Tag Archives: staycation

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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.

tussp_main01

JW Marriott Starr Pass offers sizzling summer deals

Escape the summer heat with a refreshing resort package at JW Marriott Starr Pass. Special summer values make Tucson a perfect destination for abundant recreation, sumptuous dining and rejuvenating spa experiences.

This summer, locals and travelers alike can take advantage of a special Advanced Purchase rate from $149 per night, per room.

Special summer rates add extra value to the resort’s renowned recreational offerings, including biking, hiking, horseback riding, tennis and golf, all set against majestic mountain views. Experience the signature collection of outdoor water features, including the Starr Canyon tubing river and the Monsoon Falls Water Slide. Relax at the elegant Hashani Spa, combining the latest in beauty and health technology with ancient traditions inspired by the indigenous people of the region. Swing into action on the 27-hole Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course, and dine at one of five resort restaurants, including the award-winning Primo.

The select Margarita Package includes overnight accommodations and two specialty, handcrafted margaritas per night from Signature Grill, Primo or Catalina BBQ Company. The package starts at $169. A limited number of packages are available, so book early! Some terms and conditions apply.

Make summer memorable with hot deals from one of Marriott’s finest resorts, JW Marriott Starr Pass.

These spectacular values require full prepayment at the time of booking, and no changes or cancellations are permitted. Tax and resort fees apply to all summer rates and packages, and credits cannot be used against the room rate, gift cards, resort fee or parking.

To learn more about summer resort savings opportunities, visit http://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-deals/tussp-jw-marriott-tucson-starr-pass-resort-and-spa/.

Hotel Valley Ho Selfie Contest - Jeff Nelson Photography Copyright

Hotel Valley Ho offers summer 2015 specials

The Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale is making it easy to take a summer staycation by offering several summer specials.

Stay2Play Package

Take advantage of Hotel Valley Ho’s best package of the summer, starting at $139 nightly. Enjoy two welcome drinks, an arrival amenity, $30 in hotel gift cards nightly, upgraded Internet access (3MB), a free dessert in ZuZu with a dinner purchase, 10% off at the VH Spa Boutique, and $20 off a poolside cabana rental Sunday to Thursday. Stay between May 5 and September 7, and make your reservation at HotelValleyHo.com or 480.248.2000.

Gift cards can be used towards purchases at any hotel outlet, and for in-room movies and private bar (cannot be used for valet parking, room rate, taxes, or gratuities). Limit one dessert per table. Valid for reservations from May 5 to September 7, 2015. Room rate may vary based on dates of stay. Base rate is for Signature Guest Room; upgrades available at additional cost. Cannot be combined with other offers, subject to availability, some blackout dates apply. Based on single or double occupancy, extra persons fee may apply. Must be 21 or older to book.

Summer Selfie Special

Book this package and get a selfie stick you can use to enter the Me, My Selfie & I contest, along with two welcome drinks, and VH Spa Mojo pricing every day. Treat yourself to select 60-minute treatments for $60 or 90-minute treatments for $90, plus service charge. Stay between May 5 and September 7, and make your reservation at 480.248.2000.

Rates vary based on dates of stay. No purchase necessary to enter contest. Must be 21 or older to book. Cannot be combined with other offers. Subject to availability. Valid for reservations from May 5 to September 7, 2015.

Me, My Selfie & I Contest

Take your best selfie and enter to win a two-night stay! There’s a new winner every week. Post a selfie of you wearing Hotel Valley Ho apparel or at Hotel Valley Ho, to Instagram, Twitter, or the Hotel Valley Ho Facebook page. Be sure to use the hashtag #HVHSelfieContest. The contest runs May 5 to September 7.

Contest Rules: #HVHSelfieContest must be included in post with the photo to enter. Photo must be of a person either wearing a Hotel Valley Ho item or at Hotel Valley Ho, taken by that person. Winner will be selected by Hotel Valley Ho and notified via social media. Winner agrees to allow the hotel to repost the winning photo on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and must obtain consent from any other persons in the photo to enter the contest before doing so. Should the photo include multiple persons, only the person who takes the photo and posts it to their account may be eligible to win. On Twitter and Instagram, the user’s account must be public in order for the image to be viewable by Hotel Valley Ho; private accounts will not allow for contest entry. On Facebook, the photo must be posted to the Hotel Valley Ho Facebook page and not as a status update on the user’s page. Winners will be notified via social media on Mondays (May 11 – September 7), based on entries from the previous week (Monday to Sunday). Winner must claim prize within 30 days of being notified or prize is void. Prize is a two-night stay in a Signature Guest Room at Hotel Valley Ho, expires December 30, 2015, black-out dates apply. No purchase required. Must be at least 21 years old to enter. Contest Dates: May 5 – September 7, 2015.

Stay Longer for Less

Book a stay of three nights or more for the best deal. Book three nights for $299, four nights for $369, five nights for $439, or six nights for $499. Stay between May 5 and September 7, and make your reservation at 480.248.2000.

Stay must be fully pre-paid at time of booking and is non-cancellable, non-changeable. Valid for one stay only, consecutive nights. Cannot be combined with other offers. Base rate is for Signature Guest Room; upgrades available at additional cost. Subject to availability, some blackout dates apply. Must be 21 or older to book. Based on single or double occupancy, extra persons fee may apply. Rates do not include tax. Valid for reservations from May 5 to September 7, 2015.

Too Cool for Pool Package

This splendid summer special is perfect for lounging poolside. Enjoy a Pool View Guest Room with views of the OH Pool or OHasis Pool, two Hotel Valley Ho pool towels, and two drinks poolside. Stay between May 5 and September 7, and make your reservation at 480.248.2000. Rates vary based on dates of stay.

Cannot be combined with other offers, subject to availability, some blackout dates apply. Based on single or double occupancy, extra persons fee may apply. Must be 21 or older to book. Valid for reservations from May 5 to September 7, 2015.

royal.palms

Royal Palms launches biggest sale of the year

Want to stay at one of Arizona’s best resorts for a fraction of the price? Royal Palms Resort & Spa has launched its biggest sale of the year. 

For one week only, guests can book stays now through December 31 and receive up to 50% off room rates and over $100 in credits.

For one week only (4/29 – 5/6), receive up to 50 percent off, plus over $100 in value.

