The Greater Phoenix area, with its booming economy and vibrant community spirit, also sports 180 golf courses. Phoenix's downtown, revitalized by the completion of 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. Besides a new art museum and science center, the Heard Museum has just opened a new wing, adding to the art and cultural scene.

Scottsdale keeps building on its reputation as a destination for world-class resorts, serious shopping, and fine dining. The addition of Arizona's first Nordstrom to Scottsdale Fashion Square has generated excitement, and the art scene has been enhanced by the completion of the new

Scottsdale Contemporary Art Museum. Tucson is experiencing a downtown renewal that includes a multimillion dollar renovation and expansion of the Tucson Museum of Art, known for its preColumbian artifacts and western art.

GREATER PHOENIX hotel news * The 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. Situated on 463 acres of Sonoran desert, the 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 1880's western town designed for theme functions. Group activities include a cattle drive.

* Chaparral Suites Hotel Scottsdale (formerly Embassy Suites Resort) is replacing its pavilion with a 23,000-square-foot conference facility. An extensive renovation will be completed in November, 1999. The resort has 311 suite-style rooms.

* The 210-room Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North is set to open in December 1999 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 doubles the function space available for groups.

* The 253-room Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas is getting a $17 million makeover for September 1999. 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 September 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 western setting for outdoor functions. and a 20,000-square-foot, zen-themed wellness center.

* Carefree Conference Resort completed a $13.5 million expansion. The new 10,000-square-foot meeting room brings its meeting space to 30,000 square feet. Other additions include the 800-seat Carefree Opera House and 66 new guest rooms for a total of 249 guest 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 extensive 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 including expanding its meeting space to 10,000 square feet, rewiring for high speed Internet access, and adding an Executive Club floor featuring Sheraton's high-tech Smartrooms.

* 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

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 golf courses.

* A five-year $1 million renovation and expansion project at Lazy K Bar Ranch includes refurbishment of the lodge and guest rooms. A 6,000-square-foot special events venue will 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 in December 1998. Among the on-site amenities 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

Dayton, Ohio-based Dayco, a division of Mark IV industries of Buffalo, NY, recently held a national sales meeting at Rancho De Los Caballeros, in Wickenburg, northwest of Phoenix. The group took over the entire 79-room dude ranch. "The size of the resort lent itself to the size of our group," says Roy Pyle, vice president of distributor sales. Outdoor cookouts and a Mexican theme party played off the western setting, and attendees played golf, took jeep tours, went horseback riding, and discovered skeet shooting. "Everyone got to enjoy a variety of activities, build camaraderie, and experience different types of cuisine," comments Pyle.