burger.

El Chorro Lodge - 5550 E. Lincoln Dr, Scottsdale, AZ. (602)948-5170. El Chorro's Home Page
We found El Chorro in one of the dining guides. We went there on a beautiful night and really wanted an outside table, but they were completely booked (make a reservation a day in advance if you'd like an outside table). The restaurant was a low, adobe, Spanish-style building. Keith had a salad with creame Roquefort dressing and a filet mignon. Lori had black bean soup and an unusual but delicious entree: flash-fried lobster (extremely satisfying). And it was here that Keith first discovered "sipping tequila," on the menu for after-dinner liqueurs. Our cocktail waitress gladly explained the concept of the sipping tequila and selected Herradura Gold. From that point on, Keith never looked back.

Lon's at the Hermosa Inn - 5532 N. Palo Cristi Road, Paradise Valley. 602-955-7878. Lon's Home Page
Lon's is actually a historic ranch owned by a very colorful character. Our waiter was happy to tell us the history and provided us with interesting tidbets throughout our meal. We dressed in shorts the entire time in Arizona, and although our clothing was always neat and clean and Keith wore shirts with collars, we did feel a little under-dressed here and Keith felt he probably should have worn at least khaki pants. Keith had filet mignon and Lori had prawns (see a pattern here)? The food was very good, although we both agreed the highlight of the meal may have been the appetizers and salad.

Golden Swan - Hyatt Regency Scottsdale, 7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Road, Scottsdale, AZ. 602-991-3388.
We ate dinner here our last night. It truly was a memorable dinner. We dined outside by the water (you can do that in Arizona because the humidity is low and there aren't any bugs like there are on the east coast). Lori ordered the crabcakes as an appetizer, then the lobster bisque, and the tequila lime shrimp. Keith had the artichokes and cheese crisp, a salad of greens with bleu cheese, and chicken in red clay (the chicken was cooked in the clay and then they brought it out and smashed open the clay). The food was creative and beautifully presented (not to mention very tasty), and the service was excellent. It was an evening well-spent.

Nightlife

Do not miss the lobby bar at the Hyatt in Scottsdale. It's beautiful. In addition, we got to see Esteban perform (sort of classical/Spanish guitar). The funny thing was that Esteban and his band had been on our flight down to Arizona. Lori bought one of his CDs and had Esteban autograph it. Apparently he is the artist-in-residence at the Hyatt on a semi-permanent basis. Keith snagged a beautiful blown-glass Porfidio bottle with a glass replica of a cactus inside (they were going to throw it out anyway, and besides, Keith was the one emptying the bottle). Lori was happy because we found lots of karaoke in Scottsdale. Some karaoke haunts: Rio Sports Bar (you can sing while sitting at the bar or your table if you like) and Native New Yorker. There was no shortage of brewpubs. We spent a little time one evening at the Uptown Brewery, and Keith truly enjoyed his Dunkel Weisen.

Weather

We visited the Scottsdale area in April and the weather was hot! This was not unexpected and we were quite prepared for the heat. A lot of light, loose-fitting clothing helps to deal with the heat. The Scottsdale area enjoys over 300 days of sunshine each year.

Tips/Suggestions

This may sound stupid, but remember this is a desert and it is HOT. Take cool, light-colored clothing (shorts are the norm nearly everywhere), sun glasses, and hats for those with a little less on top than they used to have. And be sure to remember the sunscreen, as it doesn't take very long baking in the sun to see some color. It is extremely easy to get around in Scottsdale as the streets are pretty much in a grid format, but you will need a car. Most of the restaurants (not including the chain places like Macayo's and neighborhood bars) prefer reservations, and it is worth it to take the time to make a phone call a few hours in advance to get a desirable seat. Because this is Arizona, you can actually eat outside without having to swat at bugs constantly, and as hot as it gets in the daytime, it is actually very pleasant in the evening. If you are going to Sedona, save your shopping for that trip, as they have stores of every kind imaginable. Lori picked up a pair of suede slippers, buttery-soft leather moccasins, and a small leather purse. Keith got a "red dirt" shirt. We also found a great pottery store and had some pottery shipped home.