Top Southwest Hotels For Summer

A Southwest getaway for the family should include active experiences plus some quality downtime. We say Enchantment Resort in Sedona might just fit the bill, especially with the program it’s created for the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service. The “Over-the-Top Grand Canyon Adventure Package” provides for a private helicopter ride for four people to take a flight from Sedona to the Grand Canyon. When it’s time to come home, a clay wrap spa treatment is included, at Enchantment’s sister property, Mii amo. Which room works best for families? We’re thinking it’s the two-bedroom “Full Hacienda Suite,” which has a living room (think high ceilings and a fireplace) with two queen pull-down beds. If a family member likes to barbecue (and there’s always someone), a nice big deck has a built-in grill and lots of seating for the family to sit around and critique the cook. There’s a kitchen inside as well (natch!) and a dining room area for six. There’s no arguing over who gets the best bedroom since both are masters (some with king beds, some with two queens, just ask). All told, there are plenty of private bathrooms for all, including one off the living room.

Enchantment, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, has a program for children ages four to 12, which provides nature walks, pottery classes, star gazing, scavenger hunts, cooking classes and yoga. Older children and teens can also participate in tennis camp clinics. They can also take a Pink Jeep tour and visit Native American ruins in the area.

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Fly in to Phoenix International Airport, which is about two hours away by car. The resort is not pet friendly, except for service pets.

Family Dining Tips

Enchantment has two restaurants. Tii Gavo has a more casual Southwestern vibe while Che-Ah-Chi is the fine-dining venue. Reservations can be made at any time for either, but do know that both have great views of the red rock canyon. We suggest making reservations at least two weeks out for a window seat or outdoor table for optimal views. Tii Gavo can be reached at 928-282-2900 and Che-Ah-Chi at 928-204-6000. Reservations can also be made online for both.

Good to know: Families sometimes want to relax and not worry about disturbing guests around them, so, we suggest a private room at Che-Ah-Chi for parties of six to 12. Another fun option is to request in-room dining served on your private patio. Enchantment has plenty of other venues for larger groups.

Note: Spring and summer are peak seasons at Enchantment Resort, so management recommends booking six to 12 months in advance.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale promotes itself primarily as a romantic getaway for adults, but we say, older children interested in tennis, swimming, hiking and biking will get plenty of attention here. The resort piqued our interest for families particularly when we heard about its new Spa House, which is a “mountain home” built to accommodate 16. The new space is being promoted for retreats, celebration getaways and corporate meets, but how cool would it be for a multigenerational group to settle in for some fun family time together?

Camelback

All told, the four-bedroom home’s 3,500-square-foot space is very focused around spa (think a treatment room for massages, a movement studio with yoga mats, Pilates reformers, indoor cycling and free weights), so we think any family that puts emphasis on wellness would find this to be a fabulous retreat. It’s all a very open space, with a kitchen, dining room and living room. Nice Touch: There’s also a big lawn, a wrap-around terrace (yes, please) and a pool.

Note: Four new adjacent Terrace Suites hold eight guests in total; we love that these are 900 square feet in size with plenty of outdoor space (there’s even an outdoor shower). The views of Camelback Mountain are also pretty fab, we hear.

Cool Touch: Spa House guests can request special programming such as water aerobics in their private pool, sunrise yoga or an evening of stargazing with an astronomer.

There’s even a “Sensei in Residence,” at Sanctuary; that’s a healer who is on call to perform specialized treatments. How’s that for a Southwest touch?

Tip: If Spa House guests want to dine at the resort, we recommend snagging a table on Elements Dining Deck (call 480-607-2325), which looks out over the sparkling lights of Paradise Valley. Time it right and you’ll even get a sunset view.

We suggest booking a table here when you make room reservations. As travel dates approach and the guest’s schedule is clearer, dinner should be reserved at least seven days prior, especially on weekends. There’s also a private dining room called XII that opens to the kitchen.

If you’ve got a family of foodies, a Lunch & Learn culinary series is running this summer with visiting chefs. Parents who want a break from the kids can tap in to a mixology class from the team at the Jade Bar; reservations are required.

Spa House guests also have access to the resort’s spa (children 16 and older, please), the main fitness center and tennis courts. Note that the resort doesn’t have programming geared to children and there are restrictions at the resort’s Infinity Edge pool for those under 16 on the weekends and during the summer months, but they do have access to tennis clinics, private swimming lessons, hiking and biking.

Sanctuary, also a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, is pet friendly. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is just 20 minutes from Sanctuary, whose high season runs September through May. Book at least 30 days in advance for these months.  

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