Arizona Destination Guide

Video View
For lots of things to see and do, visit Downtown Phoenix: It’s Cooler Than You Think at bit.ly/YZLfsP

Phoenix
The 242-room Hotel Palomar Phoenix debuted last spring at CityScape Phoenix, the new downtown district for shopping, entertainment and dining. The property has 10 meeting rooms, a rooftop pool and bar, and a restaurant, Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails.

Now under construction is the Vee Quiva Casino, owned the Gila River Indian Com­munity. The venue, to debut later this year, will include a 70,000-square-foot casino with more than 900 slot machines, 50 table games, a 750-seat bingo hall and a 90-room hotel with 3,000 square feet of event space.

Meeting Hotels
Properties include the 1,000-room She­ra­ton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 950-room JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, 740-room Arizona Biltmore, 740-room Arizona Grand Resort, 712-room Hyatt Regency Phoenix, 643-room The Phoenician, 584-room Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, 563-room Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, 527-room Renaissance Downtown Phoenix and 242-room Westin Phoenix Downtown.

Convention Center
Phoe­nix Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 872,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 109; (602) 262-6225; phoenixconventioncenter.com

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

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

Group Venue
Kai, at the Sheraton Wildhorse Pass Resort & Spa within the Gila River Indian Community, is the area's top-rated eatery, including a Five Diamond designation bestowed by the AAA. The innovative restaurant, open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, features locally sourced ingredients and dishes influenced by Native American traditions, such as the Local Pecan Crusted Colorado Lamb With Native Seeds and the Grilled Tenderloin of Tribal Buffalo. Groups of up to 80 are accommodated, while a private dining room caters to up to 16. (602) 385-5726; wildhorsepassresort.com

Contact
The Greater Phoe­nix Convention & Visi­tors Bureau, (602) 254-6500 or (877) 225-5749; visitphoenix.com

 

Homeland
Arizona has the largest percentage of designated Native American Tribal land in the United States. 

Scottsdale
The 649-room Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has modernized its Princess Conference Center, a 23,000-square-foot ballroom and meeting facility, and unveiled its new $20 million, 52,331-square-foot Palomino Conference Center as part of a multimillion-dollar renovation project. The Palomino Center brings the resort’s total meeting and event space to approximately 156,000 square feet.

W ScottsdaleThe W Scottsdale unveiled six new suites this month. The accommodations, in a private wing on the hotel’s sixth floor, feature décor by designer Theresa Fatino and bring the property’s total number of guest rooms to 230.

The 453-room JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley currently is upgrading its guest-room bathrooms with modern features, including walk-in showers, large shower heads and lighted mirrors. The property has 40,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

The 191-room Hotel Valley Ho in downtown Scottsdale has transformed two of its guest rooms and one suite into a new 760-square-foot meeting room and an adjoining 930-square-foot hospitality suite. The latter features a wraparound patio and floor-to-ceiling windows with dramatic views of the city. The property’s total of indoor/outdoor event space now comes to 37,500 square feet.

Scottsdale’s section of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is set to undergo a major renovation over the next two years. The city is investing $4 million to repair and reroute trails through this scenic attraction.

Next month, North America’s largest butterfly pavilion will debut at Butterfly Wonderland. Populated with butterflies from the rainforests of the world, the 10,000-square-foot pavilion is the first of a four-phase, $170 million entertainment complex being built by the Salt Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Odysea Aquarium, a 12-acre freshwater and saltwater facility, will open during the second phase, slated for 2015, and include shark tanks, a king penguin exhibit, an underwater theater and a display of the Great Barrier Reef. Phases three and four (completion dates still to be announced) will feature the addition of a Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum and the Arizona Experience, an interactive exhibit that will depict Arizona’s colorful history from the time of the Spanish Conquistadors to the advent of the Wild West.

The 490-room Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch has unveiled a new 30-foot, three-story waterslide. The slide is the focal point of the resort’s 2.5-acre “water world.” The property also has a new pool area that features cabanas and a sand beach, along with the Grotto Bar.

Meeting HotelsProperties with meeting space include the 732-room Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, 649-room Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, 647-room Phoenician, 490-room Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and 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.

Outside the city is the 497-room Talking Stick Resort, a gaming property.

A more complete listing of Scottsdale hotels can be found at mcvenues.com.

Airport TransitPhoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, about 10 miles southwest of downtown Scottsdale. Transfer cost by taxi, $20; by shuttle, from $21

TaxesRoom tax, 5%; sales tax, 6.5%; total tax on hotel rooms, 14.92% (includes 1.77% Maricopa County transaction excise tax and 1.65% City of Scottsdale transaction tax)

Group VenuesThe underground Wine Cellar at the Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley is one of the best places for small groups to chill out in the warmer months. The room, which seats 12, displays 1,500 of the hotel’s 5,000-bottle wine collection. (602) 955-8614; hermosainn.com

Larger groups can enjoy casual fare at the Citizen Public House, a gastropub on Craftsman Court in Old Town Scottsdale. The hip eatery, which houses a trendy cocktail lounge, Citizen RnD, on the second floor, accommodates groups of up to 200 people for receptions and 150 for seated events. (480) 398-4208; citizenpublichouse.com

ContactScottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, (800) 782-1117; experiencescottsdale.com