Under the Sun

Camelback Inn Offers Fall Visitors a Taste of the Pumpkin-Spice Good Life

Camelback Inn Offers Fall Visitors a Taste of the Pumpkin-Spice Good Life
JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa
JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa

Carlee Flanagan was glad, she admitted last week, that the employees at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa were too busy to talk about pumpkin spice. It meant they were getting ready for a really big autumn holiday, she believed.

“Yeah,” said Flanagan, a publicist for the 84-year-old resort. “I know if they can’t come to the phone when I call, it’s definitely because they’re getting ready for this season. And that’s a good thing, right?”

Fall is definitely something people in Phoenix wanted a little bit more of, she pointed out. “Especially when being outdoors is like all people can really do nowadays.”

The Camelback Inn wanted Phoenicians to feel, Flanagan explained, “homey and fall-like.” Its management had come up with a seasonal spa experience they thought might cause homey and fall-like feelings to occur. People who went to the Inn could, she said, “slip into a state of fall.”

“I mean, typically they have tons of treatments anyway,” Flanagan said of her client. “But this season, they wanted to add bourbon and pumpkin spice and things like that. Things that when you eat them or smell them you think of how winter is coming.”

Rita’s Cantina, the bar at the Inn, was offering an autumnal cocktail made with pumpkin-spiced tequila, for example. “It’s a drink that embodies the fall season,” Flanagan believed. “It has also been super popular.”

Flanagan wanted it known that at Camelback Inn, the seasonal spices weren’t just in cocktails. At the spa, extra-tense guests could request a bourbon-spice massage, for example.

“They’re mixing small-batch bourbon with vanilla and cinnamon and other stuff,” she clarified, “and, yeah, massaging it right onto your skin.”

There was also bourbon in the resort’s new brown sugar and gingersnap body scrub. Although it smelled like an especially nice cookie, this wasn’t for eating, Flanagan said. It was meant to exfoliate the skin of tired locals with a combination of dark cane sugar and bits of pecan.

She didn’t think teetotalers should worry about having whiskey rubbed on them, because she was fairly sure doing that couldn’t make a person drunk. The bourbon was mostly there, Flanagan said, to create a nice aroma.

Visitors worried about having hooch massaged into their pores could opt instead for a pumpkin spice pedicure, Flanagan suggested. “They’d have to ask not to have the bourbon rubbed on during the soothing massage portion, though,” she said. “The rest of it is just different scrubs and lotions with the pumpkin spice and the brown sugar and things. It’s very autumn-scented.”

She said that Camelback Inn was not offering pumpkin-spice colonics as part of its seasonal package. “I’ve never heard of such a thing before,” she admitted. “I don’t know if that even exists.”

Flanagan also wasn’t sure why people loved pumpkin spice-flavored things so much, but she admitted to being among their number.

“I think there’s something rejuvenating about that combination,” she said. “It says, ‘Summer is over,’ and you know that the fun of winter is coming.”

She paused to relish the thought of a fun winter.

“Also, you know. Pumpkin and spice just taste really, really good together.”
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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela