Last Updated on May 30, 2023

I’ll admit that a bigger city like Phoenix wasn’t necessarily on my wife and my bucket list of places to visit as our family tends to gravitate to less populated Arizona cities like Sedona, Flagstaff, Prescott or even Tucson However, we found ourselves on a free long weekend and decided to check out a vacation club friends highly recommended: Marriott Canyon Village.

Phoenix is an easy 5 ½-hour drive from San Diego. So, after packing the car, off my wife and I headed to the desert on a lovely early spring road trip.

Location of the Resort

Some places totally surprise you, in a good way.

Situated in the enchanting Sonoran Desert near Scottsdale, Marriott’s Canyon Villas at Desert Ridge is surrounded by so much natural beauty and serenity. The oasis is perfect for capturing the magnificent views of the mountains and Phoenix’ captivating crimson sunsets.

The vacation club is located in the prestigious Desert Ridge planned community known for its scenic beauty and upscale atmosphere. But make no mistake, this place is not pretentious. Front desk employees, concierge and other staff we interacted with during our stay were helpful, knowledgeable and extremely friendly.

Resort Activities Abound

Guests will not be starved for entertainment and activities at Marriott Canyon Village. The resort features a main Canyon Pool, a lap pool, whirlpool, and for the little ones, the Lizard Lagoon and Splash Pad. The property also boasts a hiking trail and access to two 18-hole golf courses at the Wildfire Golf Club, one with holes overlooking the resort. A fitness center is also located on-site.

Here’s a really cool benefit: vacation club guests can mosey over to the JW Marriott Desert Ridge & Spa which boasts amazing pools including a lazy river, along with a variety of restaurants, and rejuvenating body treatments at their 28,000-square-foot spa with 41 treatment rooms.

Vacation Villa Accommodations

Open living room-dining room-kitchen at Marriott Canyon Village.
Open living room-dining room-kitchen at Marriott Canyon Village. Photo courtesy of VRBO

You’ll certainly have that home-away-from-home experience with a choice of accommodations to fit you or your family’s needs. Guest rooms offer a king bed, full bath, sofa bed, mini fridge, microwave and living/sitting area.

For more space, opt for a one-bedroom villa with a king room, one-bath, sofa bed, full kitchen, dining area and separate living room.

Two-bedroom villas feature one king room, a second bedroom with two queens, two full bathrooms, and sofa bed. Like the one-bedroom villa, you’ll find a kitchen, dining area that seats six, and separate living room. All room types include a balcony, which is a nice feature given the stunning palm-lined and desert cacti landscaping you’ll find here.

Décor at Marriott Canyon Village is classy, understated, desert-inspired and perfectly fits the area.

Dining at the Vacation Club and JW Marriott

Enjoy soaking up the Phoenix sun with a cocktail or tasty bites from Canyon Springs Bar & Grill located near the main pool. The eatery offers casual poolside outdoor seating with classic American menu selections.

Though many grocery stores are located in the area, in case there’s something you forgot, it’s an easy pick-up at the Marketplace Express. The convenient one-stop shop offers snacks, drinks, sundries and travel items.

JW Marriott, located adjacent to the property. offers three main restaurants. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Tia Carmen features Southwestern cuisine. Meritage – An Urban Tavern, offers a diverse menu alongside its more than 50 different Arizona craft beers. Twenty 6 is a chic lounge and bourbon bar open for dinner only with casual outdoor seating and breathtaking views.

Those into healthy eating will appreciate the Revive Spa Bistro’s health-conscious options.

A full-service Starbucks Coffee House not only offers your favorite coffee and tea beverages, but wine, beer, sandwiches and pastries next to an outdoor firepit overlooking the resort’s botanical gardens.

Book your stay at Marriott’s Canyon Villas at Desert Ridge.

Stunning villa views at Marriott Canyon Village.
Stunning villa views at Marriott Canyon Village. Photo courtesy of VRBO

Things to do in Phoenix

Though you may not want to leave the vacation property except to enjoy the magnificent experiences of the JW Marriott, there are nearby options you may want to consider.

Visit Scottsdale

We love the vibe of downtown Scottsdale, especially its vibrant and charming historic area filled with amazing restaurants, boutiques and fascinating architecture.

While in town, you may want to consider exploring the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and browse the unique shops and galleries.

Desert Botanical Garden

This impressive 140-acre property showcases the diverse flora of the Sonoran Desert featuring over 50,000 plant displays including more than 4,500 species of desert plants from around the world. Visitors can explore themed gardens via several picturesque trails.

For those visiting from February to April, desert wildflowers and cacti are in full bloom, creating one amazing breathtaking sight.

Explore the Heard Museum

Heard Museum Aerial Amphitheatre.
Heard Museum Aerial Amphitheatre. Courtesy of the Heard Museum.

Dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of Native American art, the fascinating museum showcases the artistic traditions, histories and contemporary expressions of Native American peoples. It provides insight into their diverse cultures, beliefs, and contributions to art and society.

The museum has a particular emphasis on the Southwest tribes, such as the Navajo, Hopi, Apache, and Pueblo peoples, but also features works from tribes throughout North America.

Hike Camelback Mountain

This is definitely a challenging hike; however Camelback Mountain is one of Phoenix’s iconic landmarks and those who reach the summit are treating to breathtaking views of city skyline, surrounding mountain ranges, and the vast Sonoran Desert.

The panoramic vistas are especially stunning during sunrise and sunset.

Did I mention it’s challenging! The hike is steep, uneven and temperatures regularly exceed 100-degrees. Be forewarned and prepared.

Attend a Sporting Event

Phoenix is home to several professional sports teams, including the Phoenix Suns (NBA), Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), and Arizona Cardinals (NFL). So, depending upon the time of year you plan to visit, you can try to nab some tickets to see one of Arizona’s teams or even your favorite home team playing in the desert.

Visit a Musical Instrument Museum

This place is absolutely fascinating. The museum boasts an impressive collection of over 15,000 musical instruments from every corner of the globe. The instruments represent a wide range of cultures, traditions, and historical periods, providing visitors with a comprehensive understanding of the world’s diverse musical heritage.

The collection includes instruments from famous musicians, rare and ancient instruments, and interactive exhibits that allow visitors to hear and experience the sounds of each instrument.

In addition, the Artist Gallery is a unique feature of the museum, honoring the contributions of renowned musicians from around the world. It showcases instruments, costumes, and memorabilia associated with iconic musicians such as Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Taylor Swift, and many others. 

This Phoenix trip was a pleasant surprise, even more so for staying at Marriott Canyon Village, a wonderful desert oasis.

Book your stay at Marriott’s Canyon Villas at Desert Ridge.

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