Courtesy of Fairmont
Jeff Ficker
February 04, 2015

Residents of Scottsdale and Phoenix are frequently asked, “How do you survive the summer heat?” The answer is simple: air-conditioning and swimming pools. We take our pools seriously in Arizona, and Scottsdale’s resorts have elevated the simple swimming hole into sprawling aquatic playgrounds, with multi-storied slides, lazy rivers, kid-friendly splash areas, extreme sports and poolside bars. Most are well used for three-fourths of the year, only experiencing a slight drop in the winter (it’s not uncommon to see out-of-towners taking a dip in heated pools in February). These oases make even the most brutal summer days bearable. In fact, many visitors are surprised that, because of the desert’s low humidity, it can feel cold when you get out of the pool, despite full sunshine and a 115-degree temp. The hotel pools below were selected to suit a variety of preferences, from families looking for full days of fun in the sun to couples in need of a little R&R.

Sanctuary on Camelback

For couples looking for a quiet getaway, it’s hard to beat this perch on the side of Camelback Mountain. The boutique resort’s mod aesthetic carries over to its intimate swimming area, with an infinity-edge pool, mountain views and a palm-tree ringed deck for sunning and relaxing. Order a couple of cocktails from Jade Bar, and you’ll start fantasizing about ways to permanently move in.

Westin Kierland

The Westin doesn’t so much offer a pool as a mammoth water park for the whole family: a 900-foot winding lazy river, two hot tubs, a 110-foot-long waterslide, and the FlowRider, a surfing-snowboarding-wakeboarding hybrid that teens love. An adults-only pool and children’s play area ensure everyone finds the perfect aquatic fit. 

The Phoenician

This Grande Dame of Scottsdale resorts may have seven pools for guests, but it’s the signature showstopper that wows: an oval gem inlaid with iridescent mother-of-pool tiles that shimmer in the light. For the ultimate indulgence, rent one of the canary-yellow cabanas, which are outfitted with lounges and teak furniture, ceiling fans, fresh fruit and computer hookups.  

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale

A recent $4 million update transformed the Hyatt Regency’s pool area: 10 swimming pools, 20 fountains, 45 waterfalls and a three-story waterslide that zips swimmers down at 25 miles per hour. The little ones will love the sandy beach, and adults will appreciate the kid-free pool, complete with a well-stocked bar. 

W Scottsdale

Welcome to a poolside playground of toned bodies, bikini tops and DJs spinning dance music all day (and night) long. The W’s pool and outdoor bar, WET, is perched above the hotel’s entry, and glass skylights give arriving guests a preview of the fun upstairs. The atmosphere is geared more to socializing than hiding away in a cabana.

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