Author: Family Travel Forum Staff
Tags : Arizona, Christmas Holiday, Couples, Flee Market, Kids, Kids Club, Multigen, Phoenix, Teens
Even though they’re naturally covered in cactus, the desert cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona drape themselves in pines, lights and fun events each winter. Imagine 8,000 hand-lit luminaries lighting Las Noches de Las Luminarias, the holiday event at the Desert Botanical Garden. From November 27-December 31 they will also illuminate the work of Bruce Munro, an artist whose other installations in his “Desert Radiance” series can be seen throughout greater Scottsdale.
You can see more art in a great Southwestern art museum, because the annual Holidays at the Heard honors the region’s American Indian culture with exciting performances and artist demonstrations.
Families and the young at heart will appreciate the retelling of the Polar Express story on the Grand Canyon Railway, which departs from nearby Williams throughout the season. From December 11-January 2, the illuminated McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is running a holiday train and carousel rides locally.
But the holiday cheer doesn’t end here – this town knows how to dress up and its hotels follow suit, with programs and décor galore for merry makers.
The North Pole is coming this season to the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, always a family and pet-welcoming resort with a Trailblazers kids club for ages 5-12, a big waterslide at the pool and several good restaurants. For the holidays November 20-January 3, enjoy the huge, musical Christmas tree whose lights dance in time to the tunes, a 5,400-square-foot ice skating rink, outdoor fire pits for s'mores, a carousel, Christmas Petting Zoo, nightly Menorah Lighting, Santa’s workshop and 2.8 million LED lights at the Lagoon which can be seen from a small train. As you can see from the photo, there's more afoot: Three characters, Christmas Princess Noel, Peppermint the Penguin and Selfie Elfie will be roaming the property to greet kids and have their picture taken. The “Magic Memories” package, starting from $274/night is available during this season and covers a spacious luxury double room (connecting double room available for kids for half price), skating session with skate rentals for two adults and two children, VIP access on the Princess Express train, and complimentary one-day admission to the three-level Well & Being Spa with its rooftop pool, waterfall grotto, steam rooms, saunas, salon, boutique and café. Pack a gift for their Toys for Tots drive, buy an ornament for their Tree of Hope and let the kids know that the Boys & Girls Club will get a $10 donation for each booking. Note that holiday events are open to the public so it gets very crowded on weekends. For reservations at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, please call 800/908-9370 or visit their site.
At the more casual Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix, families can enjoy the resort’s swimming pools, water park, spas and golf course. Their “Arizona Winter Package” starts at $339/night and includes a suite, Gingersnap Body Wrap, 50-minutes massage, hot chocolate and drinks for two – check with them on kids’ rates for this special, valid through February 28, 2016.
The Arizona Biltmore (opened in 1929) is a must-see “Jewel of the Desert” in any season. The legendary resort has distinctive Frank Lloyd Wright architectural style, luxurious facilities and 740 guest rooms and casitas that families love, and the wintertime frozen skating rink on their Squaw Peak lawn is a sight to behold. Nestled on 39 acres at the foot of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, it’s a place with its own luxe kids facilities: eight swimming pools including the spectacular Paradise Pool with a 92-foot-long water slide. Additionally, there’s a beautiful spa offering natural holiday treatments and restorative therapies; a fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment; two 18-hole golf courses; and six restaurants and lounges as befitting this Waldorf Astoria Resort. “Miracle on 24th Street” holiday rates were not posted as went to press, but we know the events will be fun and the hotel is special.
Moving downtown for a couples getaway? Or traveling with teens? Try the 2015 Holiday Package at W Scottsdale, which includes a 20% discount on rooms and items at W The Store, and two tickets for complimentary holiday cocktails Nov. 19 through Dec. 30. Everyone in the family will love the 2nd floor WET, their enormous “be seen” pool and sundeck where a DJ spins tunes – maybe Christmas carols -- on weekend afternoons.
The Royal Palms Resort and Spa is a classic Spanish Mediterranean style resort that Travel + Leisure readers voted #1 in Phoenix. Its large luxe rooms and casitas are located at the foot of Camelback Mountain, convenient to holiday sightseeing. Through December 28, guests will receive two $30 Alvadora Spa credits and one $20 T. Cook’s dinner credit per room, with nightly rates starting at $359.
Tempting but out of your budget range? The Scottsdale C&VB is giving away a holiday trip including airfare for two and a three-night stay at the stylish downtown Hotel Valley Ho, plus many attractions tickets and meals; with a runner-up prize of a three-night stay at The Phoenician, to those who visit Scottsdale Holiday Experience before November 23.