my parents just went to one of my old favorite places in arizona (where they live, and where i lived for 10+ years) for brunch the other day... which reminds me that i want to go there again next time i am in the phoenix/scottsdale area. the el chorro lodge (5550 e. lincoln dr., paradise valley, tel +480.948.5170 )has been around for ages (since 1934, if you wanna be specific) and is so charming. it's one of the few not-new treasures that the phoenix area still has around. it seems like everything old there gets torn down and erased from memory - it's nice to know that some places are still hanging in there. make sure you have some of their famous sticky buns, and hopefully you'll be there when the weather is not oh, say, 100 degrees so you can sit on the patio. don't hold their kinda cheezy website against them - they must just not know any better. oh, and here's a review.
since you won't be staying with my parents (and i hope i won't be every time, either!), try checking in to the royal palms hotel(5200 east camelback road, phoenix, tel +602.840.3610). this hotel has also been around for a while, as well... it was built as a private home in the 1920's for a wealthy new yorker who wanted a desert getaway. it has been a hotel since 1948, and is one of the best hotels in the phoenix area. it is much more intimate and special feeling than most of those big resorts that abound in the area - and it definitely feels like a luxury escape, despite being more affordable than the phoenician and the like.
if you want a different scottsdale experience, a more trying-to-be-hip-but-possibly-not-succeeding getaway, you could stay at the james hotel ( 7353 east indian school road, scottsdale, tel +888.500.8080) in old town scottsdale. it seems like the run-of-the-mill boutique hotel, but there is not much like that in the phoenix area, so it is big news to everyone there. i am personally not sold on their decor from what i've seen on their site, so good luck. tripadvisor reviews echo my negative gut feeling overwhelmingly.
not to be a snob or anything, but i am also not quite sold on the redo of the old hotel valley ho, which was a rather run down yet somehow charming mid-century motel for most of the time i lived in arizona. it was recently revamped and um, hipped up, in a eames meets starbucks-school-of-interior-design sort of way. i'm not sure i can support that! and i am definitely sure that i want walls around my bathroom; watching tv while i soak in the tub doesn't sound that appealing to me. gotta love the red flower toiletries (they're from my old nolita neighborhood!), and the pool looks like fun - not quite the raleigh, but i like it! i do applaud them for not just tearing the whole place down. as you can see, i'm conflicted. the tripadvisors sure do like it. maybe it's better in person. anyone seen it? let me know, and i'll be sure to post about it next time i go out there if i have time to check it out.