You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “Keeping up with the Joneses.”

Well, forget the Joneses.

Keeping up with continued, multi-million dollar investments that Arizona’s hotels and resorts are making to enhance the guest and local resident experience each day is far more fun. Here is just a sampling of some of our hospitality industry’s latest and greatest projects of note:

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, which is Arizona’s first and only tribal casino to have an international management partner, recently completed a multi-million dollar construction project featuring renovations that touched the entire property. Among the most sweeping updates is the new 12-story hotel tower that adds an additional 230 rooms to the property, bringing the total to 529. The expanded gaming floor is also impressive, boasting live entertainment, slot machines, video poker, video Keno, statewide progressives, live action poker and Black Jack. The property also expanded its ballroom, opened a nearly 3,000-square-foot spa and updated all of its existing resort-style hotel rooms. The addition of two new restaurants, Oak & Fork, a small plate and wine bar, and Chop, Block & Brew, complete the upgrades. 

JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa

In early March, the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa completed an $8 million enhancement that includes the addition of six new pool suites overlooking the Lazy River, 12 new private pool cabanas and an exclusive poolside retreat called Griffin Bay, which features its own concierge, attendants, enhanced food and beverage offerings and VIP seating. The enhancement also includes an upgrade to the Revive Spa. As a result, Revive now boasts a nearly 3,500-square-foot fitness center, movement studio and yoga lawn. The final highlight of the upgrade: 12 pickleball courts.


The newly completed $50 million Spa at the CIVANA wellness resort is one of the largest in the Southwest. The state-of-the-art facility – part of the resort’s $50 million renovation – features 28 treatment areas, including a Watsu pool, couples’ rooms, wet treatment rooms, five facial rooms, and 13 massage rooms. There is also a communal area of hydrotherapy immersions – known as the Aqua Vitality Circuit – that includes a European-designed hot/cold walking pool, a warm therapeutic soaking pool, a cold plunge shower, and the only five-climate KLAFS SANARIUM® in the continental United States.

The Phoenician

The Phoenician has undergone one of the most impressive renovations in Arizona tourism history. The extensive, multi-million facelift has included massive enhancements to the lobby, guestrooms, pools, J&G Steakhouse and much more. It also marked the opening of the already award-winning Mowry & Cotton restaurant, as well as the debut of a new three-story spa and new two-story athletic club. In March 2019, The Phoenician Tavern opened, replacing Relish Burger Bistro to continue the resort’s trend toward a more approachable luxury that appeals to locals and resort guests alike.

Tavern Hotel

It’s been a busy few months for the bustling Tavern Hotel. Not only did TripAdvisor name Tavern, owned by the Haunted Group, as among the top 15 hotels in the United States for Romance in 2019, but the Arizona Office of Tourism named Haunted Group executive chef Michelle Jurisin – who oversees the brand’s Crema Craft Kitchen & Bar, The Tavern Grille, Pizzeria Bocce and Nic’s in Cottonwood – as among the top five female chefs to watch. On the heels of this, the Haunted Group recently announced it will invest more than half a million dollars to add a pool, fitness facility and enhanced amenities to the Tavern Hotel by year’s end.