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It’s rare to find a luxury resort that is just as happy to welcome kids as adults. From the rooms to the pools to the mocktails to a special spa area that serves kids as well as parents, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Arizona is the whole package.
Plus, with 65 acres of fun, there’s no need to leave the property during your Arizona getaway — although if you don’t, you’d miss all of these fun things to do in Scottsdale.
This Fairmont hotel is a 5-Diamond AAA resort and has been for 32 years. So these folks have it down! From the 90-second front desk check-in to the manicured landscapes to the friendly servers, it’s tough to find a flaw at this resort that delivers laid-back luxury in the Sonoran Desert.
Why the Fairmont Princess Works for Families
- Large rooms
- Welcoming atmosphere
- 5 pools, one with waterslides and another with a white sand beach
- Salon offers kid-parent services
- Kid-friendly menu options and mocktails
- Free wifi
- Kids club in the morning turns into family time in the afternoon
- Golf cart services to help you get around
What Doesn’t Work for Families
- It’s a HUGE resort. While that means there’s lots to do, everything can be a long walk. Choose your room carefully to be close to the pool, kids club and other activities and resort areas you’ll want to visit regularly.
Guest Rooms at the Scottsdale Princess
Roomy and comfortable are the two words that first come to mind. My family-friendly room included a king bed, a large balcony with two chairs and a table, plenty of room for a rollaway bed or crib and a huge bathroom with two sinks and a separate area for the toilet.
Even better, the linens are luxuriously soft and the bed sink-in-able. Add lots of pillows in varying degrees of softness and it adds up to a cozy night.
The espresso machine is a nice touch that my husband and daughter would have loved had they joined me on this trip. But I’m a not coffee drinker, so the nicer touch for me was the high-quality teas included with the espresso choices.
The towels and plush bathrobes make it easy to settle in with a room service dinner after a long day of fun in the sun.
Scottsdale Princess Restaurants
This is the place for foodies too. The five onsite restaurants boast well-known chefs, mouth-watering menus and a laid-back resort-style atmosphere. Plus, the kids’ menus go beyond chicken fingers.
There’s also a minibar with drinks and snacks for sale in the room. I usually get annoyed at those because it means there’s no room to chill the drinks I bring along or the doggie bag from dinner.
Fear not! My room had a second mini fridge that was empty and available for use.
This is not your neighborhood Mexican restaurant! Yes, there are tacos and enchildas, guacamole and margaritas. But every dish (and margarita) has an interesting twist that takes it up a notch. Or three.
I ordered the guacamole sampler because I couldn’t decide whether the watermelon guac, the sweet corn guac or the guac with bacon was the right choice. The verdict? Watermelon. It’s a satisfying combination of flavors.
The hearty, savory avocado flavor is finished with sweet watermelon and pomegranate seeds. And I’m not the only one who thinks this surprising combination is the best. Every server who came by my table asked which one I preferred and then quietly shared it’s their favorite too.
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For dinner, I ordered the chef’s special, Filet a La Parrilla. I almost didn’t. This local favorite is a tasty grilled beef tenderloin served over oaxaca cheese enchiladas. Since I don’t eat cheese, I was going to skip it, until the waiter offered to bring me veggie enchiladas instead.
The steak was melt-in-your-mouth tender and flavorful, the veggie enchiladas perfectly seasoned and the sauces complimented it all without overwhelming the delicate mix of flavors.
Sadly, I did not have time to try this AAA Four Diamond steakhouse created by James Beard award-winning Chef Michael Mina. From char-grilled steaks to a mouth-watering Maine lobster pot pie, I worked up an appetite just reading the menu.
The brainchild of acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval, this restaurant fuses Asian flavors with Latin cuisine in a lively and colorful setting. From rum caramel banana hot cakes for breakfast to sushi and chorizo fried rice for dinner, the Pan-Asian flavors are unique and inspired.
Or just spend your time sipping your way through one of the 151 different rums offered here.
Ironwood American Kitchen
This locavore spot serves comfort food, like the Pimento cheese dip that I thought was only served in the Midwest, and dishes made from organic fruits, heirloom vegetables, sustainable pasture-raised meats, heritage grains and farmstead cheeses.
The Plaza Bar
This spot offers a lovely patio just waiting for the sun to set. It’s claim to fame: world-class bar offerings, including signature craft cocktails, local beers, high-quality cigars and wines by the glass.
