America the Messy Yard Police State

Government nannies shut down pool parties

Jesus don't these government nannies have any real criminals to hunt down?

The economy sucks and as soon as the hotels find a way to make a few extra buck you have these jackbooted zoning inspectors coming in shutting them down for trivial violations.


County targeting pool parties at Valley resorts

Maricopa County cracks down on pool parties at swanky Valley resorts, a popular method of boosting hotel revenue during slow sum

by Megan Finnerty - Aug. 26, 2010 06:21 PM

The Arizona Republic

Admission no longer is free, and there will be no more drinking in the pool.

Which, it might go without saying, is largely the point of the splashy parties packing the pools at upscale resorts.

For three summers, metro Phoenix resorts and hotels have boosted revenue during the slow summer season by tuning into MTV Beach House-style bacchanals, with DJs, signature cocktails and live bands. This summer saw a substantial increase in the number of parties.

Trendy destinations such as the W Scottsdale Hotel and Residences and the InterContinental Montelucia Resort fought the seasonal drop in occupancy and room rates by luring locals to spend on daybed and cabana rentals and $10 to $14 cocktails.

Maricopa County's Environmental Services Department has been scrutinizing the parties largely because of their success - over-capacity crowds and alt-rock acts perched on the edge of pool decks. [ So the only reason these jackbooted zoning inspectors are shaking down the hotels is because the parties are successful? Jesus don't those jerks have any real criminals ot hunt down? ]

The health and safety issues they found will mean fundamental changes to the parties. Resorts that had found a popular moneymaker are scrambling to make changes that will keep county regulators satisfied and keep the pool decks full.

For weeks, representatives of the county office, which licenses the businesses to operate the pools and serve guests, have been making unannounced visits. They have met with area hotel and resort managers, reviewing the regulations that come with their semi-public pool licenses, the kind common for hotels, motels, condo and apartment complexes. The result: Stepped-up enforcement of regulations that were part of the county code already.

So no more drinking, or eating for that matter, in the pool.

No more music stages abutting the pool.

No more open-to-the-public parties, except ones already booked.

No more free entry and oversized crowds. [ Just why on earth is it a zoning violation to let someone come to these parties for free? Don't these government tyrants have anything to do to make our lives better instead of jerking us around for nickle and dime trivial zoning violations? ]

"In the last two years the scale and grandeur of the parties has picked up, and we are just trying to help the facilities understand the public-health impact before we start focusing on enforcement," said John Kolman, director of the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department.

Kolman said inspectors have reminded managers to monitor pool capacity, to double-check that rescue equipment is always visible, to keep lounge chairs, stages and other structures 4 feet from pool edges, and most crucially, to stop inviting the public to their events. [ Just why do these zoning inspectors want to keep the public aways from businesses that need to make money? ]

Inspectors will continue to make unannounced checks through September, the traditional end of the pool-party season.

The day rate

Hotels are already making changes.

At the Hotel Theodore in Old Town Scottsdale, formerly the Mondrian Scottsdale, this means general manager John Reynolds has stopped advertising his Saturday and Sunday pool parties as aggressively, and has started charging a $20 day rate for use of the hotel's pool, gym and other facilities, $10 of which serves as a food and drink credit.

"We've gotten some flack on it," he said. "We've seen a decrease in the number of people coming through."

Reynolds launched a $59 day rate, for which guests can use a room from 11 a.m. until the party is over at 6 p.m., or they can pay $30 more for the whole night.

"We've been policing the drinking policy, and it's just been a lot of yelling," joked party-marketing consultant Steve Kushnir, who helps with the Hotel Theodore parties. "We've kind of made it more package-driven so it's a total experience at the hotel, not just a party."

The InterContinental Montelucia Resort currently charges $50 to hang out by the pool on Saturdays and Sundays, and $40 of that goes to food and beverage. A spokeswoman from the resort said they've always discouraged drinking in the pool and that they will continue to enforce those health regulations.

Appeals expected

Many resort pool parties are already limited to guests who've rented rooms and their friends, like the ones at the Hotel Valley Ho, or to guests who've purchased tickets, like the ones at the Clarion Hotel Scottsdale. These locations will be minimally affected by the stepped-up enforcement.

But at the W Scottsdale, general manager Leon Young said he's seen real revenue losses since he started enforcement. He has, however, seen room sales go up slightly.

