The Italian theme prevails right down to the swimming pools at this Loews property, which anchors Universal's new Islands of Adventure theme park. The larger, main pool has a unique water slide that corkscrews around a castlelike replica of an old watchtower in Portofino. Aimed at families, the pool offers another child-friendly amenity:a zero-entry section, like a beach, with no steps or drop-offs into the water. Cypress trees envelop the resort's more private villa pool, surrounded by 16 rental cabanas ($50 for a half day, $80 for a whole day) equipped with color televisions, wet bars, and even fax machines. A boccie court is adjacent to the pool. $240-$260; (800) 235-6397; www.loewshotels.com

Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, Maui, Hawaii

The hardest part of most water slides is getting to the top. The Wailea Canyon Activity Pool solves this problem with the world's only water elevator, lifting guests five stories so they can descend the river pool again and again. Along the way, they enjoy valleys, water slides, waterfalls, caves, a rope swing, white-water rapids, whirlpool baths, and even a sauna. If this isn't enough, the resort also has a large formal pool and a dedicated, extra-deep scuba diving pool for teaching the sport. $410-$615; (800) 888-6100; www.grandwailea.com

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Scottsdale, Arizona

Just opened in December, this $4 million water feature includes the state's longest water slide, a shorter slide, and a zero-entry pool. The free-form pool has rental cabanas and a waterfall, and is the fourth major pool complex at the resort, where water is critical for surviving the summer heat. $489-$669; (800) 866-5577; www.fairmont.com

Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada