Member Postcards

Raising Arizona

Indagare member J.B., from San Francisco, sent us this postcard from Arizona.

Ten days before President’s Day weekend this year, I found myself with no plans for me and my two children, ages ten and four. We live outside of San Francisco, and although we have many options for quick getaways, last-minute travel during school vacations is always a challenge. Wanting to avoid the Tahoe vacation crowds and traffic, I called the Arizona Biltmore, thinking two days in the sun might be the perfect solution. I booked a villa suite, which consists of two bedrooms separated by a living room, dining area and kitchen. The kitchen is convenient when traveling with younger children, who will eat about four bites of a $30 pancake breakfast at a hotel restaurant.

We arrived in Phoenix on Friday night frazzled after too many hours at the Oakland airport. On our way to the hotel, our resourceful driver (we had a car service arranged through the hotel) stopped at a Trader Joe’s so that I could pick up some light groceries to keep in the kitchen of our suite. Upon our arrival at the Biltmore, the courteous hotel staff took over and made us comfortable immediately, arranging dinner in our suite so we could turn in quickly.

The next morning, we ate breakfast on our terrace and headed out to the pools. The Biltmore has three swimming pools in the kids’ area. One of them has a ninety-two-foot water slide that my children were as excited about as they would have been about any ski slope. There are also poolside cabanas that can be rented for the day, each of which has a bathroom, an interior room with a television area and a tented exterior area with a table, chairs and a couple of lounge chairs in the sun. You can order meals and drinks and stay all day, which we did while entertaining local friends who have four young children.

The kids spent about two hours on the water slide (it’s open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). They came back for lunch and then headed out for more. From time to time, we had anywhere from one to three kids in the cabana, ‘resting’ in front of the TV. That night, dinner was at one of the Biltmore’s two outdoor restaurants. All ten of us sat at a big table, and the kids were able to run around and blow off more steam until their dinner came.

The next morning, we ate breakfast on our terrace and headed back to the slide, where we stayed until we left to go home that afternoon. If the water slide is not for you, there is also tennis, golf, and a spa, none of which I had time for during our fast trip. This was such an easy and comfortable trip for a quick getaway with young children that I have booked again for Memorial Day weekend.

Published onFebruary 14, 2014

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