Scottsdale is full of things to do all year round

By GolfPublisher Staff, Staff Report

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Scottsdale's sunny blue skies, lush desert beauty, and abundance of luxury resorts, magnificent golf courses, one-of-a-kind attractions, unique special events and exciting recreational activities make for an ideal getaway. This sophisticated vacation destination is set in the heart of the Sonoran Desert - the perfect canvas for an array of new and upgraded tourism amenities.

Resort & Spa Renovations

Ahhh. More Spa!

A part of Arizona history since the 1920s, the Royal Palms Resort and Spa opened a modern-day luxury spa in January 2003. Mirroring the Old World feel of the hotel, Alvadora, Spa at Royal Palms, is warm, intimate and romantic. Utilizing natural stone, aged timbers, rich colors and textures, handmade tiles, large wooden doors, gardens, fountains and fireplaces, Alvadora Spa is 9,000 square feet. The spa will offer a selection of exotic signature treatments and products unique to the Mediterranean. Special features of the spa will include a watsu pool, four rooms with private gardens and fountains, and locker rooms that open into the garden with Jacuzzis and cold plunge pools. The spa has two villa rooms each with two treatment tables, an indoor-outdoor shower and private garden with fountain; and a rock room with two treatment tables under Vichy showers, an eight-foot grotto waterfall shower and garden. For information, call 602-840-3610 or 800-672-6011 or visit

Former Cowboy Artist Casa Enhances Perfection Hermosa Inn, once home to world-renowned cowboy artist Lon Megargee, is undergoing a $2 million expansion. Completed enhancements include a new entrance to the restaurant, LON's at the hermosa, as well as an outdoor fireplace and enlarged cactus garden at the front patio. Just completed are three new facilities including a premiere underground wine cellar, a boardroom and library; and a private entrance for the new meeting rooms. These just opened in 2003. The underground wine cellar accommodates 12 guests; the library hosts more than 40 people; and the boardroom handles 18. All of the new facilities can be booked for dining or meeting functions. For general information, call 602-955-8614 or 800-241-1210 or visit

Resorts Spruce Up Facilities with Renovations and Upgrades Renaissance Scottsdale Resort's conference center/ballroom has recently undergone a $1 million renovation that includes new carpet, artwork, and new furniture in the pre-function space. For media information only, contact Cathy McKeever at 480-443-5894. Resort Suites of Scottsdale recently upgraded their suites with new bedding, furniture and tile in the kitchens and bathrooms. In addition, high-speed Internet access was installed in each of the meeting rooms and the Business Center. For media information only, contact Tony Ivan at 480-585-1234. The Phoenician recently completed $5 million renovations that included: remodeling the lobby area with new furniture, flooring, chandeliers and more; enhancements to the Thirsty Camel Lounge with new teak furniture covered in plush, white cushions; improvements and upgrades to the main pool area such as new surfacing, decking, outdoor furnishings, audiovisual enhancements and landscaping; and renovations to Centre for Well-Being that include a full line of fitness machines, televisions on cardiovascular equipment, and new wall colors. A second phase of renovations is planned for December 2002. This phase will update the serenity pool, the cabanas and the guestroom suites.

Days Inn Scottsdale Fashion Square Resort recently renovated their rooms with new carpet, furniture fabrics, bathroom fixtures and bathtubs. In addition, the meeting rooms were refurbished with new carpeting, artwork, curtains and chairs.

Residence Inn Scottsdale North, Scottsdale's newest property, will open this December. The 120-suite hotel also offers guests a pool, a 400-square-foot meeting room, and a health club.

The Scottsdale Plaza Resort will begin renovations November 1. The yearlong $3.1 million renovation of their 134 suites will include the carpet, tile and wall treatments, to drapes, fixtures and furniture.

Historic Hollywood Haven Gets a Facelift

The Ramada Valley Ho Resort, popular with Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe, James Cagney, Bing Crosby, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner, is closed in anticipation of a $10 million refurbishment that will restore its original luster. The 295-room property, recently purchased by Westroc Hospitality, is scheduled to reopen in Fall 2003 as the Hotel Valley Ho. Westroc will court business travelers and plans to add a signature restaurant along with spa services. In addition, the property was recently added to Scottsdale's historic register.

