Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summer Staycation: Westin Kierland Resort and Spa

We try to take the kids on a vacation each year, we've been lucky enough (and frugal enough on the 'boring' stuff throughout the year) to be able to swing something each year.  California beach, Universal Studios, overnight in Camp Verde to visit Out of Africa and Las Vegas.  This year, rather than pack the kids up for hours in the car we decided to stay-cation!  We opted for The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona and it was one of the best vacations we've ever had! If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram (@llandlol) or Facebook you may already know just how great our time there was.

Staycation means vacationing in the general vicinity of your city and it's perfect for many reasons!

1. No long road trips with potentially whiney kids!
2. This also cuts back on travel costs (gas, pit stops etc).
3. Familiarity with the area.
4. This also includes being able to go home if you forget something!
5.  You can also check in on your home and animals!
6. You don't have to request time off of work!  Hubs met us right after work on Friday!
7. Explore your city! Take a look at your city as though you were a tourist- you'll find lots to do!

The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa is about 30 minutes away from our home and in North Scottsdale.  I'd done some research before we went for our two days of amazing and knew Westin Keirland offered TONS of activities for the kids and lots of relaxation opportunities for Hubs and I. Perfect.  We wanted to focus on the kids this trip because Hubs and I will be going on our Honeymoon in the fall.  I wanted them to make memories and experience new things and TheWestin Kierland was the perfect place to do that.

From the moment we arrived the staff was wonderful!  We valeted (complementary), took the luggage and delivered it to our room super fast.  Checking in was quick but maybe it's just my kids, but they can't stand still for more than 2 minutes.  The reception told them about some snakes just down the steps in the lobby and they enjoyed that while I finished check in  We got our Pathfinder- which is a newsletter type thing with all the events of that week/weekend and I knew we were in for some fun!  As a Starwood Preferred Guest (easy and free to sign up) we were assigned a room on a Starwood Preferred Guest floor- the top floor!  The view was AMAZING.  The room was comfortable but the special touches the staff left for my kids was the best part.  A little note welcoming them in the bathtub, writing on the bathroom mirror with their names and adorable stuffed animals for each of them!  The kids (and their parents) really appreciated those efforts to make them feel special.

Friday evening they have a Food Truck Festival- food trucks park next to the big pool- we grabbed hot dogs and corn dogs from Short Leash Hot Dogs and sat in the pool area.  There was a DJ and fun games and activities going on in the lawn and they were offering up some fun prizes too!  Around 7:30pm they offer make your own s'mores, which I was really excited about.  But I made the mistake of allowing my kids to 'put their feet' in the pool (I should've dressed them in their swim suits- but I went down to the festival without Hubs- who had just arrived from work and wanted to take a shower).  This resulted in my 4 year old 'accidentally' getting in chest deep in his clothes.  We called it an evening before s'mores.  That was ok with me, though, I knew the kids had a fun-packed and busy day on Saturday!  So we relaxed in the room, watched some TV and when the two little ones fell asleep we let our oldest be in charge and Hubs and I walked around the grounds and grab a late night bite.  We split a burger and chips and salsa at Waltz and Wieser Saloon.  It was delicious!

Our mornings always start early and our Saturday on stay-cation was no different!  I had planned ahead and brought some snacks for the early morning and stocked our in room fridge with drinks.  We ate and got ready because the oldest two kiddos were signed up for Kids in the Kitchen.  The Mining Co.  is the headquarters for all the fun stuff for the kiddos so we went down to sign them in.  The staff was, yet again, wonderful (are you sensing a theme?)!  They made the kiddos feel comfortable and had a little icebreaker before having them say bye to the parents and walking them to the kitchen area to make chocolate chip cookies.  The program was 2 hours and the kiddos could not stop raving when we picked them up!  They had adorable hats and cool aprons they'd colored themselves and 2 dozen cookies made by them.  They were both so proud and happy to tell us all about it.  My 11 year old said if she had to choose this (and the FlowRider) would be her favorite.

Speaking of FlowRider, up next on our agenda was to head upstairs to our room and get ready for her scheduled time for the FlowRider.  For anyone unfamiliar, as I was, take a look at the website and these pictures of my girl ROCKING it- and I think you'll get the idea.  It was awesome to see her having fun with something athletic like this.  The staff helped her feel comfy and she dove right in (well, not dove, it's not a diving pool, but you get the idea) and did amazing.  Her session was an hour and there were other kids her age and adults doing it too!  The cost for this is only $30 for an hour (and there's a one time registration fee of $15).  It's only open to guests of the resort, but should definitely be part of your consideration if you are even thinking about booking at The Westin Keirland.  This was a truly unique experience.

We took the rest of the day and enjoyed the Adventure Water Park at the resort (side note: there is an adult only pool, too!).  It was an extremely hot weekend here so we got a cabana but truthfully, there were tons of umbrellas and chairs available.  The cabanas start at $90 for all day- which is great because you can leave and come back without worrying your spot was taken.  A cabana is definitely not a necessity, but we appreciated having a home base. Plus the rental comes with extras- the biggest one for us on that super hot day was bottles of water!  The server from J. Swilling's (the pool bar and restaurant) was wonderful and the pizza and mojitos we ordered were great!

The Adventure Water Park has a splash pad, a shallow play pool for the little ones, a lazy river, water slide and of course a regular swimming area in the pool.  We swam and enjoyed the lazy river together but my favorite part was watching my 4 year old go down the slide.  He was just tall enough, the staff on duty checked, and honestly part of me hoped he'd be too little and she'd have to be the one to tell him.  But alas, he was able to go down the 110 foot water slide.  The lifeguard on duty at the bottom was great about letting my new swimmer find his independence trying to reach the side after sliding down but was there 'just in case' and I truly appreciated that.  He told my son which side to swim to next time and explained that the water pushes you that way.  My son got out of the water and immediate exclaimed "I want to do that again!!".

Hubs took the kids up to the room for nap/relaxation time while I went to check out Agave Spa. Agave Spa offers 20 treatment rooms, a full-service salon, movement studio, weight training and cardio studio, men's and ladies' locker rooms (each with whirlpool, sauna and steam room) and a full-service juice bar.  I fully enjoyed my 50 minute massage and the whole spa was extremely relaxing.  I enjoyed the whirlpool and the relaxation area after the massage and could've spent far more time in the spa, but I wanted to get back to the family and get ready for dinner at deseo.

The oldest two went to the Pajama Party offered by the Westin Kierland while our youngest went to my parents house nearby- another great thing about sticking close to home!  Hubs and I got ready and headed down to deseo.  Deseo is Latin-influenced cuisine developed by an award winning chef.  Our server was fantastic and helped us decide on each menu item we ordered.  He guided Hubs through the menu after we explained Hubs' allergies.  The food was AMAZING.  So many choices that all sounded delicious.  Though, Hubs couldn't try my appetizer (Shrimp Chicharro) I didn't feel bad, his appetizer looked just as wonderful and he was kind enough to share his Beef Antichuco.  Both were great, for me, the shrimp was my favorite, it had a bit of spice with wonderful complementary flavors. A couple we'd run into on the elevator recommended the roasted artichoke as a side dish and we are huge artichoke fans, so we definitely We also got the purple mashed potatoes.  Both were wonderful, but those artichokes were the stand out for me- I could've eaten the whole dish but I had an equally delicious entrĂ©e to enjoy, too!  We ordered knowing we'd share and taste each others, as we usually do, so we got the Beef Tenderloin 'Churrasco Style' and Kobe Vaca Encebollado.  At this point I was almost regretting the appetizers and sides because I was starting to get very full!  I wanted to eat it all!  Our server recommended wine options to us to fit our needs and complement our food choices and he encouraged us to save room for dessert.  We were so full by the end of the meal but his suggestion of a chocolate cigar was too intriguing.  Not only was it a mini work of art, it was so yummy!  Deseo was 5 star all the way for me!

I picked up the kids from the Pajama Party, which if you are dining at deseo is complementary (bring your receipt!) and they were so excited to tell us all about their evening.  The Pajama Party included dinner, which I didn't really think about (I mean, I guess I'd just pictured delivery pizza or something), but the staff took the kids to a buffet at Nellie Cashman's and the kids raved!  They also got to go make s'mores by the pool, play, color and watch a movie.  Both the kids (11 year old and 4 year old) enjoyed themselves and didn't feel like they'd been 'babysat', rather they'd just had some fun while Mom and Dad went to eat dinner.  I appreciated that, especially with my oldest and there were other kids her age there, too! 

The next morning we packed and decided to head to Nellie Cashman's for the breakfast buffet we'd heard others raving about.  They offer a Bubbles and Brunch buffet but we were too early, as I said, my kids wake up EARLY! We did enjoy the buffet offered with our favorite options being made to order omelets and locally grown fresh produce.  Baby G loved the pancakes, too! I snapped a few more photos and we were off. 

This vacation/stay-cation was jam packed full of fun and relaxation!  New experiences and memories I'll forever cherish.  The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa was the perfect choice for our needs- it's great for families but I would love to spend a romantic weekend with Hubs there, too!  The grounds were gorgeous, activities offered were fun and unique, dining was delicious and the staff went above and beyond for my family.  We're definitely going to be visiting again very soon- and we can because it's right nearby!

Check out the specials and The Westin Keirland Resort and Spa next time you are looking for the royal treatment on your vacation or staycation in Scottsdale, AZ.

***Disclaimer: My family received parts of our staycation complementary in exchange for posting about our experience.  As always, my opinions are 100% my own! If you have more questions regarding this please check out:


  1. You guys look like you had a blast! When my family lived on the Outer Banks we basically did the Staycation thing as well. No point in leaving one beach to go to another! Thanks for sharing your adventures :)

  2. OMG! The staycation! Looks like you guys had an amazing time! Thank you for the insight!

  3. Wow I really need that! That looks like so much fun. I bet you all had a great time. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  4. This is a great idea! We have two little ones just 8 months old and 2 years old so vacations are out of the picture for us for a little while, lol. It looks like you had a wonderful time at Westin Keirland Resort and Spa - I will have to see if we have something similar nearby!

  5. Sounds like you guys had lots of fun!!

  6. This looks like loads of fun! Forget the Staycation for me, I'm heading your way! Thanks for sharing.


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