by Lisa A. Grimaldi | January 01, 2014
Why Here?
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 ( 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.

Higher 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 ( and Rainbow Ryders (
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• 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

Airport Transit:
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, 10 miles southwest of downtown Scottsdale. Transfer cost by taxi, $20; by shuttle, $20

Taxes: 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;

Contact: Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, (480) 421-1004 or (800) 728-1117;