Phoenix is a year-round destination, despite its reputation for scorching summer temperatures. A few large resorts in and near Phoenix have discovered the secret to luring visitors when days are 105 degrees and above, and nights aren't much cooler: on-site water parks.
Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort
The elegant and sprawling Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs is 20 minutes from Phoenix International Airport and sits dramatically amid the foothills of the North Mountains. The resort's 584 suites are air conditioned and plush, but convenience and luxury are not the biggest draws: the Falls Water Village is. The water park consists of three acres of pools, waterfalls, a 138-foot enclosed water slide, private cabanas and two hot-plunge spas. The Cascades Cafe, one of five restaurants on the premises, caters to guests poolside, and the hotel also has a spa and extensive golf and business meeting facilities.
Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak
The other Hilton in Phoenix is the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak, which has an even bigger water park. The Hole-in-the-Wall River Ranch has four acres of pools and waterfalls, including the very popular Lazy River, which slowly churns you along on rubber tubes. Families can depend on the Kids' Koncierge to find out which activities are planned for that day around the water park. There's also Tombstone, the hotel's Old West theme town, and Squaw Peak Patio, an expansive area for celebrations. The kid-friendly hotel has 563 suites. Slim Picken's is a poolside cafe, and the other on-site restaurants are Hole-in-the-Wall, which features Western family-style dining, and the more elegant Lantana, which features Southwestern fare.
Arizona Grand Resort
The Arizona Grand Resort tries to outdo the competition with its Oasis Water Park, which has an eight-story tower with three water slides, a wave pool, a river tubing pool, and Wild Cat Springs water playground for the little ones. In addition, there's a 25-person hot tub so that parents can oversee all the action. The resort has 740 suites and several dining options, mostly with a Mexican or Western theme.
Westin Kierland Resort and Spa
Just east of Phoenix sits Scottsdale in the Sonoran Desert. The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa is another splashy, colorful luxury hotel with a water park, this one called Adventure Water Park. It has a 900-foot lazy river for inner tubing, a 110-foot-long water slide and a separate water playground area nearby with a "sandy beach'' for sand castle building. During summer, weekend “dive-in” movies are offered on Friday and Saturday nights, along with live poolside music.
- water park image by christine dedman from Fotolia.com