Arizona's renowned sunshine ensures that nearly everyday is perfect for sightseeing, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, and almost any outside adventure. Prized as a mid-winter getaway by snowbirds, retirees and golfers, Arizona nonetheless has a remarkable collection of family-friendly hotels and large resorts. Remember that since their high season is the nation's winter season, room rates fall in summer months… when Arizona is a scorcher, but so much more affordable. Here are our favorites – child-friendly resorts with golf, tennis, desert hiking, spas, great pools, and native culture in Scottsdale, Tucson and Phoenix. These are mostly high-end, but there are hundreds more in all price ranges available on the Arizona Tourism Office site.
Phoenix, Arizona Hotel Resorts
Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa
2400 East Missouri Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85016
At this historic Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired resort built in 1929, you will bask in luxury and style. With a handful of refreshing swimming pools, including the Paradise pool (which has a 92-foot water slide a swim-up bar, and the Catalina Pool which was a favorite of Marylyn Monroe), you and the kids will stay refreshed and cool. Each day, children, ages 4-12, engage in fun activities like swimming, hiking, biking, tennis and nature walks at the Kids Korral program. Kids will also have a blast at the Kids Playground. Mom and Dad can tour the historic property, admire celebrity photographs and splendid decor, play golf, tennis (7 courts), take a power walk, or relax in the spa, and enjoy Afternoon Tea or Martini Mixings. During the rest of the week, Mom and Dad can join in Dive-In Movies at the pool. Rooms in the Waldorf-Astoria property are gorgeous, and one of the resort's wings has become the ultra-service-oriented Ocatilla. It's the equivalent of an executive floor; 120 rooms have their own concierge, custom furnishings, private pool, snack and drinks lounge.
Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort
7677 North 16th Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85020
602/997-2626 or 800/876-4683
At the foot of Squaw Peak and surrounded by expansive mountain views and recreational activities, the two Pointe Hilton Resorts guarantee adults and children alike a relaxing and enjoyable stay. Between the resorts at Squaw Peak and at Tapatio Cliffs, we like the more informal family atmosphere at Squaw Peak. Facilities of both properties, including golf, seven restaurants, a waterpark and more, are open to all guests. Squaw Peak offers 430 two-room suites and 133 one and two-bedroom luxury casitas, all comfortably furnished and spacious enough for the whole family to spread out and relax.
Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa
300 Wigwam Boulevard
Litchfield Park, Arizona 85340
An historic inn that is said to be Arizona's largest golf resort (with three full courses), this Starwood Luxury Collection property is located on 440 acres in Phoenix' West Valley area. The resort's attractive garden-view casitas offer visiting families plenty of space from which to enjoy activities such as golf, tennis on one of the 9 expert courts and swimming in four sparkling pools, as well as horseback riding. The Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa is another big attraction, comprised of 26,000 square feet. Sundays, the grounds host the local Farmers Market, and families will enjoy browsing the many artisanal crafts stalls and produce from local farms. Additionally, this fresh food can be enjoyed at the hotel’s restaurants, which embrace the “farm to table” movement and serve fresh and local ingredients.
Scottsdale, Arizona Resorts
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
7575 East Princess Drive
Scottsdale, Arizona 85255
This pink stucco Mediterranean-style Scottsdale resort features two 18-hole championship golf courses (one with a great steak restaurant), a fun family pool with small sand beach and waterslide, lots of well-groomed land to roam, and the stunning Willow Stream Spa.The new Health and Wellness program offers guests the opportunity to ramp up their mental and physical health in a quiet, adult-only sanctuary. With a team of doctors, the program offers consultations and classes in nutrition, well-being and mental health, and fitness. Bobcat Billy’s Clubhouse can keep kids entertained while parents relax at the spa. The clubhouse revolves around the culture and wildlife of the desert area and activities include nature explorations, fishing, and even some cooking. Full and half day sessions are available.
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch
7500 East Doubletree Ranch Road
Scottsdale, Arizona 85258
Located on the Gainey Ranch, you'll discover a championship golf course, a 2.5-acre water playground with 10 interconnecting pools, 20 fountains, 45 waterfalls, and a sand beach (perfect for the little ones). To top it off, there is a 3- story waterslide that will send you flying at nearly 25 miles per hour. Eight tennis courts, as well as biking and jogging trails provide lots of opportunities for physical activities. Most importantly, this resort's luscious, Caribbean-tropical landscaping and abundance of plantings add a soothing touch to the sometimes bleak desert environment. The hotel boasts 493 re-modeled rooms and suites, as well as casitas. That natural, almost spiritual quality pervades Camp Hyatt Kachina, open to ages 3-5 and 6-12. This Native American-themed day camp entertains young guests as part of Hyatt's "Experiential Vacationing." The resort also offers adults the opportunities to experience the rich culture and heritage of the Southwest with workshops and presentations at the Native American and Environmental Learning Center, just off the art-filled lobby. Spa Avania's treatments revolve around the times of day: energizing treatments for the morning; rejuvenating for mid-day, and calming for the evening, and it features an outdoor heated mineral pool with French Celtic minerals and underwater music.
