Carefree Resort & Conference Center is a wonderful resort stay less than an hour from Phoenix Sky Harbor in the High Sonoran Desert, located on 20+ acres… ideal as an affordable corporate retreat, conferences, meetings, or business related get-a-ways.
Carefree Resort opened in 1963. In the low-season, the hotel solicited vacancies at low rates with fliers – in the high season, room rates were offered as low as $89.
Newly renovated in 2009, the Carefree Resort is located a ways off Tom Darlington Road. To date, it has been somewhat ignored, perhaps due in part to the continuous success of “The Boulders.” Now, it is that exact laid back tone of the property that has made the hotel a best kept secret of the area.
We had a very enjoyable and relaxing weekend at Carefree. Two events took place during the weekend, the Leann Rimes concert, which drew over 600 people, and the Carefree Chili Cook-Off 2012, for which Maralyn was a judge. As part of the International Chili Society sponsored cook-offs, rules for judging the chili were exact, whereas verde and salsa rules had somewhat more flexibility for judges. …One of the best blind tasting experiences Maralyn has ever experienced as a food judge…
Our site inspection showed the resort’s transformation. Four types of rooms are now available, Resort, Premier, Sonoran, and Villa. The first two, along with villas, have been made into a southwestern mode, while Sonoran, where we stayed, is more contemporary. Villas have 12 units currently completed with updating. They are part of a time-sharing structure. Villa owners were assessed renovation costs, just as the new management firm, on behalf of owners, paid for the rest of restructuring.
In total, there are now 234 rooms available. High season rates are around $159, quite reasonable. We appreciated the complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi and the size of the rooms. In our spacious room we slept through the night, a good test of mattress and pillows.
Carefree Resort provides the usual range of features with a full service spa, five lighted tennis courts and tennis professional on property, heated serenity pool and tennis villa pool, and a 24 hour fitness facility.
In addition, complimentary shuttle service to local shops and restaurants of Carefree and Cave Creek is provided and golf is nearby.
The resort’s impressive entrance lobby features a fireplace that connects to the Lariat Restaurant. Set up in a circular design, the restaurant provides excellent service and offerings. Connected to Lariat is a circular bar, once used only for meetings. During summer months, Lariat opens its windows to provide de facto outdoor dining. A short distance outside, the Red Horse Saloon was the original bar. Now, with a more conveniently located bar adjacent to Lariat, Red Horse serves as a large scale meeting room, complete with pool tables. In addition, Carefree offers The Opera House as a venue, where “Grand Ole Opry” roots have been reinterpreted to fit Carefree’s western character.
We enjoyed first-rate meals at Lariat where every meal exceeded our expectations. Our primary dinner on Saturday night featured Maralyn’s choice of Chilean Sea Bass, while Norm enjoyed a 14-ounce pork chop with chutney. We started with lobster bisque and shared carrot cake for dessert. Our wines were paired perfectly.
The previous night, we ate dinner al fresco, on the terrace adjoining the spa. Norm had French onion soup and a main course of shrimp pasta, while Maralyn enjoyed a quesadilla.
Spa services were excellent. Norm chose a regular deep tissue massage, applied with medium pressure, and Maralyn, as usual, had the deep tissue as deep as possible with a body treatment. The spa is medium size and excellent in every way.
It is helpful to know that the Carefree and Cave Creek area was founded in the 50s and a center for culture and art. Since then, the area has developed into a haven for artists and artisans who are inspired by its desert landscapes, spectacular sunsets and majestic rock formations. They are both fun and interesting destinations, with Scottsdale and Phoenix just a short distance away.
We both felt carefree and relaxed at the Carefree Resort.