by Lisa Grimaldi | April 01, 2011
According to an Arizona tourism official, convention business in Phoenix still is off by 30 percent following last summer's passage of a controversial state law, SB1070, which requires state and local police to determine the immigration status of those who have been arrested or detained. In all, the state has lost an estimated $10 million in meetings and tourism revenue since the bill was passed into law. A federal lawsuit challenging SB1070 currently is being heard in a U.S. District Court.
The Wigwam, a 331-room resort in Litchfield Park, Ariz., has completed a $7 million renovation. Among the enhancements: a new main pool, an outdoor plaza and the addition of Litchfield's, a restaurant featuring locally grown and sourced fare.

Westin Phoenix DowntownThe 242-room Westin Phoenix Downtown opened in mid-March. The hotel, which occupies nine floors in the 26-floor Freeport McMoRan Center, has approximately 15,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a WestinWorkout gym and the Province restaurant. The property is the first Westin to feature the brand's new room design.

The Phoenician has debuted its new 15,000-square-foot Camelback Ballroom, which has its own kitchen and 9,000-square-foot outdoor plaza, as well as a dock. The addition gives the resort of total of 120,000 square feet of meeting and event space. The property offers 643
guest rooms.

The new luxury boutique Hotel Palomar is set to open in 2012 in the downtown Phoenix area, as part of a new mixed-use development called CityScape. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants will operate the 250-room hotel in a 34-story tower at One South Central that also will include 200 luxury residential condominium units.

Meeting Hotels
Properties include the 1,000-room She­ra­ton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 950-room JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, 740-room Arizona Biltmore, 740-room Arizona Grand Resort, 712-room Hyatt Regency Phoenix, 643-room The Phoenician, 563-room Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, 584-room Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort and 242-room Westin Phoenix Downtown.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Air­port, three miles east of downtown Phoenix. Transfer cost by taxi, $15-$20; by shuttle, $12

Convention Center
Phoe­nix Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 872,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 109; (602) 262-6225;

Room tax, 5%; sales tax, 8.27%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13.27%

Group Venues
Sheraton Wildhorse Pass Resort Spa
 at the Sheraton Wildhorse Pass Resort & Spa, is a must for foodies. Fare at this upscale spot is Native American in spirit and based on locally sourced ingredients. Groups of 16 are welcome. (602) 385-5726;

In downtown Phoenix, Lucky Strike, a new outpost of the hip bowling alley/lounge chain, has a private four-lane suite for groups of up to 20 people; larger parties (of up to 150) also are accommodated. (602) 732-5496;

Greater Phoe­nix Convention & Visitors Bureau, (602) 254-6500 or (877) 225-5749