Visiting Phoenix for the first time?
There’s so much to do in the desert but no matter what is on your agenda, you’ll want to consider a hotel that’s just a short drive away from the hubbub of downtown that offers peaceful ambiance, golf, spa, great dining and four, yes, four pools.
The Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park (no relation to Orange is the New Black), just west of Phoenix, is a historic hotel with 331 “casitas” and suites across more than 400 acres of land.
I’ve stayed here twice now and it’s seriously everything you could want in a resort — beautiful property, luxurious rooms, great dining options and plenty to do “on campus” so that you could conceivably enjoy your entire vacation without leaving the property.
Before I get into the details, I’ll share a little bit of history. I’m far from a History Channel buff, but I do like learning about old buildings and properties — who inhabited them, their stories, etc. It’s part of why I love the South so much — lots of charm and history, but I digress.
The Wigwam was originally built in 1918 as a gathering place for the Ohio-based executives of Goodyear Tire & Rubber who discovered the West Valley of Phoenix as a prime location to grow cotton for rubber production. In 1929 The Wigwam opened as a full-service resort with accommodations for just 24 guests. So, you could say a lot has changed.
The Wigwam is a historic hotel resort is as suitable for a business retreat as it is for a private and luxurious getaway. I travel quite a bit for business, and stay at a lot of three to four star business type hotels that are clean, but otherwise just OK. Starchy beds, musty smells, you know the type.
If a business trip brought me to The Wigwam, I’d feel like I won the lottery.
The rooms are extraordinarily spacious because they have been restored from the time when Goodyear executives would spend weeks at at time there, so they needed spacious living quarters.
Each room feels like a cozy apartment, with wireless internet and advanced Incentient touchscreens, which provide guests with instant access to concierge services and resort event information.
The beds are some of the most comfortable you’ll ever sleep in and the bathrooms have all of the amenities — some have luxurious rain showers and others large soaking tubs (or both).
Fun perk: I also like the bathrobes they give you — they’re lightweight, waffle-weave spa like robes so you won’t be sweating again as soon as you get out of the shower.
What to Do at The Wigwam
Beyond the history and the comfortable rooms and suites, the Wigwam is just a plain fun place to stay.
Alongside the Wigwam Bar, which has indoor and outdoor seating because hello, this area is called “the valley of the sun,” there are two custom built regulation masonry Bocce courts.
If you’re the type who can’t sit still, even in a busy sports bar, the Bocce court is a perfect place to grab a drink and enjoy some friendly competition with friends or other hotel guests.
Beyond the Bocce courts, the Wigwam also has ample accommodation for tennis, a perfect way to spend a day in the perfect Arizona climate. The resort offers an illuminated tennis facility, which looks so pretty that even if you don’t play tennis, you’ll wish you did just so you could access one of the nine tennis courts.
If you’re a golf fan, The Wigwam’s three, 18-hole golf courses offer plenty of variety for the golfer looking for equal parts of diversity and challenge. The Gold, Patriot and Heritage are parkland courses woven in and around the natural terrain of trees, lakes, canals and streams.
Even if you’re not a big golfer, there is a driving range where you can get a bucket of balls for about $15. Brad took advantage of this when I was at the pool one day and proudly gave himself a callous hitting balls.
If you’re more into the whole “laying by the pool until you slowly roast” thing, there are four beautiful pools for lounging, margarita-drinking, swimming and even a water slide that appears to be for kids, but looked damn appealing to a certain group of a thirty-somethings.
During the summer, the Oasis Pool is adults-only on the weekends, which I won’t lie, I would have appreciated, because there was definitely a lot of activity at the pools, but it’s hard to get mad about kids excited to be swimming and having fun outside in the middle of February.
Red Door Spa
As cliche as this sounds, the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa at The Wigwam is literally a peaceful oasis in the middle of a bustling property. When you walk through the spa to the treatment rooms, you’ll walk past this beautiful pool, which is calm, quiet and kid-free.
Bring a swim suit if you want to use the pool — the first time, I was in a rush to get to another engagement so I only had time for the quickest of dips, and the most recent time, I had my spa treatment later in the day and it was nearly dark by the time I was done. I only hung out for about 10 or 15 minutes but it was still beautiful and serene.
The ladies locker rooms and changing areas are equipped with two beautiful sitting areas including a terrace with an outdoor fireplace, tea and spa water, and of course there is a steam and sauna.
I’ve had two treatments here: the signature stress melter ritual (an olive oil skin softening scrub, plus a hydrating body wrap and Swedish massage) and the dessert hot stone massage.
Both times, the technicians were kind, professional and knowledgable and saw to every detail to make the entire spa experience perfection.
It’s definitely an indulgence but one you should absolutely plan for if you’re heading here on vacation.
Dining and Nightlife
The Wigwam’s signature restaurant, Litchfield’s, is steps from the recreation facilities and supports the local community with a menu crafted from farm-to-table and locally sourced produce.
Named for Paul W. Litchfield, then Goodyear Tire & Rubber Executive and founder of Litchfield Park, the eatery is just as perfect for a lively group dinner as it is for a cozy, romantic meal.
Chef’s dishes feature ingredients from local farms, dairy’s, mills and artisans, like Arizona Buffalo Strip Steak with Fingerling Potato Chips and Blue Cheese Butter or a Wood Fired Pork Chop with White Cheddar Polenta, Grilled Red Pear and Pickled Celery Slaw (I had one of the best steaks I think I’ve ever had in my life at Litchfield’s — a super tender filet mignon that you could practically cut with a butter knife).
There are other dining options on property, including The Wigwam Bar, which is a great menu of elevated pub-type cuisine and then Red’s, a bar and grill off the golf course that well have to try next time we’re there.
There is also a bar and grill at one of the pools, and we used the bar, but not the grill, so I can’t tell you much about that, but it sure is fun texting your friends cocktails by the pool while they’re shoveling snow or at Legoland with their kids.
If I have one complaint about this resort, it’s that when we were last there, we didn’t spend enough time on the property since we had both lunch and dinner plans in Phoenix on Saturday, and we checked out on the earlier side on Sunday. Nonetheless, I know we’ll be back next year!