Stay and play: 10 posh staycation spots in metro Phoenix

    Flow Rider at Kierland Westin Resort and Spa.
    Courtesy of Kierland Westin Resort and Spa.

    This is one time of year when our Midwestern friends and relatives — who are enjoying blissful 80-degree days — can gloat, while we’re barricaded indoors from triple-digit temps.

    Still, there is a reason metro Phoenix is a vacation destination, and because so few visitors show up during our hottest months, we can swoop in to enjoy the Valley’s many posh resorts for enviable rates that are more reasonable than a trip out of town or a single day at a big theme park. Here are a few grand places to stay and play in metro Phoenix.

    Arizona Grand Resort
    8000 S. Arizona Grand Parkway, Phoenix
    602-438-9000 •
    This family-friendly resort boasts a seven-acre Oasis Water Park with an eight-story Slide Canyon Tower featuring two dramatic waterslides, plus a Zuni lazy river and a zero-entry Oasis Wave Pool. The resort hosts nightly family-friendly activities. And Rustler’s Rooste — a hilltop Western steak house adjacent to the resort — offers an Old West atmosphere, great views, a live steer and an indoor slide that younger kids love.

    Embassy Suites by Hilton Scottsdale Resort
    5001 N. Scottsdale Road
    480-949-1414 •
    This resort near Old Town Scottsdale and Scottsdale Fashion Square opened in July 2016 after a $25-million renovation. It features a complimentary made-to-order breakfast, evening drinks and appetizers, Saturday night dive-in movies, live music poolside on Fridays and more. The Suite Summer Escape with a two-room suite starts at $99 per night. The Pokemon Go Family Package (the 21-acre resort has three Poke stops and a Pokemon Gym) includes a $20 Google Play or iTunes gift card to buy Poke coins.

    Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
    7575 E. Princess Drive
    480-585-4848 •
    The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess celebrates its 30th birthday and three decades as a favorite staycation destination this year. It’s sixth — and largest — pool, with a white-sand beach, opened in May 2016. The resort also boasts waterslides, summer pool parties and dive-in movies, swimming with “mermaids,” lagoon fishing, nature walks and weekend fireworks. The resort’s seventh annual Fourth of July Freedom Fest offers concerts, a vintage air show and more. Summer Splash Birthday Bash rates start at $169 per night with a $50 daily resort credit.

    Four Seasons Resort
    Scottsdale at Troon North
    10600 E. Crescent Moon Drive
    480-513-5039 •
    With a complimentary Kids for All Seasons program (offering games, Legos, crafts, movies, behind-the-scenes hotel tours and more daily for ages 5 to 12), free stargazing every Thursday night, dive-in movies on Saturdays, free poolside cabanas (with smoothie and fruit-kabob samples) and live music, there is something for every family member to enjoy. Summer rates start at $189 per night.

    Courtesy of Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa

    Hyatt Regency Scottsdale
    Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch
    7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Road
    480-444-1234 •
    This picturesque resort offers 10 pools, 20 fountains, 45 waterfalls, a sand beach and a three-story waterslide in its updated “water playground.” Family activities include a rock-climbing wall, poolside games and movies, horseback riding, desert tours and more. Splash into Summer rates start at $149 per night with a $50 resort credit and free self-parking.

    Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort
    7677 N. 16th St., Phoenix
    602-997-2626 •
    The four-acre River Ranch waterpark includes a lazy river, sports pool, waterslide, waterfalls and more. There are also a mini-golf course, tennis courts and dive-in movies. Coyote Camp teaches ages 4 to 12 about Western folklore, culture and geography, with fun activities including gold panning. Squaw Peak Fun rates start at $124 per night (plus a $26 resort fee).

    Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa
    5594 W. Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Gila River Reservation
    602-225-0100 •
    Relax at the resort pool with a waterslide or try paddleboarding at this south Phoenix destination. Family activities include Native American-inspired storytelling and arts and crafts; poolside activities and movies; horseback-riding adventures at Koi Equestrian Center and easy access to nearby Rawhide, the 1880s Western theme park with cowboy stunt shows, stagecoach and train rides and entertainment. Enjoy storytelling around the campfire during Stories and S’mores. The Adventure Club for kids offers supervised activities. Summer rates start at $119 per night ($99 for teachers, military members or caregivers).

    The Phoenician
    6000 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
    480-941-8200 •
    This longtime Phoenix resort is under renovation this summer, which means even bigger deals. Rates start at $119 per night and include a renovated room, in-room movie and half off the Funicians Kids Club program for ages 5 to 12 that offers sports, tours, games and arts and crafts. The resort hosts AquaMermaid classes (for ages 7 and older), plus stargazing, koi fish feeding, animal encounters, hiking, water games, iScavenger hunts, family activities, dive-in movies, a waterslide, splashpad and more.

    The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa
    6902 E. Greenway Parkway, Phoenix
    480-624-1000 •
    The Westin Kierland’s Adventure Water Park boasts a FlowRider, which is part surfing, part wakeboarding, plus a lazy river and waterslide, a shaded poolside OK Corral with lawn games, basketball, table games and campfires for s’mores. There is a Digital Kids Club for ages 8 to 13, with classes in animation and video-game design. The Westin Family Kids Club (for ages 4 to 12) offers swimming, scavenger hunts, hotel tours, movies, video games, soccer, tennis and more. The Big Chill Package for summer starts at $149 per night and includes a $50 resort dining credit or two free sessions on the Kierland FlowRider wave simulator.

    The Wigwam
    300 E. Wigwam Blvd., Litchfield Park
    623-935-3811 •
    This historic Arizona resort offers all the resort musts, including pools, water slides, golf, tennis and bocce courts. Plus, enjoy sand volleyball, dive-in movies, family game nights, character breakfasts and Wildlife World Zoo animal encounter shows. Summer rates are as low as $89 Sunday through Thursday and $119 Friday and Saturday.