Purchase any stay now through December 31, and receive:

  • Two $40 Alvadora Spa treatment credits per stay
  • One $25 T. Cook’s dinner for two credit per stay
  • Weekday rates (Mon – Weds) starting from $139 per night and weekend rates (Thurs – Sun) starting from $169 per night. 
  • Alvadora Spa credits are valid on regularly priced 50 minute or more massage, facial or body treatments and are not combinable. T. Cook’s credit is valid on dinner for two only. Resort credits do not include alcohol, taxes or gratuity and are per stay. Resort fee and parking are additional. Other restrictions and blackout dates may apply.
  • Promo code: ANNUALSALE
  • Book at: www.royalpalmssummer.com
Perched on the third-floor pool deck at Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix, LUSTRE is an oasis in the heart of Downtown Phoenix with sweeping views of the city skyline, fresh cocktails and seasonal menu items perfect for enjoying poolside.

Some of the best staycations for the holiday weekend

You don’t need to go away for the holiday weekend when we have the world’s most fantastic pools, luxurious spas, romantic retreats, spectacular golf courses and best restaurants right in our backyard.

You can forget about the 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 it getting to experience the best Arizona has to offer? During the summer, the rates are very low.

Hotel Palomar Phoenix
The deals: “Night on the Town” includes accommodations and $25 gift card to Copper Blues starting at $129. “$102 and a Round of Brew” includes accommodations and a round of four beers at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails. “Sweet Dreams” features accommodations, “Some Day, Some Night” children’s book by local author Jack Guinan, milk and cookies starting at $129. “Summer Getaway” offers accommodations, $10 iTunes gift card and two welcome cocktails at LUSTRE Rooftop Garden starting from $129.
To book: (602) 253-6633 or hotelpalomar-phoenix.com

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch
The deal: The Splash Into Summer package is available May 21-Sept. 3. From just $169 per night, guests get a deluxe room (50 percent off second room), free dinner in SWB for one child with each paying adult, free golf for kids ages 15 and under, 50 percent off Camp Hyatt each day for up to two children per room, and access to the resort’s 2.5-acre water extravaganza complete with 10 pools and three-story, high-speed waterslide.
To book: (480) 444-1234 or scottsdale.hyatt.com and reference rate code SSPLSH

JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
The deal: The “Fling & Swing” package starting at $169 is available May 22 through Sept. 2. The summer package includes a daily $50 resort credit, free golf on Faldo and Palmer championship golf courses (after 3 p.m. day of arrival, 11 a.m. on for remainder of stay), free meals for kids 12 and under, free access to the Family Escape Center, free in-room Wi-Fi, complimentary appetizer or dessert daily with an entree and free tennis.
To book: familyflingandswing.com/

Kimpton’s Amara Resort & Spa
The deals: Amara offers two summer packages. “Rise & Dine” includes deluxe accommodations and a $25 daily dining credit starting from $339 per night. “Relax & Recharge” features deluxe accommodations and $100 daily spa credit starting from $339 per night. Packages valid now through December 31.
To book: (928) 282-4828 or amararesort.com

L’Auberge de Sedona
The deal: For the past 3 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

Lodge on the Desert
The deal: From May 27-Aug. 14, guests can get deluxe accommodations at $99 per night with breakfast for two (plus tax). Based on availability.
To book: (520) 320-2000

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
The deal: Dive into Summer Savings with Loews Best Rate. Rates start from $99 per night, May 21-Sept. 4, and some restrictions apply. Rates are also based on availability.
To book: (800) 235-6397 or loewshotels.com

Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort
The deal: Discover refreshing pools, water slides, complimentary kid’s meals, poolside activities, dive-in movies, all-suite accommodations, themed restaurants, children’s programs, championship golf and relaxing spa services for the ultimate in summer chill time. Rates starting from $89 per room, per night.
To book: (602) 943-7752 or pointehiltontapatiocliffs.com

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain
The deal: Sanctuary offers the “For Arizonans Only” deal, which gives local residents 20 percent off the resort’s best available rate for a two-night stay or more. Guests must present a valid Arizona ID at check-in. Offer is valid June 1-Aug. 27. In addition, Sanctuary’s starting rates drop 45 percent — from $529 to $289 per night — beginning May 16.
To book: (800) 245-2051 or sanctuaryaz.com

Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center
The deal: Rates from $89, guests choose from the resort’s Stay Scottsdale, Play Scottsdale or Summer Seclusions “Kid Free Zone” packages. Available May 23-Sept. 1.
To book: (480) 991-9000 or TheScottsdaleResort.com

Talking Stick Resort
The deal: This summer, Talking Stick Resort is offering discounted hotel rates starting from $119 per night plus applicable taxes.
To book: (480) 850-7777 or talkingstickresort.com

The Boulders, a Waldorf Astoria Resort
The deal: The Boulders beckons travelers to the “cool side of the desert,” where temperatures are typically10 degrees cooler than in the valley. Seasonal rates dip to $99 per night. When booking a stay, request the “Best of Waldorf Astoria Package” and receive $50 resort reward for each night of the stay. The Truly Boulders Package includes luxury Casita accommodations, daily $15/adult breakfast credit, 20 percent off spa services, complimentary parking and golf club/tennis racquet rentals for just $159 per night, double occupancy.
To book: (480) 488-9009 or theboulders.com

The Phoenician
The deal: Book and stay between May 30 and September 1 and be entered to win a two-night New Year’s Eve stay at The Canyon Suites, Arizona’s only Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond hotel. Summer rates start at $159 per night.
To book: (480) 941-8200 or thephoenician.com/offers and reference rate code SUMMER

The Scottsdale Plaza Resort
The deal: At The Plaza, enjoy luxury accommodations from $99 per night plus a $50 food & beverage credit for any resort bar, poolside café or restaurant.
To book: (480) 948-5000 or scottsdaleplaza.com

The Scottsdale Resort
The deals: “Stay Scottsdale, Play Scottsdale Summer Package” offers rates from $89 weekdays and $99 weekends and includes accommodations, $50 food and beverage credit and weekend movie showings in the Pueblo Theater. The “Kid Free Zone” package offers rates from $89 weekdays and $119 weekends and includes accommodations, $50 food and beverage credit and Saturday and Sunday full breakfast buffet for two in the clubhouse. Casita suites available starting from $149 weekday and $179 on weekends. Summer deals available May 23-Sept. 1.
To book: (800) 540-0727 or thescottsdaleresort.com

