by Michael C. Lowe | February 01, 2015
Why here?
With a rich cultural heritage and surrounded by dramatic geography, Tucson, Ariz., offers eclectic shopping, authentic cuisine and historic architecture with a bold Southwestern flair. Hotels like the Hilton El Conquistador (pictured) are making the city even more welcoming with its $16 million upgrade.

Tee Time
The Notah Begay Golf Course opened in December 2013 at the 215-room Casino Del Sol Resort. The course is adorned with more than 30,000 Sonoran Desert flowers, cacti and other native plants.

A new PGA Tour Event is coming to town this spring. The Tucson Classic will be played March 16-22 on the Catalina Course at the 128-room Omni Tucson National Resort as part of the PGA Champions Tour.

Roll On
The Arizona Party Bike is a pedal-powered vehicle with seating for up to 14 passengers who can enjoy sightseeing jaunts, cultural tours or any custom itinerary.

Game Time
The Casino Del Sol Resort offers 1,300 slot machines, 22 table games and a poker room within its 200,000-square-foot gaming space. For groups,  the 215-room property has more than 65,000 square feet of flexible function space, a spa and several dining outlets.

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Local Update

 SMG took over management of the Tucson Convention Center, the 8,920-seat Tucson Arena, the 2,289-seat Tucson Music Hall and the 511-seat Tucson Leo Rich Theater this past October. In January, the Tucson Arena completed an $8.8 million renovation that includes new seats, concession stands and A/V technology.

 HSL Properties acquired the Hilton El Conquistador Resort for $15 million this past December. The new owners expect to spend $16 million in rehabilitation and capital improvements in the next 12 to 18 months, while splitting off the hotel's country club and 45 holes of golf in March. The 428-room property has more than 65,000 square feet of function space, 31 tennis courts, four pools and four restaurants.

• In August, the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort will finish adding 32 new guest rooms to its inventory. Each room, spanning 550 square feet, will have oversize patios with views of the Catalina Mountains. The project will increase the resort's total room count to 62. Among the resort's 9,000 square feet of function space is an inner courtyard that can accommodate up to 200 people.

• Loews Ventana Canyon Resort will undergo a multimillion-dollar renovation following its recent purchase by Loews Hotels & Resorts. The 398-room property has approximately 37,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, nearly 40,000 square feet of outdoor function space, a full-service spa, two heated pools and two Tom Fazio-designed PGA golf courses.

• The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa has finished a $35 million renovation that includes upgrades to all 487 guest rooms and 25 suites. The rooms now feature Westin Hea­venly Beds, desks with power outlets and Internet access, 42-inch HDTVs and new bathroom amenities. In addition, the 60,000-square-foot conference space sports new carpeting, ballroom chandeliers and upgraded A/V equipment.

• The Lodge at Ventana Canyon will commence a multi­million-dollar renovation in three phases beginning early this year. The first phase will include new furniture, bathrooms and kitchens in all 40 one-bedroom suites. The second and third phases will include enhancements to the resort's dining areas, banquet space and more.

• The Sun Link Tucson Streetcar is now running along a four-mile route that connects five major city areas via 23 stops, from the University of Arizona through the 4th Avenue Business District and Downtown areas to Mercado. One-way fares begin at $1.50.

• The 122-room Homewood Suites Tucson/St. Philip's Plaza University opened this past December, less than five miles from the University of Arizona's main campus. The hotel has 1,000 square feet of function space, an outdoor swimming pool, fitness facilities and a whirlpool.

• Plans are under way for a $100 million mixed-use project to be built on a barren eight-acre parcel of land directly behind the Tucson Convention Center. Highlights include a hotel with 140 guest rooms, a 96-unit apartment complex, a visual arts center, three museums and a theater. Also under consideration is a 120,000-square-foot exhibition hall adjacent to the complex. Stay tuned for more details.

• The former Quality Inn and Suites was converted to the Red Lion Inn & Suites Tucson North Foothills last May. The hotel features 155 guest rooms and approximately 1,600 square feet of meeting space. Additional amenities include complimentary breakfast, an outdoor heated swimming pool, a hot tub and a business center.