Want to take five kids aged from seven-13, plus seven adults, out West. Looking for a place with horseback-riding, golf, swimming, optional spa. Within 90-minute drive of Phoenix, Denver, or Salt Lake City. Everyone always wants to go to the beach, and we have done all of them on the East Coast plus Cancun. I want something different, but not a dude ranch. Just give me some locations to LOOK at and I'll gladly take it from there. Thank you so much.
-Frank, Gainesville, Ga.
There are a number of resorts that could work for your family. Here is just a sampling:
In the Phoenix area is the Westin's Kierland Resort & Spa. The resort offers 27 holes of golf and a comprehensive set of spa services. The resort also has a pretty comprehensive kids program, which includes an "Adventure Water Park" with a 110-foot-long waterslide. Plus, there's a quieter pool (and hot tub) near the spa that's more adult-oriented, in case you feel like an adult swim. For hiking and riding, you'll have to get a bit further outside the city, but those are easily arranged through the concierge.
In Scottsdale, Ariz., the Phoenician Resort has 27 championship holes plus a spa-like “Centre for Well-Being,” which offers mud baths, massages, and fitness classes. There are also tennis courts and lots of hiking opportunities in the area.
In St. George, Utah, there's the Red Mountain Spa, which could work for your family. Located a scenic two hours northeast of Las Vegas, this resort boasts an award-winning spa amid a backdrop of red cliffs and canyons. A short drive from Zion National Park, hiking and biking spots abound, along with a golf course called The Ledges of St. George.
Near Palm Springs, about an hour from LA's low-cost Ontario Airport, the Miramonte Resort has a spa with a wide variety of services and wellness classes, such as yoga and “hydro yo chi”—essentially tai chi in a hot tub. The world-class golf courses of Palm Springs are within easy reach, as is the massive outlet mall in nearby Cabazon. There are also hiking areas nearby, and horseback riding is also available.