Chilling in the Desert: 7 Summer Deals


To celebrate my daughter’s college graduation in May, I wanted to treat her to a luxurious getaway with my sister. We initially eyed a spa weekend in Massachusetts or Pennsylvania, but got sticker shock from the prices, which averaged $2,000 per person for the weekend. My sister, a seasoned traveler, got an idea. If it was luxury we craved, 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, Ariz., where the temperatures ranged from 90 to 110 degrees. The resort’s “Heat It Up in Scottsdale” summer package starts at $189 a night and includes two cocktails per person per day, a waived resort fee (usually a $39-a-day charge), a full breakfast for each person, served until 3 p.m., and 25 percent off spa services. Compare that to peak season rates, which start at $349 a night, without any of the inclusions.

The 185-room resort, redeveloped in 2016, consists of exquisite, midcentury-modern, single-story bungalows with their own entrances and patios. We upgraded to a 750-square-foot suite for $344 a night, which, in our case, included two roomy bathrooms with 40-square-foot showers. The upgrade came with a private, poolside cabana with a plush couch, table and chairs, a ceiling fan and a flat-screen television. Other perks and amenities were a “libation exploration” class, where visitors are instructed on how to make their favorite cocktails; a free early morning yoga class by the pool with Camelback Mountain as the backdrop, and complimentary homemade potato chips, chocolates and salt water taffy in the room.

Vacationing in this type of heat takes strategic planning. We typically rose by 6 a.m. or so to hike in the nearby mountains or sit poolside with our coffee. Afternoons were spent in the pool, sipping cocktails while perched in comfy floats. We found containers of ice water, along with sunscreen and aloe pump bottles, strategically placed throughout the resort. Besides cheaper rates, sweltering temperatures kept the crowds down; on a weekday, we had the giant pool nearly to ourselves.

The Andaz is one of several desert destinations offering a taste of luxury at bargain rates in the summer. Here’s a glimpse at a few others.

The amenities: Stellar views of the McDowell Mountains and an amazing water scene, which by itself is dazzling, provide ample opportunities to stay cool. There are 10 swimming pools — including one for adults — 20 fountains, 45 waterfalls and a 30-foot, three-story, high-speed water slide, 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 the resort’s activity-filled 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 when the sun goes down.

The amenities: Opened in November 2017, The Rowan is the first new hotel built in downtown Palm Springs in decades and, at seven stories, the tallest. Each of the 153 rooms have either views of the nearby San Jacinto Mountains or private outdoor terraces. There’s a rooftop pool with a bar, and custom-designed bikes available for guests to borrow. An evening social hour offers free beer and wine. Access to hiking trails are right in the hotel’s backyard.

The amenities: Situated on Cabo’s coastline, this resort aims to provide the quintessential luxury experience. There are 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 new 5,000-square-foot pool with a view of the sea has a swim-up bar.



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