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by Lisa Grimaldi | June 01, 2010
Arizona Desert Oasis
Talking Stick Resort, operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, opened in April. The 497-room property offers 240,000 square feet of gaming, the 13,000-square-foot Spa at Talking Stick, four lounges and eight eateries. Among dining spots is the signature Orange Sky Restaurant, offering sweeping views on the resort's 15th floor, and Ocean Trail, which features steamers, raw oysters, Cajun-style boils and spicy gumbo. Also on-site is the Blue Coyote Café, serving American fare. For meetings and events, the property has 100,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor space, including a 25,000-square-foot ballroom, 22 meeting rooms and 11,000 square feet of prefunction space. All meeting rooms are equipped with complimentary high-speed Internet access. (480) 850-7777; talkingstickresort.com
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Phoenix
Local Update:  The Phoenix City Council
approved plans for a 280-room Westin hotel downtown, in the 26-story One Central Park East office building. The all-suite property is set to open in 2011.

The Hyatt Regency Phoenix completed a $15 million revamp of all 712 guest rooms and 48,000 square feet of meeting space.

The 152-room Hyatt Place Phoenix/Mesa opened last year at the Mesa Riverview Lifestyle Center. The property offers 1,300 square feet of meeting space and complimentary Wi-Fi.

The Greater Phoenix Convention
& Visitors Bureau's website, visitphoenix.com, now offers special pages for planners. The bureau also has launched a mobile website, m.visitphoenix.com, for BlackBerry and iPhone users.

The 331-room Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa has new owners, JDM Partners. The landmark 1929 resort offers 54 holes of golf and 43,000 square feet of indoor meeting space.

The renovation and expansion
of the Arizona Grand Resort was completed last spring and included the addition of 100 Arizona Grand Villas, for a total of 740 rooms. The resort has 117,000 square feet of meeting space.

Meeting Hotels:
 Properties include the 1,000-room Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 950-room JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, 740-room Arizona Grand Resort, 712-room Hyatt Regency Phoenix, 532-room Wyndham Phoenix and 342-room Sheraton Crescent. For a complete listing of Phoenix hotels, go to mcmag.com/meeting-facilities.

Convention Center: Phoe­nix Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 872,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 109; (602) 262-6225; phoenix.gov/phxpccd.html

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

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

Small Group Venue: Kai, at the Sheraton Wildhorse Pass Resort & Spa, is the only eatery in Arizona to make AAA's 2010 list of Five-Diamond Award winners. Executive chef Michael O'Dowd's fare is based on locally farmed ingredients from the Gila River Indian Community. The Wine Cellar can host up to 14 for private events. (602) 385-5726; wildhorsepassresort.com

Quiessence Restaurant at the Farm, known for its contemporary American farm cuisine, accommodates 85 indoors; the patio seats up to 20. (602) 276-0601; quiessencerestaurant.com

CVB Services: Greater Phoe­nix Convention & Visitors Bureau, (602) 254-6500 or (877) 225-5749; visitphoenix.co