One of the things I love about Arizona is how easy it is to get away to other parts of the state. But here, getting away doesn't mean you have to drive far—sometimes you can simply drive across the street. I live in the Arcadia area of Phoenix, which happens to be literally right across the street from The Phoenician Resort.
For those who don't know, the Phoenician Resort is pitched as a luxury property—and it is. But the baggage that can sometimes come with a title like that is a perception of a cold and impersonal place meant only for those with cash to burn. Heck , that was even my perception of the place 20 years ago.
But then I had kids, and kids need stuff to do. All the time. And if you haven't figured this out by now, kids plus 115 degree weather equals a day at a pool or the mall. And your pool is never exciting enough. Trust me.
So with a big chunk of my vacation time already allocated to other trips, my wife and I embarked on our first staycation with our 6 and 7-year olds in tow. We packed up the SUV and drove the grueling 485 yards to The Phoenician Resort guard gate—which only reinforced my archaic attitude about luxury hotels—but the pleasant greeting by the attendant really surprised me. In fact, the level of friendliness by everyone at the resort made us feel not only welcome, but like we were just hanging out with our friends.
The whole experience turned out to be a weekend full of surprises. For starters, the hotel has a huge water slide my kids absolutely loved. And yes, I tried it, too—about a dozen times—just to make sure it was safe. They also have a type of floating walkway in one of the pools that’s balanced with a single rope, and if you didn't walk or run across it in precisely the correct manner, you find yourself embarrassingly dumped into the pool. Not a pretty sight for a 40-year old, although the kids really dug it. Or perhaps they just laughed at the sight of me nearly drowning myself trying to make it across. Even the setting sun didn't end the fun for them or us. After dark, we got to roast marshmallows with the kids and jump into inner tubes for a night of great float-in movies.
My point to all this is to lower your guard and try something new. You just might—for better or worse—rediscover your inner 7-year old at a five-star resort.
Roger Hurni grew up in New York, lived in San Francisco and now resides Phoenix. He has traveled extensively around the world from the more popular places such as England, Spain and Italy to the more uncommon ones such as Russia, Zimbabwe and Peru. He enjoys activities ranging from his climb up Kilimanjaro to his fine hotel experiences in cities such as Paris.