El Santo Cantina, Patio Bar and Restaurant
7301 E. Butherus Drive, Scottsdale • 480-584-3801, elsantocantina.com
This newly-opened restaurant/resort-style-pool bills itself as “Cinco de Mayo, 365 days a year.” Guests can rent villas and cabanas, or stake out a chaise and enjoy the waterfall and patio bar. During the weekend “Sunday Recovery” event, revelers can nosh on lobster flautas during brunch (10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and catch sporting events on the cantina’s flat-screen TVs. No cover.
Hotel Valley Ho
6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale
Since its 2004 makeover, this swinging 1950s haunt ranks as one of the Valley’s best places to soak up the sun. Friday happy hour (3:30-6:30 p.m.) kicks off with performances by power-pop outfit Elvis Before Noon or acoustic folkie Matthew Thornton. The party continues with local sonic-spinner Mr. P-Body during the “Session Saturdays” and “City Sundays” events; the latter features a menu of eight cocktails, each representing a different international city ($6 each). The Sunday party is open to the public, but the Saturday party is a hotel guest-only affair; you can also get admission by purchasing a 60-minute massage at the spa ($125).
7277 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale
Unleash your sizzle with a weekend of sexy Hollywood-style revelry at the fabled W Scottsdale. Through August, the resort’s WET pool deck hosts Saturday (“Summer Groove”) and Sunday (“Summer Splash”) pool parties from noon to 5 p.m.; the non-guest cover charge is $25 and affords access to WET’s excellent second-story views and the swerve-ready stylings of featured disc jockeys like Phunk Junkeez singer DJ Soulman. To kick it up a notch, reserve a cabana ($350 for non-hotel guests; $250 for hotel guests) equipped with a flat-screen TV, ceiling fan, misters, fruit and Internet access.
Release at Talking Stick Resort
9800 E. Indian Bend Rd., Scottsdale
The new pool-party-on-the-block is Release at Talking Stick Resort, an all-weekend bonanza of drink specials, promotional giveaways and massive UV exposure. Flanked by plenty of comfy chaise lounges, the 21-and-over pool rages every Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) with regional star DJs like funky-disco duo WhiteNoize and Top 40 mash-up master Slick D. Continuing through Labor Day, Release is free for all resort guests and non-guests of the female persuasion (guys have to pay a $10 cover). It also has something no other pool party in the Valley can match: access to black jack tables. Towel-off first.