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JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort

Scottsdale resorts offer hot discounts that beat the heat

When you envision Scottsdale during the summer, do you see a dry, barren desert, where weather-worn locals proclaim through parched lips, “At least it’s a dry heat”? Well, think again. Locals have a secret weapon that helps them survive May, June, July and August. We’ll let you in on the secret. Scottsdale’s 70 hotels and resorts offer ridiculously hot deals with rates as low as 60 percent off peak season. Take a cue from locals and rise early to hike in the breathtaking, lush Sonoran Desert, hit the golf course during the cool morning hours, soak up sun in your bathing suit while sipping a chilled margarita at a resort pool, and head to the spa for a heavily discounted, relaxing afternoon. After a few days in this warm weather destination, you’ll gleefully proclaim, “It is a dry heat!”

KEEP COOL AND CARRY ON

Beat the heat this summer at The Saguaro Scottsdale with the “Desert Splash” package. Lounge poolside under a shaded cabana while cooling off with a refreshing complimentary pitcher of Casamigos Tequila Margaritas. Every Saturday afternoon, the brightly-colored boutique hotel in the heart of downtown transforms into one big pool party, complete with DJs and a sunscreen station. Stay at the resort June 1 through Sept. 30 and you’ll also receive Saguaro sunglasses, Chap Stick and a drink cooler. Rates start at $109.

Jump into the “Summer Splash” package with rates starting at $129 at We-Ko-Pa Resort and Conference Center. Doubling as an adult playground, the resort boasts a 24-hour casino, seven restaurants and two of the top-rated golf courses in Arizona. We-Ko-Pa has everything you need for a grown-up’s summer getaway. Stay April 30 through June 30 to receive a $50 food and beverage credit valid at the Pool Bar & Grill, Ahnala Restaurant or in-room dining. The package also includes $5 and $10 Casino Slot Play vouchers, so you can test your luck at Fort McDowell Casino.

While you’re getting a healthy dose of vitamin D and slathering on the tanning oil, why not enjoy a tasty margarita? With the “Tequila and Tanlines” package at FireSky Resort & Spa, you’ll receive a complimentary pitcher of margaritas from Taggia Bar. The “Tequila and Tanlines” package is available May 19 through Sept. 6 with rates starting at $109 per night.

Stay hydrated with summer spirits and ales at these Scottsdale bars and breweries:

  • Partake in a bar experience like no other at Second Story Liquor Bar. Your taste buds will thank you as you sip craft cocktails created by “Whiskey Man” John Christie. His bar menu guides you through a selection of fine spirits and the evolution of cocktail culture, from Sazeracs to mules.
  • Vegas meets South Beach in the heart of downtown’s Entertainment District at Maya Day and Nightclub.This high-end club offers an outdoor beach club with a resort-style pool, VIP cabanas and a floating stage for deejays. At night, the club transforms, bringing in some of the hottest electronic dance music entertainers such as Cedric Gervais, Steve Aoki and Bingo Players.
  • Explore downtown Scottsdale’s suds scene with a day of sipping and inadvertent spilling on Scottsdale’s ale trail. With stops at Sip Coffee & Beer House, Union Barrelhouse, Two Brothers Brewing and Bad Water Brewing, there’s no doubt you’ll cool off in no time.

A FAMILY AFFAIR

Your entire family will be eager to dive in to summer at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. Relax poolside with complimentary cabanas and enjoy nighttime entertainment with “Dive-In” movies every Saturday night throughout the summer. While you relax and recharge, the kids will relish in the Kids for All Seasons program open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with scheduled activities and complimentary access to board games, ping pong and more. Stop by Proof, an American canteen for “Sundaes on Sunday” and treat the family to an old-fashioned ice cream social with “buy one, get one” sundaes. Rates begin at $179 per night, valid June 1 through Aug. 31.

Zoom across a zip line, cool down on waterslides and watch fireworks light up the night sky this summer at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. The “Sip, Savor and Splash” package equips guests with a $50 resort credit perfect for sampling any of 240 tequilas at La Hacienda or retreating to Well & Being Spa. Seeking a thrill? Poolside is the place to be with the spinning water adventure, SplashRider X-treme, and 200-foot waterslides. Guests are also able to upgrade to a Casita Signature Jr. Suite with the “Upgrade Your Summer” package. Rates for both packages start at $169 per night, May 22 through Sept. 6.

Need to escape the heat? Check out one of these off-site activities to cool off:

  • Bring your flashlights to Desert Botanical Garden Thursdays and Saturdays May 23 through Sept. 5 to explore the Garden’s trails by night. Flashlight Tours run 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., letting you experience the Sonoran Desert’s flora and fauna beneath the stars.
  • Have the need for speed? Octane Raceway has you covered with high speed electric karts, trackside bar and grill, billiards, rock wall and arcade. Test your racing skills at the only full-time indoor- and outdoor- track in the United States.
  • Giddy up, cowboy! Take the kids to the recently unveiled Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the Westto browse the museum’s vast collection of paintings, sculptures and artifacts that tell the history of the ever-evolving American West.

STAY AND PLAY

Boulders Resort & Spa is the perfect destination to de-stress this summer, with two award-winning golf courses and the 33,000-square-foot Spa at The Boulders. If you’re looking to combine the best of golf and spa, the resort is offering the “Two by Fore” package. The package includes private casita accommodations, one round of golf per paying adult with same day replay, a 20 percent spa discount at the spa, as well as complimentary access to spa facilities and unlimited fitness classes. Rates start at $189 per night May 26 through Sept. 10, with a two-night minimum stay.

Challenge yourself to two championship, 18-hole golf courses at JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa. Stay now through Dec. 31 and receive casita guest room accommodations and a $100 resort credit per night, which can be put toward golf at 36 holes of championship golf at Camelback Golf Club. The “$100 Resort Credit” package rate starts at $229 per night with promo code: P50.

Can’t get enough of golf? Keep hitting the links at these spots:

  • Combine competition with entertainment at TopGolf Scottsdale at Riverwalk. Perfect for kids or adults with any range of skill level, this state-of-the-art facility challenges you and your friends to score points by aiming for lit-up targets on an outfield with microchipped golf balls. Celebrate your victory or ease the pain of your loss at TopGolf’s full service bar.
  • Golf enthusiasts, listen up. Prepare to rejoice this summer at TPC Scottsdale as you get your greens fix with unlimited golf on the Champions Course. The offer grants you as many rounds in the same day as you’d like June 1 through Sept. 13 with rates starting at $39 per player.
  • Retreat to Starfire Golf Clubfor a challenging 27 hole-course, designed by legendary golf pro Arnold Palmer. Tee times are available throughout the summer with rates starting at $25 per player Monday through Friday, and $35 on Saturday and Sunday.

LAP OF LUXURY

Step into a luxurious paradise at Royal Palms Resort & Spa with the “Luxe Lounging” package, offered May 26 through Sept. 30. Enjoy two refreshing welcome cocktails and a room upgrade upon arrival before indulging in a hearty meal at T. Cooks with a $25 dining credit. And restore yourself at the Alvadora Spa with a massage or body therapy compliments of two $40 spa credits. Rates start at $149 per night with promo code: PLL.

Channel your inner Monet, Van Gough and O’Keefe with The Hermosa Inn’s “Artist for a Day” summer package. Brush up on your painting skills and retreat to the Inn’s Blue Door Art Studio & Gallery May 1 through Sept. 7 to enjoy a 90-minute private painting lesson with on-property artists, two drink tickets to Last Drop at The Hermosa Inn and accommodations in a luxury casita. Rates start at $355 per night.

Continue the indulgence at one of these off-site restaurants:

  • In the heart of the Scottsdale dining scene, Bink’s Scottsdale offers a relaxed atmosphere and a menu crafted by James Beard nominee Chef Kevin Binkley. His dishes feature locally produced organic meats, fruits and vegetables, paired up with an extensive wine list and a cocktail list from master mixologist Richie Moe.
  • Treat your taste buds to Pig & Pickle. This chic gastropub features eclectic comfort food, hand-crafted cocktails, homemade aioli and freshly grown herbs. With dishes like braised duck and wood-oven-roasted bone marrow and old-school cocktails, this Scottsdale gem will leave you more than satisfied.
  • Hand over the culinary reins to Chef Joshua Hebert when you dine at the upscale Posh “Improvisational Cuisine.” Provide Chef Hebert your dining preferences and dietary restrictions, and he’ll whip you up a customized menu on the spot.
JW Marriott Desert Ridge Wildfire Pool.

Arizona’s best resorts offer summer staycation deals

Need a summer getaway? Stay home and save money.

Arizona is home to some of the world’s most fantastic pools, luxurious spas, romantic retreats, spectacular golf courses and best restaurants. So you can forget about flight delays and rental cars because many of Arizona’s award-winning hotels and resorts offer summer deals that are designed specifically for local residents who want a staycation to get away from it all. The best part about experiencing Arizona’s best resorts in the summer is that many offer great deals and low rates.

The Boulders Resort

The deal: The Boulders’ summer rates begin at only $99, which is more than a 70 percent discount from its current rates. The Boulders’ “Two by Fore” package includes private luxury casita accommodations, one round of golf per paying adult with same day replay, a 20 percent spa discount at The Boulders Spa, complimentary access to spa facilities and unlimited fitness classes for $189 per night.

To book: 480-488-9009 or theboulders.com

Courtyard Scottsdale Salt River

The deal: Courtyard Scottsdale Salt River offers a refreshing way to unwind. Book its Sleep In & Save Package and stay 2 nights, save 20 percent and sleep in with a 2 p.m. late check out. It’s your weekend to hit the snooze button and catch extra pool time.

To book: 888-236-2427 or courtyardscottsdalesaltriver.com

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

The deal: The sky lights up this summer at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess with fireworks every Saturday night, Dive In movies and the Techno Glo party after dark, a zip line across the lagoons, the SplashRider X-treme water ride, dining, spa golf and more activities for the entire family.  The summer “Sip, Savor & Splash” package starts at $169 per night with a $50 daily resort credit.

To book: 480-585-4848 or scottsdaleprincess.com

FireSky Resort & Spa

The deals: FireSky has four opportunities for locals to enjoy a much-deserved staycation:

• Fast Forward to Summer: Book early and save up to 20 percent off the best available rate, Must book 4 weeks in advance to receive this rate. Mention rate code FAST when booking.

• Tequila and Tanlines: Includes one welcome pitcher of margaritas from Taggia Bar, morning coffee and tea service in the living room and hosted evening wine reception in the living room. Mention rate code PTAN when booking.

• Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: Includes welcome signature cocktail for each person from Taggia bar, transportation to Old Town bars, $10 “Raid the Mini Bar card” for after hours, Westcor shopping and dining incentive guide and more. Mention rate code PGRL when booking.

• Bros and Brews Package: Includes welcome round of four beers, appetizer in Taggia Bar and more. Mention rate code PBRO when booking.

