Westin Kierland Resort Scottsdale, AZ activities – Review

On Memorial Day weekend we stayed at the Westin Kierland Villas for 3 nights on a quick long weekend getaway in Scottsdale, Arizona. You can read about my review of the villas in this prior post. While the villas were excellent and they made for a relaxing time, they were just for that: relaxing. Where the real action happens is at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa next door, a quick free shuttle ride or 7-10 minute walk away. We constantly found ourselves walking over to the resort to enjoy its many features.

Pools:

The resort pools are really nice. The smallest one is for adults only, while the large one is for everyone, and I’ve read that in the summer they can be really full of kids running around, so you have both options if you want more of a quiet and relaxing time or more space and activities. The main pool gets full since early in the morning, and by peak time it might be difficult to find lounge chairs. There are also private cabanas for rental, but we did not use them and so I don’t know what the rental rates were. Both pools have towel service, and the main pool requires checking in with your room key and getting a wristband that you can then use to get in and out.

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There is bar and food service available so you can order drinks or food without getting up from your chair. At one point they had free promotional shots from Tito’s Vodka , a distillery from Austin, TX, and we tried them out and they were pretty good.

Lazy River:

Next to the main pool is the lazy river, which always had plenty of tubes available to grab and go. There is a small area on the lazy river where you can “anchor” your tube to the railing and order drinks from the bar and then keep on going down the current. The current was quite slow for my liking and in some places the tubes almost slow down to a halt, but I guess that’s the point of relaxing and let the current do all the work for you.

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Scotch library:

The main lobby has a scotch library with a full list of scotch from all over the world and descriptions on how they’re made. We didn’t have time to order a drink while there, but the list was very extensive. There are comfortable chairs and TVs where you can relax and catch a game.

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Deseo:

We tried two restaurants at the resort. “Deseo” is the main restaurant, which features a latin cuisine theme by Chef Roberto, and was amazing. They were actually rated #3 in TripAdvisor out of over 1,000 Scottsdale area restaurants, so we had to try it out. Bonus points: Deseo participates in the Open Table program, and we were able to double dip and scoop up a 1,000 point table at prime time Saturday night. I will review our dining experience at Deseo in a separate post, but I definitely recommend a visit.

Westin-KierlandDeseo’s signature feature is an open chef kitchen where you can sit around and watch staff prepare meals. I don’t recommend it for parties larger than 2, as it’s a bar layout, which makes it harder to have a conversation for large parties.

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Nellie Cashman’s Monday Club Cafe:

We tried this restaurant on our last night for dessert only. The restaurant was almost empty since we visited late at night. My wife had the peach cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and I had the creme brulee. The fruit on the peach cobbler was quite chewy for my taste, but the creme brulee was one of the best I’ve had in any restaurant, and I’ve had many of them since it’s my favorite dessert.

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Outdoor dining:

There is a large area in the main back patio served by the Waltz & Weiser Whiskey Bar and Cantina. The dining tables and area in general are very dark, almost to the point that I would find it uncomfortable to have dinner at those tables. They do have live music so it’s a very enjoyable setting to grab a drink and enjoy the performances, and on Memorial Day’s eve we watched an incredible lights display on the facade of the building that blew me away. The special effects make it look like the hotel balconies are moving, and the building is breaking into pieces and falling down.

Westin-KierlandThere was also a very moving video display to the music of the Star-Spangled Banner commemorating Memorial Day, so if you can catch one of these light displays you won’t be disappointed.

Westin-KierlandWestin-KierlandWestin-KierlandIf you’re staying at the resort and like quiet and going to bed early, avoid the rooms on this side at all cost.

If you’re staying at the villas, anything you consume or purchase at the resort can be charged to your room, which is what we did for convenience and extra SPG points.

There is also a spa at the resort, and if we would have spent longer than 3 days I would have booked a massage, but we just didn’t have enough time. There is also plenty of golf courses in the area if golf is your kind of fun. The resort also has bikes for rental so you can go explore the area on your own.

Overall impression:

While the resort can be a bit loud at times, especially during the December – March high season, the amenities make a stay there worthwhile. In my opinion, the best combination is the following: Sleep at the villas; Play at the resort. This will guarantee you quiet and relaxing time when you want to get away, but plenty of fun activities at the resort for a day full of fun.

Have you been to either the villas or the resort? If so, we would love to hear about your experience at either one in the comments section below.

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