By Becky Bracken
It’s fair to say there’s one rock-solid rule we live by in the North Scottsdale desert: Everything is better poolside.
Having dinner is nice, but dinner poolside is a memorable event. A summer concert is a good time, but listening to live music while floating in a pool with cocktail in hand takes the whole experience to new heights.
Sure, much of the local pool worship stems from necessity. Being outdoors during summer months requires access to water to stay cool. But the area’s lust for wading, dog paddling and frog kicks continues to up the ante on what it takes to sate shrewd Scottsdale swimmers. In other words, not just any old cement pond will do.
Here are just a few of the most extraordinary, over-the-top pools in the Airpark to blow your mind, rock your world and make just about everything that happens around it a little bit wetter – and better.
Ride – FlowRider at Westin Kierland Resort & Spa
For those craving a pool experience that’s a bit more extreme, the FlowRider at Westin Kierland offers wave riding right in the heart of the desert. There’s even a full-time “wave master,” Scott Imondi, in charge of teaching people how to ride waves like a pro.
The FlowRider uses two jets to push water into a wave perfect for “flowboarding,” which is similar to both surfing and boogie boarding, depending on whether you choose to stand or ride. The best part? You don’t need any specific skills to get started. In fact, Imondi says he can help just about anyone catch a great ride.
Guests can book time to ride the FlowRider and the resort also offers surf camps to teach kids board-sport basics. The FlowRider is a great way to get outside and active during the scorching summer months, and during the winter the water is heated for year-round fun.
Relax – Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Rooftop Pool
For those who crave a serene pool experience, the rooftop pool at the Fairmont Princess Well & Being Spa is the perfect adults-only Zen experience in North Scottsdale. The spa’s interiors are inspired by the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon’s Havasupai Falls, according to Valerie Lee, director of public relations for the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. In addition to the adults-only rooftop pool, the spa boasts a coed grotto with its own waterfall perfect for soothing aching, tight muscles.
You have to buy admission to the spa in order to access the rooftop pool, but the experience of lounging with a spa lunch in your private cabana and swimming on top of the five-star hotel is a decadent experience for both tourists and townies alike.
Dine – Dominick’s Steakhouse Poolside Dining
The fun of eating around a backyard pool in a typical Scottsdale home was the inspiration behind Dominick’s Steakhouse’s Poolside Dining. Since the rooftop pool was installed at the Scottsdale Quarter location, its deck has become one of the most coveted table spaces in town.
The pool is housed under a retractable roof with in-ceiling heaters for when weather cools off. When the weather is warm, guests have been known to wade into the pool, but at just about a foot deep, there’s not room for much more.
“Our guests love it,” Dominick’s co-owner Jeff Mastro says. “It’s a very romantic and charming space all year round – the most requested tables at Dominick’s Steakhouse.”
Play – JW Marriott Desert Ridge
When it comes to pools, JW Marriott Desert Ridge takes a clear “more is more” approach. In all, the North Scottsdale resort has five pools for guests to choose from, including a lazy river, a serpentine slide and a wave pool. There’s even a splash pad, where little ones who aren’t yet comfortable in a pool can cool off. But one of the most memorable features has to be the tower and flame shooting out of the middle of one of the resort’s larger pools.
“When the resort opened, the elements of nature, fire, water, earth and sky were all carefully incorporated into the design of the property and carried through every aspect including the resort’s stylish and elegant accommodations,” according to Joe Serna, the JW Marriott Desert Ridge director of sales and marketing. “We offer an impressive selection of waterways, water features, lazy rivers, giant slides or wave pools that attract families or couples looking to enjoy spectacular pools amidst a lush desert setting.”