W Scottsdale Hotel
The deal: The W lets you kick back and take it easy with two special summer packages. The Vitamin W comes with sunglasses, sunblock, beach bag, a poolside pitcher of Vitamin W and a room. The Road Trip includes a $25 gas card, overnight valet parking, a USB car charger and a room. Rates are from $160 per night and available for stays May 11-Sept. 6
To book: (877) 782-0104 or wscottsdalehotel.com/specialoffers

Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa
The deal: Get Baja Bound starting at $99, Your tropical staycation includes a discount “passport book” with savings on all restaurants, spa, tennis, horseback riding and more.
To book: (520) 297-1151 or westwardlook.com

Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino and Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino
The deal: Gila River Casinos is a great place to stay and play! From June 1-Sept. 25, guests can stay at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino and Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino for rates starting as low as $69. The best gaming, dining and night life in the valley, Gila River Casinos offers all the hottest slots and best entertainment destination all under one roof.
To book: WinGilaRiver.com

Scottsdale Resort 4

Scottsdale Resort Offers Summer ‘Stay and Play’ Getaway

Scottsdale Resort gives its guests the best of both worlds: All of the excitement that bustling Scottsdale is known for within reach, yet all of the serenity of a secluded oasis. This summer, Scottsdale Resort invites guests from near and far to “Stay Scottsdale, Play Scottsdale” with rates from $89 weekdays and $99 weekends from May 23 through Sept. 1.

The Stay Scottsdale, Play Scottsdale Summer Package includes:
• Deluxe accommodations
• $50 food & beverage credit
• Weekend movie showings in the resort’s Pueblo Theater

Once checked in to Scottsdale Resort, guests have a wide variety of activities available (or, if you prefer, lack of activities as you lounge by one of our two sparkling pools), including:
• Golf: Surrounded by McCormick Ranch Golf Club, Scottsdale Resort guests receive preferred rates and tee times for 36 holes of championship golf.
• Dining: Palm Court, award-winning fine dining; Vista Verde, casual dining at its best; Sangria’s, our lounge and billiards room serving cocktails and snacks; Vista Sol Café, to sate hunger and thirst on the go.
• Amansala Spa/Salon & Fitness Center: Our spa offers a multitude of spa services and treatments to refresh both mind and body. Our full-service salon features European skin care treatments. The Fitness Center includes four tennis courts, cardiovascular machines, treadmills, and strength training equipment.
• Bike riding/jogging: Located conveniently in beautiful McCormick Ranch, guests can go for a bike ride on our rental bicycles or go jogging along the 7-mile biking/jogging trail next to the resort.
• Scottsdale’s charm: Centrally situated in Scottsdale, guests can enjoy world-class shopping, dining, and outdoor adventure within minutes of the resort.

*Rate does not include $20 daily resort fee, taxes & surcharges. Based on availability.

For more information on the resort, visit TheScottsdaleResort.com.

Kimpton's Hotel Palomar

Palomar offers superb Staycation options

I’ve been a downtown dweller for a decade now. I’ve lived in the historic district of Phoenix since before First Friday brought in the cool kids, long before there were bars in the Roosevelt district to attract the hipsters, and well before CityScape made downtown Phoenix a destination for something other than a sporting event or employment.

So I’ve never viewed downtown Phoenix as a place to go to get away from it all. Boy, was I wrong.

I took advantage of one of the summer “Staycation options” offered by the Hotel Palomar Phoenix at CityScape. The deals run through September 8 and there are three options:

$102 and a Round of Brew: Deal includes beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, a round of four beers at Palomar’s Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails. Rates start from $102 (Rate code: BREW).

Laugh Like a Local: Life just seems a bit better when you’re laughing. Beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, two tickets to Stand Up Live. Rate starting from $129 (Rate code: LOCAL).

Downtown Discovery Family Package: Beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, choose your own adventure with two children’s tickets to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix or the Arizona Science Center, two welcome kids packs. Rates starting from $124 (Rate code: PFAM).

I’m not a big drinker, so the $102 and a Round of Brew was out. And getting away from the kids is sometimes the reason you NEED a Staycation, so the Downtown Discovery Family Package was out. Since the laughter is the best medicine, the Laugh Like a Local was the perfect pick.

We arrived at the Palomar at around 5 p.m., just in time for the evening wine hour for all guests from 5-6 p.m. It was the pefect way to start our getaway. Immediately, we were on vacation. The Hotel Palomar is as cool as it comes. It is contemporary, connected and cosmopolitan, yet comfortable and welcoming all at once.

After we checked in and put our things in our amazing room with breathtaking views of the city and South Mountain, we went to the pool and its adjacent Lustre Rooftop Garden, which has sweeping views of the city’s stunning skyline and recently underwent several upgrades in addition to launching a new menu. The new menu highlights fresh bites, juice-infused cocktails and a fun and vibrant environment where guests can play table tennis. Local, seasonal ingredients are staples of the new menu, which features leafy green salads, veggies, local and grass-fed beef, a variety of flatbreads, kombucha on tap, fresh-squeezed juices and cocktails.

We had a couple cocktails — I highly recommend the Vida Del Oro: Square One Vodka, lemon juice, carrot juice, ginger juice — and had perhaps the most amazing burger I’ve ever consumed. The Lustre burger comes with avocado, jalapeño, pepper jack cheese and cool ranch aioli. That drip you’re hearing is the drool streaming from the corners of my mouth as call upon the memory.

Lustre is the perfect escape — great food, great drinks, great service, great views, amazing music and the people watching is phenomenal. Lustre was so perfect, we almost missed the 9:45 p.m. comedy show because we didn’t want to leave.

The great thing about the Laugh Like a Local package was the the Palomar has reserved tables for guests at Stand Up Live, so there was no waiting in lines and our seats were great. As it does every weekend, Stand Up Live delivered so many laughs that our abs were sore the next day.

What would a Staycation be without sleeping in, so we stayed in bed until a little after 9 a.m. I was able to get a workout in thanks to the complimentary use of Gold’s Gym, which is adjacent to the Palomar in CityScape. After the workout, I went for a quick swim in the Palomar pool, then soaked in the enormous tub in the room.

We ended our Staycation with a highlight that has the drool flowing again. It was fitting that our brunch at the Palomar’s Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails was on Sunday morning, because it was a religious experience. The Blue Hound is a brilliant blend of modern industrial with a touch of rustic. Friends have been raving about Executive Chef Stephen Jones’ food, but it was my first visit … the first of many. Here is what we chose:
* Eggs Benny with dungeness crab, swiss chard and hollandaise on an english muffin
* Fried Chicken and Waffles with Brown family farms maple syrup

The eggs were poached perfectly, the waffles were heaven-sent (keeping with the religious theme), and the bottomless mimosas were exquisite.

Our Staycation lasted about 18 hours, but eveything the Hotel Palomar Phoenix offers —  its proximity to downtown’s shopping, dining and entertainment; the wine hour; the Blue Hound and Lustre Rooftop Garden; the third-floor outdoor pool with views of the city skyline — made it the perfect quick getaway where we were able to let everything go.

As soon as we got into the car, we both looked at each other and said at the same time, “I want to go back.”

That’s when you know a Staycation has become the perfect vacation.

Booking: www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com or 602-253-6633

Hotel Palomar_Pool Cabanas

Palomar Offers Superb Staycation Options

I’ve been a downtown dweller for a decade now. I’ve lived in the historic district of Phoenix since before First Friday brought in the cool kids, long before there were bars in the Roosevelt district to attract the hipsters and well before CityScape made downtown Phoenix a destination for something other than a sporting event or employment.

So I’ve never viewed downtown Phoenix as a place to go to get away from it all. Boy, was I wrong.

I took advantage of one of the summer “Staycation options” offered by the Hotel Palomar Phoenix at CityScape. The deals run through September 8 and there are three options:

$102 and a Round of Brew: Deal includes beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, a round of four beers at Palomar’s Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails. Rates start from $102 (Rate code: BREW).

Laugh Like a Local: Life just seems a bit better when you’re laughing. Beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, two tickets to Stand Up Live. Rate starting from $129 (Rate code: LOCAL).

Downtown Discovery Family Package: Beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, choose your own adventure with two children’s tickets to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix or the Arizona Science Center, two welcome kids packs. Rates starting from $124 (Rate code: PFAM).

I’m not a big drinker, so the $102 and a Round of Brew was out. And getting away from the kids is sometimes the reason you NEED a Staycation, so the Downtown Discovery Family Package was out. Since the laughter is the best medicine, the Laugh Like a Local was the perfect pick.

We arrived at the Palomar at around 5 p.m., just in time for the evening wine hour for all guests from 5-6 p.m. It was the perfect way to start our getaway. Immediately, we were on vacation. The Hotel Palomar is as cool as it comes. It is contemporary, connected and cosmopolitan, yet comfortable and welcoming all at once.

After we checked in and put our things in our amazing room with breathtaking views of the city and South Mountain, we went to the pool and its adjacent Lustre Rooftop Garden, which has sweeping views of the city’s stunning skyline and recently underwent several upgrades in addition to launching a new menu. The new menu highlights fresh bites, juice-infused cocktails and a fun and vibrant environment where guests can play table tennis. Local, seasonal ingredients are staples of the new menu, which features leafy green salads, veggies, local and grass-fed beef, a variety of flatbreads, kombucha on tap, fresh-squeezed juices and cocktails.

We had a couple cocktails — I highly recommend the Vida Del Oro: Square One Vodka, lemon juice, carrot juice, ginger juice — and had perhaps the most amazing burger I’ve ever consumed. The Lustre burger comes with avocado, jalapeño, pepper jack cheese and cool ranch aioli. That drip you’re hearing is the drool streaming from the corners of my mouth as I call upon the memory.

Lustre is the perfect escape — great food, great drinks, great service, great views, amazing music and the people watching is phenomenal. Lustre was so perfect, we almost missed the 9:45 p.m. comedy show because we didn’t want to leave.

The great thing about the Laugh Like a Local package was the the Palomar has reserved tables for guests at Stand Up Live, so there was no waiting in lines and our seats were great. As it does every weekend, Stand Up Live delivered so many laughs that our abs were sore the next day.

What would a Staycation be without sleeping in, so we stayed in bed until a little after 9 a.m. I was able to get a workout in thanks to the complimentary use of Gold’s Gym, which is adjacent to the Palomar in CityScape. After the workout, I went for a quick swim in the Palomar pool, then soaked in the enormous tub in the room.

We ended our Staycation with a highlight that has the drool flowing again. It was fitting that our brunch at the Palomar’s Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails was on Sunday morning, because it was a religious experience. The Blue Hound is a brilliant blend of modern industrial with a touch of rustic. Friends have been raving about Executive Chef Stephen Jones’ food, but it was my first visit … the first of many. Here is what we chose:

* Eggs Benny with dungeness crab, swiss chard and hollandaise on an english muffin
* Fried Chicken and Waffles with Brown family farms maple syrup

The eggs were poached perfectly, the waffles were heaven-sent (keeping with the religious theme), and the bottomless mimosas were exquisite.

Our Staycation lasted about 18 hours, but eveything the Hotel Palomar Phoenix offers —  its proximity to downtown’s shopping, dining and entertainment; the wine hour; the Blue Hound and Lustre Rooftop Garden; the third-floor outdoor pool with views of the city skyline — made it the perfect quick getaway where we were able to let everything go.

As soon as we got into the car, we both looked at each other and said at the same time, “I want to go back.”

That’s when you know a Staycation has become the perfect vacation.

Booking: www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com or 602-253-6633

Hotel Palomar_Pool Cabanas

Palomar offers sublime Staycation options

I’ve been a downtown dweller for a decade now. I’ve lived in the historic district of Phoenix since before First Friday brought in the cool kids, long before there were bars in the Roosevelt district to attract the hipsters, and well before CityScape made downtown Phoenix a destination for something other than a sporting event or employment.

So I’ve never viewed downtown Phoenix as a place to go to get away from it all. Boy, was I wrong.

I took advantage of one of the summer “Staycation options” offered by the Hotel Palomar Phoenix at CityScape. The deals run through September 8 and there are three options:

$102 and a Round of Brew: Deal includes beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, a round of four beers at Palomar’s Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails. Rates start from $102 (Rate code: BREW).

Laugh Like a Local: Life just seems a bit better when you’re laughing. Beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, two tickets to Stand Up Live. Rate starting from $129 (Rate code: LOCAL).

Downtown Discovery Family Package: Beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, choose your own adventure with two children’s tickets to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix or the Arizona Science Center, two welcome kids packs. Rates starting from $124 (Rate code: PFAM).

I’m not a big drinker, so the $102 and a Round of Brew was out. And getting away from the kids is sometimes the reason you NEED a Staycation, so the Downtown Discovery Family Package was out. Since the laughter is the best medicine, the Laugh Like a Local was the perfect pick.

We arrived at the Palomar at around 5 p.m., just in time for the evening wine hour for all guests from 5-6 p.m. It was the pefect way to start our getaway. Immediately, we were on vacation. The Hotel Palomar is as cool as it comes. It is contemporary, connected and cosmopolitan, yet comfortable and welcoming all at once.

After we checked in and put our things in our amazing room with breathtaking views of the city and South Mountain, we went to the pool and its adjacent Lustre Rooftop Garden, which has sweeping views of the city’s stunning skyline and recently underwent several upgrades in addition to launching a new menu. The new menu highlights fresh bites, juice-infused cocktails and a fun and vibrant environment where guests can play table tennis. Local, seasonal ingredients are staples of the new menu, which features leafy green salads, veggies, local and grass-fed beef, a variety of flatbreads, kombucha on tap, fresh-squeezed juices and cocktails.

We had a couple cocktails — I highly recommend the Vida Del Oro: Square One Vodka, lemon juice, carrot juice, ginger juice — and had perhaps the most amazing burger I’ve ever consumed. The Lustre burger comes with avocado, jalapeño, pepper jack cheese and cool ranch aioli. That drip you’re hearing is the drool streaming from the corners of my mouth as call upon the memory.

Lustre is the perfect escape — great food, great drinks, great service, great views, amazing music and the people watching is phenomenal. Lustre was so perfect, we almost missed the 9:45 p.m. comedy show because we didn’t want to leave.

The great thing about the Laugh Like a Local package was the the Palomar has reserved tables for guests at Stand Up Live, so there was no waiting in lines and our seats were great. As it does every weekend, Stand Up Live delivered so many laughs that our abs were sore the next day.

What would a Staycation be without sleeping in, so we stayed in bed until a little after 9 a.m. I was able to get a workout in thanks to the complimentary use of Gold’s Gym, which is adjacent to the Palomar in CityScape. After the workout, I went for a quick swim in the Palomar pool, then soaked in the enormous tub in the room.

We ended our Staycation with a highlight that has the drool flowing again. It was fitting that our brunch at the Palomar’s Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails was on Sunday morning, because it was a religious experience. The Blue Hound is a brilliant blend of modern industrial with a touch of rustic. Friends have been raving about Executive Chef Stephen Jones’ food, but it was my first visit … the first of many. Here is what we chose:
* Eggs Benny with dungeness crab, swiss chard and hollandaise on an english muffin
* Fried Chicken and Waffles with Brown family farms maple syrup

The eggs were poached perfectly, the waffles were heaven-sent (keeping with the religious theme), and the bottomless mimosas were exquisite.

Our Staycation lasted about 18 hours, but eveything the Hotel Palomar Phoenix offers —  its proximity to downtown’s shopping, dining and entertainment; the wine hour; the Blue Hound and Lustre Rooftop Garden; the third-floor outdoor pool with views of the city skyline — made it the perfect quick getaway where we were able to let everything go.

As soon as we got into the car, we both looked at each other and said at the same time, “I want to go back.”

That’s when you know a Staycation has become the perfect vacation.

Booking: www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com or 602-253-6633

LUSTRE Rooftop Garden at Kimpton's Hotel Palomar Phoenix.

Hotel Palomar Phoenix offers Staycation deals

As the weather warms up and Memorial Day rolls around, it’s got everyone thinking about what they’re doing and where they’re going this summer. If staying locally is in the cards, the Hotel Palomar Phoenix at CityScape offers some amazing deals.

Here are just a few of the Staycation options at the hotel this summer (mostly all packages run through the end of the year):

$102 and a Round of Brew:  Cheers to great rates! Beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, a round of four beers at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails. Runs June 1 – September 8, 2013. Rates start from $102 (Rate code:  BREW).

Laugh Like a Local: Life just seems a bit better when you’re laughing. Beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, two tickets to Stand Up Live. Rate starting from $129 (add just $10 more than the Best Available Rate for two comedy tickets. Rate code: LOCAL).

Downtown Discovery Family Package: Beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, choose your own adventure with two children’s tickets to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix –or- Arizona Science Center, two welcome kids packs. Rates starting from $124 (rate code: PFAM).

Booking: www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com or 602-253-6633

Hotel Palomar is contemporary, connected and cosmopolitan, yet comfortable and welcoming all at once. Just a few of the perks of staying at Hotel Palomar Phoenix:
* Located at CityScape Phoenix, just steps from downtown’s shopping, dining and entertainment hub.
* Hosted evening wine hour for all guests from 5-6 p.m.
* Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails.
* Third-floor outdoor pool and lounge with views of the city skyline.
* Complimentary use of Gold’s Gym Elite, adjacent to the hotel.
* Pet friendly services and amenities.

hospitality trends

Top Hospitality Trends in 2013

Gone are the days of the “staycation.” Guests are craving function over flourish, and intimate spaces rather than overbearing enclaves. The hospitality trends of 2013 are all about comfort, simplicity and high-quality experiences.

While it changes with the year, and the economy, the trends we’re seeing now are showing that the majority of people are leaving the recession behind, putting a focus on the value of travel and are looking to purchase an experience rather than an item. Below is a glimpse of what 2013 will hold for hoteliers, restaurateurs and travelers alike.

Top Hospitality Trends in 2013

Cozy vs. cutting edge

It’s no longer about which designer worked with a hotel to give it that cutting-edge design, statement furniture and bright color scheme. In our ever-busy day-to-day lives, people are craving comfort and cozy spaces, rather than a “cool” space with no functionality. Take, for example, the lush leather couches that adorn the casitas and are placed throughout Last Drop at the Hermosa; they provide a feeling of warmth and comfort, rather than being a piece of furniture that is meant to be looked at, instead of used.

Locavores unite

While celebrity chefs have come to the forefront of the hospitality industry — and TV screens — across America, guests are becoming more and more concerned with the food itself, rather than a creative presentation from a big name. The locavore movement that focuses on everything that is locally produced, raised and grown, will be — if it’s not already — a major component of the culinary mission for resort restaurants. As we have already begun here at LON’s at the Hermosa, the property’s one-acre garden provides the majority of herbs, citrus and vegetables, which are used in the LON’s kitchen, in addition to those supplied from local farmers.

Quality of experience

There is an air of optimism among guests, and 2013 is looking to be a year where travelers are back to doing exactly that: traveling. Say “goodbye” to staycations, as most people are now beginning to place a higher value on splurging in order to get a high-quality experience and a stress-free trip, rather than an item. Whether the recession shed a light on the unimportance of having more “stuff” than the next guy, I’m not sure; but there has been a shift, and the value of travel is only going up.

Personal connections

As a 34-casita resort, we may already be the epitome of having a personal connection with our guests; however, in 2013, this is where many resorts — and travelers — are headed. Social media may have a part in ushering in this trend, as guests are now used to speaking one-on-one with resorts and restaurants via Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor. Because of this, larger hotels may be scrambling to keep up in 2013, when boutique properties and bed and breakfasts are already on a first-name basis with frequenting guests.

As guests and hoteliers alike make changes per evolving tastes, the next trend is only around the corner, and 2013 will surely be a year to benefit both parties.

For more information on The Hermosa Inn & LON’s, visit hermosainn.com, Facebook, Twitter or The Hermosa Inn Blog, or call (602) 955-8614.

 

Staycation

This Summer, Relax And Spend Less With A Staycation

Spend less and relax more with a summer staycation


stay·ca·tion: nounˈstā-ˈkā-shən
Definition: a vacation spent at home or nearby

Yes, the word “staycation” was added to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary in 2009, after it gained immense popularity amidst the U.S. financial crisis, which began in 2007. Thankfully the crisis has come and gone, but the staycation remains.

For those of us that live, work and play in the state of Arizona, the opportunities for staycations abound. Be it lounging by the pool in the backyard or staying at a nearby resort for that true vacation feel, time and money are spent on rest and relaxation rather than seeing the sights of a new state. And while going to new places outside of the state are always fun, going to a place you’ve never been IN Arizona can be just as exciting. Who knew there were so many amazing places to go and things to see right in our own backyard?

A one-stop staycation that travelers often opt for is the resort. While it may be a resort that’s only minutes or an hour’s drive away from your house, packing a bag with resort wear and being “unplugged” from the stresses of daily life can make all the difference in the world.

Some of the benefits/activities of opting for a resort stay on your next staycation include:

Lounging poolside

While many Arizona residents have pools in their backyard, there’s nothing like a resort pool with a swim-up bar, similar to that at the Harrah’s Ak-Chin newly remodeled pool area, wait staff preparing your drinks so you don’t have to, or amenities for the kids, such as lazy rivers and slides.

Gaming action

For local resorts with casinos, it brings the look and feel of the Las Vegas strip directly to the guest. Harrah’s Ak-Chin and many other casino resorts in Arizona, offer everything from bingo, to slots and blackjack. Boasting the largest selection of reel and video slots (such as Clue, which allows guests to earn points by playing on the computer at home; and Hangover, an homage to the Vegas-based movie), video poker and table games from blackjack to World Series of Poker®, Harrah’s Ak-Chin is also home to the only bingo hall in the entire Caesars organization.

Spa days

A perk of some local resorts are the spas. What better way to relax than getting a massage or hot stone treatment before going out to the pool and relaxing the day away? Many resorts often offer package deals with their spas as well, so guests can receive a two-night stay, spa treatment and any other range of amenities for one bulk price rather than having to pay it separately.

For your entertainment

As I mentioned in my last column, resorts are stepping up their entertainment game. Whether it’s bringing back the oldies but goodies, highlighting local acts or bringing in the rock star line-ups, guests can amp up the fun on their next staycation by attending a variety of performances. Resorts, like Harrah’s Ak-Chin, also sweeten the staycation deal by offering these performances free of charge.

One thing to remember in the midst of staycation rest and relaxation is that too much downtime can also be draining, which is why it’s important to make the most of it by taking advantage of the amenities offered at the local resorts. And most importantly, unplug. Just because you’re still in the same state, doesn’t mean you have to check that smartphone for work-related emails. Remember that the word staycation was derived from vacation — milk it for all it’s worth.

Resorts Spice Things Up For Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and if you’re like most men you’re currently thinking, “What am I going to do this year?”

While the normal ideas — eat at the same restaurant where you had your first date/proposed/etc., cook her a special meal at home, rose petals on the bed — are always a good way to go, it says a lot when you go out of your way to impress your Valentine.

Whether you’re going somewhere neither of you have ever been before or doing an activity neither of you have ever done before, that extra effort oftentimes means the world. For those who are still at a loss, here are some ideas for Valentine’s Day:

STAYCATION

With Valentine’s Day falling on a Tuesday this year, it’s a bit hard to get time off work and head out of town; so in this case, a staycation is your best bet. Whether it’s Harrah’s Ak-Chin or one of the many other resorts throughout the Valley, there are plenty of options and packages that resorts are offering, specifically for Valentine’s Day.

For guests who are romantic at heart, Harrah’s Ak-Chin will be offering a Valentine’s Day package, including a guest’s choice of room accommodations and breakfast in bed for two ($50 in-room service food/beverage credit) per stay — with package rates starting at $129 per night and available with the offer code PLOVE.

In addition to packages such as this, many times guests can go the extra mile by asking for champagne and strawberries to be sent up to the room, have rose petals on the bed upon arrival, or any other surprises you have up your sleeve for that special someone.

