The idea of a summer staycation in Phoenix seems silly at first. If you’re on vacation why not escape the Valley and its triple-digit temperatures? However, we can make one compelling argument for a Phoenix staycation.
The gorgeously mild Phoenix winter draws visitors from around North American, and the rest of the world, to the Valley for more than 6 months a year. However, during the blazing hot summer, those visitors leave, and not many new ones show up.
To attract customers, hotels in the Valley drop their room rates 50 percent or more. A room that would cost a good chunk of your monthly salary during winter suddenly enters a reasonable range – for a luxury hotel.
If that isn’t enough to entice both locals and budget-seeking visitors, many hotels offer special summer deals. You can get additional meal credits, discounted spa days and other amenities. Don’t forget you aren’t paying for the electric bill, so — unlike at home — you can crank up the a/c.
Interested in a Phoenix staycation now? Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to pay to stay at the Valley’s most exclusive resorts.
Know before you book
Be aware that basic room prices don’t include taxes and fees. However, you can often get even lower prices than what we’ve listed by haggling a bit, or through a third-party membership, such as AAA or AARP.
Most ultra-upscale resorts, including most of the ones we list, have facility (resort) fees and charge for parking. Both can get pricey and drive up the cost of your stay. Confirm what’s included in your base rate before booking.
Also find out what you’re entitled to through the resort fee. It may be as meaningless as “use of the pool facilities and grounds.” Some resorts offer free parking and a waived fee. That might be your best option, even if another resort offers a cheaper base room price.
If these extras are not included, you can always call and see if they’ll throw them in. Some will; many won’t. Just don’t try to argue about it at check in or, worse, during check out. The time to get a deal for any hotel is before you book.
1. The Phoenician
When you think of luxury resorts in the Valley, The Phoenician probably comes in near the top of the list. It offers richly appointed rooms and a raft of high-end restaurants. Extras include golf, tennis and extensive pool facilities for both adults and kids. Overall, it justifies its claims of luxury.
During the winter, the least expensive rooms at this up-scale resort run around $479. During the summer, that figure drops to the low $200s. This year, because the resort is undergoing renovations, you can score rooms for as little as $119. You can also snag a summer spa special of $79.
More info: thephoenician.com, 800-888-8234
2. Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa
Neither a church, a home for endangered animals nor a reference to “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain offers 53 acres of beautiful Arizona landscape and plenty of windows and outdoor activities to soak it in. And, as the name implies, it’s not AT Camelback Mountain, it perches ON that famed geologic landmark. The location affords visitors incredible daytime views, lingering sunsets to watch and distant twinkling city lights after dark.
During the summer months, prices for a basic room (basic being relative) drop from $500+ to as low as $240. In addition, there are some summer-specific packages, such as the Arizona Residents package that saves you another 20% on a two-night stay.
For a romantic getaway, spring for the Summer of Love package. It includes a one-night stay and dinner for two at the glass-fronted Elements restaurant topped off by champagne and chocolate covered strawberries.
Sanctuary is also a true spa resort, offering award-winning signature treatments onsite. The summer-only Ladies First package provides a one-night stay and a 60-minute spa treatment per person.
More info: sanctuaryoncamelback.com, 855-245-2051
3. Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale
Situated at Troon North, which inhabits the desert-adjacent far northeast corner of the Valley, Four Seasons Scottsdale reflects its southwestern desert aesthetic. That includes adobe-inspired rooms and decor highlighted with bright colors and rustic accents. However, you’ll still find Four Seasons’ trademark luxury touches like poolside cabanas, high-end dining and drinking, plus access to golf, biking, horseback riding and more.
For summer, the resort offers “value periods.” During these date ranges, you’ll get the lowest prices available, such as a Deluxe Casita Room for just $209 a night (down from $450+ during winter months).
If you’re planning on staying more than one night, be sure to take advantage of the Experience More package that includes a $100 resort credit. For a staycation that involves lounging at the pool, the Sleep and Swim Package nets you a pool cabana ($100-a-day value) and refreshments. You can also take a look at the spa packages and family activity options.
