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Trip Report: 2018 Staycation

31/365

Since Phoenix is a resort town, we have lots of choices when we want a “staycation,” especially in the summer when their occupancies drop and they lower their rates. A friend had recommended the Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch because she knew we could book on points and get a Club Lounge upgrade with our Hyatt Explorist status. Bryan and I tried it out for our anniversary this spring, and we decided to bring the kids along as a farewell to summer the week before school started.

Back in May, Hyatt had put this hotel on sale for 20% off. I had to play with the dates a bit to get something affordable, with a Sunday through Tuesday stay. Since it was a sale price off of the already relatively low summer rates, I booked the prepaid cash rate, choosing to save my points so I could earn them instead. It wasn’t quite as affordable as our spring stay where we only paid for my margarita in the lounge since taxes and resort fees are included in a stay on points.

Image courtesy of Hyatt.com

The thing I was most looking forward to was the spa. Club Lounge privileges also include access to the spa. The spa at Gainey Ranch includes a mineral pool, hot tub, cold plunge, and steam and sauna rooms, even if you don’t book a service. I couldn’t wait to take advantage of these amenities. The mineral pool is so relaxing and invigorating at the same time. Even though the outside temperature was well over 100°, I alternated between the hot tub and mineral pool, and actually tried the cold plunge a couple of times!

Since the spa is adult only, I offered to trade off with Bryan since we had spent most of our time at the spa in the spring. Instead he opted to relax in the family pool with the kids and hit the hotel’s gym once a day.

The kids loved the pool, its beach entry, and the 30′ high speed slide. There was also a ping pong table and summer activities going on. Liberty Wildlife was there each morning with a different animal ambassador, and the staff hosted poolside games during the day. I was surprised at how many guests were there. I guess we weren’t the only ones to take advantage of their low summer rates.

Another great thing about this property is the Club Lounge. It is good sized with plenty of seating options and an outdoor patio adjacent to a large koi pond. They have a collection of family games and a rotating menu for breakfast, evening hors d’oeuvres, and nighttime desserts, with drinks and snacks available during the day. When we weren’t in the pool, we were at the lounge!

If you’ve ever wondered what happens at a hotel during a power outage, ask us. A severe thunderstorm came through the Valley of the Sun on our second night, knocking out the electricity while we were in the lounge waiting for the staff to put out the desserts. Some emergency lights came on, but the real problem was the air conditioning. Even during summer thunderstorms, the temperature can be over 90°, so it was going to get hot in the buildings. We were happy to have the option to go home if the room became too unbearable to sleep. As we headed upstairs after indulging in the delicious cheesecake the lounge staff found by flashlight, they were opening the panels in the lobby, letting the breeze come through along with the fresh smell that is unique to the desert. We got ready for bed in our still 69° room, and were relieved to find that the power was restored only an hour later.

Two ways we saved some extra money was to 1) park in the shopping center down the street instead of paying $21 per night to self-park at the hotel, and then 2) walk down to have lunch there so as to “pay” for our parking. This allowed us to have a good, cheap meal away from the hotel’s exorbitant restaurant prices. We should have eaten there on our check out day, too, because we ended up paying too much for a trendy burger place on our way out of Scottsdale. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, just not almost $20 per person good!

You can check out our budget here and the chart here. Since we only paid for the hotel and food, the category comparison chart is pretty boring, and our itinerary was simple: 1) drive to hotel, 2) stay there two nights, and 3) drive home.

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