Kicking off our Arizona Grand Resort VacationAugust 22, 2010 1 Comment
Day 2 of our family vacation at the Arizona Grand Resort
We had a surprisingly restful night sleep here at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix. Today is Sunday August 22nd and I’m in the living room of our Villa reflecting on what has turned out to be a great start to a fun filled family vacation. My wife and I, and our 10 month old son Christian arrived last night around 8pm. It was already dark outside, so our view of the resort was very limited. We endured a six hour drive from Los Angeles to Phoenix, and although we were looking forward to exploring the Grand Resort’s grounds, we had just enough strength left to put our son to sleep before sinking into our plush and ultra comfortable King sized bed for some much needed sleep.
Christian had a wonderful night of uninterrupted sleep, which means my wife and I did too! We all woke up refreshed and ready to enjoy our first full day at this new unexplored 160 acre resort. The first thing I did when I got out of bed was opened the drapes and shutters, revealing a scenic view of the golf course. There was a waterfall to our right that emptied out into a lake with some rapids which could be seen directly across the fairway. I could see the outdoor part of a restaurant bordering the lake directly beyond that. On the far left was a putting green adjacent to what appeared to be the first tee. I didn’t bring my golf clubs on this trip because I wanted to dedicate my full attention to our family, but that view of the course from our living room and bedroom had me second guessing myself!
We requested a Villa on the ground floor prior to our arrival in order to provide for easier access in and out with our baby’s stroller. The 4 story buildings that make up the Grand Resort Villas come equipped with elevators, so we would have been just fine on any of the 4 floors. My sister’s family and my parents are in Villas located on the 3rd floor almost directly above us. The floor plans are the same, but the views were much better. It was like seeing the same view from our living room, but with an additional dimension and in color! What a difference three stories makes.
We spent most of the morning and early afternoon at the water park oasis next door. It’s Sunday so the pool area was packed. We were told by some people we met earlier that weekends are always crowded because many local Phoenix families reserve a room for the weekend just so that they can access the Oasis water park. We were also told that come Monday, the place would be pretty much deserted because kids were already back in school. In fact the water park is scheduled to close in about two weeks for this very reason, so we picked the perfect time to visit this resort!
The water park alone spans across a 6 or 7 acre area. One of the many attractions at the Grand Resort are the water slides, with two 8 story straight shot water slides, and another several story high water slide with multiple twists and turns. There are life guards posted on the top and bottom of every slide, and they strictly enforce their minimum height restrictions to insure everyone’s safety. The two straight shot water slides have a minimum height requirement of 48 inches, and I believe the restriction on the lower slide may be less but I’m not sure.
When my wife, Christian and I arrived at the pool we were greeted by my brother-in-law Todd, his two kids, and my dad. Despite the large crowds, they had found a decent shaded location with several lawn chairs under a canopy of trees. We were lucky they arrived earlier so they could also reserve us some seats.
Our chairs were directly in front of the pool volleyball net and just a few feet away from the kiddy pool. I also noticed a pool basketball hoop at the far end where a couple was playing. There were several cabanas along the edge of the pool, but all of them were occupied. Apparently you cannot reserve them in advance, so they are only available on a first come first serve basis. There were palm trees and giant white canopies providing shade throughout the park, so it really wasn’t a big deal that we didn’t get a cabana. After laying out our towels and dropping off our things, we took Christian out of his stroller and made a bee line for the kiddy pool. It was a 1 foot 6 inch deep pool designed especially for toddlers and small children. Christian was able to touch the floor once inside his round floatation device, and he immediately started waddling around the pool by himself. Todd’s kids (Christian’s cousins) joined him in the pool to welcome him. It was wonderful to watch them play together!
We ordered food and drinks from the waitresses and enjoyed our time swimming and relaxing. When I was in the pool I made it a point to venture over to the wave pool to see what all the people found so appealing. The resort has a large supply of big yellow buoys shaped like giant inner tubes, and there were tons of people mounted on these buoys floating up and down the waves as I pushed through the crowd. I didn’t have a buoy so I only hung out there long enough to take in the sights before swimming back to the volleyball pool to join in a game.
One attraction worth noting is the lazy river that flowed throughout a large perimeter of the park. There were several people drifting on their buoys in the direction of the current. Life guards were posted at regular intervals throughout the river making sure that everyone was on a buoy. Apparently it is prohibited to swim in the lazy river without one. There were life guards posted in every imaginable place in the park, making this one of the safest and highest budget hotel pool resorts I’ve seen!
I brought Christian back to our Villa about 1:30pm for his nap time. The heat was too intense for him to get any quality sleep outside, so I decided to put him to sleep in his pack and play back at the Villa and give my wife some alone time to hang at the pool. He slept for almost two hours, so I took advantage and caught up on some of my work.
For dinner our entire family made reservations at the Rustler’s Rooste just a few minutes’ drive from our Villa. None of us was up to driving, so we took the hotel shuttle from our Villa to the restaurant. As soon as we pulled up to the Rustler’s Rooste I knew we were in for a real treat. There was a corral to the left of the entrance where a massive white Steer with long horns was hoofing it around. Above his corral was a sign that read “Horney the Bull.” I just have to say that I don’t think the bull lives up to his name. It’s a tired looking old bull that undoubtedly has seen better days. LOL!
The entrance into the restaurant looked more like the entrance into a mining shaft! We walked up a long ramp with wood floors, ceilings and walls. As we approached the spacious restaurant we could hear a band playing live western music below. The ramp led us to the top floor of the restaurant, but we continued on until we reached a stair case and a metal slide descending down into the lower level. There were kids running up the stairs just so that they could go down the slide, and my niece and nephew both joined in sliding down while the rest of the family took the stairs. The Rustler’s Rooste lives up to its Western name with a Wild West saloon like rustic theme. Everywhere you looked there were hanging animal hides and mounted big game trophy heads including a mountain lion and buffalo skull. There were saddles, chaps, spurs, horse shoes, branding irons and other old fashion Western gear decorating every wall. It felt as if we had been transported back in time to the days of Billy the Kid! There was even a couple doing the two-step to the Live Western music!
The food was fabulous. My wife ordered filet mignon, and I had the barbeque chicken. I was laughing at how the menu described my selection as “half a hen”. My brother-in-law Todd and I both had a dark beer on draft (the Rock Hefeweizen), and get this, each beer was served in an ice cold 1 quart jar! Them cowboys can sure drink! When my meal arrived I started out using my fork and knife, but it wasn’t long before I was devouring that hen while holding it with my bare hands. Now that is what I call “finger lickin good!”
The restaurant provided us with a high chair for Christian, and we fed him his baby food and bottle through the evening, helping to keep him quiet and entertained. My niece and nephew ordered food off the kids menu. The Rustler’s Rooste definitely tops our list of both kid and adult friendly restaurants with plenty of excellent food and entertainment for all!