Scottsdale, Ariz., is the perfect amalgam of breathtaking desert; hip, modern hotels; elegant, group-friendly resorts; chic boutiques, outlets and malls; sizzling night spots; inventive and varied dining spots; luxuriant spas; Native American culture, and golf courses galore.Local Libation
The Prickly Pear Lavender Mojito
at El Chorro (elchorro.com
) is a tasty concoction of house-made prickly pear concentrate, lavender simple syrup, house-grown mint leaves, lime, Bacardi rum and lemon-lime soda.Vroom Service
Octane Raceway has relocated to the Talking Stick Destination in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. The facility features 65,000 square feet of entertainment options and meeting space, including three rooms geared for private events. octaneraceway.comHigher Calling
A great way to experience Scottsdale's desert and mountain vistas is by hot air balloon, via outfitters like A Balloon Experience by Hot Air Expeditions (hotairexpeditions.com
) and Rainbow Ryders (rainbowryders.com
• The 649-room Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
has completed a $25 million renovation of its meeting spaces, restaurants, retail venues, spa and exteriors. The property's latest round of refurbishments wraps up a five-year, $60 million capital investment project that included the debut of the resort's new Palomino Conference Center in October 2012.
• In May, The Phoenician,
with 641 rooms, will launch a $34 million renovation of all of its guest accommodations, including suites. The project is expected to wrap up in October.
• The 453-room JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa
has finished up a $9.5 million refurbishment. In addition, the resort's former Indian Bend Golf Course was renamed Ambiente, following an extensive overhaul of the 18-hole, 150-acre layout that included new topography, restructured individual holes and alternate tee locations.
• Butterfly Wonderland
opened in May at the Talking Stick Destination in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. A highlight of the attraction is a lush rainforest atrium featuring thousands of colorful butterflies from around the world. Group events are accommodated.
• The 119-room Royal Palms Resort and Spa
has completed a renovation of its 30 Valencia casitas to the tune of $1.2 million.
• A $4 million, 2.5-acre water playground opened at the 490-room Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch,
transforming the property's 10 swimming pools, 20 fountains and 45 waterfalls. Recent additions include a 30-foot, three-story, high-speed waterslide; poolside cabanas; a sand beach; and a 160-foot-long, 14-foot-high aqueduct over six pools.Meeting Hotels:
Properties include the 732-room Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, 649-room Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, 647-room Phoenician, 490-room Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch, 453-room JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, 404-room Scottsdale Plaza Resort and 210-room Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. For more details about these and other hotels, and to send RFPs, go to mcvenues.com
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, 10 miles southwest of downtown Scottsdale. Transfer cost by taxi, $20; by shuttle, $20Taxes:
Room tax, 5%; sales tax, 5.5%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13.92% (includes 1.77 percent Maricopa County transaction excise tax and 1.65% City of Scottsdale transaction tax).Group Venue: Maya Day and Nightclub,
a "beach club"/entertainment venue, debuted this summer. The chic hot spot features indoor and outdoor event space, a resort-style pool, private cabanas with plunge pools, a restaurant and a large LED video screen. Groups of up to 1,400 people can be accommodated. (480) 284-6033; mayaclubaz.comContact:
Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, (480) 421-1004 or (800) 728-1117; experiencescottsdale.com
The Turquoise Wrap spa treatment at The Boulders
) includes a warm turquoise clay wrap and a Native American rain-stick ritual with essential oils to "harmonize the spirit."
The Peaceful Healing massage at Talking Stick Resort
) features a treatment of warm poultices filled with raw Pima cotton and soothing desert herbs that promote a restful state of mind.