To book: 800-528-7867 or fireskyresort.com

Graduate Tempe

The deals: Graduate Tempe offers two staycation options that appeal to very both risktakers and the more reserved:

• Round up your comrades for the ultimate test in fortitude and sport with the Weekend Warrior Package. Spend an afternoon with your buddies settling old scores at Tempe Paintball. One night stay over Friday or Saturday only comes with a $50 restaurant credit for The Normal or Tapacubo and two Passes to Tempe Paintball with transportation included.

• What better way to cultivate your intellectual curiosity than with a night at the theatre? You pick up the tickets and Graduate Tempe will take care of the rest with our Gammage Theater Package. One night stay includes $50 a restaurant credit for The Normal or Tapacubo and transportation to the theater.

To book: graduatetempe.com

The Hermosa Inn

The deals: Artist for a Day Summer Package, available May 1 – September 7, 2015Amateurs and experienced artists alike are invited to escape the heat and channel their inner Monet, Van Gogh and O’Keefe by booking The Hermosa Inn’s Artist for a Day summer package. Available May 1 through September 7, the artful package includes a stay in one of the 34 luxury casitas, two drink tickets and a one and a half hour private painting lesson (for one person) with on-property artists from Carrie Curran Art Studios at the Inn’s Blue Door Art Studio & Gallery. Twenty-four hour notice is required to schedule the class and the lesson includes all supplies, with acrylic, watercolor, pencil or oils on canvas ($30 fee for additional person to attend the class). Rates starting from $355 per night.

To book: www.hermosainn.com or 800.241.1210

Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock

The deal: With a recent multi-million dollar renovation,Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock is offering summer rates from $168 per night for stays May 26-Sept. 8. Splash into the red rocks with three pools, enjoy indigenous spa treatments at eforea: spa and take a swing at 18 holes of golf at the adjacent Sedona Golf Resort.

To book: hiltonsedonaresort.com

JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort

The deal: Escape the hustle, bustle and day-to-day responsibilities with the Fling & Swing package, an amenity-rich package starting at $149. The summer package, available through Sept. 7, includes a daily $50 resort credit, free golf on Faldo and Palmer championship golf courses, free meals for kids 12 and under, free access to the Family Escape Center and no resort fee.

To book: jwdesertridge.com

JW Marriott Starr Pass Tucson Resort & Spa

The deal: The Play Your Way package allows you to escape to cool and comfortable elegance, exciting adventure and delicious dining. From $199 per night — including a $50 or $100 daily resort credit, depending on package booked — you can make a splash at the Starr Pass Water Collection, relax and rejuvenate at Hashani Spa, swing into action at the Starr Pass Golf Club or indulge in fresh and flavorful fare of one of the facility’s five restaurants.

To book: 800-721-6996 or jwmarriottstarrpass.com, use promo code ES7

Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix

The deal: Hotel Palomar in the heart of downtown Phoenix is ready for some summer fun in the sun with its “Fast Forward to Summer” Staycation Package, starting at $119 per night. The package includes 20 percent off the best available rate, deluxe accommodations, 50 percent off valet parking, hosted wine reception in the living room and morning coffee and tea service in the living room.

To book: 602-253-6633 or hotelpalomar-phoenix.com

The Phoenician

The deal: Dive into summer at Arizona’s premier AAA Five Diamond resort with SunSational Summer at The Phoenician with starting rates of $159. Enjoy luxurious accommodations, signature amenities and incomparable service.

To book: 800-888-8234 (ask for rate plan SUMMER) or thephoenician.com/offers

L’Auberge de Sedona

The deal: For the past four summers L’Auberge has had a “Drop it Like it’s Hot” deal that is geared towards Phoenix residents. As the temperatures heat up in Phoenix, Phoenician can escape the heat and drive North to Sedona and “Drop it Like it’s Hot.” At 4 p.m., L’Auberge takes the temperature on Oak Creek and compares it with the temperature at Sky Harbor. The difference will be the discount on your rate.

To book: (928) 282-1661 or lauberge.com

Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort

The deal: Round-up the family for The Great American Summer at Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, the ultra-family friendly resort with four acres of pools, waterslide, lazy river and more. With rates from $109 per night for stays May 26-Sept. 8, 2015, each summer weekend celebrates America’s favorite summertime experiences with beach parties, luaus, carnivals and more.

To book: squawpeakhilton.com, use promo code SUNSP

Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort

The deal: Leave the kids at home and escape to Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, where stunning views and a dramatic mountainside location meet luxe amenities, including all-suite accommodations, eight refreshing pools, golf, spa and romantic dining overlooking the city lights. Rates from $89 are available for Sunday-Thursday stays from July 6-Sept. 8.

To book: tapatiocliffshilton.com, use promo code TAPRM

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

The deal: Summer Returns Package, starting at $239 per night, includes luxury accommodations and a $50 resort credit per night. Summer Fun Package, starting at $249 per night, includes luxury accommodations and a $100 resort credit per night. Summer Fun Package (multi-night) is $999 for a four-night stay and includes luxury accommodations and a $600 resort credit per package. Resort credits may be used for dining, spa or recreational experiences — excluding golf.

To book: 800-241-3333 or ritzcarlton.com/dovemountain

Royal Palms Resort and Spa

The deal: The Royal Palms Resort and Spa, at the base of Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, is offering guests the “Luxe Lounging” Staycation Package, starting at $149 per night. The package features more than $135 of value, including an upgraded room, complimentary cocktails, $25 dinner credit to the renowned T. Cook’s and two $40 Alvadora Spa credits.

To book: 602-840-3610 or royalpalmshotel.com, use promo code PLL

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

The deals: Sanctuary offers a variety of staycation options to suit any interest or occasion:

• Couples looking to indulge in a quick, romantic escape can enjoy Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain’s Romance in Paradise package, which provides one night’s accommodations, dinner at elements, chocolate-covered strawberries and a rose petal turndown. Rates start at $410.

Friends seeking a sweet staycation can enjoy Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain’s BFF Retreat which includes three nights’ accommodations, daily breakfast, a guided hike, bento box lunch, and “build-a-martini” in-room kit. Rates start at $1,386.

Athletes can hone their skills during Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain’s Triathlon Training package, which offers swimming workouts with Olympic Gold Medalist, Misty Hyman, tandem runs, and guided biking excursions with the resort’s staff of fitness experts. The package includes three nights’ accommodations, three days of training, daily breakfast and three spa treatments, designed to soothe the muscles after a hard day of workouts. Rates start at $1,797

To book: 855-245-2051

Talking Stick Resort

The deal: Talking Stick Resort is the perfect playground for your ideal summer getaway. Enjoy the Summer Playcation Package from just $119 per night. This exclusive package includes a daily $25 food and beverage credit with a minimum of a two-night stay. Valid for stays May 3-Sept. 30.

To book: 866-877-9897

We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center

The deal: For $129 per room, per nigh, the Summer Splash package includes a $50 food and beverage credit for the Ahnala Mesquite Room, room service or Pool Bar & Grill; $10 casino slot play for new Fortune Club members; and $5 casino slot play for existing Fortune Club members.

To book: 480-789-5320

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Princess will host 4th of July Freedom Fest

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is unfurling its 5th annual “4th of July Freedom Fest,” a two-day event with vintage air shows, concerts, fireworks, all-American fare, military tributes and poolside fun, with vacation packages benefitting military families, July 3-5, 2015.

Saluting Heroes & Vintage Air Shows

Saluting America’s heroes, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess will host a one-of-a-kind vintage air show July 3 & 4, where a dozen military aircraft that flew in World War II, Korea and in Vietnam will fly over the resort, flown by retired veterans. (Photos and the history of each plane will be on display in the resort’s main lobby.) Both air shows will conclude with a military parachutist from the All Veterans Parachute Team soaring through the skies and landing with an American flag. Miniature flags will be provided to guests on the ground to cheer on the crews. Over at Trailblazers Kids Club, veterans will meet with kid campers.

Fairmont ‘Freedom Fest’ Tribute Concerts & Fireworks

Revelers can dance and celebrate with live music under the stars on the Princess Lagoon Lawn, July 3 & 4. The Freedom Fest tribute concerts, with a patriotic introduction and fireworks intermission, are complimentary for overnight guests or those dining in La Hacienda, Bourbon Steak, Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum Bar or Ironwood American Kitchen.

Friday, July 3

4:45 pm:          Vintage Air Show, best viewed from South Pool & Lagoons

7:30 pm:          Concert seating on the Lagoon Lawn

Show Opener: Grammy-Nominated Kid Hop Artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

8 pm:               Presentation of the Colors and Special Military Presentation

8:30 pm:          Boogie Knights Concert

Bringing the best of everything ’70s, Boogie Knights is a four-man disco band playing that funky music in platform shoes, angel flights and plenty of polyester. 

9 pm:               Fireworks Show (Five minutes)

9:05 pm:          Boogie Knights Concert resumes

  Saturday, July 4

4:45 pm:          Vintage Air Show, best viewed from South Pool & Lagoons
7:30 pm:          Concert seating on the Lagoon Lawn

Show Opener: Grammy-Nominated Kid Hop Artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

8 pm:               Presentation of the Colors

8:30 pm:          The Spazmatics

As self-proclaimed “nerds who rock,” this ‘80s New Wave cover band of geeks are high-energy and sure to “blind you with science” and make you party like it’s “1999,” when, really, it was more like 1982.

9 pm:               Fireworks Show (15 minutes)

9:15 pm:          Spazmatics Concert resumes

Patriotic, Poolside!

Celebrating America, poolside is the place to be. At the 6,000 square-foot Sonoran Splash pool complex, families can have a ball surfing in the SplashRider X-treme water ride and sliding down 200-foot waterslides, while the Fairmont Fun Team is on deck leading games with music from DJ Splash. Red, white and blue frozen drinks and watermelon eating contests round-out the fun. At night, the Sonoran Splash turns into the Techno Glo Party After Dark, with fog, lasers, professional glow-in-the-dark hula hoopers and DJ Splash spinning the hottest beats.

Family Fun at the Lagoons

The Zipper is a speedy 25 mph zip line, stretching 240-feet across the lagoons, available weekends, all summer long. Also at the lagoons, guests can enjoy catch-and-release fishing derbies and nature walks led by Ranger Rick…or test their aim at the new water balloon battle.

4th of July Vacation Packages Benefit Military Charities

The summer’s popular Sip, Savor & Splash Package includes a $50 daily resort credit that can be applied toward spa, dining or Trailblazer’s Kids Club. During the 4th of July Freedom Fest, there is a two-night minimum and this vacation package starts from $179 per night for a three-night stay and $219 per night for a two-night stay, plus taxes and daily resort fee.

A percentage of proceeds from every vacation package during Freedom Fest will benefit the Snowball Express, Honor House and Friends of Freedom, all non-profit organizations dedicated to supporting veterans, active duty service members and their families.

For reservations, please call (480) 585-4848, toll-free at (866) 540-4495 or visit scottsdaleprincess.com.

The 4th of July Freedom Fest is one of Fairmont Scottsdale Princess’ signature “Legacy Events,” a series of memorable special events for the local community and resort guests. The first event to be introduced was “Christmas at the Princess” in December 2010, which has grown to include “Summer at the Princess,” “4th of July Freedom Fest” “Labor Day Dreamcation” and “Bunnyland” at Easter brunch.

The Techno Glo Party at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess features black lights, lasers, fog, LED hula hooping, glow-in-the-dark bubbles, drinks and a DJ pulsating techno music.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess packs fun for entire family

When I first moved to Arizona from New York in 1998, my father already knew his way around and could give me recommendations for the best places to eat, play and golf.

He didn’t live in Arizona, but he and seven of his friends spent a week each March taking advantage of Arizona’s great weather to play the state’s best golf courses. And they ALWAYS stayed at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.

If anything, that only proves that father knows best.

Times have changed, but the Princess is timeless … and versatile. Not only is the Princess the perfect place for my father and seven of his white-collar golfing buddies to call home for a week, it’s the ideal spot for a family getaway.

Kids can zoom across a zip line, cool down on waterslides and watch fireworks light up the night sky this summer at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. For adults, the “Sip, Savor and Splash” package equips guests with a $50 resort credit perfect for sampling any of 240 tequilas at La Hacienda or retreating to Well & Being Spa.

Are you or your kids seeking a thrill? Poolside is the place to be with the spinning water adventure, SplashRider X-treme, and 200-foot waterslides. Guests are also able to upgrade to a Casita Signature Junior Suite with the “Upgrade Your Summer” package. Rates for both packages start at $169 per night through Sept. 6.

Once the sun goes down, it’s a disco down the slides with the after dark Techno Glo Party at Sonoran Splash. Black lights, lasers, fog, LED hula hooping, glow-in-the-dark bubbles, drinks and a DJ pulsating techno music rock the pool from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights for families this summer. Or, over at the South Pool, families can just chill at the Dive In Movies, also offered complimentary Friday and Saturday nights. Movie-watchers float on inner tubes, or enjoy movie snacks, Sabrett hot dogs and a taco cart poolside, as the family flick begins at approximately 8 p.m., with an intermission for fireworks at 9 p.m.

The Fourth of July Freedom Fest is the perfect time for you and your family to check out the Princess and find fun relief from the summer heat.

Well & Being Spa

Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has all-new “Live it Well” programs, sizzling specials and soothing spa treatments to keep you refreshed and energized all summer long.  From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the spa’s “Good Life” team of fitness, nutrition and beauty experts are planning a “Happy & Healthy” calendar of interactive events including the new Hoopnotica hula hoop and beach body legs classes, tips for making healthy smoothies, acupuncture for sleep and laughing yoga, to name a few.

Well & Being Spa is 44,000 square foot sanctuary situated on three levels with exercise and work-out facilities, waterfall grotto, steam, sauna, salon, Well & Being Market, café and a scenic rooftop pool. For the first time, the spa is offering a summer “Happy Pass” for local residents, with unlimited access to the spa for $49 for an entire day, mid-week.

For an overnight spa getaway, the new “Stay & Spa” package includes accommodations, plus the choice of one 45-minute facial, massage, pedicure or body wrap, starting from $241 through  September 3.

Dining at the Princess

La Hacienda is celebrating summer with the return of its popular “Guacamole Fest” sampler of various guacamoles, from pork belly to seafood and pomegranate, as well as Fresca Floats made with traditional Mexican sodas. (Prices of these a la carte items vary.)

The summer Kids Resort Dining Passport is a super deal for families for $29 per day that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner at resort dining outlets such as Ironwood American Kitchen, Trailblazers Kids Club, the pools, La Hacienda and Toro, plus a kid’s snack at the South Pool during the Dive-In Movie. These meals are from the children’s menus and are exclusive to overnight resort guests. Passports are available for overnight guests for purchase upon arrival at the Leisure Services Desk in the main lobby.

Spicing up the weekends is Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum Bar’s new a la carte brunch, with live Latin music from 11 am – 2 pm, overlooking the 18th green of the TPC Scottsdale. Spanish mimosas, Brazilian French Toast (brioche bread topped with fried plantains, mescal maple syrup and whipped cream), an all-you-can-eat sushi bar, a build-your-own Bloody Mary cart and 111 types of rum are just a few highlights of this new hotspot.

Vacation packages

Celebrate summer with the new “Upgrade Your Summer” package includes an upgrade to a newly renovated Casita Signature Junior Suite at a Fairmont room price, starting from $169 per night weekdays and $189 weekends. These accommodations are more spacious, secluded and residential in style.

The popular Sip, Savor & Splash Package returns, starting from $169 per room, per night Sunday through Thursday and $189 weekends and includes a $50 daily credit for dining, spa or kid’s club. Summer package dates are based upon space availability, May 22-September 7, 2015. Taxes and daily resort fees are additional.

For reservations or more information on summer programs at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, call ((866) 540-4495 or click here.  The resort is located at 7575 East Princess Drive in Scottsdale.

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Summer at the Princess kicks off Memorial Day Weekend

Good day, sunshine: it’s a summer to remember at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, where sunny days start with cool rides down waterslides, zooming across a zip line and finish with fireworks lighting up the night.  This AAA Five Diamond play-cation paradise is presenting “Summer at the Princess,” a three-month calendar of robust entertainment for the entire family, all with a splash of savings. Memorial Day weekend begins with the “Princess Party on the Pier,” followed by the 4TH of July “Freedom Fest” and the “Dreamcation” finale of a South Seas cruise theme Labor Day weekend.

All summer long, poolside is the place to be with the resort’s SplashRider X-treme, a thrilling, spinning water adventure and 200-foot twisting waterslides, which turns into the Techno Glo Party After Dark weekend nights. At the lagoons, Ranger Rick leads nature walks and fishing derbies.

Other unique experiences include sampling any of 240 tequilas at La Hacienda, escaping to Well & Being Spa, savoring an exquisite dish at Bourbon Steak or enjoying the sunset and Pan-Latin fare at the new Toro Restaurant at TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course. Then, fireworks light up the sky every Saturday evening.

Memorial Day Weekend Kick-Off

Kicking off summer boardwalk style, the “Princess Party on the Pier” is May 22-25, 2015, bringing a throwback to the heyday of seaside amusements with caricaturists, speed painters, chalk artists, a Sugar Shack for sweet treats and steel drummers by the pool.  As an added bonus, guests may lounge a little longer with a complimentary late check-out of 4 p.m. on Monday, May 25.

Weekend Fun, All Summer, Poolside

The SplashRider X-treme, a rolling water ball for both kids and adults, operates on weekends at the Sonoran Splash Pool. This attraction for resort guests lasts three to five minutes, creating a constant wave of water and allows one or two riders at a time.  Tickets can be purchased individually or packaged with The Zipper zip line for unlimited rides.

It’s a disco down the slides at the Techno Glo Party at Sonoran Splash pool. Black lights, lasers, fog, LED hula hooping, glow-in-the-dark bubbles, drinks and pulsating techno music from DJ Splash rock the pool 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights this summer.  Over at the South Pool, families can just chill at the Dive In Movies also offered complimentary Friday and Saturday nights. Movie-watchers can float on inner tubes or enjoy movie snacks on deck, as the family flick begins at 8 p.m., with an intermission for fireworks at 9 p.m. on Saturdays. 

Every weekend afternoon, the Fairmont Fun Team leads dancing games, tie dye t-shirt making, limbo and underwater bingo with music from DJ Splash. Other daily activities include badminton, volleyball and bocce ball.

Sonoran Splash, the resort’s 6,000 square-foot water oasis is perfect for families, with two twisting waterslides, pop-jet fountains, cabanas and games. For tots, there is a zero-entry deck area as well as a large, shaded sandbox complete with Tonka trucks and beach toys, sure to keep the little ones entertained for hours. 

Sonoran Splash is one of three pools that offer luxurious cabanas for rental, with amenities such as a flat-screen TV, ceiling fan, sofas, reserved chaise lounges, refrigerator, bottled waters and fresh fruit.  The resort has five pools in total throughout the 65-acre property.

Lagoon Adventures

Resort guests can soar a speedy 25 mph, 240-feet across the lagoons on The Zipper, a 37-foot-high zip line, available weekends, all summer long.  There are prices for individual rides or packaged for unlimited rides, combined with the new SplashRider X-treme.

For more adventure, Ranger Rick helps guests cast a reel for bluegill at the fishing derbies and leads nature walks to observe any of the waterfowl who make the lagoons their home… and feeding Cecil, the resort’s resident desert tortoise at his habitat near the Cactus Garden and La Hacienda.

A fun new way to stay cool at the lagoons this summer will be water balloon battles from large, custom-made launchers, as part of the Fairmont Fun Team’s activities.

Trailblazers Family Adventure Center & Kids Club

Trailblazers is a fun-filled program for ages 5-12 where kids pan for real gold, learn to solar cook, play sports, swim and even meet a reptilian friend or two. Half-day and full-day sessions are available year-round for overnight guests. A la carte pricing is $35 for a half-day or $60 for a full-day session.  Included in the hotel’s daily resort fee of $29, up to three children per family receive half-day admission to the Kids Club, which is a savings of more than $100 per day. (Lunch is additional for $12.)

The Trailblazers Family Adventure Center is open 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. nightly, complimentary, year-round for resort guests of all ages to play Ping Pong, foosball, basketball, air hockey, shuffle board, videos and board games.

More for the Little Ones, Just Ask!

To ensure families have the comforts of home, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess covers all of the bases with an assortment of in-room amenities for children. Full-size cribs complete with bedding, high chairs, strollers, night lights, safety outlet covers, portable playpens, humidifiers, baby monitors, baby bathtubs, baby shampoo, kid’s robes and step stools are available for resort guests upon request, complimentary. 

Pets Are Treated Like Royalty at the Princess

Dogs and cats want to go on vacation too, so with Princess Posh Paws, pets can experience the ultimate luxury resort experience. Owner and pet stay in a room that comes complete with a “Pet in Residence” door hanger, a plush pet bed, food and water bowl, a food mat, pet toys and of course, treats. Pets (and people) are also greeted in the lobby by the resort’s official new Canine Ambassador, Bixby, a yellow Labrador retriever.

Retreat to Well & Being Spa

Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has all-new “Live it Well” programs, sizzling specials and soothing spa treatments to keep you refreshed and energized all summer long.  From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the spa’s “Good Life” team of fitness, nutrition and beauty experts are planning a “Happy & Healthy” calendar of interactive events including the new Hoopnotica hula hoop and beach body legs classes, tips for making healthy smoothies, acupuncture for sleep and laughing yoga, to name a few.

Well & Being Spa is 44,000 square foot sanctuary situated on three levels with exercise and work-out facilities, waterfall grotto, steam, sauna, salon, Well & Being Market, café and a scenic rooftop pool. For the first time, the spa is offering a summer “Happy Pass” for local residents, with unlimited access to the spa for $49 for an entire day, mid-week.

For an overnight spa getaway, the new “Stay & Spa” package includes accommodations, plus the choice of one 45-minute facial, massage, pedicure or body wrap, starting from $241 May 1 – September 3, 2015.

Summer Dining

La Hacienda is celebrating summer with the return of its popular “Guacamole Fest” sampler of various guacamoles, from pork belly to seafood and pomegranate, as well as Fresca Floats made with traditional Mexican sodas. (Prices of these a la carte items vary.)

The summer Kids Resort Dining Passport is a super deal for families for $29 per day that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner at resort dining outlets such as Ironwood American Kitchen, Trailblazers Kids Club, the pools, La Hacienda and Toro, plus a kid’s snack at the South Pool during the Dive-In Movie. These meals are from the children’s menus and are exclusive to overnight resort guests. Passports are available for overnight guests for purchase upon arrival at the Leisure Services Desk in the main lobby.

Spicing up the weekends is Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum Bar’s new a la carte brunch, with live Latin music from 11 am – 2 pm, overlooking the 18th green of the TPC Scottsdale. Spanish mimosas, Brazilian French Toast (brioche bread topped with fried plantains, mescal maple syrup and whipped cream), an all-you-can-eat sushi bar, a build-your-own Bloody Mary cart and 111 types of rum are just a few highlights of this new hotspot.

Day Guests, Overnight Guests

Most of the resort activities mentioned are exclusive for overnight guests.  Day visitors are invited to enjoy a treatment at Well & Being Spa or dine in any of the resort’s award-winning restaurants. Saturday nights throughout the summer are a terrific time to come have dinner and enjoy a fireworks show over the lagoons at 9 p.m.

Vacation Packages

Celebrate summer with the new “Upgrade Your Summer” package includes an upgrade to a newly renovated Casita Signature Junior Suite at a Fairmont room price, starting from $169 per night weekdays and $189 weekends. These accommodations are more spacious, secluded and residential in style.

The popular Sip, Savor & Splash Package returns, starting from $169 per room, per night Sunday through Thursday and $189 weekends and includes a $50 daily credit for dining, spa or kid’s club. Summer package dates are based upon space availability, May 22-September 7, 2015. Taxes and daily resort fees are additional.

For reservations or more information on summer programs at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, please dial ((866) 540-4495 or visit www.scottsdaleprincess.com.  The resort is located at 7575 East Princess Drive in Scottsdale.

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Christmas at the Princess lights up Scottsdale resort

The Christmas at the Princess festival at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess features the resort’s four-story musical Christmas tree in Princess Plaza, more than 2 million Lagoon Lights, the Princess Express Train, the Desert Ice Skating Rink and the new Christmas Carousel.

Christmas at the Princess is open to the public throughout the season. Admission is complimentary for hotel and restaurant guests, then admission/parking for non-hotel guests is $30 for self-parking with up to 10 people per vehicle or $40 for valet after 5 p.m. without dining. Valet for local residents is complimentary when dining at any of the resort restaurants. The Princess Express Train, Christmas Carousel and Lagoon Lights are complimentary; there are fees for ice skating sessions and skate rental. The “Christmas at the Princess” festival runs through January 4, 2015.

Highlights include:

Enchanted Plaza: Local residents can see the four-story tree’s synchronized lighting and music show 6 p.m.– 9 p.m., nightly, throughout the holiday season. During the day, this stunning four-story tree is a visual experience, with dozens of glistening snowflakes and a five-foot snowflake tree topper. Add to that, a high-definition, one-of-a-kind animated video show features five delightful holiday scenes set to music and projected against the resort’s façade. This five-minute show plays promptly at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. nightly in the Enchanted Plaza through January 4, 2015.

Lagoon Lights: With more than 2 million LED lights illuminating the resort’s majestic lagoons, visitors stroll or ride the Princess Express train through a lit fantasy land to see graceful swans floating on the water, a buccaneer pirate ship, 14-foot poinsettias, a teddy bear, toy soldiers, a fishing Santa and a candy cane forest. Throughout the resort, 150 trees are wrapped in lights, many draped with icicles and snowflakes, along with a 10-foot lighted menorah, dreidels and the Star of David.  New for 2014 are lit leaping arches mimicking a water show, Nessie the 30-foot Loch Ness Monster, 3-D giant reindeer, a 20-foot snowman, elves peeking around trees, as well as a family of four singing trees.

Train: As guests board the Princess Express Train, sponsored by Waste Management Phoenix Open, they are greeted by an enchanting curtain of falling snow, along with carolers on the weekends. The train depot is near the tennis courts and offers complimentary rides around the Lagoon Lights nightly for spectators of all ages.

Carousel: As holiday revelers arrive at the Princess, a new, not-to-miss attraction is the resort’s Christmas Carousel, where dozens of galloping horses glitter ‘round and ‘round. It will be open evenings and rides are complimentary.

Santa: Friday and Saturday nights are spent with Santa in his workshop, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., through December 20, where the young and young-at-heart can have their photo taken with Kris Kringle. Photos are just $10 and available for immediate pick-up.

Nativity Garden: The resort’s Fragrance Garden becomes the Nativity Garden, where an 88-foot narrated Nativity light show tells the story of Christmas. Seating is provided for the 10-minute show. Shows begin at 5 p.m. and occur every 10 minutes until 9 p.m., nightly throughout the festival.

Tree Lot: New this year, Moon Valley Nurseries will have a Christmas tree lot at the resort, where those enjoying the festival can also pick out and purchase their Christmas tree. Home delivery is also available.

Lagoon Lights, the Princess Express Train and the Christmas Carousel are complimentary throughout the season. The resort is located at 7575 East Princess Drive in Scottsdale. For more information, call (866)-540-4495 or visit Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Ice skaters at Fairmont Princess

There is still time to book a memorable holiday party

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for a party. With the economic downturn slowly starting to appear in the rearview mirror, the office holiday party might be something that slipped your mind because it hasn’t been in the budget in years past. So if you still need to place to host your happening, here are a variety of options to create a memorable holiday event for employees.

Bar North at the Kierland Commons
With a gorgeous view of the main Kierland Commons courtyard, Bar North can host up to 60 guests reception style. The inside dining area is perfect for cocktail parties or lavish business dinners for up to 50 people.
How to book: 480-905-3278 or email asomers@foxrc.net

Blanco Tacos + Tequila at The Biltmore Fashion Park
Blanco’s private dining has the perfect spot for your fiesta. The private dining space is a hacienda style and comes complete with its own bar. Guest can mingle reception style up to 75, or sit down family style for up to 60 guests.
How to book: 480-905-3278 or email asomers@foxrc.net

The Clubhouse at Tonto Verde
The Clubhouse is just minutes from North Scottsdale and offers both indoor and outdoor event venues. Its experienced staff and culinary team will customize and handle every detail of your holiday party to assure that it is worry free.
How to book: 480-471-2582 or tontoverde.org

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row
You will enjoy a one-of-a-kind, high-energy experience in our warm and inviting space. Guests are welcomed to savor Whiskey Row’s award-winning, made from scratch menu. Features also include: live bands and DJs, karaoke, liquor and beer tasting, personal beer taps, decorations, games and more.
How to book: 928-710-8985 or email tinapeterson@riothg.com

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
With two 23,000 square-foot ballrooms, outdoor courtyards and three distinctive restaurants (Michael Mina’s Bourbon  Steak, La Hacienda by Richard Sandoval and the new Toro Latin Restaurant opening at the TPC Scottsdale) plus The Plaza Bar in the main plaza, there are endless possibilities for holiday parties, from intimate gatherings to grand galas.
How to book: 480-585-4848 or scottsdaleprincess.com

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria Old Town
With Frank Sinatra crooning in the background and the tantalizing aromas of over 100 years of pizza-making tradition in the air, Grimaldi’s combines classic pizzeria charm with a modern, stylish, loft-like atmosphere. Grimaldi’s is an excellent cost effective way to feed large parties and intimate gatherings, alike.
How to book: 480-874-8209 or email events@grimaldispizzeria.com

The Henry   
From the large private room with industrial touches, to a private kitchen that feels like the best home chef’s kitchen, The Henry is set to accommodate 10 to 100 guests. Like any seasoned host, The Henry offers reception menus or limited coursed menus of its tried and true favorites.
How to book: 480-751-2934 or email lbyke@foxrc.net

Hotel Valley Ho
Downtown Scottsdale’s historic icon offers fabulous fare for holiday parties and hip venues like the panoramic Sky Line Rooftop, high-tech SoHo Ballroom, and Sands, a private indoor-outdoor event space. Hotel Valley Ho has you covered, whether you’re hosting 50 guests or 500.
How to book: 480-248-2017 or hotelvalleyho.com

Kelly’s at SouthBridge
Located on Sixth Avenue in downtown Scottsdale, the 8,000-square-foot swanky pub offers traditional pub classics mixed with exceptional modern cuisine. Their private and semi-private dining spaces and patios offer a variety of options for any event. They can accommodate groups between 10 and 300 people.
How to book: 480-393-3205 or email events@kellysatsouthbridge

Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix
Savor holiday fare and craft cocktails at this Downtown Phoenix boutique hotel. Choose from three different party packages to create a custom event including a holiday mixer, a festive buffet or the fare with flair package. Invite your guests to take the elevator home and spend the night while enjoying 20 percent off the best available rate when you book an event.
How to book: 480-478-1730 or email catering@hotelpalomar-phoenix.com

North in Arcadia
North has turned a modern lens on Italian cooking. Transport your guests to what feels like a charming Italian side street culinary gem with a patio event that seats up to 55, or can accommodate 70 guests reception style. The warm glow of the fireplace with set the mood and heaters will keep guests warm throughout the winter months.
How to book: 480-905-3278 or email asomers@foxrc.net

Octane Raceway
Octane Raceway offers the 45 mph Sodi-RTX karts, a Segway obstacle course, rock wall, video games and billiards. Octane also offers state of the art conference rooms with full A/V hookups, as well as a full kitchen and bar.
How to book: 602-302-7223

Olive & Ivy
At Olive & Ivy, discover an enticing selection of unexpected and familiar dishes in a rich, elegant, laid-back atmosphere. For special occasions or business meetings, the restaurant offers two private dining areas and beautiful patio space accommodating a varying number of guests.
How to book: 480-905-3273 or email nlasker@foxrc.net

The Phoenician
From grand ballrooms to intimate salons to a variety of signature dining venues, The Phoenician designs elegant holiday events for gatherings of all sizes.
How to book: 480-423-2722

Rawhide Western Town & Steakhouse
Rawhide Western Town promises to deliver up a true western experience with 14 unique venues within town to host your private events perfectly along with multiple Wild West attractions and shops. Features include live action stunt shows, stagecoach rides and mechanical bull rides.
How to book: 480-705-2946 or email toni.mennuti@rawhide.com

Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy
Forget about Ho! Ho! Ho! and say Ha! Ha! Ha! Join Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy and make this holiday the merriest yet. They can accommodate groups of 10-300 and do it all — drink, dine and laughs. They will even pick on the boss for you!
How to book: 480-420-3553 or email az@houseofcomedy.net

The Rocket
Let the party come to you. The Rocket, the food truck brought to you by North Italia, is a 700-degree wood burning pizza oven on wheels. It’s built to turn fresh ingredients and hand-stretched dough into a piping hot pizza pie in less than eight minutes. With five different signature pizzas, fresh salads, charcuterie and bruschetta, you can proudly cater a private party or corporate event for up to 300 people.
How to book: 480-751-2202  or email kmahoney@foxrc.net

Royal Palms Resort & Spa
For 12-18 people, the historic resort offers a variety of venues including the Delos room at T. Cook’s, The Study at The Mix Up Bar or the architecturally rich Vernadero boardroom overlooking the lawn and reflecting pool. The resort, built in 1929 as a private mansion, has cobblestone pathways, tucked-away courtyards with fountains and an enchanting atmosphere.
How to book: 602-808-3206 or email wstark@destinationhotels.com

SOL Mexican Cocina
Add a little Baja flavor to your holiday festivities. From sit-down, coursed meals to family style sharing or the more informal cocktail style party, SOL Mexican Cocina in Scottsdale Quarter can cater any holiday event to your needs. Available for private events are the patio and the private dining rooms.
How to book: 480-245-6708 or email scottsdaleevents@solcocina.com

Stand Up Live
The downtown Phoenix comedy club offers all-inclusive holiday packages to fit any budget that include show ticket, plated three-course dinner or appetizer, one top-shelf cocktail, tax, and gratuity. Stand Up Live can accommodate groups ranging from 20-500 guests with no waiting in line, waived service fees and all-inclusive pricing.
How to book: 480-467-3162 or email justine@standuplive.com

Taco Guild
Taco Guild’s Key Room holds 24 people, offers full kitchen, bar and wait staff. The innovative tacos at the celebrated restaurant in North Central Phoenix were recently named by Travel + Leisure Magazine as among the best in the United States.
How to book: 602-264-4143 or tacoguild.com

Talking Stick Resort
Talking Stick Resort invites guests to end the year in style when it hosts its Fire and Ice New Year’s Eve Party on Dec. 31. Kicking off at 6:30 p.m. in the Salt River Grand Ballroom, the two-day celebration will feature an all-you-can-eat buffet, cocktail specials and live performances by the legendary Sam Moore and Boogie Knights.
How to book: 480-850-7734 or talkingstickresort.com.

Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill
Whether your group’s small or large, Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill can provide a great experience and value for any holiday event. They feature multiple options including a private event room and bar. Enjoy your choice of their 52 local, craft, import and domestic beers on draft or one of their unique specialty cocktails.
How to book: email ashelton@ceghospitality.com

Uptown Alley
Uptown Alley has 60,000 square feet of fun for everyone including 40 lanes of state-of-the-art bowling, an upscale, casual full service restaurant, two high-energy bars, a sports theater, billiards, laser tag, over 80 video and prize games, live entertainment, private party rooms and much more. Special packages that include game play, rock and bowl, holiday menu and laser tag are available.
How to book: email kjovic@uptownalleysurprise.com

Wrigley Mansion
The Wrigley Mansion Venue and Restaurant, a landmark building constructed between 1929 and 1931 by chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr., offers breathtaking views of the Valley and can accommodate private events ranging in size from 10 to 1,200.
How to book: 602-553-7295 or wrigleymansion.com

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Summer at the Princess packs fun

Summer at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess includes cool rides down waterslides, zooming across a zip line and fireworks lighting up the night. This AAA Five Diamond resort is a play-cation paradise, from a new water ride to a world-class spa, signature restaurants and new Posh Paws program just for the pups. Best of all, summer vacations benefit Valley schools and charities.

Poolside is the place to be at the new SplashRider X-treme, a thrilling, spinning water adventure. Nearby, 200-foot waterslides are lined by shady cabanas with all the luxuries, with Dive In Movies and the Techno Glo Party taking center stage weekend nights. During the day, The Zipper zip line offers a 240-foot thrill ride across the lagoons and catch-and-release fishing is a family favorite. Meanwhile, grown-ups can sample any of 240 tequilas at La Hacienda, escape for a day to Well & Being Spa or savor an exquisite summer menu at the AAA Four Diamond Bourbon Steak.

Then, as the sun sets at the Princess, fireworks light up the sky every Saturday night, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, May 24 – August 30, 2014. The summer celebration crescendos during the Fourth of July Freedom Fest, July 4-6, with all-American picnics, concerts, vintage airplane shows and salutes to the military. Labor Day says bon voyage to summer with a “Dreamcation” cruise ship themed weekend. Every week in between, all summer long, the resort has added activities for the whole family to enjoy:

Summer Weekend Fun, Poolside

New this summer is the SplashRider X-treme, a rolling water pipe for both kids and adults on weekends at the Sonoran Splash Pool. The attraction, lasting three to five minutes, creates a constant wave which allows four to five riders at a time to body surf, while boogie boarders and those on inner tubes ride solo. Tickets can be purchased individually or packaged with The Zipper zip line for unlimited rides.

Then, it’s a disco down the slides with the after dark Techno Glo Party at Sonoran Splash. Black lights, lasers, fog, LED hula hooping, glow-in-the-dark bubbles, drinks and a DJ pulsating techno music rock the pool 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights for families this summer. Or, over at the South Pool, families can just chill at the Dive In Movies also offered complimentary Friday and Saturday nights. Movie-watchers float on inner tubes, or enjoy movie snacks, Sabrett hot dogs and a taco cart poolside, as the family flick begins at approximately 8 p.m., with an intermission for fireworks at 9 p.m.

Every weekend, the Fairmont Fun Team leads dancing games, tie dye t-shirt making, limbo and underwater bingo. Other daily activities include giant bubble making, wooden turtle races, badminton, volleyball and bocce ball.

Sonoran Splash, the resort’s 6,000 square-foot water oasis is perfect for families, with two twisting waterslides, pop-jet fountains, cabanas and games. For tots, there is a zero-entry deck area as well as a large, shaded sandbox complete with Tonka trucks and beach toys, sure to keep the little ones entertained for hours.

Whether delivering refreshing fruit water or frozen grapes to sun seekers, the resort’s pool attendants are on deck to ensure every day at the pool is one to remember. One of the cool drinks is the Parrot Punch, named after the resort’s colorful, feathery friends (Rosy-Faced Lovebirds) who now nest in the palm trees above the pools. Parrot Punch is made with coconut rum, citrus rum and spiced rum with pineapple juice, Midori and orange juice made from the orange trees on property.

Sonoran Splash is one of three pools that offer luxurious cabanas for rental, with amenities such as a flat-screen TV, ceiling fan, sofas, reserved chaise lounges, refrigerator, bottled waters and fresh fruit. The resort has five pools in total throughout the 65-acre property.

When (and if) parents do get the kids out of the pool, two other hot spots are Ironwood American Kitchen by the South Pool, which is cool, classic and comfortably residential with home-cooked favorites, an exhibition kitchen and InnoTab computer learning tablets for the kids. The Princess Shop and Coffee Market, on the main level, has grab ‘n’ go sandwiches, gelato, Starbucks coffee and an iPad lab.

Lagoon Adventures

Resort guests can soar a speedy 25 mph, 240-feet across the lagoons on The Zipper, a 37-foot-high zip line, available weekends, all summer long. There are prices for individual rides or packaged for unlimited rides, combined with the new SplashRider X-treme.

For more adventure, kids of any age cast a reel for bluegill at the new fishing derbies, steer ships in remote-control boat races or observe any of the waterfowl who make the lagoons their home.

Trailblazers Family Adventure Center & Kids Club

Trailblazers is a fun-filled program for ages 5-12 where kids pan for real gold, learn to solar cook, play sports, swim and even meet a reptilian friend or two. Themed days such as Wildlife, Wild West, Sports and Nature rotate, so youngsters may attend more than once and still discover something new each day. Half-day and full-day sessions are available year-round for overnight guests. A la carte pricing is $35 for a half-day or $60 for a full-day session. Included in the hotel’s daily resort fee of $29, up to three children per family receive half-day admission to the Kids Club, which is a savings of more than $100 per day. (Lunch is additional for $12.) Kids Club reservations are recommended 24-hours in advance.

The Trailblazers Family Adventure Center is now open 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. nightly, complimentary, year-round for resort guests to play Ping Pong, foosball, basketball, air hockey, shuffle board, videos and board games.

More for the Little Ones, Just Ask!

To ensure families have the comforts of home, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess covers all of the bases with an assortment of in-room amenities for children. Full-size cribs complete with bedding, high chairs, strollers, night lights, safety outlet covers, portable playpens, humidifiers, baby monitors, baby bathtubs, baby shampoo, kid’s robes and step stools are available for resort guests upon request, complimentary.

Dog Days of Summer? Posh Paws!

Posh Paws, the resort’s pet program, keeps with its Five-Diamond reputation for being dedicated to the guests and creating countless memories that even man’s best friend will remember. For an additional $35 per night, dogs can experience the ultimate luxury pet resort experience. Owner and pet stay in a room that comes complete with a “Woofer” gift set featuring a plush pet bed, food and water bowl, a food mat, pet toys and of course…treats. For the crème de la crème dog experience, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Executive Chef David Morris has created a doggie menu, “Lou’s Barkery,” available through In-Room Dining as well as recipes for take-home gifts. The Princess is partnering with nearby pet retailer for doggie day care or grooming needs and Fairmont staff is available to assist with dog walking.

Well & Being Spa

Here’s a way to spend a cool summer day, sure to inspire. Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has all-new “Live it Well” programs, sizzling specials and soothing spa treatments to keep spa-goers refreshed and energized all summer long.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, every summer spa weekend kicks off with “Feel Good Fridays,” offering the new “Lunch & Enlighten”: a healthy spa lunch with a fun, informative talk from the spa’s “Good Life” team of fitness, nutrition and beauty experts. This includes access to the spa facility, pool and exercise classes for the entire day, all for just $50. Add to that a 45-minute treatment such as a facial, manicure and pedicure or massage for $99. Each week, Facebook fans can check for the spa’s “Play Well Rx,” a prescription of spa offers and feel good tips.

Well & Being Spa is a sanctuary situated on three levels with a rooftop pool, waterfall grotto, steam rooms, saunas, salon, boutique and café. Spa guests can also reserve a posh cabana package at Quench, the spa’s rooftop pool, serving spa-inspired cocktails and brimming with luxurious amenities Fridays through Sundays.

Summer Dining

La Hacienda is celebrating summer with the return of its popular “Guacamole Fest” sampler of various guacamoles, from pork belly to seafood and pomegranate, as well as Fresca Floats made with traditional Mexican sodas. (Prices of these a la carte items vary.)

Bourbon Steak offers a Post-Pool Prix-Fixe Menu, with three courses and choices of summer salads, chilled soups, market-fresh fish, Jidori chicken, mesquite grilled C.A.B. skirt steak, chef’s selection of sides and topped off with vanilla crème brulee, warm nutmeg beignet or a trio of house-made sorbet. Bourbon Steak’s summer menu is $55 and includes a wine pairing with the main course. The restaurant’s regular menu is also available.

The summer Kids Resort Dining Passport is a super deal for families for $35 per day that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner at resort dining outlets such as Ironwood American Kitchen, Trailblazers Kids Club, the pools and La Hacienda, plus a kid’s snack at the South Pool during the Dive-In Movie. These meals are from the children’s menus and are exclusive to overnight resort guests. Passports are available for purchase upon arrival at the Leisure Services Desk in the main lobby.

Day Guests, Overnight Guests
Most of the resort activities mentioned are exclusive for overnight guests. Day visitors are invited to enjoy a treatment at Well & Being Spa, take a lesson from the resort’s tennis pro or dine in any of the resort’s award-winning restaurants. Saturday nights throughout the summer are a terrific time to dine in the restaurants, which includes an after-dinner fireworks show over the lagoons at 9 p.m.

Vacation Packages

The popular Sip, Savor & Splash Package returns, starting from $149 per room, per night Sunday through Thursday and $169 weekends and includes a $50 daily credit for dining, spa, tennis or kids club.

Taking it one step further with the new Stay, Play & Pay It Forward Package, families make memories and give back to the school or charity of their choice from a list of participating organizations in the resort’s annual Sleepover for a Better Tomorrow program. This summer package also starts from $149/ $169 per night with a $50 daily resort credit and 10 percent of every dollar charged to the room folio is donated to the guest’s chosen charity. This program is year-round and is free for any non-profit organization to join. For more information, visit: http://www.scottsdaleprincess.com/special-offers/sleepover-for-a-better-tomorrow.

Also new is the Play Well Rx Spa Package, where spa-goers enjoy overnight accommodations, with a choice of one 45-minute treatment: a Body Reboot Massage, a Rejuvenating Facial or an Energizing Manicure & Pedicure, plus full-use of the 44,000 square-foot spa, exercise classes and rooftop pool. Prices of this package start at $269 single/$379 double, per night plus spa gratuities.
Summer package dates are based upon space availability, May 26-September 2, 2014. Taxes and daily resort fees are additional.

For Memorial Day weekend specifically, rates are starting at $199 with a $50 dining credit and $149 a night with a $50 dining credit for a three-night stay.

For reservations or more information on summer programs at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, please dial (800) 908-9370 or visit www.scottsdaleprincess.com. The resort is located at 7575 East Princess Drive in Scottsdale.

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Get down and ‘derby’ deals in the Valley

If you are looking for something other than Cinco de Mayo celebrations this weekend, maybe the Kentucky Derby is more your style. Saturday, May 3, presents the 140th Kentucky Derby, which some describe as the most exciting two minutes in sports. There are several Kentucky Derby parties for women to dress up in spring dresses and giant hats and men to dress in their best seersuckers suits.

    Turf Paradise: This huge, spring party has all the Kentucky Derby musts including mint juleps and a fashion judging of traditional Derby clothes of bonnets, sundresses and suits. There are a variety of choices, depending on your budget, including a “Top of the Park” suite that encompasses a view of the infield lakes and two racetracks, a Turf Club Buffet that includes private televisions for viewing, a Clubhouse and Players’ Buffet that get you closer to the horses and the cheering crowd and finally, a Party on the Rail that lets you get up close to the race. All areas include Kentucky Derby food and drinks. Don’t forget to stay for the Hat and Ensemble contest!
    Bourbon Steak at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess: This party is comprised of a Kentucky Derby Brunch and Lawn Party. Live blues music will accompany the mint juleps, bourbon tastings, buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches, biscuits and gravy, crab Louie, shrimp and grits and truffled mac ‘n’ cheese. If you haven’t divulged enough, then continue on to dessert with lemon meringue tarts, red velvet cupcakes and chocolate bourbon pecan pies. You can also try signature cocktails including a “Seersucker” cocktail with bourbon, peach and mint, “The Derby” with bourbon, sweet vermouth, orange curaçao and lime or the “Kentucky Cousin” with Know Creek Bourbon Cherry Herring, lemon and black tea. Once you have eaten your fill, you can play horseshoes and lawn games, take pictures with four-time National Champion racehorse, Saul, or enjoy the women in their stylish hats and men in their suits.
    The Phoenician in Scottsdale: Like the other two events, The Phoenician will host a Kentucky Derby Party with a special viewing party on the Orchid Lawn. The party will include flat screen TVs covering the pre-race festivities and the race itself. Women can compete in the best hat contest and men can win the best Southern fashion contest. Festivities will also include a Winner’s Circle raffle and a delicious Southern menu.

If you want a more low-key atmosphere to watch the race, visit one of these local restaurants to try a Kentucky Derby-inspired cocktail:
    Phoenix Public Market Café: The TNT, $8, contains Arizona Distilling Company Copper City Bourbon, tamarind paste, pequin chili simple syrup and fresh-squeezed lemon
    J&G Steakhouse: Whiskey Passion Fruit Fizz, $13, is composed of Passion Fruit Chili Bar syrup, bourbon and ginger ale
    Crudo: No Name, $12, is made of Smooth Ambler Old Scout Bourbon, Montenegro, Bonal, St. Elizabeth allspice Dram and Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters, served in a chilled coupe
    Central Bistro: Old Fashioned, $10, has Wild Turkey Rye, Demerara syrup and old fashion bitters
    Del Frisco’s Grille: Tennessee Peach, $5, mixes Jack Daniel’s, fresh peaches, honey and fresh lime juice
    American TapHouse: Mint Julep, $3, is a classic drink that can be paired with a delicious BBQ pulled pork sandwich

So whether you are watching the races or just want to try something new, check out these local events and specials this weekend!

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Top 5 Accommodations Scottsdale: Large (Spring-Summer 2014)

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Get ready to experience Arizona’s spring/summer 2014 Top 5 Accommodations in Scottsdale, Large (300 or more rooms)! And use Experience AZ to guide you toward a visit that will make you want to come back time after time to keep crossing the must see hot spots off your Top 5 lists.



Top 5 Accommodations: Scottsdale, Large (300 or more rooms)

Camelback Inn, A JW Marriott Resort & Spa
5402 E. Lincoln Dr. Scottsdale, AZ 85253

(480) 948-1700
Website
An enchanting haven of AAA Five-Diamond hospitality and Southwestern charm is yours to rediscover: the hacienda-style entry and lobby, spectacular new restaurants, grand courtyard and the all new 20,000-square-foot Arizona Ballroom await. Experience Scottsdale’s most celebrated Spa Camelback Inn or challenge your game on 36 holes of championship Arizona golf.

Carefree Resort & Conference Center
37220 N. Mule Train Rd. Carefree, AZ 85377

(480) 488-5300
Website
Embrace the Southwestern lifestyle in total relaxation at a place filled with soothing and simple spaces with uncluttered panoramic views of the Continental Mountains. Play tennis, enjoy the spa or simply relax at the pool with a margarita.

FireSky Resort
4925 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85251

(480) 945-7666
Website
At FireSky Resort, pamper yourself at Jurlique Spa, enjoy fine Italian dining at Taggia and take in its breathtaking Scottsdale location. At FireSky, fire, water, earth and air sumptuously blend to create a magical world of comfort and beauty.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
7575 E. Princess Dr. Scottsdale, AZ 85255

(480) 585-4848
Website
This hotel has one of the best spas in North America, two award-winning restaurants, meeting facilities and two 18-hole championship golf courses — one of which is home to the Annual PGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open (formerly the FBR Open).

The Phoenician
6000 E. Camelback Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85251

(480) 941-8200
Website
This AAA Five Diamond award-winning property offers luxurious casitas, suites and guest rooms; one of America’s best resort golf courses; The Centre for Well-Being spa; a tennis complex; nine swimming pools and elegant dining venues.

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Arizona hoteliers earn national awards

Arizona took center stage and took home two national awards at the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s (AH&LA) annual Stars of the Industry awards ceremony held this week in Washington, DC.

The “Outstanding Manager of the Year, Large Property” was awarded to Thomas Williams, Director of Guest Services at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Williams has been providing a welcoming experience for guests entering his property for the past 21 years. As the Director of Guest Services, he has put in place many new procedures to improve and enhance the arrival and departure experience, transportation, guest safety and much more. But he also cares about the internal guest and is truly devoted to the resort’s employees. He and his family cater an annual holiday feast and invite employees and even hotel guests who have no family in town.

Winning the Special Events, One-time Only, Medium Property, was the W Scottsdale for their CHILL event. CHILL at the W Scottsdale transforms the WET pool deck from November to January with Scottsdale’s first and only hybrid and eco-friendly outdoor ice skating rink. This event also includes live music performances, DJs, drink specials and special resort packages.

“I’m so proud to represent an industry in our state with so much talent and passion for excellence,” said AzLTA President & CEO, Debbie Johnson. “It’s wonderful that the hard work and dedication of these lodging professionals and properties is being recognized on a national level and I truly commend them for their accomplishments.”

Winners from the Arizona Stars of the Industry Awards luncheon hosted in December by the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association were then submitted to the AH&LA for national judging.

The Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association (AzLTA) is the leading public policy advocate for Arizona’s Lodging and Tourism Industries. Representing almost 40,000 rooms statewide and nearly 500 members, including hotels, resorts, attractions, destination marketing organizations, B&B’s and related Industry partners, AzLTA’s mission is to unify, protect, educate and promote the interests of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Industries.

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AzLTA honors 'Stars of the Industry'

The shining stars of the hospitality and tourism industry were celebrated at the annual Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association’s (AzLTA) Stars of the Industry awards luncheon, held last week at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort.

The Stars of the Industry award was created more than 40 years ago by the American Hotel & Lodging Association to recognize outstanding accomplishments in the lodging industry. While the categories have evolved over the years, the concept is still the same: to honor lodging and tourism employees who best symbolize the quality service of the industry.

The 2013 Stars of the Industry Winners

Outstanding Employee of the Year: Jarrod Voeller, Door Captain, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Outstanding Manager of the Year: Michael Cairns, Executive Chef and Director of F&B, Montelucia Resort & Spa

Front of the House Manager of the Year, Small Property: Kim Cole, Director of Public Relations, Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale

Front of the House Manager of the Year, Large Property: Thomas Williams, Director of Guest Services, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Heart of the House Manager of the Year, Small Property: Robin Younger, Director of Housekeeping, Royal Palms Resort and Spa

Heart of the House Manager of the Year, Large Property: Eddie Zrimsek, Assistant Spa Director, Montelucia Resort & Spa

Food & Beverage Employee of the Year, Small Property: Dusty Cox, Server, The Hotel Congress

Food & Beverage Employee of the Year, Large Property: Peter Genovese, In-room Dining and Pool Server, The Phoenix Marriott Tempe at the Buttes

Guest Service Employee of the Year, Small Property: Jason Kennedy, Bellman, The Boulders

Guest Service Employee of the Year, Large Property; Otto Valdez, Guest Services Supervisor, Tempe Mission Palms

Housekeeping Employee of the Year, Small Property: Lucas Alonzo, Houseperson, Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas

Housekeeping Employee of the Year, Large Property: Nilda Staniscia, Uniform Attendant and Seamstress, Montelucia Resort & Spa

Property Achievement awards in five categories were also announced at the event. These awards highlight programs that showcase the involvement of multiple employees and departments which go above and beyond to build a better community internally and externally.

Community Service: Arizona Biltmore

Guest Relations, Lodging: The Boulders, “True Waldorf Committee”

Guest Relations, Tourism: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, “The Navigator Program”

Special Event, One Time: W Scottsdale, “CHILL”

Special Event, Ongoing: The Phoenician, “Discover the Phoenician with Phoe-Phoe and Friends”

Special Event Ongoing, Tourism: Phoenix Chapter of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association, “Chinese Auction”

Good Earthkeeping Award: Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

AZ Wine Dine Logo

SECOND ANNUAL AZ WINE & DINE SIZZLES IN SCOTTSDALE THIS SPRING

The Valley’s stars of the culinary scene will gather for a high-energy celebration of food and wine at the second annual AZ Wine & Dine, hosted by the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association, to be held at the hip, urban setting of Scottsdale Quarter on April 4, 2013.

AZ Wine & Dine night imageAZ Wine & Dine targets executive foodies and is designed to highlight the distinct variety of culinary outlets at Arizona hotels and resorts, as well as showcase several Scottsdale Quarter restaurants and a wide variety of wines and craft beers. Additionally, much of the proceeds benefit the educational efforts of the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association.

The lush and luxe setting of Scottsdale Quarter provides the perfect setting for attendees to experience culinary delights from hotel and resort participants including: The Phoenician, The Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, T. Cook’s at Royal Palms, Westin Kierland, Montelucia, TK’s Urban Tavern, District American Kitchen & Wine Bar and many more.

AZ Wine & Dine dusk image“It is important for us to produce a culinary event where local foodies and business executives can be a tourist in their own town, enjoying samples from top resorts and restaurants in a fun and festive atmosphere,” said Arizona Lodging & Tourism President & CEO Debbie Johnson. “AZ Wine & Dine’s inaugural year sold out, so it’s clear that the Valley’s finest chefs combined with this venue is a recipe for success.”

AZ Wine & Dine will feature 20 booths offering culinary samples paired with fine wines and craft beers, live music from the Shining Star Band and a silent auction with amazing deals on vacation getaways and gift certificates from Scottsdale Quarter’s eclectically rich mix of specialty shops.

When: Thursday, April 4, 2013 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 pm.

Where: Scottsdale Quarter (Scottsdale Road and Greenway)

Tickets: $75 in advance; $100 day of the event (includes all food and beverage)

Advance purchase is strongly recommended as the event sold out last year.

*No one under 21 years of age will be admitted. AZ Wine & Dine will be held rain or shine.

AZWineandDine.com, Twitter: @azwineanddine, Facebook: AZ Wine & Dine

Mexican Restaurants - EAZ Fall-Winter 2012

Top 5: Mexican Restaurants (Fall-Winter 2012)

The Top 5 Mexican Restaurants — as voted on by Experience AZ readers:

Los Dos Molinos

8684 S. Central Ave.,
Phoenix, AZ 85210
(602) 243-9113
losdosmolinosaz.com
Dig in to hot Mexican fare such as stacked enchiladas, tacos, burros and flautas at this casual eatery. The prices at Los Dos Molinos are reasonable and the food — a specialty is the adovada ribs — is amazing.


Aunt Chilada’s

7330 N. Dreamy Draw Dr.,
Phoenix, AZ 85020
(602) 944-1286
auntchiladas.com
Nestled in the shadow of Squaw Peak Mountain, Aunt Chilada’s is truly an historic landmark with a personality all its own. Constructed in the 1890s from desert stone and railroad ties, the original building served as a supply depot and general store for the mercury miners passing through the Dreamy Draw.


Barrio Cafe

2814 N. 16th St.,
Phoenix, AZ 85006
(602) 636-0240
barriocafe.com
Established in 2002 by partners Wendy Gruber and chef Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio was a dream come true for the duo — a little neighborhood eatery providing authentic southern-Mexico cuisine and chef’s original creations in a unpretentious atmosphere.


La Hacienda at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

7575 E. Princess Dr.,
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
(480) 585-4848
fairmont.com
Richard Sandoval brings the vibrant flavors and ingredients of Mexico into the culinary spotlight, combining the bold taste of classic Mexican cuisine with timeless European cooking techniques.


Rancho de Tia Rosa

3129 E. McKellips Rd.,
Mesa, AZ 85213
(480) 659-8787
ranchodetiarosa.com
Rancho de Tia Rosa aims to provide guests with a unique experience that allows guests to feel as though they are in the heart of Guadalajara, Mexico.

Experience AZ Fall-Winter 2012

 

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Grant Thornton Give Back Day

On Thursday, Nov. 15, nearly 800 current and retired partners and managing directors from Grant Thornton LLP offices across the globe gathered in the Valley during their annual meeting, which was held at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, to help give back to the local area community. During the day, the firm made a check presentation of $12,000 to Kitchen on the Street, a non-profit organization that provides food for children who are not guaranteed a meal during weekends. In addition, the partners supplied and assembled emergency food kits for 500 local families in need this holiday season, also through Kitchen on the Street.

“Hunger is a growing crisis for 17 million children in the United States,” said Ralph Nefdt, Grant Thornton’s local office managing partner. “One in four American children struggles with food insecurity, which results in academic developmental issues that present both immediate and long-term challenges. These issues not only affect the child experiencing food insecurity, but the entire community.”

A leader in this community, events like this are just some of the many outreach programs supported through Grant Thornton C.A.R.E.S. (Community Awareness and Responsibility Expressed through Service), a program designed to demonstrate leadership not only in its industry, but also in its community. Through the program, nicknamed GT CARES, employees contribute time, money and expertise to local civic organizations, charities, universities and professional associations.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Lagoon Lights

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Brings Holiday Cheer With “Christmas At The Princess”

As the warm, desert air begins to cool with the fresh, crisp fall breeze, signaling the end of the long Arizona summer, the anticipation for the holiday season begins to grow as winter slowly approaches Arizona’s doorstep.

And what an exciting holiday season this will be as the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort celebrates another magical and enchanting season during the annual “Christmas at the Princess” festival. The festival, which runs from Nov. 27 – Jan. 6, 2013, will transform the Fairmont Princess into a winter wonderland with some new and exciting activities and treats.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Christmas Lobby 2011Kicking off the festivities, guests and visitors can attend the Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony and Grand Opening of the Desert Ice Holiday Rink on November 27. The special ceremony will take place in the Princess Plaza at 6:30 p.m. and the centerpiece of the night will be the grand, four-story musical Christmas tree as it springs to life with Christmas music. The special tree contains 65,000 LED lights, which all twinkle and dance to 10 different holiday songs and are sprinkled with beautiful, glistening snowflake decorations.Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Accompanying the tree lighting will be the debut of the Desert Ice Holiday Rink. Nestled in the quaint Cactus Garden, the ice skating rink will make its debut with professional performers demonstrating cool ice tricks before it opens to the public. The price per skating session is $15 for adults, $10 for children 12 years old and younger, and $5 for skate rentals. A portion of the skating proceeds will benefit the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The evening will also include musical performances, Fairmont Scottsdale Princesscarolers, sugar cookies and spiced cider, which all will surely invigorate the holiday spirit for anyone who attends.

To top off the splendor of the evening, the Princess Express Train will open, offering guests a chance to take a journey through a winter wonderland landscape and Lagoon Lights. While exploring the lagoons, visitors can see swans floating on the water, a buccaneer pirate ship and 14-foot poinsettias, among other fanciful displays.

Another important aspect of the evening will be the start of the Fairmont Princess’s toy drive for Toys for Tots. The Scottsdale Fire Department will be present to accept gifts and donations on opening night, and the resort will hold a drop-off location through Dec. 20 in its lobby.

And, of course, the Christmas season would be incomplete if Santa weren’t at the party! People of all ages can have a visit with Santa as he joins the Fairmont Princess on Friday and Saturday nights to make all wishes and dreams come true. Patrons can take a photo with Santa as a keepsake of the visit and can whisper to Santa what they’d wish to see underneath their Christmas tree.

Whether its marshmallow roasting, drinking hot cocoa, decorating stockings or making dreidels, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has something for everyone to enjoy. So bring the family down this holiday season to experience all the magic that the resort has to offer.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

7575 E. Princess Dr., Scottsdale
(480) 585-4848
scottsdaleprincess.com

 

The Phoenician resort is nestled in the Sonoran Desert, with the breathtaking Camelback Mountain its backdrop. Photo: The Phoenician

Top 5: Scottsdale Accommodations, Large (Fall-Winter 2012)

The Top 5 Scottsdale Accommodations, Large — as voted on by Experience AZ readers:

Scottsdale Accommodations, Large: 300 or more rooms

 

Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

6902 E. Greenway Pkwy.,
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
(480) 624-1000
kierlandresort.com
Come wander the groups of this desert oasis. Explore its hidden corners. Discover its intimate treasures. Enjoy desert-inspired treatments at Agave, The Arizona Spa, 27 holes of championship golf, waterpark, award-winning dining and nearby upscale shopping.


The Phoenician

6000 E. Camelback Rd.,
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(480) 941-8200
thephoenician.com
This AAA 5 Diamond award-winning property offers luxurious casitas, suites and guest rooms; one of America’s best resort golf courses; The Centre for Well-Being spa; tennis complex; nine swimming pools and elegant dining venues.


Hyatt Regency Scottsdale at Gainey Ranch

7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Rd.,
Scottsdale, AZ 85258
(800) 233-1234
scottsdale.hyatt.com
Discover your own perfect hotel stay with championship golf, Spa Avania, a water playground or Camp Hyatt Kachina. Expansive meeting facilities are just minutes away from the area’s major attractions.


Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

7575 E. Princess Dr.,
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
(480) 585-4848
scottsdaleprincess.com
Offering one of the best spas in North America, two award-winning restaurants, meeting facilities and two 18-hole championship golf courses — one of which is home to the Annual PGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open (formerly the FBR Open).


Camelback Inn, A JW Marriott Resort & Spa

5402 E. Lincoln Dr.,
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
(480) 948-1700
camelbackinn.com
An enchanting haven of AAA Five-diamond hospitality and Southwestern charm is yours to rediscover: the hacienda-style entry and lobby, spectacular new restaurants, grand courtyard and the all new 20,000-square-foot Arizona Ballroom await. Experience Scottsdale’s most celebrated Spa Camelback Inn or challenge your game on 36-holes of championship Arizona golf.

Experience AZ Fall-Winter 2012

Willow Stream Spa in Scottsdale

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess To Launch Well & Being At Willow Stream Spa

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is partnering with Trilogy Spa Holdings to launch an innovative spa program and concept, Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa, which will open on January 1, 2013. Willow Stream Spa will also expand its spa menu of services, its fitness facilities and its spa boutique.

Combining health, nutrition, fitness, advanced skincare, integrative medicine and mind-body programs, the Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa program will be medically-guided and fully-customized. Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is the first luxury resort in the nation to implement this experience to its spa.

“The introduction of Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa is a strategic addition to the experiences we offer guests at the resort,” said Jack Miller, general manager of the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, in a press release.

Meditation at Willow Stream Spa. “It was important that we find a partner to build upon the luxurious Willow Stream Spa experience and expand our services into the wellness/intentional living arena,” Miller said. “Well & Being’s extensive staff of experts will provide a comprehensive, holistic approach to personal health.”

This personal and sustainable wellness program will take a physical, natural and mindful approach, to inspire guests to live a more healthy, balanced and energized life both during their vacations and well after.

“Guests may take advantage of as much or as little of the menu of wellness tools and experiences as they choose,” Miller said.

Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa will offer an array of services, from Woman at Willow Stream Spa pool.diagnostic health tests and targeted skincare treatments — including the HydraFacial, acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy and traditional Eastern therapies — to cooking classes, guest lectures and fitness programs, such as multiple mind-body offerings, encompassing traditional and cutting-edge yoga, Pilates and movement classes.

“It won’t be a restrictive, cookie-cutter, wellness experience, but a personal experience that provides tools, resources and philosophy for our guests to take home into their daily lives,” Miller said.

Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa will be under the direction of world-renowned expert in Integrative Medicine, Tieraona Low Dog, MD, who will be Willow Stream Spautilizing state-of-the-art diagnostics. Guests will have exclusive access to a team of experts specializing in various fields of complementary and alternative medicine.

“Resort guests will benefit from having easy access to services during their stay and online support long after they leave the property,” said Dr. Low Dog, chief medical officer of Well & Being. “It’s this on-going relationship that distinguishes the Well & Being program, creating a progressive wellness experience unlike any other, allowing guests to maintain their desired health/fitness plan and goals outside the resort, receiving motivation through community engagement and year-round online and local support from leading practitioners and providers.”

Guest will create their personalized profile with an iPad, and once they return back home, this online experience will include a socially-interactive, tailored e-magazine, featuring a team of wellness professionals, spa resources and personalized customer service, continuing the education, inspiration and conversation with guests year-round. The e-magazine will be available by subscription (or complimentary with select wellness packages or memberships) and delivered via computer, tablet or mobile device.

Other Willow Stream Spa Expansions, Additions

Fitness Facilities
Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa will also expand its fitness facilities, dedicating several studio spaces to yoga, meditation, tai chi and breath work. The facility will also offer a wide range of fitness equipment and programs, such as TRX Suspension Training, CrossFit, Crank Cycle and immersive Rip Surfer Classes; state-of-the art exercise technology, including Virtual Active forward-motion videos designed to diversify cardio workouts using Matrix fitness equipment; top-tier personal trainers to guide guests through a tailored fitness routine and to assist with goal-setting; and interactive, group studio sessions, which will offer an exciting selection of fitness classes for all levels.

The Boutique
As guests are heading out from a day of wellness and fitness programs, they can stop by the spa boutique, which will expand, adding a “lifestyle” shopping experience. To create the ultimate experience in skin-care pampering and maintenance, exclusive, performance-based product lines will be available, including Radical Skincare, Naturopathica, Body Bliss and Willow Stream Ener-G.

The Salon
Additionally, the spa’s salon will become a stand-alone, easily-accessible facility, directly adjacent to the spa, with a dedicated nail and pedicure lounge, and hair and makeup services. In the spa, plans also include the installation of new mud-scrub bars and rain showers in four private treatment patios.

For more information about Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, visit scottsdaleprincess.com or call (480) 585-2732.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Where: 7575 E. Princess Dr., Scottsdale
Contact: (480) 585-4848
Online: scottsdaleprincess.com
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AZ Wine & Dine

AZ Wine & Dine Makes Use Of Forks, Corks [PHOTOS]

The mission of first-ever AZ Wine & Dine on April 12 at Scottsdale Quarter, which took the place of the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association’s long-running culinary event Forks & Corks, was to highlight the distinct variety of culinary outlets at Arizona hotels, resorts and restaurants while offering a variety of wines and craft beers designed to satisfy any palette.

Judging by the more than 750 guests who enjoyed tantalizing tastes from the renowned chefs at the Four Seasons Troon North, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Montelucia, Arizona Grand Resort and many more, as well as the sumptuous sips provided by Hensley, Young’s Market Company and others, it was a mission well-accomplished.

And then some.

While the final numbers are still being tallied, organizers estimate that the event raised about $20,000 to support the Arizona tourism industry.

Arizona tourism’s impact, by the numbers:

  • 36.9 Million: Number of domestic and international overnight visitors who experienced Arizona as a travel destination.
  • $48 Million: Amount of direct traveler spending being contributed to our state’s economy every single day.
  • $2.5 Billion: Amount of local, state and federal tax revenues generated as a result of direct traveler spending.
  • $1,040: Tax revenue generated by the tourism industry lessens the tax burden by $1,040 for every Arizona household.
  • No. 1: Where the travel and tourism industry ranks among Arizona’s export-oriented industries.

According to guest feedback, among the biggest and brightest highlights of the event:

  • Live music, which was provided by The Shining Star Band
  • Silent auction, which offered amazing vacation packages from the state’s top resorts, restaurants and spas
  • “Foodie” food, including short ribs from Westin Kierland, Kobe sliders from the Phoenician, and cioppino from the Montelucia
  • Libation innovations, including Moet Champagne from Narcisse, flaming coffee drinks from La Hacienda, and sangria from New Age Winery

Based on the event’s overwhelming success, plans are already underway for next year.

For more information about AZ Wine & Dine, please visit azwineanddine.com.


AZ Wine & Dine

Photos: Cory Bergquist

 

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Conference Center - AZRE Magazine November/December 2011

Hospitality: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Conference Center

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Conference Center

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Conference Center - AZRE Magazine November/December 2011Developer: Strategic Hotels & Resorts
General contractor: Howard S. Wright Construction
Architect: kollin altomare architects
Location: E. Princess Blvd. and Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Size: 60,267 SF

A new, $25M building will provide 24,000 SF of ballroom space, 9,000 SF of meeting space and 14,223 SF of pre-function space with an additional 2,658 SF of restrooms, a 2,000 SF kitchen and 2,458 SF of BOH areas. Expected completion is 4Q 2011.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Bourbon Steak, AB Magazine November/December 2011

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess’s Bourbon Steak Impresses

If you’re superstitious, you might believe bad things happen in sets of three. If you’re an optimist, you might believe “the third time’s a charm.” Well, Bourbon Steak debunks both well-known expressions. At Bourbon Steak, each dish presented in a trio is nothing short of mouthwatering, and patrons are willing to spend the triple digits for the lavish — but well-worth-the-price — meals.

Located on the grounds of the AAA Five-Diamond Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Bourbon Steak’s dining area is engulfed with rays of natural light beaming from the floor-to-ceiling windows, exposing the outdoor patio with its sleek, steel and leather-bound décor — the interior boasting a similar industrial design. The lit candles flickering throughout, both inside and out, as well as the genuinely courteous and friendly staff gave the restaurant a warm, inviting touch.

My dinner companions and I started off the night with a trio of seasoned fries (herb-sprinkled, onion-scented and cheddar-dusted), cooked in duck fat. The fries arrived with three different dipping sauces (pickle-infused ketchup, BBQ sauce and an onion dip). Little did I know this trend of trios would become the dominant theme of the night.

We continued our meal with lemon-drizzled poached prawns; the Bibb wedge salad, with subdued Point Reyes blue cheese and touches of sprinkled bacon, avocado, croutons, tomato and onions; and the table favorite, the Foie Gras Sliders — with the liver so moist and tender, juices were not only flowing from the sliders, but also from our mouths.

However, the feast had only begun, and we realized this once our surf and turf dinner entrees began making their appearances. First up, the Tasting Trio of Beef — three types of beef perfectly paired with its individual side dish. The cast included the wood-grilled rib-eye flat with sweet, creamed corn; the flat iron steak made with American Wagyu beef, paired with soy-glazed shiitakes mushrooms; and the New York strip, also wood-grill, with smoked-onion sauteed spinach.

What makes the mesquite-grilled steaks so distinct? As our waiter Chris informed us, Bourbon Steak always cooks with natural, organic and hormone-free beef, slow-poached and cooked over a wood-fired grill. And with such attentive, patient care invested into the cuisine, it’s no wonder Bourbon Steak was the critics’ pick for best steakhouse on azcentral.com’s Best of 2011 list.

The surf portion of our dinner included the tapioca-crusted snapper, with a clean presentation and comprised of basmati, an almond crunch and a touch of sesame vinaigrette. Shortly after, the true show-stopper rolled up to the table — the Maine Lobster Pot Pie.

The lobster was tucked away beneath the crust, and as the waiter sliced open the pie, the aromas of the concoction intoxicated us, the billowing steam momentarily blinded us. We sat salivating, teased, as the waiter reassembled the lobster before us, thoroughly enjoying the presentation — especially when the green beans were delicately and playfully placed as the antennas, as the reconstructed lobster swam in a concoction of carrots, potatoes, brandied lobster cream and various other fall vegetables. Needless to say, the dish was incredible.

To round out our night, it was only fitting to order the beignets, a trio of desserts, including homemade vanilla crème brulèe, Macallan 18-year butterscotch pudding and Valrhona dark chocolate pot de crème. My personal favorite? The Valrhona chocolate custard, a red velvet cake with pecans and topped with a feather-light mousse.

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If You Go: Bourbon Steak

7575 E. Princess Dr., Scottsdale
(480) 585-4848
www.scottsdaleprincess.com/dining/bourbon-steak

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Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011