Other eateries onsite are:
- The Grill at TPC, which overlooks the 18th hole of the resort’s championship golf course, home to the WM Phoenix Open each February.
- The Kitchen near the South Pool.
Trailblazers Kids Club
Mornings at the Trailblazers Kids Club are included in the room charges. Kids ages 5-12 can visit from 9-11:30am. If you pay the upcharge for lunch, they can stay and play until 1pm if you pay for the lunch option. Play options include video games, a sand box and daily educational programming. Or the kids can gather around and watch the resident scorpion, tarantula and bearded dragon lizard do their creepy crawly thing in their cages.
But the part I love most is the famiy-focused afternoon. That’s when the kids’ club is open to parents and kids who can show up and play together.
Before you leave, check out the selection of very fun pool floats for sale here. For me, it was a tossup between the pineapple and the pink swan.
This is also the place to rent fishing poles to use in the property’s lagoons for catch-and-release fishing.
Fairmont Princess Pools
There are five. (Actually, there are six, but one is a private pool available only to guests staying in the new hotel within a hotel, Privado).
The pools are the perfect temperature — cool enough to be refreshing without giving you a shock on first dip — and kept that way with chillers that battle the intense Sonoran sun.
The pools have plenty of lounge chairs, plush towels and cabanas for rent. Equally important in the harsh desert sunshine, there’s plenty of shade from the wealth of trees and plentiful umbrellas.
- Sunset Beach Pool is Arizona’s only “beach,” and the largest pool on property. It features 9,000 square feet of soft white sand imported from Miami. Even better for sensitive feet, the pool deck is made of a special material that stays cool, even in the blazing Soronan sunshine.
- The Princess Pool offers views of lush lagoons and the famous TPC Golf Course. There’s a poolside café and oversized hot tub.
- Sonoran Splash is the home of the two 200-foot twisting water slides, just made for a challenge. (We have it on good authority that the slide on the left is faster.) Kids must be at least 42 inches tall to ride the slides.
- Sonoran Landing is the adults-only pool. It comes complete with plush day beds, decadent floating bean bags, two 25-meter lap lanes and poolside libations. This adult oasis is conveniently located across from the entrance to the kids club.
- Well & Being Rooftop Pool is serene, secluded and available only to guests using the Well & Being Spa.
- Privado Relaxation Pool, opening in winter 2022, is reserved for the exclusive use of guests staying in the Privado Villas enclave of the resort.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Spa
There are actually two Well & Being spa options. One is a spa and the other is a salon. That’s because of Arizona laws that prohibit anyone under 18 from getting services at a spa. But it’s OK in a salon. So the Well & Being Salon is there to provide the parent-and-kid mani-pedis that build memories.
For adults, the spa is the place to be! Even better, in a fit of incredible design and foresight, the entrance to the spa is located across from the entrance to the Kids Club. So you can drop off the kids in the morning and head over for a massage, facial or one of the other pampering services.
Or just buy a day pass and spend your time in the fitness center, steam room, sauna, hot tub, cold plunge pool or floating on one of the luxury bean bag floats in the rooftop pool.
The spa also is home to the Sisley-Paris Spa, famed for its excellence in the botanical art of skincare. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess location is one of only 27 around the world.
If you’re visiting with girlfriends or a group of five or more, ask the concierge to arrange a Spa’rty. (Get it — a spa party?) It includes access to the spa amenities, 20% off retail purchases, and a spa lunch. Ratchet up the pampering with champagne toasts, private meditation sessions, and special fitness classes.
Scottsdale Princess Christmas
Somehow, the arid beauty of North Scottsdale doesn’t immediately bring to mind a winter wonderland. But the Scottsdale Princess Christmas celebration is one of the biggest in Arizona and it is one of the best Christmas hotels in the US.
Ice skating in the desert? Check.
Santa on location? Check
Six million lights twinkling in the Sonoran sunset? Check.
You don’t have to stay at the Princess to attend the Christmas extravaganza. But if you do spend the night, you get two big perks: free admission to the event and fast passes to the rides.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Details
The resort is located at 7575 East Princess Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85255. It’s a quick 30-minute cab or Uber ride from PHX, the Phoenix airport.
If you plan to spend the majority of your vacation at the resort, there is no need to rent a car and pay the daily rate for self-parking or valet parking. However, if you want to explore the area, you will want a car.
Thanks to sky-high car rental rates when I visited in September 2022, I booked a car through Turo, the car-sharing app. It was my first Turo and I would do it again.