Arizona Guide

Name Game
The naming of Phoenix is attributed to Cambridge-educated pioneer Darrell Duppa, who saw the ruins and prehistoric canals of the Hohokam people in the Southwestern U.S. and believed another civilization would rise from the ashes. 

According to an Arizona tourism official, convention business in Phoenix still is off by 30 percent following last summer's passage of a controversial state law, SB1070, which requires state and local police to determine the immigration status of those who have been arrested or detained. In all, the state has lost an estimated $10 million in meetings and tourism revenue since the bill was passed into law. A federal lawsuit challenging SB1070 currently is being heard in a U.S. District Court.

The Wigwam, a 331-room resort in Litchfield Park, Ariz., has completed a $7 million renovation. Among the enhancements: a new main pool, an outdoor plaza and the addition of Litchfield's, a restaurant featuring locally grown and sourced fare.

Westin Phoenix DowntownThe 242-room Westin Phoenix Downtown opened in mid-March. The hotel, which occupies nine floors in the 26-floor Freeport McMoRan Center, has approximately 15,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a WestinWorkout gym and the Province restaurant. The property is the first Westin to feature the brand's new room design.

The Phoenician has debuted its new 15,000-square-foot Camelback Ballroom, which has its own kitchen and 9,000-square-foot outdoor plaza, as well as a dock. The addition gives the resort of total of 120,000 square feet of meeting and event space. The property offers 643
guest rooms.

The new luxury boutique Hotel Palomar is set to open in 2012 in the downtown Phoenix area, as part of a new mixed-use development called CityScape. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants will operate the 250-room hotel in a 34-story tower at One South Central that also will include 200 luxury residential condominium units.

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, 563-room Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, 584-room Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort and 242-room Westin Phoenix Downtown.

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

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

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

Group Venues
Sheraton Wildhorse Pass Resort Spa
 at the Sheraton Wildhorse Pass Resort & Spa, is a must for foodies. Fare at this upscale spot is Native American in spirit and based on locally sourced ingredients. Groups of 16 are welcome. (602) 385-5726;

In downtown Phoenix, Lucky Strike, a new outpost of the hip bowling alley/lounge chain, has a private four-lane suite for groups of up to 20 people; larger parties (of up to 150) also are accommodated. (602) 732-5496;

Greater Phoe­nix Convention & Visitors Bureau, (602) 254-6500 or (877) 225-5749

Gaming Spot

Talking Stick resort

Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale has 497 guest rooms, a spa, a casino, eight restaurants (including Ocean Trail) and 100,000 square feet of meeting and event space. (877) 724-4687;

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa has added 21,000 square feet of meeting space, for a new total of 183,000 square feet. Among the additions: a new outdoor terrace overlooking the lake and the Kierland Golf Club.

Hotel Valley Ho was presented with the Good Earthkeeping Award, in the large-property category, at the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association's 2010 Stars of the Industry Awards. The property was recognized for developing a culture of environmental management practices that improve everyday operations and the bottom line, while maintaining quality service. Among the hotel's many green initiatives: linens are cleaned with non-harmful hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach, no herbicides or pesticides are used for landscaping, and an average of five tons of material are recycled each month.

Meeting Hotels
Scottsdale 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 Camelback Inn, a JW Marriott Resort & Spa; 404-room Scottsdale Plaza Resort; 326-room Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center, and 210-room Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. For more hotels, go to

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, 20 miles from downtown Scottsdale. Transfer cost by taxi, $20; by shuttle, $20

Room 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 Venue
At the Westin Kierland Resort, the Brittlebush Bar & Grill features a vast range of ales, scotches and lots of hearty pub fare such as steak and Guinness pie. Groups of up to 24 are hosted. (480) 624-1202;

Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bur­eau, (877) 495-2177 or (800) 782-1117


Easy Rider

Arizona Metro system
Phoenix's 20-mile light-rail METRO system was launched in 2009 and connects the Arizona capital with Tempe and Mesa. Future plans call for the line to eventually extend to 37 miles.

Last October, the Tucson City Council took a final vote on a publicly financed, 525-room property next to the Tucson Convention Center. The measure failed by a tally of 7-0. For months, city leaders had a heated debate over the construction and financing of the proposed $190 million property, which is part of a larger $258 million package to revitalize the city's core downtown area. The rest of the money was slated for renovations to the convention center and the construction of a nearby parking garage.

The 150-room Four Points Tucson Air­port has opened in Arizona with 3,500 square feet of meeting space.

The Ritz Carlton Golf Club Dove MountainThe Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain, has introduced the CORPRAgolf Academy, which offers three-day golf schools, private instruction, daily clinics and customized programs for groups.

The 243-room Westward Look Resort in Tucson is one of 20 hotels in the state of Arizona that met the criteria to be awarded green certification this year. The property was designated as a Certified Green Hotel by the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association and offers more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space.

The Casino del Sol Resort, Spa & Conference Center is set to celebrate its grand opening this November. The 215-room property will have approximately 65,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

The Apache Spirit Ranch has opened on 272 acres southeast of Tucson in scenic Cochise County, the ancestral  homeland of the Chiricahua Apache Indian tribe. The all-inclusive resort, which features just 17 guest rooms and a theme built around what life was like in 1881, offers a variety of Old West experiences such as guided trail rides, roping lessons, campfire entertainment, authentic chuck-wagon meals, stagecoach rides and excursions into the nearby town of Tombstone. (520) 457-7299;

Meeting Hotels
Properties include the 575-room JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa, 487-room Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa, 428-room Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, 398-room Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 307-room Ho­tel Arizona at the Tucson Convention Center, 301-room Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Tucson Airport North, 299-room Radisson Suites Tucson, 295-room Doubletree Hotel Tucson at Reid Park, 267-room Hotel Tucson City Center Conference Suite Resort, 250-room Tucson Marriott University Park, 244-room Westward Look Resort, 233-room Hilton Tucson East, 216-room Sheraton Tucson Hotel & Suites.

Tucson Inter­national Airport, about eight miles south of downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $20-$22

Convention Center
Tucson Convention Center; exhibit space, 148,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, eight; (520) 791-4101

Hotels within Tucson city limits: Room tax, 13.05%; sales tax, 9.1%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13.05% plus a $2 per night surcharge. Hotels outside Tucson city limits but within Pima county: Room tax, 13.05%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13.05%

Group Venues
The cozy Elle Wine Bistro seats up to 60 people inside and 20 on the patio, while  the menu concentrates on organically produced, locally grown items. (520) 327-0500

New on the Tucson foodie scene is Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails, by James Beard Award-winning chef Janos Wilder. The menu features innovative farm-to-table cooking enlivened with global influences, in dishes such as chile pineapple glazed pork loin with spicy pork noodles, peanuts and pickled vegetables. Groups of up to 50 are accommodated. (520) 623-7700;

Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau, (800) 638-8350