Get to know the scholarly riverside of Phoenix in Tempe. This eastern city adjacent to the Arizona capital is home to the Sun Devils of Arizona State University, the shores of the Salt River, and a compact downtown that has instant access to hiking trails. Mill Avenue is far from the only road in town, but it’s definitely the main route to all of the best hotels in Tempe with cool pools, even cooler bars, and the coolest crowds in the city.
Moxy has so much boldness that it puts even Sparky the Sun Devil to shame. Laying claim to a patch of land next to ASU campus, Moxy kick-starts your vacay by slinging a free drink at you during check-in. Slide your luggage off of your shoulders and wrap a pool floatie around your waist. Not in need of a sun kiss? Take your drink up to your room where a vinyl record player will spin whatever soundtrack your holiday needs.
Don’t let the suits at Tempe Mission Palms fool you; this business hotel knows how to loosen up their ties when it’s quittin’ time. Two jacuzzi spas, a rooftop pool, and two bars will have you winding down soon after you stow your suitcase in a suite with Southwestern flair. And if the staff tell you to go take a hike and climb a mountain, they’re not being rude; trails to ‘A’ Mountain are right behind the hotel.
The Graduate warns you that snowbirds and Sun Devils may be hanging around their pool, so be sure you’re not rocking a Wildcat speedo when you visit. You’ll be able to keep your nose out of the college rivalry no problem, so don’t feel like you need to stay cooped up in your campus-view suite the whole time. The Normal Bar is the place to play it cool during any day that ends in ‘y’, where you can have the drink of your childhood dreams: an adult Capri Sun, with rum, triple sec and Curacao adding a boozy hit to your orangeade.
Hotels in Tempe don’t get much better than the Canopy by Hilton. A few shuffles of the feet from Mill Avenue, you’ll spot all of downtown from your corner room; the question is, how will you explore it? You can rent a canopy bike in the lobby and ride around, or walk to the light rail and Loop 202. Our preferred method? Walking on wobbly legs after a brief tipple at the Alibi Rooftop Lounge.
No, it’s not the desert heat that’s got you feeling hot at Marriott at the Buttes; this hotel in Tempe is at the top of the rock. Literally speaking, it’s nestled between rocky hills, and is only three miles from Sky Harbor International, but figuratively, its serene Narande Spa, exciting sports courts, pool with waterslides and surrounding hiking trails make this hotel a cut above. All you’ll need is a tonic at the Thirsty Cactus Pool Bar and Grill to see why even locals flock to this oasis. The piece de resistance is the panoramic, glass-walled restaurant, complete with indoor waterfall.
The motel-style University Inn is exactly where you want to be in Tempe. Right beside ASU campus and directly on Mill Avenue, you’ll roll out of your brightly-colored queen room and into whatever you wish. Most importantly, this awesome location does come cheap, so even if you spring for a deluxe king suite with an extra sofa bed for your penny pinching friends, you’ll still have plenty of cash on hand for the casinos and bars around town.
The AC Hotel is a refreshing hotel in Tempe, and not only because it’s right beside the Salt River. Though we do love its walkability to Tempe Beach Park, AC’s interiors are just as alluring. Suites with private balconies offer the views without the footsteps, but if you can make the trek to the elevator, the best sights are at the rooftop pool. Bringing your swimsuit and sunscreen are a given, but this pet-friendly hotel also lets you pack your pooch.
With an oasis like the all-suites Arizona Grand Resort & Spa as your holiday home, you’ll have no trouble beating the desert heat. The Arizona Grand Golf Course is simply stunning, luring even those who don’t play into a round just to admire the mountain vistas. No greens fees are required to catch the views from your private villa. The only time you’ll want to close your eyes during your trip is when you’re indulging in an aromatherapy massage at the spa.
Simple yet stylish rooms and suites at Sonesta are all you’ll need to to enjoy your stay in Tempe. Head into a room and find plenty of room to stretch out even before you push the moveable desk into the corner. Do the same to your mental work desk and let your worries float away in their outdoor pool, or sink into an outdoor armchair by the firepit. The main drag in Tempe, Mill Avenue, is but one block away, where you’ll find a road of possibilities for evening fun.
Explore Tempe from neighboring Old Town Scottsdale when you stay at Element. This extended-stay hotel keeps you right beside the city which means the Phoenix Zoo and ASU are always within reach. Rental bicycles from Element will give you the wheels to explore both while the healthy fare at their on-site restaurant, Revive, will do its namesake. If you’re riding in with a full peloton, the four-bedroom connected studio commons suite keeps your pack together off road, and a full-sized fridge, oven, hob and microwave means you’ll be able to cook up a storm. Feeling lonely? Grab a free drink at the evening receptions, and meet your fellow Element guests.
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