I knew the Hyatt Regency in the Gainey Ranch area of Scottsdale was family friendly, as soon as the front desk staff offered our daughter a choice of an apple flavored Capri Sun or bottle of water. Next, he asked if I would like a cactus cooler or bottle of water, as we checked in. It was a nice touch after driving four hours to Scottsdale.
Walking past the Native American Learning Center, we noticed a colorful Gingerbread Village being built for the holidays.
Reaching our room I remarked that this property has a Frank Lloyd Wright feel. Our standard room 2743 was located in a quiet section of the property with a big tree off our balcony, offering shade and privacy from the open grassy courtyard area.
The room offered two Queen size Hyatt Grand beds, a small balcony with two chairs, high speed internet, a marble bathroom with shower and Kenet MD bath amenities. There was an in-room safe, turndown service at night, small refrigerator and coffeemaker. Our room was clean and had recently been “refreshed” in decor.
We donned our bathing suits and went out to explore the large resort. The centerpiece of the property is the high ceiling Center Stage Bar offering fabulous views and live nightly entertainment. As we walked through this area to go to the pools, we watched two Native Americans dressed in authentic outfits, sharing their culture and history through song and dance next to the Fountain Court.
We also discovered there are Casita homes overlooking a lovely lake bordering the resort. These casitas are ideal for families, with some located near the Fun Zone. Many offer stairs up to viewing deck for meals, reading or private sunbathing.
We also noticed in the evening, families riding in a gondola around the resort’s seven-acre lake. The boat driver sings in Italian while guests skim the shoreline and along the nearby golf course by boat. It’s a free ride if you dine at the resort’s Italian Alto Ristorante e bar. Otherwise, the ride costs $10 for adults and teens, $5 for kids 4-12, and free for children 3 and under.
Hyatt offers a Camp Hyatt Kachina children’s program with half day and full day sessions for ages 3 to 12 years old. On Fridays and Saturdays the program provides activities until 9 p.m. Parents can enroll their child in Camp Hyatt and go enjoy a relaxing, romantic dinner at one of the three themed restaurants.
Besides the fine dining Italian restaurant, there is a Southwest bistro serving wood-fired specialities and a Wine Me, Dine Me four-course dining experience in a demonstration kitchen. Each course can be paired with wine and tequila for a true Southwest experience. Nearby is a small sushi bar serving Japanese cuisine.
There is also a Canyon Market that is popular for a quick breakfast with pastries, oatmeal, fresh fruit and Starbucks coffee. It’s open 24 hours for snacks and casual meals.
Families congregate around the 2.5 acre “water playground” with ten different swimming pools. There is a shallow sand beach pool with center float and fountain, an adult-only pool, and two poolside bars. Near the sand beach is a multi-level circular waterslide that is fun for adults and their children. This is a big waterslide, similar to one you would find in a water park.
The whirlpool is located in a Frank Lloyd Wright with Greek architecture area with elegant columns and a cascading waterfall streaming around the columns offering pleasing sounds.
FUN AND GAMES
The Family designed Fun Zone features golf clubs and balls to play at the beachside Putting Green. Sprinkled around this area is a shuffleboard court, giant chess and Jenga set. For an additional fee, families can climb a 28′ high rock climbing wall in this area.
SPA AND FITNESS
While the kids are at Camp Hyatt, adults can relax in the Spa Avania for a facial or massage in one of the 19 treatment rooms. What is unique at this spa is the Himalayan Salt Room providing overall wellness with its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This area encourages clear skin, enhanced breathing, endurance and restfull sleep. Also, there are five Garden treatment rooms with their own private entrance, and an outdoor heated mineral pool. Before or after a treatment, relax near a lotus pond, shaded with a covered outdoor trellis. There is a state of the art exercise facility that is open 24 hours a day, and men and women’s locker areas. Comlimentary classes include morning Boot Camp, Yoga Core and Yoga Flow.
On-site bicycles are available to cruise along bicycle and jogging trails. Nearby is a shopping and dining center to ride bikes to for lunch.
The Hyatt Regency is next to a 27 hole championship golf course at the Gainey Ranch Golf Club. A cart and range balls are included in the golf fee.
The Berk Tennis Academy provides four lighted tennis courts with recreational and competitive tennis for all levels. Professional instruction by Jennifer Berk is available to those seeking a lesson, clinic or to hit with on Saturday and Sundays by appointment.
This Hyatt Regency is quite large, yet offers some unique amenities that will entice families to come back again.
This review was published in the December 2016 issue of Independent Traveler.