Scottsdale's Extreme Makeovers

By local contributor
Scott McGinty

From multimillion-dollar renovations at Scottsdale’s most popular meetings resorts to new properties coming online, there’s always something new for groups in Scottsdale. Here’s a quick look at what’s been happening – and what’s to come – in the Southwest’s premier meetings destination.

What’s New Now

The Boulders Resort & Spa recently celebrated its 30th birthday by gifting itself some pampering. In December 2015, the Rhode Island-based design firm DiLeonardo completed a multimillion-dollar makeover with new architectural elements and color schemes that embrace the resort’s indigenous roots and Old West charm. The 160 casitas boast new furnishings and a new palette of earthy desert tones, as well as upgraded fixtures in the bathrooms. The property’s meeting spaces, bar lounge and Palo Verde restaurant also received upgrades. The Boulders’ inspired desert setting and 50,000+ total square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and function space make it ideal for groups looking for a spacious, secluded setting.

Come summer 2016, one of Scottsdale’s favorite resorts, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess will boast an additional 102 guest rooms, including three luxury suites, for a whopping total of 750 rooms. The resort’s original architects, Allen + Philp, returned for this major endeavor, but the resort is not just adding rooms. This summer, groups can dive into the all-new Sunset Beach, the largest of the six pools at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. The renovation also includes the new Great Lawn, a 35,000-square-foot outdoor function space, and the expansion of the Princess’ 1880s Western town venue, which will be renamed Copper Canyon and feature two saloons, an outdoor stage and dance floor, a blacksmith shop and jail.

Corporate execs can now book a relaxing retreat at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa’s newly unveiled Spa House. As a part of a $10 million room overhaul and renovation, the resort converted one of its private residences into a spa and wellness compound perfect for small groups. The Spa House offers a private workout studio, pool, sauna and tennis court. The resort also debuted its new Camelback Casitas and Camelback Suites, marking the property’s first major room overhaul since its opening in 2001. These mountainside rooms overlooking Paradise Valley will boast contemporary, elegant décor, including tile flooring, wood furnishing and light, neutral color palettes.

As part of its 80th anniversary, the historic Hermosa Inn recently unveiled new looks to the valet area, lobby, guest rooms and casitas. Additional initiatives to commemorate the monumental year include a photo contest from guests’ experiences, an 80th anniversary package and a new arts program in partnership with the Phoenix Art Museum titled “Conversations in Fashion.” This new series was created as a design-focused, cocktail hour to feature select artists from the museum’s Arizona Costume Institute’s program of events. Hermosa Inn’s luxurious Western ambiance and intimate meeting rooms are ideal for small groups and executive board retreats.

In late 2015, the former Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center debuted as The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch, A Destination Hotel following a $10 million transformation. With a Mexican hacienda-inspired theme, the renovation introduces a new color palette and furnishings, and amplifies the hotel’s group offerings by transforming four tennis courts into a 10,000-square-foot outdoor lawn showcasing views of Camelback Mountain and accommodating up to 1,200 people. With nearly 60,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space and a prime central Scottsdale location, the property offers the perfect spot for a conference or corporate retreat.

Another long-time favorite, Chaparral Suites Scottsdale, will soon emerge from a $20 million top-to-bottom renovation under the Embassy Suites flag. All guest rooms and public spaces, as well as the property’s 50,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting and event space, are being renovated and refreshed. A wine bar will grace the expanded lobby and a new restaurant concept, under the direction of Executive Chef John du Toit, will debut in place of the 4th Floor Grill.

Coming Soon

Under the heading of “you can never have too much of a good thing,” we’ll leave you with a sneak peek at three new luxury resorts that scheduled to make their Scottsdale debuts within the next two years.

First in this lavish lineup is Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, slated to open in September 2016. As with other Andaz properties, the Scottsdale resort will immerse guests with experiences indigenous to the location. Already the resort has announced a partnership with nearby artist compound Cattletrack, the longtime home and studio of some of the Southwest’s most notable artists such as Philip Curtis and Fritz Scholder. Drawing inspiration from greats like Alexander Girard, Frank Lloyd Wright and Paolo Soleri, the property’s interior will feature mid-century, desert designs that pay homage to the 1950s. Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa will include 201 bungalow-style guest rooms, a full-service spa and salon, and more than 20,000 square feet of meeting and event spaces.

In January 2017, Westroc Hospitality, which owns Hotel Valley Ho and manages Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, is rolling out the red carpet for a new resort in the coveted Paradise Valley locale. Hotel at Mountain Shadows is taking over the former spot of Marriott Mountain Shadows Resort nestled between Camelback and Mummy mountains. The 183-room, full-service boutique hotel will have a lounge, restaurants and a 5,000-square-foot fitness center. In addition, the project includes the redesign of neighboring Mountain Shadows Golf Club.

Rounding out our trio of newcomers, the Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley recently received the green light to begin construction and is expected to open by the end of 2018. This 200-room, new-build property will have it all – spectacular views of Camelback Mountain, modern, chic interiors, North America’s longest pool (just over 400 feet) and a location that’s only minutes from downtown Scottsdale. Other property attributes include meeting spaces, a 20,000-square-foot spa and a garden with a citrus orchard.