The Greater Phoenix area, with its booming economy and vibrant community spirit, sports 180 golf courses. Phoenix's downtown, revitalized with new sports facilities, also has new shops, restaurants, brew pubs, and sports bars. Adjacent to the America West Arena, where the NBA and the NHL play, the domed Bank One Ballpark, known as BOB, is now home to the Arizona Diamondbacks. In addition to a new art museum and science center, the Heard Museum has just opened a new wing, enlivening the art and cultural scene.
Scottsdale keeps building on its reputation for world-class resorts, serious shopping, and fine dining. The addition of Arizona's first Nordstrom department store to Scottsdale Fashion Square has generated excitement, and the art scene has been enhanced by the opening of the Scottsdale Contemporary Art Museum. c page 178
Tucson is experiencing a downtown renewal that includes a multimillion-dollar renovation and expansion of the Tucson Museum of Art, known for its pre-Columbian artifacts and western art.
GREATER PHOENIX hotel news * The financial deal for a long-awaited major downtown Phoenix hotel has been finalized. The $167 million, 31-story Marriott at Collier Place, with 20,000 square feet of meeting space, is scheduled for a 2001 completion.
* Wigwam Resort is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, and its signature Arizona Kitchen restaurant has earned a Mobil Four Star Award for the fourth consecutive year. Sited on 463 acres of Sonoran desert, Wigwam Resort has 331 adobe casitas, three golf courses, and 30,000 square feet of meeting space. The 10,000-square-foot Sunset Point is the Wigwam's authentic 1880s western-style town specifically designed for theme functions. Group activities include a cattle drive.
* Chaparral Suites Hotel Scottsdale is replacing its pavilion with a 23,000-square-foot conference facility. An extensive renovation will be completed in November. The resort has 311 suite-style rooms.
* The 210-room Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North is set to open in December with 9,400 square feet of meeting space.
* The 270-suite Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains has opened in North Scottsdale, with 15,000 square feet of meeting space.
* Resort Suites of Scottsdale completed its $12 million expansion and renovation, bringing its total accommodations to 338 rooms and 488 suites. A new 3,600-square-foot open-air pavilion has doubled the function space available for groups.
* The 253-room Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas is getting a $17 million makeover, set for completion this month. It includes the addition of a 10,000-square-foot ballroom and conference center, bringing its meeting facilities to over 16,000 square feet.
* The 404-room Scottsdale Plaza Resort is completing a $2 million guest room and suite refurbishment. The resort has 30,000 square feet of meeting space.
* Scottsdale Conference Resort will complete a $2 million renovation this month, which includes a new casita pool deck, meeting room lighting, and soft-goods redecoration throughout all public areas. The resort has 325 guest rooms, 12 golf course casitas, and 50,000 square feet of meeting space.
* Radisson Resort & Spa Scottsdale has been acquired by Meristar Resorts, which will renovate the property's 318 guest rooms and common areas. The resort has 30,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, a 20,000 square-foot area for outdoor functions, and a 20,000-square-foot wellness center.
* Carefree Conference Resort completed a $13.5 million expansion. The new 10,000-square-foot meeting room brings total meeting space to 30,000 square feet. Other additions include the 800-seat opera house and 66 new guest rooms, for a total of 249 rooms, suites, and casitas.
* The Tempe Mission Palms recently completed an $11 million renovation that included remodeling its 30,000 square feet of meeting space and 4,000 square feet of outdoor patios, as well as installing a high-tech telecommunications and audiovisual infrastructure. The completion of this renovation qualified Tempe Mission Palms to receive certification by the International Association of Conference Centers.
* The 210-room Sheraton Phoenix Airport Hotel in Tempe reopened after a seven-month, $6.5 million renovation that included expanding its meeting space to 10,000 square feet, rewiring for high-speed Internet access, and adding an Executive Club floor.
* Gainey Suites has opened with 164 one- and two-bedroom suites and studios, and 2,000 square feet of meeting space.
important info Greater Phoenix CVB * (800) 535-8898
* Fax: (602) 235-4415
Total Hotel Tax: 10.625% in Phoenix, 9.875% in Scottsdale, 10.025% in Mesa
TUCSON hotel news * The Sheraton El Conquistador Resort and Country Club is adding 25,000 square feet to nearly double the current function space, including a new 12,000-square-foot ballroom, three 500-square-foot conference rooms, and interior and exterior pre-function areas by March 2000. Also under way is a $2.1 million, 18-month renovation to the resort's golf courses.
* A five-year, million-dollar renovation and expansion at Lazy K Bar Ranch includes refurbishment of the lodge and all guest rooms. A 6,000-square-foot special events venue is set to open in November.
important info Metropolitan Tucson CVB * (800) 638-8350
* Fax (520) 884-7804
SEDONA hotel news * The 225-suite Doubletree Sedona Resort opened last December. Among the amenities at the resort are a 10,000-square-foot Executive Meeting Center, an 18-hole championship golf course, and a full-service spa.
important info Sedona-Oak Creek Canyon Chamber of Commerce * (800) 288-7336
* Fax: (520) 204-1064
Lynn Averill, director, travel and conferences, National Life of Vermont, chose the Westin La Paloma in Tucson for the company's 1999 President's Club Conference. "We had just brought this particular meeting back to the U.S., and it was important for us to use an upscale property with a solid foundation for leadership," she says. She cites the resort's excellent convention services department as well as a recent renovation that spruced up guest rooms and public spaces. Feedback from the 680 attendees and spouses who attended the meeting in March was very positive, she says.
This is Averill's second meeting in Tucson over the past few years. "The airlift isn't too bad," she comments, "and the wonderful desert setting is different from other parts of Arizona because it is far more green, with abundant grass and cacti."
The legendary Wild West. Cowboys and Indians. The roots of Arizona's multicultural, multinational history. All can--and should--be sampled and savored by visitors to the state, from Wild West shoot-outs and cowboy cookouts around a campfire under the stars, to colorful Mexican fiestas and theme parties set at art museums.
* Folks can't get enough of the saguaro-studded Sonoran Desert in southwestern Arizona and the ambience of the Old West. Exciting inducements for attendees can include vintage train trips, trail rides, desert Jeep and HumVee tours, hot-air balloon rides, and river rafting adventures, both wild and mild.
* Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse is Scottsdale's western theme park. With banquet facilities for groups and an outdoor venue for cowboy cookouts, Rawhide offers staged shoot-outs, a saloon, and specialty stores.
* In Tucson, it's Old Tucson Studios that attracts meeting and incentive groups to its movie-set western streets.
* The Heard Museum, one of the nation's most renowned Native American museums, has recently nearly doubled in size, adding 50,000 square feet of public exhibition space. This cultural treasure of ancient artifacts and Native American art has flexible space for private gatherings accommodating from 50 guests to several thousand. Tours of the exhibits and access to the museum's shops can be offered to those attending private events.