Near Piestewa Peak and Highway 51, Best Western InnSuites (1615 E. Northern Ave., 602/997-6285, http://phoenix.innsuites.com , $80–125 d) offers an excellent value. Budget travelers and families will appreciate the in-room refrigerator, microwave, and complimentary breakfast buffet each morning, not to mention the large swimming pool and hot tub in the central courtyard. Still not convinced? There is a free nightly happy hour 5–7 p.m.
ZenYard Guest House (830 E. Maryland Ave., 602/680-7631, www.zenyard.com , $60–90 d) is an eccentric alternative to the city’s plethora of chain hotels and resorts. The offbeat bed-and-breakfast is tucked into a north-central Phoenix  neighborhood, and it offers daily yoga classes, on-call massage therapy, and organic continental breakfasts. The mid-20th-century ranch house has been decorated with small Asian touches, such as a koi pond near the pool and hot tub. There are three suites from which to choose.
Looking for a little L.A. style in Central Phoenix?
The Clarendon Hotel (401 W. Clarendon Ave., 602/252-7363, www.theclarendon.net , $115–275 d) is a funky, boutique alternative to the midprice chains that permeate the area, attracting the likes of the Black Eyed Peas, AC/DC, and The Rolling Stones. The recently renovated property, which is still a little rough around the edges, features mod rooms with flat-panel TVs and free Wi-Fi. Most rooms open onto the property’s star attraction, the Oasis, a hip courtyard pool and 50-person Jacuzzi with striped tile, two-story glass water walls, and lounge-y cabana furniture. At night, the pool’s floor twinkles with 1,000 illuminated starry lights, and the rooftop bar transforms into an open-air lounge popular with locals in search of strong cocktails and impressive views of the downtown skyline.
Bed-and-breakfasts are a rare breed in Phoenix , though Maricopa Manor (15 W. Pasadena Ave., 602/274-6302, www.maricopamanor.com , $190–240 d) happily picks up the slack. Its seven unique suites are enhanced by gas fireplaces and French doors that open onto charming, palm tree-lined courtyards. The 1928 Arts and Crafts-style bungalow creates an inviting space in which to relax between hikes and shopping expeditions, thanks to small touches like potted plants and colorful flowers around its pool and sundeck. For a little Southwestern flavor, try to reserve the sunflower-yellow Siesta Suite, which features carved Mexican Colonial furniture, hand-painted Talavera tile, and a small sunroom with a twin daybed for a third guest. In the morning, breakfast is delivered to guest rooms in picnic baskets, allowing a leisurely meal on your private patio.
The Embassy Suites Phoenix-Biltmore (2630 E. Camelback Rd., 602/955-3992, www.embassysuites.com , $175–225 d) is conveniently situated next door to Biltmore Fashion Park’s shops and restaurants. Unlike its posh neighbors, The Ritz-Carlton and Arizona Biltmore Resort, this Camelback Corridor hotel is a relatively inexpensive option, complete with complimentary made-to-order breakfasts and evening cocktail hour. The recently renovated rooms, pleasant atrium, and outdoor pool are popular with families and business travelers.
Conveniently situated near the Biltmore neighborhood, Courtyard Phoenix Camelback (2101 E. Camelback Rd., 602/955-5200, www.camelbackcourtyard.com , $160–200 d) is within easy reach of numerous restaurants and shops, like those at Town and Country Shopping Center and Biltmore Fashion Park. The four-story, midlevel hotel has been renovated, and many of its comfortable, modern rooms overlook a nicely landscaped pool and courtyard. Also, it offers a few amenities that offset the less-than-economical price: complimentary Wi-Fi, upgraded bedding, and a pullout sofa for an extra sleeping space.
Hotel Highland at Biltmore (2310 E. Highland Ave., 800/956-5221, www.hotelhighlandatbiltmore.com , $150–200 d) underwent a major remodel in 2009, updating the former Phoenix Inn Suites with modern furnishings and plasma televisions. Its moniker as an “urban-desert boutique hotel” is a bit of a stretch, but the 120-room property does offer a little more style than a run-of-the-mill motel. Guests can enjoy a swim in the courtyard swimming pool or make the short walk to the Biltmore Fashion Park’s restaurants and shops.
The Ritz-Carlton (2401 E. Camelback Rd., 602/468-0700, www.ritzcarlton.com , $400–550 d) delivers impeccable service and all the grand European style for which the hotel group is famous, including formal marble foyers, gilt frames, silk brocade fabrics, and Egyptian cotton linens. The pink-stucco tower is the hotel de rigueur for pop stars and athletes passing through town, though less-famous guests will also appreciate the sky-high views of Camelback Mountain  and the Phoenix  skyline. And should it be too hot to enjoy the open-air shopping at Biltmore Fashion Park across the street, take a dip in the second-floor pool, which is surrounded by the neighborhood’s glass towers, a distinctly urban experience in this desert metropolis.