Building and renovating in the “Valley of the Sun”
Have you seen this meme about Phoenix’s official city bird? It’s the crane, as in construction equipment. OK, as far as jokes go, this one is probably not going to go viral, but it’s accurate. Phoenix, Scottsdale and Glendale are growing fast in advance of the return of the Super Bowl in 2023. That is great news for meeting professionals looking for places to host outdoor events almost year-round. I paid a visit there for FICP. I found that Phoenix is at a tipping point of sorts, transforming a number of neighborhoods into magnets for entertainment, dining and general hanging out.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) recently modernized Terminal 3 with a consolidated security checkpoint area, additional baggage processing and more dining options. It will soon embark on a $5.7 billion improvement to prepare for a predicted doubling of traffic from the current 75 million by 2039. Carriers aren’t waiting, however. A number have added or re-instated direct flights to the central destination, including Southwest, and British Airways to London.
Meet and Stay
Phoenix-Scottsdale is a hospitality oasis. Sarah Boyd, director of media relations with Visit Phoenix, reports that the area will be home to 70,000 hotel rooms by the end of 2022, including a new The Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley with 215 guest rooms on 20 acres. That will be followed by the unlocking of 265 guest rooms and a tech-enabled conference center at Caesars Republic Scottsdale. Also under construction, Crystal Lagoons Island Resort in nearby Glendale will make a splash with 600 guest rooms around an 11-acre body of water, 40-screen movie theater and elevated restaurant bar by 2022.
On the heels of an $8 million investment that added six new pool suites overlooking the lazy river, JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, (which hosted FICP 21) is now reimagining all 950 guest rooms serving 241,106 sq. ft. of meeting space at the sprawling campus.
Everything classic is new again at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess as well. Recent room renovations at the 750-guest-room property include Echo Dot-enabled “Ask the Princess” technology, putting everything guests might need in voice-activated reach. Two meeting spaces were recently redesigned to make indoor-outdoor events accessible for all size gatherings. The home of an annual winter wonderland transformation boasts more than 300,000 sq. ft. of meeting space in total.
Sheraton Phoenix Downtown is putting the finishing touches on a massive renovation that will be the flagship for a brand that makes guests feel like locals and locals feel like guests. Director of Sales & Marketing Jon Erickson explained that the big open-plan lobby with soundproof pods for meeting, a bright new signature restaurant, Technogym-powered workout area and brightened meeting space “took the transaction out of the social” and put top tech solutions (including 29 chargers and a convertible standing desk) in the rooms while caring for the very human needs of guests.
The iconic Arizona Biltmore recently unveiled a $70 million update that preserved the glamour and Art Deco/Prairie style of the property, but added tech updates and an embracing event lawn. The 1929 property now boasts more than 200,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and 714 distinctive guest rooms.
Not to be outshone, Sheraton Wild Horse Pass revealed its own $70 million renovation in the Sonoran Desert at a cost of $100,000 for each of the 500 guest rooms. The residential feeling space features original art from the local Maricopa tribe and updated outlets with 60-inch flat-screens. The signature restaurant Kai is still the only AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star dining experience in Arizona.
The destination is also now awash in craft beer experiences. Now on the scene downtown is Tempe favorite Pedal Haus Brewery, with its award-winning Belgian Wheats. Brewer Megan Greenwood popped the top on her eponymous business downtown during the pandemic. Another first, Huss Brewing is opening a taproom at 900,000-square-foot Phoenix Convention Center with a full-service restaurant and a to-go counter.
Get your group away from it all in the Sonoran Desert where a certified Dark Sky Community features an abundance of stars. ADERO Scottsdale’s 177-room mountain escape is a healing change of pace 2,500-feet above the desert from with 360-degree views.
Need to Know
- 95 percent of businesses downtown are locally owned
- 17,000-seat arena for NBA Suns will be renamed Footprint Center and will reflect the healthy planet vibes of the sponsor
- 2023 Super Bowl LVII will be a repeat performance at State Farm Stadium in Glendale