WINE & DINE

When you’re eating in every night, there’s no better time than Valentine’s Day for a romantic dinner for two. Restaurants Valley-wide are offering special prix fixe menus for the evening, in addition to a set menu of dinner for two, such as the menu available at Harrah’s Range Steakhouse. The restaurant’s Surf & Turf for Two is $100 per couple and includes the following:

Course One:
Potato Encrusted Kumamoto Oysters and Classic Mignonette
Course Two:
Baby Roasted Beet and Field Green Salad with Horseradish Citrus Vinaigrette
Course Three:
Grilled Frenched Bone-in Rib eye with Garlic Butter Sautéed Shrimp
Course Four:
Raspberry Mousse

Two things to remember: 1) Dinner always goes better with drinks (be it your favorite wine or popping some bubbly in celebration of the occasion), and 2) always make a reservation, as this is one of the busiest nights of the year. To make a reservation at Harrah’s Range Steakhouse call (480) 802-5000.

DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY

When all else fails, head to the dance floor. While many men may see this as a last resort, your Valentine would be extremely impressed when asked to have the next dance. Maybe a lesson or two would be in order beforehand, but well worth it when it becomes the highlight of your Valentine’s night.

Be it jazz trio, a pianist or the Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley who will be holding a free performance at Harrah’s at 8 p.m., these smooth sounds will ultimately lead to even smoother night out.

For more information on Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort call (480) 802-5000 or visit harrahsakchin.com.
people gambling - AZ Business Magazine Sep/Oct 2010

New Resorts Are Sprouting In The Valley Despite The Shaky Economy

Arizona touts dozens of breathtaking resorts with countless amenities, but there’s still room for more. The Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler opened its doors in October 2009, and Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale opened this past April. What makes the opening of these two new resorts all the more remarkable is that they happened during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Of course no one plans to open a hotel in a tough economy, but who could have predicted this level of devastation a few years back? However, Harold Baugus, CEO of Gila River Gaming Enterprises, the driving force behind the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino, is not one to be easily deterred.

“We determined long ago that we needed a better, more sophisticated and more advanced product offering more entertainment value and better food and beverage for our clients,” he says. “In 2005, we started the process, and at that time the economy was on the upswing … but it doesn’t drive what we do. We wanted to build this product for the future of the community. The economy didn’t really play a factor.”

Steven Horowitz, director of sales for Talking Stick Resort, says the venture has proved successful so far, even in this economy.

“Hospitality demand was at its lowest during the majority of our building phase,” he says. “We were due to open when the economy would hopefully begin the cyclical upswing. That has been the case.”

Developed by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Talking Stick encompasses a 240,000-square-foot casino in a 15-story tower that houses almost 500 rooms.

Despite early encouraging signs, Horowitz does think people are continuing to be very careful about how they spend their money.

“While we feel like Talking Stick Resort is opening as the economy is beginning to rebound, some of the initial challenges during recovery would be the lack of demand for resorts, and the overall economic downturn in gaming,” he says. “For obvious reasons, people have been very careful about their discretionary income, and entertainment, until recently, hasn’t been top priority.”

Baugus says his property is competing for all discretionary dollars, not just those targeted to other hotel properties.

“We have created an overall entertainment experience for those with complete discretionary income,” he says. “We are not necessarily concerned with other facilities or casinos, but rather if people are going to take those dollars to a ballpark or the movies.”

These properties offer guests a laundry list of entertainment and luxury options. Besides gaming and lounges, Talking Stick has its signature restaurant Orange Sky, multiple pools, and entertainment venues.

“We are truly an all-encompassing entertainment destination. A guest literally does not have to leave the property,” Horowitz says.

Baugus also is proud of the options and amenities available at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino. The 10-story property has 242 hotel rooms with a 100,000-square-foot casino. It also boasts a range of dining options, including the area’s only Shula’s Steak House; a 1,400-seat entertainment venue; the AiRIA nightclub; and pool parties.

“We’ve tried to offer something for every demographic,” he adds.

The two resorts also offer plenty of meeting space for corporate or organizational gatherings. Talking Stick has 100,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting and banquet space; Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino has about 12,000 square feet of meeting space.

Along with providing world-class amenities and entertainment, the actual construction of these facilities has given the local economy a much needed boost. The opening of Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino added about 500 jobs. During construction, 1,000 workers a day were employed to complete the facility. Talking Stick Resort added 600 jobs to the economy when it opened, and employed hundreds of additional workers during its construction phases, as well.

Both Baugus and Horowitz are pleased with the resorts’ initial numbers and neither is letting the summer heat slow down that momentum. Talking Stick Resort offers regular gaming promotions and a concert series. Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino has kicked off a comedy series for the summer, pool parties and golf specials.

The Valley’s resorts are often ideal places for staycations during the summer, and both properties appear to be generating interest from the locals.
“There are so many facets of Talking Stick Resort that you just can’t see or get anywhere else, and that naturally sparks interest from folks both locally and those who are out of town,” Horowitz says.

Baugus adds: “We have had a tremendously positive response and have already seen repeat business. People were pleasantly surprised with the opening. They were not expecting this level of quality.”

    If You Go:
    Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino
    5040 Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler
    800-946-4452



    Talking Stick Resort
    9800 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale
    480-850-7777

Arizona Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Man rock climbing with another man on belay and a woman standing nearby

Courting The Locals Could Be The Key To Keeping Arizona’s Struggling Tourism Industry Viable

For years, state tourism and hospitality enjoyed a healthy dose of success. As the population boomed, so did travel, with out-of-state visitors increasing steadily from 2002 through 2007. But the recession, coupled with a decline in corporate meetings, made 2009 a very difficult year for the tourism and hospitality industry.

Arizona resorts and hotels that promoted staycations as a way to ride out the slow summer months, are now counting on them year-round to remain viable until the economy improves significantly.

“It’s not either/or; what we’re trying to communicate is that a staycation IS a vacation.”
– Debbie Johnson, Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association

“We are seeing more local and regional business to the resort throughout the entire year than ever before,” says Michael Stephens, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale. “If ever there was a time to take advantage of some really great offers in-season, this is the year.”

To stimulate in-state travel and help ease the pain of a sharp decline in occupancy, local tourism representatives are turning to residents and spreading the message about the allure of staycations.

“Staycations have been and will continue to be one of the vacation elements that many of our state residents enjoy,” says Rachel Sacco, president and CEO of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It’s such a rewarding experience. Throw something in the car and go, but you feel like you’re a million miles away.”

Industry insiders hope that by providing extra incentives and cost-saving measures to local travelers, tourism will get the boost it needs to get through the economic downturn.

