The Clarendon Hotel
Sleek attitude defines this completely refurbished downtown hotel that, until recently, was better known to the authorities than to paying guests. In 1976, Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles fell victim to a car bomb just outside, and for years it stood empty and as ramshackle as its neighborhood. Now large, sliding paintings have replaced window curtains, surrounded by a color scheme of bright reds, blues, and black throughout. A focal point is the newly redone pool with bright tile mosaics; a nightly light show around the nearby fountains is an evening highlight (and the Jacuzzi holds 50). The morbidly curious can learn more about Bolles and his fate by walking the one hotel hallway that features huge, gruesome crime scene photos.
Tip: Most nights you’ll find a sunset happy hour on the fifth-floor rooftop bar, which has mountain panoramas, city-lights views, and pretty people who come for the popular DJ’s.
Room to Book: Since just about every room faces the pool, you might as well dive right in. Ask for a first-floor room behind the 60-foot water wall that lines the west side of the pool, but keep in mind that swimmers on vacation can be noisy.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.