Adults might be concerned about sheet thread counts and bathroom countertop materials, but when traveling to a hotel with kids, one question signals whether it merits a happy hotel stay:
“Is there a pool?”
Where kids are concerned, water reigns supreme for top hotel amenity. A winning hotel not only has a single pool but elaborate water slides and wave pools, an assortment of blow-up pool toys and maybe even a swim-up bar, for the sake and sanity of the parents. Kids have always been concerned with keeping their humidity levels high and pruney fingers are proudly displayed to showcase their love for all things water related.
Welcome the summer season at these prestigious hotel pools, guaranteed to please every member of your family with a foray into the world of wet and wild!
The Woodlands, Texas
The Woodlands Resort
Forest Oasis Waterscapes at the Woodlands Resort in Texas offers a welcome respite from the brutal Texas summer heat. Exploit those temperatures by spending as much time in the water as possible and practice sliding down the 30-foot double-helix waterslide tower in record time. An underwater mural can help teach the little ones how to hold their breath and open their eyes underwater plus the designated Puffy’s Sprayground™ toddler pool helps introduce the younger generations to the thrills of playing in the water with a zero-grade entry, fountains, and waterspouts.
If you feel like kicking back and relaxing, make your way down the long lazy river or chill in the lagoon style pool or hot tubs. Attentive wait staff ensures Mom and Dad are plied with delicious cocktails while the kids play in the water or during the evening Dive-In movies.
Other resort highlights include over 200 miles of hiking and biking trails in the lush landscape, an onsite spa delivering tranquility to those in need, two golf courses, and a full-service tennis center.
Arizona Grand Resort
Waterpark lovers are in for the treat of a lifetime with a stay at the Arizona Grand Resort, home to the Oasis Water Park, one of the largest in the nation and consistent recipient of many top water park awards. Whether you are looking for thrills via the eight-story-high water slides, looking to get wet in the wave pool or slink down a river on a tube, the day to day possibilities are endless. Add this to the over half a dozen swimming pools, and you’ve got yourself a wet and wild family vaycay to remember. The park is only open to resort residents so lineups remain relatively short, free from the outside masses and resulting in a much more pleasant stay.
Family-sized suites are also available at the resort and a challenging Par 71 18-hole golf course and luxurious spa facilities mean the parents get to indulge a bit as well.
The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa
While you might be hundreds of miles away from the surfer coves of southern California, at the Westin Kierland in Scottsdale, Surfs Up! Hop aboard the FlowRider and learn to ride the waves using a combination of skateboarding tricks, snowboarding motions, and a wakeboard style board.
For those looking for a more traditional water experience, there’s a lazy river, a 110 -foot waterslide, a shallow pool for the kids and a designated adults-only pool area, complete with lap lanes, whirlpool, and cabanas. Set amid the arid and dry Arizona landscape, the Westin’s waterpark helps kick the heat and keep everyone entertained.
There’s plenty of out of water activities to keep you occupied as well including onsite presentations from the Phoenix Zoo, a digital kids club and smores over an open fire pit, plus golfing and a spa for the older generation.
Palm Springs Area, California
Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa
Year-round sunshine in Palm Springs spells the perfect conditions for an impressive pool area that comes oh-so-necessary for dealing with the heat. The Omni Rancho Las Palmas Splashtopia is a water haven for visitors tall and small. Cliff-side jacuzzis help you relax amidst dramatic views of the surrounding oasis, fueled by the delivery of custom cocktails. Stretch out poolside while the kids take the 100-foot waterslides by storm or play on the sandy beach. Fountains and sprinklers are dotted throughout so your next dip away from the heat is always nearby. An adults-only pool is there for those who enjoy a bit of quiet contemplation on the oversized day beds and without the threat of getting dunked.
Out of the water, work on your tennis swing at one of the top resort courts in the country, as deemed by Tennis Magazine. A packed events calendar brings a pinch of entertainment to your evenings and the fantastic local golf courses make those keen for the green happy.
Las Vegas, Nevada
See it on trivago!
Experience a touch of tropical Oceanside living at Mandalay Bay in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. Rise above the six-foot swells in the thrilling seven-foot deep wave pool, dragging you to and fro the sandy beach that lines its edge, perfect for smaller kids looking to make a splash under the supervision of lifeguards.
Take to the quarter mile long lazy river to float along in the sun, or dip into the two conventional style pools, plus a shallow pool adapted for younger swimmers. Private cabanas and personalized villas are available to rent, complete with luxurious cushioned seating, drink amenities and a safe, plus a TV and mp3 docking station. During the summer months, Mandalay Bay hosts a Beach Concert Series that soundtracks your swims with top touring acts.
Another fun, water-related feature of the hotel is the Shark Reef Aquarium. The saltwater aquarium has the third largest tank in America and includes a walk through aquarium tunnel where you can see the aquarium’s lemon and tiger sharks swimming inches above you. There are over 30 onsite restaurants at the Mandalay Bay complex and all the jam-packed, glitzy action that Vegas hotels offer visitors to Sin City.