“If embraced and harnessed correctly, tourism is the state’s strongest weapon against further economic woes,” says Debbie Johnson, president and CEO of the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association. “If you’re tired of the economic slump and wish you could do something about it — take a trip, go out to a restaurant, and change the way we think about companies holding meetings. It’s the best way to personally affect the economy and get us moving back in the right direction.”

And the local market is one that can be deeply mined. According to the Arizona Office of Tourism’s (AZOT) year-end summary, the second largest tourist segment was comprised of state residents, with 9.8 million overnight visitors. Although domestic non-residents still made up the largest share of overnight visitors, Arizonans logged an impressive 33 percent of the state’s domestic overnight visitors in 2008.

Industry professionals are sending the message to locals that a staycation is a cost-effective alternative to out-of-state travel — no matter the season.

“Why spend tons of time and money on flights or inflated gas prices when we have such an incredibly diverse state with attractions and amenities that other people travel the globe to experience,” Johnson asks. “It’s not either/or; what we’re trying to communicate is that a staycation IS a vacation.”

Economic Impact

In AZOT’s year-end summary it was reported that direct travel spending in Arizona in 2008 was $18.5 billion. Travel spending also generated 166,900 direct jobs paying $5 billion in earnings. The report also stated that Arizona visitors staying overnight in paid lodging accounted for 41.2 percent of all visitor spending in 2008.

“Choosing a staycation keeps hard-earned money in our state, which generates tax revenues that trickle through the entire Arizona economy,” says Jennifer Wesselhoff, president and CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce.

From the Greater Phoenix area to Tucson and Flagstaff, in-state travel is important to every county, although some rely on it more than others. According to AZOT, travel spending is more critical to the economies of Arizona’s rural counties.

To help Arizona communities and tribal entities with their tourism development and marketing efforts, AZOT is coordinating an educational outreach program called Arizona Tourism University. The university conducts free workshops on tourism topics and offers advice on marketing plans, style guidelines and more.

Last year, AZOT also partnered with the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association to launch a Web site, www.valueaz.com, dedicated to helping individuals find the best travel deals available.

“We’re trying to help our members get the word out about their great deals, and educate residents that they can and should feel good about spending their money on in-state travel,” says Johnson, who is also president and CEO of the Valley Hotel and Resort Association in addition to serving as the executive director of the Arizona Tourism Alliance.

Deals for Locals

Along with the limping economy, a sharp drop in corporate meetings since 2008 has forced resorts to diversify their brands and market staycations. To that end, hospitality establishments across the Valley and state are pushing incentives aimed at the local community.

“We have chosen to be creative in positioning ourselves with a variety of different package options,” says Michael Hoffman, managing director of the Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa.

The Boulders has created a series of adult-centered activities, including rock climbing, hiking and spa treatments, to lure Arizona’s adult community.

Even resorts that are synonymous with exclusive luxury are now a more affordable option for locals.

“The staycation enhances our business,” says David Richard, area director of sales and marketing for Starwood Hotels, a hotel and leisure company that owns the Phoenician. “(Staycations) are more important than ever in building occupancy. They serve as a catalyst for increasing business across the entire resort.”

Richard also notes that staycations allow the local community to experience the Phoenician at a much more attractive price point.

And the Valley staple is not the only high-end resort to recognize the importance of attracting residents during these dismal economic times. The Arizona Biltmore — a presence in the Valley since 1929 — also has set its sights on increasing its staycation market.

“We actually started marketing toward the Arizona market even before the downturn,” says Andrew Stegen, general manager of the Arizona Biltmore.

In addition to traditional advertising, the Biltmore has successfully utilized social media and Internet specials as a way of alerting locals about deals and promotions.

“It creates an opportunity for a lot of people to visit our resorts who in other circumstances see it as inaccessible because of price,” Stegen says.

Beginning on May 22, summer rates for the luxurious resort start at $99 a night. In addition to these reduced rates, the Biltmore offers numerous cost-saving options, including all-inclusive golf packages, spa specials and restaurant deals. Stegen is certain that with more exposure, staycations will change the way residents view travel.

“It’s helped us introduce a great luxury product to people who have not thought of us as a vacation destination before,” he asserts.

The Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa also has developed many promotional efforts focusing on staycations. Special deals are e-mailed exclusively to individuals who follow the resort online.

“The value is so great right now,” says Michael Surguine, general manager of the Sanctuary. “(With a staycation) you wind up getting a lot more vacation hours for your buck.”

Another resort offering incentives to residents is the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch. Last year, the resort launched its Shades of Summer program, which offered deals to families, including free meals, Camp Hyatt activities for kids and giveaways. The resort is planning to have similar incentives this summer.

“Our success was really built on adding value,” aknowledges Michael Stephens of the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale. “I will say that the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale has never been this affordable all year round than this year.”

Arizona Amenities

Thanks to the deals now being offered at local hotels and resorts, Arizonans can take advantage of the state’s abundant natural endowments. According to AZOT, exploring the state’s wonders is one of the top activities for resident travelers. Overnight residents were more likely to take part in hiking or backpacking — 15.1 percent versus 11.4 percent for overnight, non-resident tourists. Residents also led the pack in camping and fishing activities.

“Our diversity offers everything from the desert, lush forests, riparian terrain and mountains, to lakes and streams, and some of the most beautiful backdrops in the Southwest,” says Wessellhoff of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce.

Wessellhoff adds that while staycations help Arizonans save money, they also allow residents to experience things they typically take for granted or simply never had time to fully appreciate before.

Heather Ainardi, director of the Flagstaff Convention & Visitors Bureau agrees: “In economic downturns, people often look for more ‘real’ and natural experiences, and Arizona is very well positioned to offer travelers an authentic experience.”

The Future of Staycations

While the economy begins its slow trek back, staycations remain a viable option for local individuals and families looking for a special travel experience at affordable prices.

More importantly, it is this type of local travel that can stimulate the hospitality industry and help it survive the recessionary downturn. From Phoenix residents escaping the summer heat of the Valley for a cooler retreat in Flagstaff or Sedona to Tucsonans heading to the Valley’s golf resorts and restaurants — every destination has something to offer local travelers.

“Regardless of the economic climate, or perhaps because of it, people will want to get away from it all and enjoy some leisure time,” says Richard of Starwood Hotels.