His hotel has made a name for itself hosting buzzy daytime bashes and nighttime swim parties, serving pool-friendly drinks like frozen creamsicle cocktails or bottles of vodka with Gatorade on ice. Now, the second-floor pool will be open only to those who rent cabanas, day beds or rooms.

"Certainly, I can understand you don't want to be floating next to a piece of lunch meat," Young said. "But if we follow the rules about no glass near the pool, I don't see why we couldn't allow some drinks in the pool."

Young is optimistic the county will be open to revisiting the regulations to create variances that would allow resorts and hotels to pursue party profits.

"We are rooms-focused in spring and peak season, but in summertime, it really is about the events and promotions you can organize to bring people in," Young said.


E.V. hotels bring posh pool parties within reach

East Valley Tribune - Arizona Local NewsAugust 27, 2010

REFOCUS Pool Party

Posted: Friday, August 27, 2010 8:00 am

Mandy Zajac, Tribune

Labor Day is fast approaching and, with it, the unofficial end to summer. Whether you’ve lived it to the fullest or squandered too many hours indoors behind a desk, there’s one last summer hurrah for grown-ups: the hotel pool party, where locals can cut loose poolside, sipping exotic drinks, dancing on the pool deck and loafing on daybeds and chaise lounges.

The soirees are nothing new in Scottsdale, where some high-end resorts charge a $50 cover to get in, require you book a pricey overnight stay or charge up to $500 for a cabana rental.

Lucky for us, two East Valley hotels offer a similar experience for a fraction of the price, and they’re squeezing every last drop out of summer with a few more pool parties before season’s end:

Sip ’n’ Dip Pool Party

Pool parties at the year-and-a-half-old Hilton Phoenix Chandler started out earlier this summer with a big bang, says property food and beverage manager Chuck Seppanen.

“They’ve been tremendously popular. It’s kind of slowing down now, as people are getting their kids back to school or going back to school themselves,” he says.

And that means you’ll find a lower-key vibe than the typical see-and-be-seen Scottsdale hot spot.

“You’re definitely going to feel comfortable,” says Seppanen. “The crowd is all ages. We have familes come in with the kids, groups in their forties and fifties, and some college kids. It’s a totally relaxed atmosphere.”

But don’t bother bringing a book to keep yourself entertained. Three deejays trade off cranking out upbeat, hip-hop music, and Coronas and cocktails go for $3-$5. (There’s also a food menu.) The hotel gives away four overnight stays throughout the course of the afternoon, and at the end of the night, if the weather holds, the hotel screens a dive-in movie at the pool, which Sip ’n’ Dip guests can stay and watch for free.

If, after all that, you’d rather stay put than drive home, the hotel offers an overnight room for two for $79. Up it to $99, and you’ll get champagne brunch for two on Sunday morning.

Details: 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 28 and Sept. 4 at the Hilton Phoenix Chandler, 2929 W. Frye Road , Chandler. $5 admission; includes 8 p.m. screening of “Yes Man” on Aug. 28 and “Alice in Wonderland” on Sept. 4. (480) 899-7400 or

REFOCUS Pool Party

When the $215 million Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino debuted last October on the Gila River Indian Reservation near Chandler, officials promised the Valley’s first truly Las Vegas-style place to party. This summer, the resort has taken the Vegas vibe to its 15,000-square-foot pool with a 21-and-older bash called the REFOCUS Pool Party.

“The word is definitely starting to spread. At each party, we get more and more guests. It’s very laid back, very casual, very fun,” says Melody Wolcott, a resort spokesperson who helps organize the poolside events and promote them via Twitter and Facebook.

Parties feature a DJ spinning music, cocktail specials, a poolside grill menu and swimsuit contests for men and women, with winners taking home cash or prizes.

There is an admission fee, but you can bypass it altogether by signing up for a free Player’s Club Card at the Player’s Club desk inside the casino.

Details: Noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 12 and Sept. 26 at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino, 5040 Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler. $10 admission. Full-service VIP cabana rentals run $100-$400. (800) 946-4452 or

Gila River Casinos

The REFOCUS Pool Party debuted this summer at the new Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler. The adults-only events allow locals to while away a Sunday like resort guests for a fraction of the cost of an actual hotel stay, and they last through Sept. 26.


America the Messy Yard Police State