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Visiting the Grand Canyon This Summer With Kids? Make This Luxury Resort Your Home Base

Dorothy Cascerceri Simone

Summer is one of the best times of year to take the ultimate Americana family vacation to the Grand Canyon. Yes, there are crowds just like any popular destination, but at the peak of the summer solstice, this national treasure enjoys 15 hours of daylight each day. Plus, the South Rim’s high desert elevation at 7,000 feet (the North Rim is even higher at 8,000 feet) keeps temperatures in the 80s most days, dropping down to the 40s at night. 

But getting there is not exactly easy, especially when you’re traveling as a family with young children. Lodging options inside the park book up years in advance, and if you’re used to staying in 5-star hotels you won’t find one within the gates.

Arizona Biltmore,

That’s why staying at the Arizona Biltmore, in Phoenix, Arizona is the perfect addition to your summer family vacation. 

If you’re not the road trip type, this 5-star resort is a much better alternative than hotel-hopping through the state. From here, the concierge can set up a wide variety of customized excursions to the Grand Canyon's South Rim, Sedona and more via air or ground transportation, and all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the ride – as long as you bring enough snacks and charged ipads for the little ones.  

However, if you’re more the type who lives for the open highway, and you want to discover the state your way (and the way my son and I did recently), the hotel still makes the perfect addition to your itinerary whether you spend a few nights when you land in Phoenix or a few nights when you return to Phoenix before flying home. The hotel can arrange a car rental for you that spares you the pain of forgoing the miles-long walk from the terminal to the airport rental center. 

The Arizona Biltmore is a convenient 15-minute drive from Sky Harbor Airport, making it the perfect first stop for families who don’t want to touch down and immediately drive another 4 hours or catch a connecting flight to Flagstaff, where the Grand Canyon's South Rim is located. 

This luxury five-star resort, which is celebrating its 95th anniversary this year, is a 39-acre desert oasis with 7 pools, 4 hot tubs, a posh 28,000 square foot spa, a 3,000 square foot award-winning fitness center and 2 golf courses with sweeping vistas of Phoenix Mountain Preserve. 

Here’s why you – and your kids – need a few nights here on your itinerary:

1. The Paradise Pool 

Arizona Biltmore

This family pool features a splash pad for the little ones, while the adrenaline junkies can spend the entire day riding The Twist – a 65-foot waterslide inspired by the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. The Twist is comprised of two racing slides for guests over 42” and one drop slide for guests 48” and taller where after a countdown, the bottom actually opens right out from under courageous riders, sending them careening down the tube at top speeds.

With an adults-only swim-up bar in one area of the pool and plenty of attentive servers walking around delivering food and drinks – like frose for example – to guests lounging on lounge chairs, this pool was seemingly designed to allow parents to enjoy themselves while also keeping an eye on their children.

Because the Paradise Pool is the only real, dedicated family pool at the resort, it’s the perfect place for kids to congregate even if they are traveling without anyone else their age, like my son was.

The best part of this area are the private air-conditioned cabanas, which feature a bathroom with shower, a flatscreen TV and couch with plenty of snacks for the kiddos, plus your own server.   

2. The Rooms

Dorothy Cascerceri Simone

Going to the resort pool on vacation has never been easier because it’s literally right outside your door if you book a Paradise Poolside Room.  

These spacious rooms open up to a large walkout patio with plush lounge furniture, a fire pit, and best of all - direct access to the family Paradise Pool. 

I spent one afternoon reading my book (Awesome Summer read alert: The Sicilian Inheritance by my friend Jo Piazza) poolside, and one afternoon I posted up on our patio to get some work done while my 8-year-old son went up and down The Twist no fewer than 25 times with a small group of boys he met. 

I have a one-year-old daughter who did not join us on the trip, but the room type would have been the perfect solution to one of the biggest issues that comes up when vacationing with a baby or toddler – how and where to fit in naps. At the Arizona Biltmore, she could have napped comfortably in the quiet, air-conditioned room while my husband and I worked on our laptops in the shade of the patio while my son went swimming and down the slide. 

The Paradise Poolside Rooms provide a unique setup that also relieves much of the mental load of packing up for the pool only to realize you have forgotten one child’s favorite pool toy or the all-important goggles. With the room just steps away, parents can relax with ease and never have to schlep halfway across the resort back to the room for a favorite Paw Patrol figurine. 

3. The Restaurants 

Dorothy Cascerceri Simone

There are only two places at the Arizona Biltmore that your kids will want to eat - McArthur’s and Cup and Cone. While you’ll want to also dine at the upscale Renata’s Hearth featuring modern Latin cuisine, there's something for everyone.

McArthur’s Restaurant and Bar, named for Albert Chase McArthur, the resort’s original architect, serves up exquisite New American Cuisine and plenty of activities for the kids before, after or during breakfast, lunch and dinner. A pool table, foosball table, shuffleboard table and collection of dominoes and tic-tac-toe boards may even get the whole family playing together.  

Dorothy Cascerceri Simone

Even the parents running a tight ship on discipline won’t be able to say no to multiple scoops per day of gelato from Cup and Cone. With out-of-the-box flavors - or out-of-the-cereal-box flavors like Lucky Charms, even when you’re reluctantly giving in to your child’s begging because you’re “on vacation” you won’t be able to resist your own inner child and grab a scoop for yourself.

Dorothy Cascerceri Simone

Dorothy Cascerceri Simone is an on-camera brand ambassador, content creator and freelance travel writer. Her award-winning journalism career has included positions at People magazine, Life & Style Weekly and In Touch Weekly where she has interviewed the vast majority of Hollywood’s A-list from Mariah Carey to Jennifer Lopez to Brad Pitt. Dorothy has appeared in hundreds of national and lo...(Read More)

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