The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa
6902 East Greenway Parkway
Scottsdale, Arizona 85254
Located adjacent to Kierland Commons, a fancy dining and shopping complex which is 10 miles from Scottsdale and 20 miles from Phoenix, this very large, conference-center-like property offers you the choice of sleeping on a signature Westin Heavenly Bed in a guest room, suite or casita. After spending time on the golf course, tennis court, fitness center or an aerobics class, head to the full-service spa for some pampering. The Adventure Water Park comes complete with a flowing river pool and 110 foot waterslide. Family FUN programs offer entertaining programs for mom, dad, and the kids. The hotel also offers their SPG Kids Pass program – an all inclusive meal program that kids 12 and younger can enjoy.
6000 East Camelback Road
Scottsdale, Arizona 85251
An Old World gold and chandelier kind of place, perhaps somewhat out of tune with Arizona's desert beauty, but the resort amenities and facilities are top notch. Guests enjoy leisure activities from backgammon to lawn bowling, tennis and swimming in nine pools at this classic upscale golfer's paradise. Their homegrown produce and famous chef guarantee that every meal will be wonderful (even if pricey). While children have fun at the Funicians Kid's Club or the tennis clinics (different ones offered in the summer and spring months for ages 5- 18), parents can relax at the Centre for Well-Being Spa or schedule a Fitness and Wellness Consultation. There are a handful of things to take in at this resort, including a Phoenician- inspired art collection as well as a cactus garden.
Tucson, Arizona Resorts
Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa
3800 East Sunrise Drive
Tucson, Arizona 85718
With architecture inspired by its setting in the Catalina Mountains, this family-favorite hotel offers a myriad of recreational activities such as excellent tennis and golf instruction, a healthclub, and an Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. For the entire family, there are five pools and the Sidewinder, a 177 foot waterslide. The Kid's Club includes welcome gift bags and free meals for kids, and, the supervised Children's Lounge is where kids as young as 6-months up to 12-years are entertained by a trained staff from the "Fun Department." Parents can leave children for a maximum of four hours (only 2 hours for infants under 1) or they can play with them there, for free.
Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort
10000 North Oracle Road
Tucson, Arizona 85704
800/325-7832 or 520/544-5000
This golf and tennis resort not only has 428 comfortable guest rooms and suites, but also has three golf courses with a total of 45 holes for those golf-enthusiast parents. Kids over 42 inches can stay entertained at the 143-foot "Sliderock' waterslide, while those a bit younger will have tons of fun in the fish-shaped pool complete with interactive games and features. The resort offers 31 tennis courts where the whole family can take lessons from friendly professionals. Also be sure to saddle up and enjoy the Coronado National Forest on horseback. The hotel’s new series of EDU-tainment is sure to keep kids and parents entertained with an array of activities. Additionally, all the rooms come with a patio or balcony to take in the gorgeous views. There are five restaurant choices, so everyone, no matter how picky the eater, is bound to find something that suites their palate.
Other Arizona Resorts
The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa
34631 North Tom Darlington Drive
Carefree, Arizona 85377
Located in the foothills of the Sonoran Desert, The Boulders caters to its guests with six restaurants and cafés, deluxe casitas (some of which are housed in soft, rose stone structures like the boulders pictured above), sightseeing tours, golf and tennis. Designed for those who prefer the Old West more than video games and cellphones, it's an informal yet very posh retreat (now a Waldorf Astoria Collection resort) with superior service. Nearby desert adventures include cattle drives, rock climbing and canyoneering that may remind some of the film "127 Hours." Additional adult pampering is available at the on-site Golden Door Spa, also an excellent facility with the best wellness technicians around. Children (16 and under) stay free when using existing bedding, and dogs, on a leash, are welcome to hike with you.
525 Boynton Canyon Road
Sedona, Arizona 86336
Relax in Southwestern style and comfort in a hacienda or canyon-side casita at this super deluxe resort where service reigns supreme. Its spiritual setting near Sedona usually wows guests, as does its range of New Age treatments at the Mii amo Spa. While its high tariffs tend to minimize the number of kids in-house, children ages 4-12 can sign up to be a "coyote kid" at Camp Coyote, where they enjoy arts and crafts, treasure hunts, tennis lessons, and other activities. It's really surprisingly family- oriented, with pitch n'putt golf and ping pong on hand, as well as four swimming pools for enjoyment. Children under 12 stay free.
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