It's hip to be square at this sleek Scottsdale boutique.
Miami, New York, LA, Scottsdale. Once upon a time, one of these things was not like the other, but with the introduction of James, the upscale desert city on the edge of Phoenix finally has something to offer the hipper than thou crowd. Unlike the earthy, desert-inspired luxury resorts that populate Scottsdale, this hotel is more Frank Sinatra than John Wayne. A former DoubleTree from the 1970s, the property retains some of that generic chain vibe, which actually adds to its retro charm. Obviously, the place has been done up, notably by designer Deborah Berke, who infused it with the kind of minimal, simple style that has become so popular these days. The 200 rooms may not add anything new to the hip hotel scene, but they fit into the genre quite nicely. They're also well stocked: 42 plasma screen TVs, instant access to over 400 movies, WiFi and DSL, 15-foot desktops, custom pillow top mattresses and cordless phones. The building rallies round a very groovy swimming pool area, equipped with private daybed/cabanas (you can take spa treatments here) and a bar. There's also great dining: Fiamma Trattoria. Partner Stephen Hanson of New York restaurant fame (Ruby Foo's, Blue Fin) wanted to give Scottsdale a place that is cool, young at heart and (relatively) affordable. He succeeded.