Phoenix and Scottsdale Provide Stunning Surroundings for Meetings

The area renowned for golf courses and spas is expanding its portfolio

We-Ko-Pa Golf Club

ESSENTIAL Tool Box
CONVENTION CENTERS & FACILITIES
Phoenix Convention Center (900,000 sf)

ROOM TAX
12.27 percent

READERS RECOMMEND
Pinnacle Awards Go To:
Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau
Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau
Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, Chandler, AZ
The Scottsdale Plaza Resort
Chaparral Suites Scottsdale
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Talking Stick Resort
The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

For meetings groups looking for top-tier offerings, stunning surroundings, and great value, Arizona is one of the hottest spots in the country. In particular, Phoenix and Scottsdale are offering strong meeting infrastructure, southwestern style, and, especially recently, a growing number of new meetings-friendly properties.

It's no surprise that a location with spectacular views and perfect weather year-round is capitalizing on its outdoor appeal and adding more open-air event space. What is surprising is just how much is new in the state's perennial meeting spots.


Phoenix 
Arizona's capital city has been fast expanding to meet demand from corporate groups. First, the 563-suite Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix has doubled the size of its Anasazi Courtyard, bringing it to a total of 8,000 square feet. The open-air, Mediterranean-inspired event space can accommodate up to 600 guests for seated events or up to 800 guests for receptions. The palm-tree-lined venue also features new flooring, lighting, oversized sunshade umbrellas, and lush landscaping. The Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak offers a total of 48,000 square feet of event space.

The Wigwam, an historic resort located in Litchfield Park, 15 miles west of downtown Phoenix, recently put the finishing touches on a $16-million, multi-phase renovation. The rehab installed a new pool complex, new restaurants and bars -- featuring al fresco dining and entertaining -- new event lawns, and new interior décor. The Wigwam boasts more than 100,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space and event facilities that can accommodate groups of up to 1,000 people.

This fall, the Waldorf Astoria Spa at The Boulders will complete a series of refurbishments, including renovations to the adults-only swimming pool, Watsu pool, and couples massage suites. The resort has also introduced a new night-walking excursion, where resort guests -- led by an expert guide -- use hiking headlamps and night-vision monoculars to see the surroundings while learning about the geology, history, and flora and fauna of the area.

Meanwhile, the 180-room Sheraton Mesa Hotel has broken ground in Greater Phoenix, and will offer visitors the signature Starwood-brand amenities and luxury experience. Sheraton Mesa Hotel will be adjacent to the newly developed Cubs Park, Chicago Cubs Spring Training Facility, and will include two full-service restaurants, both indoor and outdoor bars, and two outdoor swimming pools. The new hotel will also showcase Starwood's health and fitness program, Sheraton Fitness by Core Performance.

Now it will also be easier to get around in the Greater Phoenix area. Transit development continues to expand the links between Mesa, Tempe, and Central Phoenix. Valley Metro Rail will be opening the extended rail system 3.1 miles into downtown Mesa with completion expected in late 2015. The project will include four station locations along Main Street.

WHERE TO MINGLE, EAT, AND GOLF
Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain
Sip on a martini in the newly expanded "jade bar" at the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain. Named one of the best bars in America by Esquire magazine, the chic lounge features a bar made of real jade and floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views.

T. Cook's
In September 2013, T. Cook's restaurant at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa debuted new décor, expanded interiors, and an original, seasonally focused menu from acclaimed Executive Chef Paul McCabe.

Ambiente
JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa unveiled Ambiente, formerly the Indian Bend Course, last fall. The 18-hole, 150-acre course was completely redesigned to include new topography, restructured holes, and alternate tee locations.

Scottsdale 
In Scottsdale, Hotel Valley Ho, a mid-century modern icon located downtown, has added an exclusive Presidential Loft Suite in The Tower. In addition to 1,500 square feet of bright indoor space, it features 550 square feet of outdoor space, offering stunning views of Camelback Mountain.

Meanwhile, TopGolf Scottsdale at Riverwalk opened in June. Events at the 65,000-square-foot facility offer attendees the opportunity to perfect their swing with a variety of golf games using microchip golf balls. The group can also kick back with a game of pool or shuffleboard.

In January 2015, the long-awaited, 40,000-square-foot Scottsdale Museum of the West will open. The debut exhibit, the "West's Most Western Town," will tell the story of history's notable pioneers and frontier expansion. The museum will have five galleries of paintings, sculptures, and cultural artifacts, all of which can be used for events.

And this fall, guests of the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North can enroll in an exclusive new program offered in partnership with Arizona Cowboy College. The experience begins with a boot-and-hat fitting at the Resort, followed by a day at a working cattle ranch. Participants then enjoy a cowboy campfire dinner catered by Four Seasons, accompanied by a cowboy singer.

Questions or comments? Email agilmore@ntmllc.com

This article appears in the September 2014 issue of Successful Meetings