In All About Jax, Celebrations, Family Time, Travel/Arizona
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I have to start this post with a HUGE thank you to the folks at Westin Kierland Resort and Spa and their awesome FUN Team, especially Scott Davidson, Captain Fun, himself.

If you know me, or have been following my blog for any time, you likely know that I always go all out to make Jacquelyn’s birthday parties special. But this one, her 6th birthday party, can never, ever be topped.

It was epic.

The idea for Jax’s Cabana Jam started last year during our family staycation. We saw a birthday party happening on the lawn by the pool and my rotors started turning. Jax was enthralled; she had already proclaimed the Westin Kierland as her “favorite place in all the solar system” so the idea of having a party there had her counting the days until she turned six (she had just turned 5).

I started working with Scott months in advance to secure the space I wanted. Since her birthday is in July a pool party was a must. Westin Kierland’s pool has a great lawn area to host parties, cabanas and two private areas along the lazy river. We opted for Paradise Point, a secluded area adjacent to the water slide with it’s own little “lagoon” area in the lazy river where guests could swim and cool off.

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Scott worked with me on every detail, from food and party activities to decor and flow. He was attentive and assured me everything would be perfect for my little girl’s special day. And it was! Everything was amazing and with the exception of a hospitable tour to pick the party site, a few phone calls and frequent email exchanges I didn’t have to do a thing. Scott and his fab FUN Team did everything.

I was welcome to bring my own party decor but I didn’t see the need. The pool area is lush and beautiful and the FUN Team added balloons for a festive vibe. I brought some tiki/pineapple/palm tree cups  (purchased from The Dollar Tree) for the kids but that was it. Everything else was worked through in advance.

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The day of the party went off with a hitch. We headed down to Paradise Point about 20 minutes before start time so we could check it out and be there as guests started to arrive. I was blown away with how great the area looked. We were welcomed by an enthusiastic dedicated party host and were introduced to our private server and attendants for the day. Jax felt very special.

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Since this was a pool party with a lazy river, water slides, and a huge, refreshing sparkling pool at our guests disposal, I kept food simple, portable and kid-friendly. Scott helped me choose the right amount of food for the number of guests attending. We ordered some pizzas and chicken finger baskets which we had served family style.

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Our guests had a fabulous time, racing down the water slide, lounging in the lazy river and splashing in the pool. The Adventure Pool complex is one of our favorite resort pools, it’s nice and cool, very clean and sparkling and perfect on a hot Arizona summer day.

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Everything about Jax’s party was perfection, and a big highlight was the kid’s craft/activity, Stuff-a-Buddy! Kids got to pick out a new friend and stuff it themselves, making it as cuddly as they wanted. The FUN Team provided lots of choices, pink unicorns, pandas, dragons, bunnies, piggies, leopards and more! This activity is actually available regularly at The OK Corral for resort guests and was an add-on for Jax’s party. It was a hit!

The kids had a blast picking out a soft, new friend and stuffing it. There were so many smiles and squeals of delight. Stuff-a-Buddy served two-fold, it was a fun activity for the kids and made for a memorable party favor!

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Every birthday party at the Westin Kierland comes with a custom cake created by the resorts own pastry chef. I worked with Scott to pick the cake flavor and look. Together we chose a marble cake with white chocolate mousse filling, covered in rich chocolate ganache and decorated to fit the Cabana Jam theme. It was everything I had hoped for in appearance and most importantly, taste! And it was HUGE, we had more than enough cake for everyone to have a slice and lots to take home.

The cake was moist and flavorful and the ganache that enrobed it was adorned with fondant and modeling chocolate details like a surf hut and loungers, sand made from graham cracker crumbs and a surfboard sugar cookie. This cake was EVERYTHING!

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One HUGE perk go having the party at the Westin Kierland was that our guests were welcomed to use the pool ALL day, even after the party was over. Paradise Point was ours for the day and guests could use it as a “home base” while they swam and enjoyed the amenities.

This was great because families were able to make an entire day of it and a few even made a night of it too, by booking an overnight stay.

Nothing could dampen that incredible day. Not even the summer monsoon that blew through bringing high winds and lightening. For safety reasons the pool had to be evacuated until the storm had passed. At that time the party was slowing down and a few guests had already left. But Scott and the FUN Team invited those of us that were still there to move the party to the safety of the resort’s Kids Club. We grabbed the leftover pizza and headed over. The kids had a dance party, played video games and colored while the adults mingled and snacked. After an hour or so we were back in the pool and there about a dozen of us stayed until the pool closed at 8pm.

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I will never, ever be able to top Jax’s 6th birthday Cabana Jam! Sorry, baby girl, you’ve peaked when it comes to your birthday parties.

We made an entire celebratory weekend out of the party and The Westin Kierland team made our stay one with memories to last a lifetime. The kind gentlemen at the front drive had cookies delivered to our room upon learning we were celebrating a birthday. The room itself was cozy with a fabulous view. The pool staff was attentive and prompt.

After the party, exhausted and water logged we arrived back to our room to find that the FUN Team had  decorated our room, leaving a balloon bouquet and colorful messages scrawled on the mirrors. It was a special surprise, very touching and it left me overwhelmed with emotion (and Jax with excitement) that everyone had gone out of their way to make our stay and our little girl’s party so memorable.

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If you are interested in hosting a FUN party at The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa contact Scott Davidson at 480-624-1262 or email Scott.Davidson@westin.com. Tell him I referred you!

You can customize a party for any occasion, anytime of year! Tell Scott what you are thinking, give him your budget and he will bring your visions to life.

Thank you so much to The Westin Kierland and the FUN Team for all that you did to make Jacquelyn’s party and our family stay so special.

And THANK YOU Scott, my co-husband for the past 6 months. You are such a gem. I am a type-A control freak when it comes to pretty much everything, especially party planning. You made every aspect of this experience so enjoyable with your easy-going, pleasing ways. The party exceeded every expectation I had. THANK YOU!!

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