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Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, Phoenix, AZ
-Article by: Norm Goldman
-Paintings by: Lily Azerad-Goldman

Can a 585-suite resort create that special weekend romantic ambiance with a grand finale?

That is what we were determined to find out when my wife Lily and I stayed at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix, Arizona. Somewhat skeptical initially, we have to admit that after our two-day sojourn at the Tapatio Cliffs, many of our doubts were quickly dispelled.

As we made our way to the front entrance of a resort that resembles a Spanish-Mediterranean village, we well understood how easy it is to be seduced by its stunning natural beauty and mind-blowing location.

The village terraces the slopes of the Phoenix North Mountain Preserve, and stands watch over the valley below with its spectacular panoramic views. It truly is, as it advertises, a resort that overlooks everything and their people overlook nothing. Conrad Hilton would have been very proud of the feeling of ease and welcome that greeted us, as well as the non-intimidating atmosphere of its lobby.

Considering the close proximity of each of the suites, we were curious to find out if the resort could pass the necessary privacy and seclusion test that romantic couples covet.

The first hint that the suites would pass with flying colors was their cozy and comfy quality, creating a strong feeling of intimacy. I use the term "suite" purposely, as it was more than just the usual standard bland rooms found in many hotels and resorts.

Having undergone an extensive renovation in 2000, each suite is tastefully decorated in a contemporary south-western décor with a generous floor plan consisting of a separate bedroom and living area, refrigerated mini-bars, coffee makers, two remote control/cable TVs and two dual-line telephones with data ports, ironing boards and hair dryers, private balcony. The sumptuous vanity and bathroom areas are particularly huge, as these were tripled in size when the rooms had been renovated.

Some suites come with fireplaces and there are even a few suites with a full kitchen.

In addition, you can be assured of the utmost in privacy, as all suites are very well constructed for keeping out neighboring sounds.


Peeling away the many layers of ingredients that make up the hotel's romantic qualities, you have to admit that the resort's Falls Water Village is an unbelievable delight or, as they say in French, "un vrai délice."

This is the dream child of local architect Bob Gladwin, who was inspired by the Havasupai Falls located in Supai, Havasupai Reservation, Grand Canyon National Park. The actual falls has been called a paradise on earth, and although the village's falls could not possibly be the same, they nevertheless provide a creative and impressive imitation. Gladwin designed a forty- foot waterfall that descends off nearby cliffs feeding into a series of smaller waterfalls and travertine pools.

You can just imagine how impressive the expansive outside areas at the fall would be for a wedding ceremony. In fact, as I was informed, it is one of the most favored venues for tying the knot.

Other pleasures of the water village are hot tubs, swimming pools, a 138-foot long enclosed flume waterslide, and its 23 private cabanas, where you can hide while enjoying a refreshing drink or light meal ordered from the Cascades Café.


The resort's gastronomic gold is their four-stars "Different Pointe Of View Restaurant." For those who are hopelessly romantic, the grand finale to your romantic itinerary would have to be dinner by candlelight at a restaurant like no other.

How could we resist the tempting restaurant that is located 1800 feet above the resort atop a mountain with floor-to-ceiling windows providing you with some of the most exquisite views of the desert sunset and the lights of Phoenix?

To top it off, the restaurant can boast of having one of the most creative executive chefs in Arizona, Ivan Flowers, whom you can truly call a magician. When it comes to culinary artistry, Flowers' French-Italian-Mediterranean cuisine with an Arizonian twist is difficult to outdo no matter where you hail from, including Montréal, our home town, where restaurants rate among the best in the world.
Chef Flowers indicated that there was a time not too long ago when the idea of Arizonian cuisine evoked images of unimaginative dishes. His objective is to improve upon the culinary options by offering innovative choices.

After some tough decision making, we decided to fire up our taste buds and try the five course-tasting menu personally served to us by "Monsieur Le Chef" himself. What the hell, you only live once-- forget about dieting!

And to compliment our meal, a fruit rosé wine was suggested by sommelier Eric Spragett, who, by the way, has the distinction of being one of only two certified wine educators in the state of Arizona, as well as being certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Chef Flowers is quite an interesting character and his animated description of each one of his magnificent servings, including his personal chef experiences, was a delightful show in itself. As he stated upon first visiting our table, "We are going to have some great fun tonight," --and that we certainly did! It was a feast fit for royalty!

We started off with Mozzarella di Bufala, Confit and tomatoes with Prosciutto di Parma. Next was the Lobster Bisque with Black Trumpet Mushroom Infusion, followed by Potato Gnocchi with Perigord Truffle Brown Chicken Jus and six-year aged Rocca Parmigiano.

On to the Baby Field Greens, Citrus Stawberry Tomato Carpaccio, Seared Main Diver Scallop with Pancetta Glazed Chilean Sea Bass, Roasted Blue Foot Mushrooms, Champagne Grapes, Smokey Lobster Butter, Garlic Basil Lamb Persillade with Bon Gusto Lacquered Osso Bucco, Creamy Belfian Salsify and Thyme Braised Artichokes, Natural Jus with Cognac Herb Demi Glace.

Yes, we did relish every morsel!

No wonder Chef Flowers was the lead chef instructor of Le Cordon Blue School, L'Ecole, at the highly respected Scottsdale Culinary Institute.

In the final analysis, does the Tapatio Cliffs Resort have what it takes to attract romantic-loving travelers? The answer is a resounding yes!


Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort
11111 North 7th Street, Phoenix, Arizona
Tel: 1-800-321-3232
Fax: 602-993-0276

Norm's Review of an Excellent Guidebook to Arizona

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