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As summer heads into its homestretch, there are deals to take you through Labor Day if you look west to the Arizona desert. In Tucson, for instance, we spied these two tempting specials for family travelers.

Westward Look Resort

Stay at the plush Westward Look Resort as low as $99 per night. The 244-room Westward Look Resort, in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains has two family-friendly specials that caught our eye:

  • The Sizzling Staycation, with rates as low as $99 per night, which includes breakfast daily for two adults and two kids 12 and under
  • The Advance Purchase rate, which promises up to 50% off regular rates if you book (and pay) at least 14 days ahead

The 80-acre, AAA Four-Diamond resort grew out of a 1912 estate and was named after a 19th-century poem ("but westward, look -- the land is bright"). It has three pools, on-site biking and hiking trails, horseback riding, a spa, and tennis.

In August, the regular rate for a standard room with two queen beds is $169. When we checked some late August dates, we found the $99 Sizzling rate, which includes free breakfast. That compares to an advance purchase rate of $90 a night. For a little more space, you could get what seemed to be a junior suite (two beds, plus large sitting area) for $129 a night (Sizzling Special) and $109 a night (Advance Purchase).

Bottom line: Both packages are great deals for a property this luxurious. At the end of the day, the Sizzling Special definitely wins out: Your free breakfast for four is likely worth $50 a day in value, which more than makes up for even a $9 difference in rates. Plus, you won't have that cloud of non-refundable reservations hanging over your head, which you always do with Advance Purchase deals.

The Sizzling Staycation offer ends Sept. 7. The Advance Purchase rate is always available. To get either deal, book online or call tel. 800/722-2500.

JW Marriott Star Pass

If your family wants a splashy summer finale, you probably can't beat a combo of pools, slides, and SpongeBob. At Tucson's JW Marriott Star Pass, right next to hike-and-bike-friendly Tucson Mountain Park, the usual Nickelodeon Getaway Package is adding an extra dose of slime-rich value: Book a two-night stay between Aug. 20 and Sept. 20, and you'll get a third night free. The usual package also includes goodies for the kids (a SpongeBob or Dora pillowcase, and other Nick-themed swag) and a character breakfast for two adults and two children.

The 575-room resort has four pools, a lazy river, a waterslide, an Arnold Palmer golf course, and a spa. High-season weekends here include dive-in movies, a poolside game show and complimentary Slime Slushies.

What are those freebies really worth? When we checked late August dates, we found a starting rate of $179 a night for a double room with no view. The character breakfast usually costs $100 for a family of four ($35/adult x 2 + $15/child x 2). So if you were to book a three-night stay plus a character breakfast on your own, you'd pay $637.

Bottom line: The package offers added value to $279, which is a 43% savings. And let's face it: if your kids are of the right age, there'd be serious pressure to do the breakfast.

When booking online, look for the Third Night Free deal after entering dates. Alternatively, you can book by calling tel. 520/792-3500 and ask for the promotion by name.

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