There are plenty of reasons to love Phoenix in the summer, many of which begin and end at the pool. From wave pools to whirlpools, water slides to waterfalls, lazy rivers to high-energy dance parties, the Valley offers a top-notch selection of outdoor oases. Step out of your plastic kiddie pool and slather on the sunscreen, because we're about to dive into the 10 best pools in metro Phoenix.
Talking Stick Resort
9800 Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale
Talking Stick Resort keeps the 21-and-over crowd coming thanks to Release, its seasonal weekly pool party. This Saturday and Sunday social event happening at the Resort Main Pool from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. is the place to get tanned and tipsy with no cover, private cabanas and daybeds with bottle service, and well-known DJs. For those looking to let off steam in a more subdued environment, Talking Stick also offers a shallow Lounge Pool and a family-friendly West Pool.
Big Surf Waterpark
1500 North McClintock Drive, Tempe
Since 1969, Big Surf has been bringing in the big crowds with water-based attractions that are few and far between in the Valley, including the Waikiki Beach Wave Pool, a 2.5-million-gallon wave pool that serves as a surf substitute for landlocked locals. Whether you're testing the water with the kids at Bora Bora Bay and the Otter Slides, or taking your adrenaline to the next level with high-speed rides like the Hurricane Slides, the Black Hole, Tornado Twisters, White Serpentine Slide, or the Mauna Kea Zip Line, Big Surf serves up a little something for everyone in the summer. Splash around from May to September.
Maya Day & Nightclub
7333 East Indian Plaza, Scottsdale
Since it opened its doors in April 2013, Maya Day & Nightclub has been making a big splash in the Scottsdale club scene thanks to world-renowned music acts, massive parties, scantily clad staff, and more alcohol than you can shake a pool noodle at. The Day Club calls itself the “biggest Vegas-style pool party in Arizona,” just to give you some context. Whether you're shelling out cash for exclusive bottle service, sipping their signature Deep Blue Fishbowl cocktail, or slipping on a skimpy bikini, a meetup at Maya is all about making waves. For a look at upcoming parties and events, visit the Maya Day & Nightclub website.
Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa
2400 East Missouri Avenue
You don't have to have a degree in design or harbor a love of Arizona history to appreciate the water-based amenities the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa has to offer. This luxury oasis in central Phoenix features stunning architecture, poolside food and drinks, a 92-foot water slide, poolside cabanas with Wi-Fi, dive-in movies come sunset on Friday and Saturday, and a total of eight pools. From the large-scale Paradise Pool to the private Catalina pool (which happened to be one of Marilyn Monroe’s favorite dipping spots), the Arizona Biltmore ranks high on the list of poolside staycation destinations.
The Clarendon Hotel & Spa
401 West Clarendon Avenue
Central Phoenicians have a certain soft spot for the cozy poolside accommodations at The Clarendon. Located in the center of the boutique hotel, the Oasis Pool serves as a strong focal point for guests and visitors alike, with bright mosaic tiling with 24-karat gold and platinum accents, decorative fountains, blooming foliage, and a silver-coated water wall. Here, guests can enjoy a refreshing margarita while they alternate between taking dips in the main pool complete with underwater illuminated stars, speakers, and water jets, or the 50-person Hydro Spa.
Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort
7677 North 16th Street
We wouldn't put it past you to pick the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort for your poolside getaway. This Sunnyslope-adjacent resort is sort of an unspoken favorite of Phoenix natives. While it may not be as shiny and new as some of the other poolside retreats in the Valley, it still reels in its fair share of locals and out-of-towners seeking underwater entertainment with the four-acre Hole-in-the-Wall River Ranch water park, featuring a 130-foot waterslide, three pools for sport and relaxation, day beds, poolside refreshments and service, and a sprawling lazy river – where, yes, you can take your piña colada daiquiri.
The Saguaro Scottsdale
4000 North Drinkwater Boulevard, Scottsdale
Despite its name, the poolside digs at The Saguaro Scottsdale are remarkably comfortable. Vibrant, yet relaxing, this brightly colored oasis features two pools – heated Picante and chilled Calma – featuring cabanas, daybeds, lounge chairs, outdoor dining daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., cocktails by the pitcher (try the signature Saguaro cocktail). There’s also Paddleboard Yoga at Picante from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, and weekly sets of live music during Live and Local Fridays from 6 to 8 p.m.
JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
5350 East Marriott Drive
With the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, north Phoenicians in the know never have to sweat the summer heat. This hotel pool verging on water park is the kind of place where you can spend your whole day with poolside drinks, dining, and daybeds, plus two whirlpools, the Lazy River Outdoor Pool, the Serpentine Waterslide, the heated Mesa Pool and Wildfire Pool, and the cool Sidewinder Pool.
Hotel Palomar CityScape
2 East Jefferson Street
When downtowners want to take a dip, they look to the Lustre Rooftop Bar at the Hotel Palomar. Located on the third floor of the CityScape hotel, this urban watering hole overlooks the downtown city skyline and features weekend LUSTRE pool parties as part of LUSTRE'S 100 Days of Summer. Other events include Industry Appreciation Day on Mondays, the free Sutra Yoga series at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, and live DJs at 8 p.m. on Fridays. Pair such to-dos with rooftop cabanas, day beds, a full bar, outdoor eats, TVs, games, and music. Thanks to this Kimpton hotel, finding ways to keep cool in downtown Phoenix no longer gets us hot and bothered.
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Hyatt Regency Scottsdale: Scottsdale Hotel
7500 East Doubletree Ranch Road, Scottsdale
This Hyatt Regency hotel has held onto its reputation for being one of the best pools in the Valley for quite some time now, no doubt because of its 2.5-acre water playground – consisting of 45 waterfalls, 20 fountains, 10 swimming pools, a three-story waterslide, and the poolside bar H2Oasis, offering drinks, alfresco foods, and a little bit of shopping. You can also reserve an adult cabana, which includes internet access, a flat screen with Direct TV, refrigerator, and ceiling fans. Pack your bags, Scottsdale staycationers, you just found your home away from home.
Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version, which first appeared in July 2014.