FAIRMONT SCOTTSDALE PRINCESS
The vibe: With 450 acres, this resort complex has much to offer, including fine dining, casual and poolside restaurants, five bars, a top-rated spa, two golf courses and five pools. The resort has AAA's Five Diamond rating.
Fun factor: There are loads of things to do here, including riding two of the longest resort water slides in Arizona (each nearly 200 feet). There's a sloped entry area so tots can play in shallow water, and kid-sized bulldozers await in a sandy area near the pool. At night, weekend guests can watch dive-in movies. Cabanas are $100 on weekdays, $125 on weekends.
Details: The room rate for the Dive-in Days package, available until Sept. 11, is $249 per night and includes $100 daily food credit and free use of Kids Club and Teen Hangout programs. 7575 E. Princess Drive, Scottsdale, Ariz.; (866) 540-4495, www.fairmont.com/scottsdale.
HYATT REGENCY SCOTTSDALE RESORT & SPA AT GAINEY RANCH The vibe: Another of Scottsdale's mega-resorts, a beautifully landscaped 560-acre complex with lots of activities, restaurants, a spa and 27 holes of golf.
Fun factor: Build a real sandcastle at the "beach," which slopes down into the pool, making a safe entry for tots and a fun place for seashore lovers. The water park here includes 10 pools with 28 fountains and 47 waterfalls. The resort also has weekend dive-in movies, a three-story slide and gondola rides.
Details: Summer Values package, $199 per room per night, includes a $50 daily resort credit for food or beverages, Camp Hyatt for kids or spa services. The hotel has a $15 nightly resort fee. 500 E. Doubletree Ranch Road, Scottsdale, Ariz.; (888) 492-8847, www.scottsdale.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp.
WESTIN KIERLAND RESORT & SPA
The vibe: This may be primarily a convention hotel during the peak season, but it converts to a family fun zone in the summer. The resort even hired a director of fun to make it all happen. Activities include kids' cooking classes, stargazing, kids and teens clubs, and trips to museums and zoos. The resort also offers 27 holes of golf, eight restaurants and a spa.
Fun factor: The resort's Adventure Water Park has a 110-foot slide, a lazy-river ride, sloped entry for toddlers, weekend dive-in movies. Cabanas, priced from $65 to $90 per day, are set back from the water, a disadvantage on a hot day. An adult pool nearby, open 24 hours a day, offers respite from the fun and games.
Details: Room rates for the Summer Escape special, available through Sept. 9, are $199 per night with a $50 resort credit and includes programs for kids. 6902 E. Greenway Parkway, Scottsdale, Ariz.; (800) 354-5892, www.kierlandresort.com
JW MARRIOTT DESERT RIDGE The vibe: Water flows throughout this large Marriott: Waterfalls, wandering waterways and pools are the dominant element. At night, flames top a 22-foot-tall, free-standing waterfall in the main pool. There are also 36 holes of golf, Segway tours of the desert, the Revive Spa and the Kokopelli Kids Club.
Fun factor: The 4 acres of pools here include a slide, shallow fountains that are great for toddlers and dive-in movies at night. But the best water activity is floating down the lazy river; double-ring inner tubes and a speedy current make this ride a winner. Don't forget to try the house beverage, the very rummy Cabana Colada, a deal at $10.
Details: Summer room rates, available until Sept. 5, start at $159 weekdays and $169 weekends but must be booked by June 30. 5350 E. Marriott Drive, Phoenix; (800) 898-4527, www.jwdesertridgeresort.com.
The vibe: If you're looking for luxury, this may be the place. The Phoenician is another AAA Five Diamond winner; it also received a Condé Nast Gold List award as one of the world's best places to stay. It's beautifully located at the base of Camelback Mountain, and guests say staying here is an over-the-top experience.
Fun factor: The Phoenician has nine pools, including the adults-only Mother Pool, inlaid with mother of pearl. At the Oasis Pool, kids can ride on a waterslide. The resort's bright cabanas — chic gold tents that line the edge of the water — are good places to laze and drink mojitos. Cabana fee is $150 per day.
Details: Summer room rates start at $199 a night weekends and $225 a room weekdays through Sept. 16. 6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, Ariz.; (800) 888-8234, www.thephoenician.com.
The vibe: The Mondrian, which opened Jan. 30 in downtown Scottsdale, calls itself an urban resort. It is sleekly designed with voluminous white drapes and hip-looking sculptural details. In former lives, the hotel was a Doubletree, a Holiday Inn and a James Hotel.
Fun factor: The Blue Pool is a long rectangle; an exotic Bedouin-style tent shades the whirlpool. Underwater speakers supply music for swimmers. Lots of partiers among the young crowd here. Cabanas cost $500 a day.
Details: The+Play+package,+available+through+Aug.+31,+starts+at+$145+per+night+per+room+and+includes+a+$25+daily+bar+credit+at+the+pool+and+a+20%+off+spa+credit.+7353 E. Indian School Road, Scottsdale, Ariz.; (800) 697-1791, www.morganshotelgroup.com.+
HOTEL VALLEY HO The vibe: Recently rehabbed to the tune of $80 million, the Valley Ho is a Midcentury Modern landmark in downtown Scottsdale that once was a hideaway for Humphrey Bogart, Bing Crosby and Marilyn Monroe. Now it's one of the hottest spots in town for young professionals.
Fun factor: The Oh pool is a perfect circle, designed to look like a martini glass. There is day and night swimming along with lots of mixing and mingling. Plus, Brown-Jordan outdoor furniture with round chaise longues and sofas. Cinder block cabanas cost $99 to $259 a day.
Details: The So Summer package, available through Sept. 7, is $149 per room per night on weekdays and $179 weekends. It includes appetizer, drink, coupon book and 10% off spa credit. 6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale, Ariz.; (866) 882-4484, www.hotelvalleyho.com.
SANCTUARY CAMELBACK MOUNTAIN RESORT & SPA
The vibe: This low-key mountainside retreat was No. 1 resort in the nation in the Condé Nast Traveler readers' choice awards. If you're seeking tranquillity, this is the place. Casita-style rooms and suites are contemporary, offering luxury on a budget during the summer.
Fun factor: The setting offers striking views of Camelback Mountain, and guests can relax at what's said to be the largest infinity-edge pool in the state. But cellphones are banned by the pool. The ambience here is strictly Zen.