The picture-perfect Sonoran Desert (pictured) is one of the many reasons meeting and incentive groups are drawn to Scottsdale. The Arizona destination also offers luxurious resorts, hip boutique hotels, outstanding golf courses, pampering spas and a cutting-edge culinary scene.
NEW IN TOWN
The iFly Phoenix sky-diving simulator has debuted at The Pavilions at Talking Stick Shopping Center. The attraction arranges custom events for up to 100 attendees.
In Old Town, the new hot spot is Famous 48, serving sophisticated tavern fare and signature cocktails. Tasty noshes include fried pickles, Southwestern egg rolls, short-rib fries, waffle mac-n-cheese and "wino bread."
Troon North Golf Club's award-winning Monument course, designed by Tom Weiskopf, offers an upgraded design and resurfaced greens following a refurbishment completed last summer.
Talking Stick Resort's signature fine-dining restaurant, Orange Sky, has been lauded for its wine program in Wine Spectator's 2017 Restaurant Awards. On the property's 15th floor, the eatery offers 360-degree views of the surrounding valley and a menu featuring aged beef and fresh seafood dishes.
A MANY-SPLENDORED VENUE
Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's beloved winter retreat, has long been one of Scottsdale's most popular attractions. The National Historic Landmark, established in 1937, also serves as the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the School of Architecture at Taliesin.
Visitors can learn about the man and his storied home via tours for individuals and groups. Among the options are a signature tour that takes guests into Wright's private quarters, a night-lights tour, a garden tour that showcases desert plant life and a private tour that explores his vast art collection.
Taliesin West also hosts private events in the following rooms and spaces on the property. (Note: Per venue policy, events that are political, activist or religious in nature are prohibited.)
• The Cabaret Theater is where Wright's love of Asian art is truly evident. The indoor venue accommodates up to 50 guests for seated events and 60 for private receptions.
• Cabaret Terrace affords panoramic views overlooking the Sonoran Desert and the lights of Scottsdale. The outdoor space can host up to 110 guests for seated events and 125 for receptions.
• The Garden Living Room, the showpiece of Taliesin West and a space where Wright, his family, guests, and apprentices would casually socialize, can host parties of up to 25 for seated events and 40 for receptions.
• The Garden Room Lawn accommodates up to 70 guests for dinners and 90 for receptions.
• Garden Squares, a vast event space in the heart of the complex, is surrounded by the Pavilion, Wright's office and the Drafting Studio, immersing visitors in the architect's world. The outdoor space accommodates parties of 400 seated and 550 for receptions.
• The Kiva, which gets its name from an underground chamber once used by indigenous Pueblo Indians for their religious rites, is ideal for intimate events for up to 15 guests.
• The Music Pavilion is a multipurpose hall that serves as a suitable venue for exhibitions, concerts and seated dinners for as many as 150 attendees, while the adjacent outdoor Pavilion Terrace can accommodate up to 50 seated and 65 for private receptions.
For further details about tours and rentals, visit here.
• The 453-room JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa is adding a 15,000-square-foot ballroom, scheduled to debut in June 2018. The property, which has a current total of 128,000 square feet of meeting and event space, also features 36 holes of championship golf, six tennis courts, the 32,000-square-foot Spa at Camelback Inn, two swimming pools, and seven restaurants and lounges.
• The 183-room, full-service boutique Mountain Shadows hotel debuted last spring. Offerings include a lounge, a 5,000-square-foot fitness center, 12,500 square feet of indoor meeting space and 25,000 square feet of outdoor event space.
• The 404-room Scottsdale Plaza Resort has unveiled the final improvements from a comprehensive, three-year refurbishment project. The most recent upgrades were made to the resort's 50,000 square feet of meeting space, front desk and lobby. Guest rooms and suites were completed earlier in the project timeline.
• The Ritz-Carlton, Paradise Valley, is slated to open in March 2019. The 200-room new-build property will have a 20,000-square-foot spa with indoor and outdoor treatment areas, what's billed as the largest outdoor pool in North America, a garden with a citrus orchard, and 20,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
• Set to open this winter is the Hotel Adeline, with 213 guest rooms and nearly 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor private event space. The former Scottsdale Inn has undergone a $12 million renovation and will now offer a 3,000-square-foot, zero-edge pool with a bar and cabanas, a full-service Mediterranean-American restaurant, and a casual breakfast and lunch café.
• The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, began a third phase of major enhancements last August. Renovations, which are set for completion this year, include the construction of a new two-story athletic club and a redesign of the golf course, which will be reconfigured from 27 to 18 holes. The athletic club will offer a tennis center, a basketball court, an activity center with an arcade and a movie-screening area, a retail shop and a 4,600-square-foot fitness center.
• The Royal Palms Resort and Spa has unveiled a major renovation of its 119 guest rooms and public areas, including the pool and lounge area, event lawns and meeting space. The property became a member of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt in 2016.
• Downtown Scottdale's Hotel Valley Ho has completed an extensive revamp of the rooms and suites in its Tower, a hotel-within-a-hotel whose accommodations now feature midcentury-inspired lighting, décor, flooring and millwork. The boutique property has a total of 194 guest rooms and six meeting rooms.
• The three presidential suites at the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch are undergoing a redesign that will convert them into open-concept layouts with new artwork, textiles, bedding, furniture and a fresh color scheme. The resort includes 326 guest rooms, a spa, and 80,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space.
• The 204-room Firesky Resort & Spa in Scottsdale's Old Town neighborhood has been renamed the Scott Resort & Spa. The property currently is in the midst of a $15 million upgrade of its guest rooms, suites and public spaces, including the resort's 14,000 square feet of meeting space. The pool area also will be upgraded, with the addition of more cabanas, fire pits and new landscaping. All guest rooms -- each featuring its own private outdoor patio or balcony -- will be refreshed with new furniture and redesigned bathrooms. The project is scheduled for completion at the end of 2018.
• The 22-acre Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa opened in December 2016 with 201 bungalow-style guest rooms, a full-service spa and salon, and 46,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
Meeting Hotels: Properties include the 750-room Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, 732-room Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, 493-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 326-room Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch. Also in the region is the 497-room Talking Stick Resort & Spa, operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit mcvenues.com.
Airport Transit: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, nine miles from downtown Scottsdale. Transfer cost to Scottsdale by taxi, $28
Taxes: Room tax, 5%; sales tax, 5.5%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13.92% (includes 1.77% Maricopa County transaction excise tax and 1.65% city of Scottsdale transaction tax)
Group Venues: Downtown's Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West showcases everything from Hopi pottery masterworks to rare posters starring silver-screen cowboys and Indians. Private events for up 500 guests can be accommodated. (480) 686-9539
Dancing Spanish horses are the stars at the 15-acre El Samaritano Equestrian Center. The graceful animals perform their steps to flamenco music at the venue, which can host up to 2,000 guests. (206) 604-3034.
Contact: Experience Scottsdale, (480)421-1004 or (800) 782-1117