A Traveler's Dozen: 12 Sizzling Summer Deals

Location! Location! Location! It just makes sense that some of this year's hottest summer specials are in destinations where prices drop dramatically when the temperatures climb. So, if you're searching for some red hot deals at first-class resorts, check out this list of summer sizzlers where you can vacation like a rock star on a school teacher's salary.

PHOENIX/SCOTTSDALE

The Valley of the Sun is the perfect summer destination if you want a five-star experience for a fraction of the usual price. The Phoenix/Scottsdale area is known for some of the top resorts in the country, and the summer months bring some sensational specials.

OK, sure it's hot here in the summer, it's the desert, but remember, it's a "dry" heat and 100 degrees in Arizona with very little humidity can feel better than 80 degrees in Florida where there's so much moisture in the air, you're soaking wet as soon as you walk out the door.

Traditionally a winter hotspot, the Phoenix/Scottsdale area goes all out to attract summer visitors, offering everything from dining deals to resort prices that, in some cases, are slashed by more than 75 percent.

A perfect example is the summer special offered by the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale. This is one of the top-rated luxury resorts in Arizona and usually the best price you can find on a room is close to $600 a night. Now, starting June 1, room rates will start at $149 a night for Sunday — Thursday. That's a huge savings at a resort that's not only next to one of the top golf courses in Arizona, Troon North, but also has some amazing restaurants, a top rated spa, and a relaxing pool scene. For more: Four Seasons

Some other award-wining resorts to check out that are also offering summer savings include:

•Royal Palms Hotel (www.royalpalmshotel.com)

•The Phoenician (www.thephoenician.com)

•Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Gainey Ranch (www.scottsdale.hyatt.com)

•JW Marriot Desert Ridge (www.jwdesertridgeresort.com)

•The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa (www.kierlandresort.com)

•The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess (www.fairmont.com/scottsdale)

•Camelback Inn (www.camelbackinn.com)

Camelback Inn, Phoenix, Arizona

For an updated list of different summer activities and specials in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area two great resources to try are The Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau. Both update their Web sites often.

LAS VEGAS

Lady Luck is very kind to summer visitors in Las Vegas -- you don't have to roll the dice to find some real bargains. Again, the desert is hot, but it's "dry" and you can always find some shade by the pool or just relax inside where there's more than enough to entertain you.

For years Las Vegas has been known to drop room prices dramatically in the scorching summer months but it used to be that room rates weren't that much to begin with so it wasn't as big a deal. Not so anymore with average room rates at the best places at $300-$400 a night, so any deal you can find in the summer season can end up saving you big bucks. Summer is one of the rare times in Vegas where you can still stay at a top resort for under $100 a night.

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