Resort Adds Native American Sculpture Garden, Seed Garden & New Chef Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort at Gainey Ranch has recently added a Native American Sculpture Garden that features the bronze and marble sculptures of award-winning Apache artist, Craig Dan Goseyun. In addition, the Hyatt has developed a Native Heritage Seed Garden with more than 30 varieties of indigenous plants, which will be utilized by the resort's restaurants and Sonwai Spa. Guests are invited to stroll through either garden or arrange for a docent-guided tour. The resort is currently in the process of renovating its casitas, including new paint, carpeting, furniture, window treatments and bedding. Lastly, Chef William Bradley is the new chef at the resort's fine-dining restaurant, Golden Swan. The menu will change to seafood, meats and freshwater fish starting after Labor Day. For general information, call 480-991-3388 or 800-55-HYATT or visit

Hiking Easily Accessible to Resort Guests

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North has begun forging a hiking path, scheduled for completion in Fall 2002, that will meet the newly opened Pinnacle Peak Park trail and allow guests to begin their desert explorations by simply walking out their casita door. The connecting path from the resort to Pinnacle Peak Park is less than one mile. Four Seasons will offer guided hikes and eco-tours for individuals and families. Guided hikes also will be offered for kids through the children's camp. For general information, call 480-515-5700 or 888-207-9696 or visit

Out & about in Scottsdale

Scottsdale Receives Top Golf Honors

Three of Scottsdale's golf courses were named on Golf for Women's 2002 "50 Best Courses for Women" list. The Boulder's South Course was ranked No. 3, Troon North Golf Club's Pinnacle Course was ranked No. 30, and Camelback Golf Club's Resort Course was ranked No. 39. Robb Report recently selected Scottsdale in the July 2002 issue as "America' s Best Place to Live for Golf" 2002. This honor was bestowed upon Scottsdale due to the number of touring professionals who have made Scottsdale home, an abundance of premium quality private and public courses, one of the PGA's most popular tournaments, and the number of shops targeted to the true golf enthusiast.

The Phoenician also received Robb Report honors when it was named one of the "Best of the Best" resort golf courses in the June 2002 issue. For general information, call 800-767-3574. or visit

New Park Opens to Public

Pinnacle Peak Park, which recently reopened to the public, features 150 acres of pristine Sonoran Desert, including a 3.5-mile roundtrip trail for hiking and horseback riding, as well as three rock climbing areas. The park is open daily from dawn through dusk. Available at the park's trailhead is a shade ramada with benches, picnic tables, restrooms, drinking fountains and a horse-watering trough. Moonlit hikes and wildflower talks are held on a seasonal basis to educate visitors on the area's history, wildlife and geology. For general information, call 480-312-7955 or visit

Scottsdale Culinary Scene Booming

Scottsdale is home to more than 600 restaurants, but new culinary adventures are waiting on every corner. Some of Scottsdale's newest eateries and fine dining restaurants include:

FOX Sports Grill - FOX Sports Grill, opening in North Scottsdale in November, will be an upscale, yet casual restaurant with contemporary American cuisine, an active social scene, state-of-the-art televisions and a production studio for live broadcasts from the restaurant.

Furio - Furio is a cosmopolitan restaurant with progressive music. The intimate atmosphere also offers patrons Italian dishes, handcrafted martinis, a boutique wine list and more than 15 specialty drinks.

Grazie Pizzeria and Wine Bar - Grazie is a neighborhood Italian restaurant located in a charming building in downtown Scottsdale. The aroma of fresh baked pizzas and calzones will awaken your senses.

Ibiza Café - Ibiza Café is a full-service restaurant and bar much like the small bistros of Europe. Casual ambiance and style along with great food and company are the core of the culinary experience.

Mezcal - Mezcal's distinctive menu offers pre-colonized Mexican dishes prepared in the time-honored, Oaxaqueno style, including an assortment of uniquely healthy entrees.

Mika Asian Grill - Located at The Borgata of Scottsdale, Mika features Asian cuisine from Chefs James McDevitt, also of Restaurant Hapa, and Mark Kimura.

Mosaic - Chef and owner Deborah Knight, named one of the "Best New Chefs in America" for 2002 by Food & Wine magazine, offers an eclectic menu featuring cuisine from around the world, as well as more than 300 selections of wine.

North - Discover the joys of Italy at North Modern Italian Cuisine, located in Kierland Commons. The menu features a modern American take on the cuisine of traditional Italian trattorias. A seasonally changing menu will include antipasti, pastas and pizzas.

Sea Saw - Chef Nobu Fukuda, Gourmet Magazine's pick as one of the three best sushi chefs in the United States, pairs ultra-fresh seafood with wines from 25 different countries.

The Unlikely Cowboy Restaurant & Brewery - The Unlikely Cowboy's handmade draft beers inspire many items on the menu in this casual, stylish brewery. Brewmaster Ryan Ashley holds the 2001 Great American Beer Festival Gold medals for both German-style Doppelbock and Wheat Ale.

Zinc Bistro - ZincBistro captures the relaxed atmosphere of a Parisian-style New York bistro. The restaurant serves an array of oysters, mussels and other seafood flown in fresh daily. Diners also can enjoy ZincBistro's patio surrounding the exterior of the restaurant, creating a quaint outdoor bistro feel.

In addition, several Scottsdale restaurants have been making changes. Windows on the Green at The Phoenician recently reopened with a fresh look and a new menu, and Acacia at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North has transformed into a contemporary steakhouse under the direction of Executive Chef Simon Purvis and Senior Sous Chef Alessandro Cartumini. Also, Robert McGrath's Roaring Fork has moved to a new location that offers more space to accommodate private parties, including a secluded patio; and Cowboy Ciao has a new private dining area called Cowboy Heaven, which seats up to 48 guests. For general information, call 800-805-0471 or visit

New Meetings Facilities Available

The Fountain Hills Community Center is a 31,000-square-foot facility now available for meetings and events. The center includes a lobby, an 8,200-square-foot ballroom that can accommodate up to 800 people, a conference room, two classrooms and two seminar rooms. Audio-visual equipment such as microphones, projectors, TVs and VCRs are available. For general information, call 480-816-5117 or visit

The Scottsdale Athletic Club's new restaurant, Eurasia Bistro, can accommodate up to 200 people for special events, meetings and receptions. The bistro, which offers American and Asian cuisine, also holds cooking classes and wine tasting events each month. For general information, call 480-991-1571.

Grand Canyon Airlines Announces New Scottsdale Operation

Grand Canyon Airlines now offers Grand Canyon and Sedona air and ground tour packages departing daily from the Scottsdale Airport aboard its exclusive fleet of aircraft. Tours also can be combined with Jeep tours, helicopter tours and rafting tours. For general information, call 866-2-FLY-GCA or visit

Shop-Till-You-Drop at Scottsdale's Newest Stores

Macy's opened at Scottsdale Fashion Square this past fall. Also new to Scottsdale Fashion Square is Eddie Bauer Home, J. Jill, Yankee Candle Co., Journey's Kids, Aldo Shoes, Talbot's Petites, Nick & Tony's Italian Chop House, and Bar Louie. For general information, call 480-941-2140 or visit

Kierland Commons, a pedestrian-friendly urban village, includes almost 50 upscale shops and restaurants. New stores and restaurants coming this fall include: Barnes & Noble, Gauthier L'atelier, Mastro's Ocean Club, The News Café, Smith & Hawken, Talbots, Victoria's Secret, and Westin Vacation Gallery. For general information, call 480-348-1577 or visit

LOVE Comes to Scottsdale

Robert Indiana's famous LOVE sculpture was purchased by the City of Scottsdale and was unveiled October 13 at the Scottsdale Civic Center. The 3,000-pound sculpture is 12 feet high and 12 feet wide. This public art work will be the newest addition to Scottsdale's public art program. In 1985, the City of Scottsdale began a public art program, and today, magnificent sculptures and other beautiful works of art can be found throughout Scottsdale, both as part of the city's art program and within the private sector. The Scottsdale Civic Center Mall alone is home to 13 sculptures including "The Yearlings" by George-Ann Tognoni (bronze), "Allurement of a Journey" by Kenji Umeda (pink Portuguese marble) and "Windows to the West" by Louise Nevelson (Cor-ten steel). For general information, call 480-994-2787 or visit

Industry News

Scottsdale CVB Launches Newly Revamped Web Site,

The Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau recently launched a newly revamped web site, Designed to meet the needs of several audiences including consumers, meeting planners, tour operators, travel agents and media, the new site incorporates a variety of easy-to-use functions and innovative database technology. New functions include:

Virtual 360-degree tours of resort and hotel properties
Online booking capability through Alliance Reservations
"Build Your Own Itinerary" function to personalize, print and keep as a vacation-planning resource
Sample itineraries offering a wealth of activity ideas
Detailed information on events and activities in and around Scottsdale
A frequently asked questions (FAQ) section
Listings of area hotels, resorts, golf courses, restaurants, spas, art galleries, attractions and retail shops
"Video and Photo Tour" function that gives visitors access to screensavers, videos and photographs
Customizable photo postcards that can be e-mailed to family and friends
Almost 100 downloadable print-quality images
Online RFP function with search capabilities for travel professionals

