I say it is the end of summer because I desperately want it to be the end of summer. I know people in other parts of the country are getting ready for sweaters, cute boots, and sitting on the patio sipping red wine by a fire. Yesterday afternoon my car registered 111 degrees, so we are a ways off from that.
But summer is ending in the way that our boys go back to school this Thursday. Days of lying around doing nothing on the weekends will be replaced soon by soccer games, scouting events, and homework. I decided we needed to resurrect our tradition of spending the night at The Scottsdale Princess to prepare ourselves for the upcoming year.
I don’t know if the Staycation is a Phoenix phenomenon. The local resorts and hotels are desperate for business (because really, who wants to come visit in the summer? No one.) The local families as desperate for a break in the horror of trying to entertain exuberant children indoors.
We have been fortunate enough over the years to stay at many local resorts and compare their various amenities. Biltmore (I don’t like the pool at all, and there is only one semi-lame water slide), Westin Kierland (where we were lucky enough to get locked on the opposite side of a fence from our kids and to watch a guest vomiting into a trash can at 5 p.m. – it’s that kind of party), Marriot Desert Ridge, Hyatt Gainey Ranch (love the spa), and the Pointe Squaw Peak (which is trashy and gross, and shouldn’t be included in this list other than I have been there. Any why haven’t they changed the name? The mountain it is named after changed its name over ten years ago. Perhaps it is time for Hilton to remove the racial slur from the resort name? Just a thought.)
The Princess remains my favorite for a few reasons:
- It feels intimate. Most other resorts have all the pools lumped in one area, where the Princess spreads them out. The water slides are near the East Pool, and the expansive South Pool overlooks the golf course and has a giant hot tub.
- There is not a lazy river. (Incidentally, this is a mark against the resort for the kids.) If you’re not familiar, a lazy river is a body of water meandering through the property with water jets in the bottom that allow one to sit in an inner tube and float around without any effort. This particular feature tends to attract the same crowd that goes to the actual river – loud, obnoxious, drunk adults. On top of that, I can NEVER find my children. I spend way too much time walking the edge of the river, trying not to panic.
- Fireworks! I’m never sad when there are fireworks.
- DJ Splash and the techno party at night. I’m not lying. His name is DJ Splash. He sets up his stuff right between the two slides and blasts Katy Perry and other kid-friendly artists all night. I personally rode the slide to Ganham Style. Through a fog machine. Epic.
The summer package of $150 includes a $50 resort credit that can be spent on food and beverage at the various outlets. With a $10 smoothie at the pool, it doesn’t take long to burn through.
We started this tradition in 2010 right after I started working again. I was a single mom, I didn’t have a pool, and the weekend was extremely cool and fun for me and my boys. We swam a lot, but I don’t think we made it up for fireworks that year. We did get up early and walked out to the lagoon, making a short stop at a coffee cart where the boys each got a Sprite – I’m not usually a soda-for-breakfast type of mom, but we all make concessions on vacation.
We really have a solid month and a half left of the miserable heat. To juggle homework and activities on top of it seems a bit overwhelming. I will be extremely grateful when Halloween rolls around and we can stand to be outside again. I also look forward to have something to write about other than the heat, my dad’s illness, and how long summer seems this year.