North Conway, New Hampshire
Red Jacket Mountain View Resort
The Red Jacket Mountain View Resort is set among the charming Saco River Valley and Moat Mountain Range. Be sure to pack enough bathing suits to sustain the whole family through a series of daily dips — no one enjoys the feeling of trying to peel on a wet bathing suit post-lunch. With its own 40,000 square foot indoor water park, you’ll be well advised to actually put on your swimsuits before you even depart for your vacation.
Upon arrival, unleash the stored up energy machines (the kids) unto the Kahuna Laguna waterpark: comprised of a zero-entry wave pool, multiple waterfalls and slides plus a bevy of other kids to play with, forming lifelong, or at least weekend-long friendships.
Other activities both parents and kids will love include bonfires and story nights, plus whitewater rafting and trail rides nearby. There is also a full-service spa onsite, live entertainment in the lounge and a variety of places to eat.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Codder Resort & Spa
Stop, drop and run — a tactic employed by antsy children who arrive at the Cape Codder Resort and Spa full of anticipation of the hotel pool’s wet and wild activities. A large open-air courtyard filled with beach chairs and sand to dig your toes and sandcastle shovels into. The outdoor salt water pool is heated, lit-up at night and open year round but the real happy-scream inducer is the indoor wave pool — two-foot waves swell and crash plus 50 and 80-foot waterslides provide additional thrills. The pool is exposed to a high-tech, High-Intensity Ultra-Violet Light System to destroy harmful bacteria. For the parents, there are a whirlpool and two saunas to sweat out the stress.
In the evenings, gather round to roast marshmallows by the bonfire or catch a movie in the indoor courtyard with some snacks. A kids activity schedule can keep the kids occupied if you need a moment to rest, but we promise the wave pool will have you joining in on the fun in the heart of Cape Cod.
Duck Key, Florida
Hawks Cay Resort
At the Hawks Cay Resort in Florida, you can’t escape the lure of the water. Joined by the sway of the palm trees and a view of the crystal clear turquoise Atlantic Ocean, six pools are designed to appeal to every kind of swimmer. Play the part of a mermaid in their unique Saltwater Lagoon, fed straight from the ocean and surrounded by a sandy beach. Bring goggles and catch a glimpse of frolicking sea turtles swimming by or tropical fish. The lush tropical setting continues at the adults-only pool, an oasis of tranquillity from the screams emitting from the Pirate Ship pool. There, kids can prance through shallow waters perfect for new swimmers, get bombed by water cannons or spiral down slides at top speeds. Several other pools round out the bunch and cabanas are available for rental with drinks and food available from servers.
The resort also offers a whole bevy of other experiences including fishing, tennis and environmental camps for the kids. If the kids had a say, they’d be voting to stay firmly plonked in the hotel pools of Hawks Cay straight through the summer.
Hot Springs, Virginia
The Omni Homestead Resort
The Omni Homestead Resort has a long tradition of being a summer water palace for visiting families. The original buildings may have been built in 1766, adding a unique element to the Allegheny Mountain resort but recent additions to their pool family have been sending in the water babies in droves.
The two-acre Allegheny Springs waterpark is fed by the area’s natural springs. The park boasts two 100 foot waterslides and a 400-foot lazy river for those looking for less of an adrenaline rush. This is rounded out with their children’s pool, a large family pool, and a sandy beach that makes it an ideal family pool destination. Cabanas can accommodate up to six people with sofas and TVs offering a respite from the excitement of the water park. The stunning historic indoor pool, built in 1904, will impress kids even without the action of the waterslides and is open year round.
While the hot springs might have brought glory to this resort and the area, fishing, shooting, theater nights, falconry, horseback riding, and golf round out the big list of activities available for vacationers at the Homestead who are looking past the allure of the pools. And for those of those who aren’t — show us your best cannonball!
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Great Wolf Lodge
Where better to make that cannonball splash this summer than the water park capital of the world, the Wisconsin Dells and the holy grail of hotel pool resorts, the Great Wolf Lodge? We say nowhere! Water park passes are included in your stay, giving you and the kids ample opportunity to swim, slide and splash across the complex. Highlights include Coyote Canyon, an enclosed 4,326-foot water slide that will spin through across loops and turns before delivering you into a splash pool and the four-story Fort Mackenzie super soaker treehouse.
The Howlin’ Tornado sends four of your fam spiraling down on a raft and through a six-story funnel and the Slap Tail Pond’s wave will certainly rock you. There’s plenty of gentle pools and entertainment for the wee ones as well, and the outdoor Thunder Bay water park continues the fun outside in the sun.
Accommodation ranges from traditional rooms to themed rooms dolled up as cozy cabins or with in-room whirlpools for parents looking for a romantic soiree. Full-sized condos and premium suites can accommodate larger groups.