For general information, call 800-805-0471 or visit

International Air Service Improved

British Airways has started operating daily Phoenix/Scottsdale flights from London Heathrow Airport instead of London Gatwick Airport. Heathrow services more international connections making travel from Europe to Arizona easier and more flexible. The new location also will be more accessible for travelers from Central London. For general information, call 800-AIRWAYS or visit

America West Airlines has started nonstop roundtrip service between Toronto and Phoenix. In addition, daily non-stop service from Calgary to Phoenix is up and running. For general information, call 800-2-FLY-AWA or visit

Air Canada has increased its daily non-stop service from five times a week to seven times a week from Vancouver to Phoenix. Also, Air Canada has increased its daily non-stop service from three times a week to seven times a week from Calgary to Phoenix. For general information, call 888-247-2262 or visit

Airport Launches New Mail Back Program for Passengers

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has launched an innovative mail back program allowing passengers to mail items home that are prohibited past the security checkpoint. The most common items disallowed by security are corkscrews and pocketknives. The new program allows passengers to purchase an envelope for $2 plus postage for each package. Passengers are given a validation stamp allowing them to go to the front of the security line, instead of having to go again through re-screening. Previously, passengers had to either surrender items to security or take them to curbside mailboxes to mail items home.

Sky Harbor ranks as the fifth busiest United States airport for aircraft operations, sixth busiest United States airport for passenger traffic, and 11th busiest airport in the world for passenger traffic. Offering an average of 1,300 daily commercial airline flights, Sky Harbor serves 105 cities with non-stop flights, including non-stop destinations in the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico and Canada. For general information, call 602-273-3300 or visit

On the horizon

Downtown Scottsdale Adds New Arts District and Museum

The city of Scottsdale recently approved the construction of a redevelopment proposal called the Loloma Redevelopment Project. The project site will encompass 7.5 acres of land within the downtown area, bordered by the Marshall Way and Main Street arts districts. The creation of this new art district will be coupled with a variety of uses such as a residential development, retail component and restaurants serving as a magnet for drawing the local community and serving as a destination attraction for visitors.

As part of the project, a $3 million, 20,000-square-foot public art museum will be constructed. The Scottsdale Fleischer Museum at Loloma will display the Fleischer Collection of American Impressionist Art and other works of art assembled by the Western Art Association. Serving as the cultural anchor for the redevelopment project, the museum will enhance the connection to the existing art galleries, merchants and educational institutions in the surrounding area. Construction for the museum is expected to take two years. For general information, call 480-312-7989 or visit

Cultural Excursions in 2003

The Scottsdale Cultural Council and the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau will be launching Culture Quest Scottsdale, a series of art and cultural excursions, in 2003 as part of the city's new Cultural Tourism Initiative. Developed as a means to promote the cultural amenities of Scottsdale's dynamic arts community, the initiative's programs will be focused on providing visitors to Scottsdale a unique and memorable cultural experience. Though currently under development, one of the features of Culture Quest Scottsdale will be themed excursions. Initially offered on a weekly basis, up to six art and cultural excursions will be offered. Some sample excursions may include:

Artists' Studio Tours - A behind-the-scenes visit to the studios and homes of several artists.

The Wright Stuff - A tour of Taliesin West followed by a driving tour of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings, homes and churches in the Valley.

Artscene & Cuisine - Tour of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute and several prominent Scottsdale galleries. Exhibiting artists will be present at the gallery to talk to the group.

Desert Photo Op - Spend the day with two Arizona photographers exploring the Sonoran Desert in an off-road vehicle. Artful Conversation - One-on-one opportunities to meet artists, educators, curators, performers and scholars at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art or a Scottsdale gallery.

Masters of Southwestern Architecture - Visit Paolo Soleri's Cosanti, meet with a Scottsdale architect, and view a home or building the architect designed.

Art on the Town - A bus tour of Scottsdale's public art followed by a walking tour to discover the city's sculptures. Includes a wine and cheese reception. Scottsdale's year-round calendar of performing arts shows and festivals will also be woven into the initiative's programs.

In addition, visitors can enjoy Native Trails, music and dance festivals held Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from noon to 1:30 p.m. from Jan. 14 through March 22.

Visitors wishing to purchase Culture Quest Scottsdale tickets will be able to do so through the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau's. For general information, call 480-421-1004 or 866-399-4698 or visit

For more information on these programs or to find out the latest tourism news, call the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-805-0471 or visit

GolfPublisher Staff, Staff Report

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment