Arizona's great weather and scenic splendor are often enough to convince meeting executives to select the Grand Canyon State as a meeting site. Then there are the luxury properties concentrated in the two major metropolitan areas, Tucson and Phoenix/Scottsdale's Valley of the Sun.
Most of these offer full-service spas and expansive pool and recreation facilities--including championship golf courses. For links-lovers, desert golf courses lined with soaring saguaros and abutting boulder-strewn foothills are a special challenge. Phoenix's Valley of the Sun has more than 180 courses with three more under construction.
New to Phoenix's revitalized downtown is the Arizona Science Center and Phoenix Art Museum, plus new restaurants, theaters, and entertainment venues. And two new hotels have been announced, bringing the total number of rooms in the downtown area to 2,700 by 2001.
Scottsdale is looking forward to the fall completion of Scottsdale Fashion Square's expansion, making the mall one of the largest regional shopping destinations in the southwest, with 50 new shops. Scottsdale's downtown Waterfront Project will also add new shops, restaurants, and recreation and entertainment venues. In addition, the $3 million Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art will open in 1999.
Tucson is the repository of the state's history and its Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and pioneer cultural roots. There is enough to see and do in the city known as Old Pueblo to keep attendees entertained for a week. One not-to-be missed attraction: the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum.
Tucson is also a great jumping-off point for visits to the southern part of the state. Among them are the vintage Western mining towns of Bisbee, Douglas, and Tombstone (site of the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral); the wineries around Sonoita and Patagonia; birding spots, such as Madera Canyon and the Chiricahua Mountains; and the artists colony at Tubac. A favorite side trip: Bargain shopping in the Mexican border town of Nogales, less than an hour from downtown Tucson.
Hotel News The Phoenix Area * A 700-room Westin convention hotel with 55,000 square feet of meeting space will be located in Collier Center, across from the Phoenix Civic Plaza.
* Also in downtown Phoenix, a 400-room Doubletree hotel at the Arizona Center is scheduled for completion in 2000.
* The Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa will add 120 oversized guest rooms, boosting its inventory to 740 rooms and villas. The addition will also include meeting rooms and an Olympic-sized pool. There is 60,000 square feet of meeting space.
* Scottsdale Hilton Resort & Villas will undergo a $15 million expansion and renovation to be completed in spring 1999. The project will add 65 junior suites and executive rooms and a new 10,000-square-foot ballroom, bringing the total meeting space to 24,000 square feet.
* The Doubletree Paradise Valley resort in Scottsdale has completed an $8.5 million improvement and expansion program. The resort's 32,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space was renovated and all 387 guest rooms and suites were refurbished.
* Embassy Suites Resort-Scottsdale is undergoing a renovation of the Breakfast Clubhouse and three executive boardrooms, plus seven elevators. A new business center will open in September 1998.
* Host Marriott Corp. just purchased the posh Phoenix Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the Esplanade. It is slated for a $40 million expansion that will include an additional 150 guest rooms, 20 luxury condominiums, and an 8,000-square-foot ballroom. There are currently 281 guest rooms and 20,000 square feet of meeting space.
* Marriott's Camelback Inn Resort, Golf Club and Spa is nearing completion on its $35 million, four-year renovation project. The Jackrabbit pool complex will include such features as multi-tiered sun decks, underwater music, and separate children's play areas. The resort's 453 deluxe adobe casitas are also being remodeled. The property has 40,000 square feet of meeting space.
* The SunBurst Resort in Scottsdale was awarded the 1997 American Society of Interior Designers' Design Excellence Award for renovation of its lobby, restaurant, and conference and banquet facilities. The 210-room resort has 14,300 square feet of meeting space.
* The Radisson Resort and Spa, Scottsdale's 20,000-square-foot health spa will open in October. The world-class spa has been designed with an Oriental flair, overlooking the property's Zen gardens. The 318-room, 35-suite property has a total of 30,000 square feet of meeting space indoors and an additional 100,000 square feet of outdoor function space.
* The Pointe Hilton Resort on South Mountain has completed a $1 million renovation of its newly named Phantom Horse Golf Club. The resort, with 638 suites and 85,000 square feet of function and meeting space, now has both of its 18-hole golf courses open.
* Scottsdale's Renaissance Cottonwoods Resort's 171 guest rooms will receive a $1.6 million refurbishment by the end of the year. The resort has 8,000 square feet of meeting space.
* Scottsdale's Lincoln Towne Centre, a $39 million downtown redevelopment project, has begun construction on the first of its three hotels, a 200-room Hilton Garden Inn. Also included in the project will be a 160-room Summerfield Suites, a 128-unit Prime Amerisuites, and offices, shops, and restaurants.
* The Tempe Mission Palms Hotel will undergo an $11 million property-wide remodeling. In addition to upgrading and refurbishing all 303 guest rooms, all 25,000 square feet of meeting space will be remodeled in compliance with standards set by the International Association of Conference Centers.
Tucson * Tucson's Loews Ventana Canyon Resort has begun a $3 million remodeling of its 398 guest rooms and corridors. The patio reception area to the Kiva Ballroom is getting a $90,000 upgrade and a new $70,000 acoustical stage is being added to the outdoor barbecue area. The resort has 37,000 square feet of meeting space.
* The Westward Look Resort now offers special privileges at the Robert Trent Jones, Jr.designed Raven Golf Club at Sabino Springs. The resort has 244 guest rooms and 8,000 square feet of meeting space.
* Westin's La Paloma Resort will be the site of Janos, one of Tucson's most acclaimed restaurants, due to open this fall.
* .In 1999 the 428-room Sheraton El Conquistador Resort & Country Club will add 25,000 square feet to its existing 30,000 square feet of meeting space.
* North of Tucson, the Miraval Resort in Catalina has opened the Catalina Learning Center. The facility boasts a built-in stage with video, data, and rear-screen projection. The Catalina Center seats 118, with data networking accessibility at each seat. Miraval Resort has 106 casitas and suites, and 7,000 square feet of meeting space.
Sedona * Enchantment Resort is in the process of a major expansion. Opening in late 1998 are 60 deluxe casitas, bringing the guest room total to 222. Also opening is the new meeting "village" that will accommodate 400 people and add 13,000 square feet of meeting space to Enchantment's current 5,000 square feet. The village will also have three patio homes available for private receptions, and 8,000 square feet of courtyard areas for outdoor gatherings. A 20,000-square-foot Health & Healing Spa will be completed by 2000.
* The new 225-room Delta Sedona Golf and Conference Resort is scheduled for year-end completion. It will have 5,000 square feet of flexible ballroom space that seats up to 400, four smaller meeting rooms, and six executive boardroom suites.