AZ Central – Northeast Valley resorts get face-lifts for summer

This summer, the Northeast Valley will see a number of resort improvements in a variety of forms.

The area is experiencing at least eight resort-hotel improvements this summer.

They range from a $20 million conference center at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess to a $2.4 million surfing and water-boarding simulator at Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Phoenix.

Rachel Pearson, a spokeswoman for the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the trend is a positive sign.

“Resorts are always trying to stay competitive, so renovations are a normal part of the hotel cycle,” she said. “But a good indicator is that there is more financing available for these projects.”

The average daily room rate at area hotels rose 4.9 percent to about $185 in the first four months of this year, she said.

And revenue-per-available-room, a key industry metric that takes into account occupancy and daily room rate, experienced year-over-year growth of 5.6 percent to $138.62, she said.

“The tourism industry’s performance during these four months is particularly important as 50 percent of all bed-tax collections for the city are generated during this time frame,” she said. “Tourism is coming back, which is a good sign of a healthy economy.”

Paradise Valley has had at least three projects going through the process for redevelopment.

Town Councilman Michael Collins said that in recent years, Paradise Valley has tried to improve the review process for resort projects through the Planning Commission and Town Council.

The new process has been used for the redesign of the Indian Bend golf course at the Camelback Inn and a 20-room expansion at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa.

He said projects are moving through the process in a more expedited manner.

Paradise Valley relies heavily on the town’s tourism industry, with about one-third of their revenues coming from over 10 resorts.

“This town council has implemented significant measures to improve and expedite the resort plan review process and remove obstacles to timely resort redevelopment,” he said.

Summer resort improvements:

Mountain Shadows

5517 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley:

Luxury hotel and management company Solange Hotels and Resorts recently entered into negotiations with owner Robert Flaxman to brand the iconic resort and to avoid foreclosure. Resort officials have reactivated their application with the town.

Camelback Golf Club

7847 N. Mockingbird Lane, Paradise Valley:

Improvements for the 250-acre Indian Bend golf course include alternate tee-box locations, restructuring of individual holes, new and reconfigured golf cart paths, new sand traps and berms, as well as reconfigured water obstacles. The course is expected to close for construction later this month and reopen in October 2013.

Royal Palms Resort and Spa

5200 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix:

The $1.2 million renovation of the resort’s 30 Valencia casitas will include a different color and fabric palette, and new floor tile to reinforce the current Mediterranean design. Bathroom remodels also will feature built-in coffee bars and privatize water closet. In addition, the renovation will include a $250,000 fitness center expansion.

Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa

5700 E. McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley:

An expansion includes 20 new guest rooms, a multipurpose pavilion and an addition to its women’s spa.

Westin Kierland Resort and Spa

6902 E. Greenway Parkway, Phoenix:

The $2.4 million FlowRider, a surfing/water-boarding simulator, is set to open in August. The 6,000-square-foot area will include a viewing platform, seating and retail space. It can accommodate 320-480 rides per hour and holds 58,400 gallons of water.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

7575 E. Princess Drive, Scottsdale:

A $20 million conference center is set to open in October. The new 23,000-square-foot Palomino Ballroom will anchor the 52,331-square-foot space. The ballroom will feature a Southwest design with “nano” walls that open to the outdoors and the latest meeting technology, including advanced audio-visual presentations. The resort also recently completed After Dark Techno Waterslide, adding lasers, smoke, colored lights and techno music to their water slides on weekend nights this summer.

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa

7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Road, Scottsdale:

Construction on a $3.7 million family pool renovation will begin July 5. It will include resurfacing the pools and decking, remodeling the poolside bathrooms and adding a white sand beach as well as rinsing shower. The remodel will include a fresh look to the Water Garden Cafe, with retail, poolside cabanas and a new three-story waterslide.