CHILLING IN THE DESERT: 7 DEALS FOR SUMMER
To celebrate my daughter's college graduation in May, I wanted to treat her to a luxurious getaway with my sister. My sister, a seasoned traveler, got an idea. If it was luxury we craved without sticker shock, why not stay at an upscale resort in a place that's eager to attract tourists in the summer?
We decided on a long weekend in July at Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows in Scottsdale, Arizona, where the temperatures were 90-110. The “Heat It Up in Scottsdale” package starts at $189 a night and includes two cocktails per person per day, a waived resort fee (usually $39-a-day), full breakfast, and 25% off spa services. Compare that to peak season rates, which start at $349 a night.
The 185-room resort consists of exquisite, midcentury-modern bungalows. We upgraded to a 750-square-foot suite for $344 a night. It came with a private, poolside cabana with a couch, table and chairs, and a flat-screen television. Other perks were a free early morning yoga class by the pool with Camelback Mountain as the backdrop, and complimentary homemade potato chips, chocolates and taffy in the room.
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch Scottsdale, Arizona
The amenities: Stellar views of the McDowell Mountains and 10 swimming pools – including one for adults – 20 fountains, 45 waterfalls and a 30-foot, three-story, highspeed waterslide, as well as a man-made beach with a 5,000-square-foot sandy beach area. For $15 an hour per child, children ages 3 to 12 can attend Camp Hyatt. There's also a spa, a golf course and eight restaurants.
The deal: With “Summer Made Simple,” children 12 and under get a free dinner each day from the children's menu in two of the restaurants, as long as at least one adult is paying for a full-price meal. Children 18 and under play one round of golf free per day with a paying adult. Rates start at $139 per night, not including the $40-plus tax resort fee, which covers self-parking and bicycle rentals. Peak season rates start at $450 a night.
Beating the heat: The resort offers several poolside activities, including watermelon-eating contests, inner tube races and water balloon tosses. There's also nightly live entertainment.
Miraval Arizona Tucson, Arizona
The amenities: Situated in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Miraval Arizona is a premiere wellness spa. The all-inclusive resort features casita-style accommodations. There are more than 120 complimentary wellness activities, lectures and fitness classes weekly, along with three pools.
The deal: Summer rates start at $399 per person per night, compared to $699 in winter. Rates include a $175 nightly resort credit per person that can be used toward spa services; classes like beekeeping and cooking; fitness classes; all meals, as well as snacks and nonalcoholic beverages; and shuttle transfers from Tucson International Airport.
Beating the heat: Most of the outdoor programs take place early in the morning. Miraval hosts a series of full moon programs, including Celestial Yoga and Twilight Zipline.
The Rowan Palm Springs, California
The amenities: The Rowan is the first new hotel built in downtown Palm Springs in decades. . Each of the 153 rooms have views of the San Jacinto Mountains or private outdoor terraces. There's a rooftop pool with a bar, and bikes available to borrow. A social hour offers free beer and wine. Access to hiking trails are in the hotel's backyard.
The deal: Summer sale: Rates start at $147 a night for midweek stays (compared to $289 during high season), and at $225 for weekends (compared to $289 during high season).
Beating the heat: Guests can watch the summer's meteor showers from the hotel rooftop.
Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas, Nevada The amenities: Though it's on the famed Las Vegas Strip, the Four Seasons has a nonsmoking, nongaming atmosphere. In addition to the private pool, guests can use the pool complex at the adjacent Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.
The deal: Summer rates start at $220 per night versus $300 during peak season. Guests can also book the “Experience More” package, with rates starting at $280 per night, based on a two-night stay. This includes a $100 hotel credit that can be used for the spa or to book a private poolside cabana. Deals can be found here.
Beating the heat: Complimentary amenities poolside, including Evian spritzes, chilled fruit and oshibori towels.
Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort Los Cabos, Mexico
The amenities: Situated on Cabo's coastline, this resort has 84 accommodations, including 12 beach villas. Five dining venues specialize in different types of dining experiences, including a teppanyaki ice-cream bar and a tequila-and-ceviche bar. A 5,000-square-foot pool has a swim-up bar.
The deals: Guests who stay three nights can receive the fourth night free. An ocean-view junior suite is $674 a night, compared to $1,125 in the winter.
Beating the heat: A team of pool butlers are available to massage your feet, mist you with cold Evian spray and bring you complimentary Popsicles, sorbets and lemonade.
Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa Indian Wells, California Amenities: Nestled against the Santa Rosa Mountains in the greater Palm Springs area, this is an 11-acre resort with three pools. Complimentary yoga sessions are held every Saturday morning.
The deal: The resort has a variety of vacation specials, including “Summer Chill” where you stay two nights and get the third night free. Summer rates start at $109 a night, plus a $35 resort fee; the starting rate at peak season is $211. Children eat free all summer.
Beating the heat: The Starlight Sip & Swim is a cabana rental program 7-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday through the end of summer. It includes a pitcher of sangria or margaritas. Cost is $100. Guests can also watch movies Friday and Saturday at dusk.
Scenic mountain views surround the pool at the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows in Scottsdale, Ariz.