If a picture is worth a thousand words, then prepare yourself for about 10,000 words of what could possibly be the coolest place in the state to escape during the long, hot days of an Arizona summer. I am referring, of course, to the Arizona Grand Resort, located at 8000 Arizona Grand Parkway in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Arizona Grand Resort is an all-suite property that backs up to 17,000 acres of South Mountain Preserve, and is as welcoming as it is lush. In 2006, the Arizona Grand Resort began a down-to-the-studs renovation of all of their guestrooms, AND they undertook the daunting task of adding 100 luxury villas to the already stunning property. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by Mason and Brett, who quite handily whisked us away to our fantastic room, and unloaded our bags faster than a pit crew changing tires at the Indy 500. It was a blur of ridiculously exceptional guest service that left me just a tiny bit agape with awe.
We were invited to experience the full gestalt by staying in one of the luxury villas and, to sum it up in the words of my 12-year-old son, it is the “awesome sauce house.” The room was by far the nicest of all rooms in which I’ve stayed in my life, and I already thought the guest suites at this resort were fantastic. The luxury villa is really intended for long-term guests, as indicated by the full kitchen with every amenity – including dishes and cutlery – and the bathroom is absolutely “to die for.” It is certainly no surprise that the villas themselves are for sale. In fact, the newly refurbished lobby (an amazingly comfortable and intimate space that serves as the “heart” of the property) has a marketplace in which you can purchase a magazine, a pack of gum, a Starbucks Latte, and a Villa! ONE STOP SHOPPING.
In addition to the marketplace, the lobby has a very inviting bar – conveniently called the Lobby Bar – and a restaurant with what legend tells is the BEST PIZZA EVER. Perfect for filling the tank after a round of golf! Ah, THE GOLF!! How could I have gotten this far without mentioning it? When I spoke with general manager Paul Gray, he made a point of mentioning that a lot of resort properties like to boast “championship” golf courses, which, in MY opinion, is PERFECT if you already happen to be a championship golfer. If, however, like most of us, you simply want to get your golf buddies together for 18 fabulous holes of FUN, unintimidating (yet adequately challenging) golf – then the Arizona Grand Resort is more than happy to accomodate you!
Now, let’s cut to the chase. Of course, by “cut to the chase,” I mean “get our swimming suits on and run like crazed lunatics to The Oasis waterpark!”
Ah, The Oasis waterpark. It’s what I look forward to every summer, and it is what keeps me coming back year after year. The place is HUGE, but not too big. The water is cool, clean, and clear. You can float for hours and hours and hours. Even on days when the park is full, it never seems too full to enjoy yourself. To be completely honest, most waterparks elicit a reaction from me that I suspect would not be dissimilar to stumbling upon a days-old crime scene. Abject horror. This waterpark is the opposite of that. The Oasis is just what it’s name describes, and it never fails to bring me unbridled joy. Especially the Zuni River.
Although my phasers are generally set to “drift” when it comes to waterpark fun, I realize that there are those that like to take a slightly more extreme approach to the general “having of fun.” The Oasis has got you covered. Besides the aforementioned wave pool and Zuni river, resort guests are dwarfed by the imposing eight-story high tower with three water slides, two of which I will never ride. My reasons for not riding them are my own, but to paint a clearer picture, during the planning stages of the waterpark, a young resort guest was overheard referring to one of the slides as the “wedginator.” Emphasis on WEDGE, I am certain. It is also important to mention that while the primary goal here is to have fun, the Arizona Grand Resort prides itself on employing confident and capable lifeguards who receive continued safety education at regular intervals and recently received a perfect score on a “surprise” safety inspection. Judging by the overall quality of this resort, I am certainly NOT “surprised.”
You’re not chickening out, are you?
If, by the end of the day at The Oasis, you are still looking for a bit of a workout, do NOT hesitate to stop by their state-of-the-art fitness facility and spa. You can pamper yourself to all manner of relaxation, or you can keep the six-pack and gun show in check. I’m telling you, I ALMOST wanted to work out after I saw the fitness center…almost.
Friday nights are when the real party starts back around The Oasis. In addition to their selection of “dive-in” movies – family friendly fare while floating – they have now joined forces with the Kimberly Lewis School of Dance to bring you the Arizona Grand Jam Dancers who turn the wave pool deck into a great big dance party!!
Now, after a day filled with golf, pizza, beer, swimming, sliding, working out, and dancing, you’ll be so happy to retire to the comfort of your room and collapse in blissful exhaustion into this heavenly cloud of a bed. You will be out like a light.
Not only is the Arizona Grand Resort all that I have mentioned and more, it has also received it’s Green Certification Award by Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association. So, not only are you having an awesome vacation, play-cation, or STAY-cation, you are actually helping the environment.
To sum it up, this place really…well…ROCKS. For right around $200 a night (please refer to www.arizonagrandresort.com for current rates) you get a guest suite that includes four passes to the waterpark. I did a little comparison shopping and ANOTHER waterpark in the area charges about $35 per person, PLUS parking, PLUS tube and locker rental. Just the price of admission to that place is nearly the cost of a room at the Arizona Grand Resort if you are bringing a family of four, and that WOULD include a place to park, the use of tubes, and a nice, comfy, air-conditioned room to stash your stuff, instead of a cramped locker.
Plus, you’re keeping ARIZONA’S money right here in ARIZONA – where we need it the most.
We very much enjoyed our “awesome sauce” room, which my elder son also referred to using the slightly more risque adjective, “opti-gasmic,” and we will be back next summer. I guess it is safe to say that a GRAND time was had by ALL!!!