Plans for a new Gaylord Entertainment resort/convention complex in the town of Mesa, about 30 miles east of downtown Phoenix, were shelved last September and at press time remained "on hold," according to a spokesperson for Gaylord. The original plans for the megaresort called for 1,200 to 1,500 guest rooms, 400,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, and several restaurants; it would be part of a larger, $1 billion development of commercial space, residences and a golf course designed by Tom Fazio. In March 2009, Mesa voters approved a ballot that will allow Gaylord Entertainment to keep the 3 percent bed taxes its resort and convention center project will generate. The ballot measure was an incentive the Mesa City Council negotiated with Gaylord to entice the company to build on the Mesa Proving Grounds site.
Local Update: The Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau's website, visitphoenix.com, debuted a new look in February. Among the enhancements are special pages for meeting planners. Also new: a mobile website, m.visitphoenix.com, for BlackBerry and iPhone users.
Last December, the Phoenix City Council approved plans for the development of a 280-room Westin hotel in downtown Phoenix; construction will begin in 2011.
The 520-room Wyndham Phoenix will be reflagged as a Marriott Renaissance. After a revamp, rebranding is set to take place sometime in 2011.
The Hyatt Regency Phoenix has completed a $15 million makeover of its 712 guest rooms and 48,000 square feet of meeting space.
The Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa's newest restaurant is Frank & Albert's, named for the resort's architects, Frank Lloyd Wright and Albert C. McArthur. The eatery has a private dining room that seats 10.
Meeting Hotels: Properties in Phoenix include the 1,000-room Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, 950-room JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, 740-room Arizona Grand Resort, 739-room Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, 712-room Hyatt Regency Phoenix, 584-room Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort and 563-room Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort. For a complete listing, 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, 3 miles east of downtown Phoenix. Transfer cost by taxi, $15-$20; by shuttle, $12
Taxes: Room tax, 5%; sales tax, 7.27%; total tax on hotel rooms, 12.27%
CVB Services: Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, (602) 254-6500 or (877) 225-5749; visitphoenix.com