More info: fourseasons.com/scottsdale, 480-515-5700
4. Royal Palms Resort and Spa
Built in 1929 as a home for New York industrialist Delos Willard Cooke and converted into a hotel in 1948, the Royal Palms Resort holds closely to the original home’s beautiful Spanish Revival architecture and decoration. While not a tiny resort, the villa walls and lush landscape give it a sense of closeness and intimacy.
The resort translates that intimacy into a heavy focus on romance. Not surprisingly, it often takes top spot for the Valley’s best honeymoon option. Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary or just the fact that summer’s half over, it’s a good option for a couple staycation.
For a basic stay during the summer, rooms start as low as $168 vs. $430+ at other times of the year. For an even better experience, consider offers like The Royal Spa Experience, Bed and Breakfast, or the Romance Package.
More info: royalpalmshotel.com, 800-672-6011
5. Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
If your idea of a good vacation revolves around the pool, or your entourage includes kids or pets, the Fairmont deserves a serious look. It features 6 (!) pools, that range from intimate to mingle heaven. Families will particularly enjoy Sunset Beach, which includes water slides, a 9,000-square-foot, white-sand beach; dine-in movies; mermaids; and Saturday-night fireworks.
For the golfer in the family, you can access two championship-level golf courses including the home of the Phoenix Waste Management Open. And for the kids, Fairmont offers the Trailblazers Family Adventure Center that keeps them entertained with games, crafts, swimming, sports and more.
To fully enjoy the beach pool, look at the Summer Splash Birthday Bash Package — it celebrates the resort’s 30th birthday. Valid from June to the beginning of September, a standard Fairmont room costs $169 (down from $300+). You’ll receive a $50 resort credit and access to the Sunset Beach pool.
More info: scottsdaleprincess.com, 866-540-4495
6. Arizona Biltmore
Built in 1929, the Biltmore’s gilded historical guest list includes Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Irving Berlin and just about every U.S. president since it opened. Today, as a Waldorf Astoria Resort, it defines old-school luxury.
Expect exclusive restaurants, including a High Tea room off the lobby, a spa and salon, tennis and 8 (!!) pools. There’s even a 92-foot water slide tucked into the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed outdoor decor. If blue tile and peace and quiet are more your style, don’t miss the Catalina pool. It was Marilyn’s fave.
For the summer months, the Biltmore breaks out its Arizona Resident Offer, which provies 20 percent off the room rate of a two-night stay. The next-level Summer Inclusive Package offers quite a lot more. You can experience breakfast, lunch and dinner for two, 20 percent off spa services, free self-parking ($12/night), no daily resort charge ($28/night) and a $25 daily resort credit. You simply need to show proof of Arizona residency.
If you’re from out of town, or only want to stay one night, check out the non-resident Summer Inclusive Package. For $215 a night, you receive a Classic room ($349 in winter), plus everything above.
Tip: There are also very low prices for room-only specials. Be sure to negotiate for a recently remodeled room; some of those “Classic” ones are too historically accurate.
More info: www.arizonabiltmore.com, 855-689-2878
7. Boulders Resort & Spa
Nestled next to a massive 12 million-year-old boulder formation, the Boulders Resort & Spa offers a mix of luxury and awe-inspiring outdoor activities. Stay in one of the newly renovated Southwest-style rooms, eat at the restaurant or a café, and then head out for a round of golf or hike/climb the boulders. (If you are doing this in summer, however, start early and finish by 8 or 9 a.m. and take plenty of water.) The resort also features a full spa and fitness room, four pools and tennis courts.
Like most upscale resorts, it tacks on a resort fee, but this one includes some nice perks, such as transportation. Golf carts continually zip around the large property. Just hop on and the driver will take you to any onsite destination or even to The Pedregal shopping area “next door.” If you don’t see a cart, call for a pickup.
During summer, try the Best of Boulders package. Rooms start at $164 ($350+ in winter), and include a $50 daily resort credit. Boulders also features a range of golf and spa packages, if those activities are of special interest.
More info: www.theboulders.com, 480-488-900
Want to know more about Phoenix’s amazing hotels and resorts? See 10 of the best luxury hotels in the Valley. And if you like history, check out 10 historic Valley hotels you won’t want to miss.
– Justin Ferris, Phoenix.org