NATIONAL REPORT – Of the 35 million domestic overnight visitors Arizona saw in 2014, 19 million went to Phoenix and the central region, staying an average of 4.4 nights. As an urban hub with prime resort land nearby, Phoenix has a strong mix of city-center hotels and sprawling resorts in the suburbs. According to Lodging Econometrics’ Phoenix Market Hotel Construction Pipeline report for the second quarter of 2015, the region has 42 hotel projects in its pipeline for a total of 5,370 rooms—nine more projects than the same quarter a year ago. Eight projects are under construction, and 23 are slated to start construction within the next year. A full 33 of the projects are in the suburbs.
Lodging Econometrics reports that Marriott International has 10 projects representing 1,326 rooms in the pipeline, Hilton Worldwide has eight for 975 rooms, IHG has 11 projects for 1,294 rooms and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has one 107-room hotel in the works. Combined, these 30 projects represent 71 percent of the Phoenix market pipeline.
In May, Starwood opened the Sheraton Mesa Hotel at Wrigleyville West in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, Ariz., reportedly the first four-star resort-style property in Mesa. The property is owned by Arizona hotelier Bob Yost. The 180-room hotel has 34,000 square feet of meeting space and several restaurants.
The year-old Graduate Hotels brand has opened the Graduate Tempe across the street from the Arizona State University Tempe Campus in the former Twin Palms Hotel, part of a new brand of hotels by AJ Capital Partners. The brand operates only in college towns, and design details reflect the educational theme. The 140-room boutique hotel has two restaurants.
Marriott will get two brands in one in the downtown area next year. The Luhrs City Center Marriott is a 19-story, 320-room hotel scheduled for completion in 2016. The building will house two brands: a Courtyard by Marriott and a Residence Inn by Marriott, which will share a lobby and other amenities, such as the pool.
Westroc Hospitality and Woodbine Development Corporation are developing a new luxury resort on the former location of Paradise Valley’s Marriott Mountain Shadows Resort. Construction is under way, with a projected opening in early 2017. The new Mountain Shadows Resort will have 175 guestrooms in two buildings, an adjacent building with 31 hotel-condominium units, a restaurant and market and the rehabilitated Mountain Shadows Golf Course.
The former Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center closed in July for a summer-long renovation. The first phase of the $10-million renovation included adding a new restaurant and bar, updating the main pool and adding outdoor meeting and event space. The hotel reopened in early September as The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch, A Destination Hotel, and is owned by Cornerstone Advisors.
The 648-room Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is planning to add 102 extra rooms for a total of 750. This expansion includes three luxury suites, a new pool, Great Lawn and a new event venue. The expansion, which broke ground over the summer, will take the place of the former tennis courts. The 6,900 square-foot pool will be a simulated beach with a swim-up bar, and the Great Lawn (just off the conference center) will provide extra space for events and groups.
Notably, the resort’s original architects, Allen + Philp, along with contractor Balfour Beatty and designer Whitespace Interiors, are all involved in the project, which the hotel team expects to be completed by May 2016.
The Ritz-Carlton Phoenix closed for the summer to begin what has been described as “extensive renovations.” When it reopens in
December, the hotel will be part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Destination Hotels and Resorts is expected to manage the hotel, which is owned by Host Hotels & Resorts. The hotel will introduce 277 revamped rooms, a new restaurant and two bars, a new boutique spa, an expanded fitness center, and additional meeting space.
The Wigwam recently completed a $16-million, multiphase renovation that updated the interior décor and added a new pool complex, new restaurants and bars with al fresco dining and entertaining areas, as well as new social areas and event lawns.
The Boulders Resort & Spa also got a new name to kick off a significant renovation project. The $8-million refresh included upgrades to the 160 casitas with an updated interior design, new finishes and furnishings. As of press time, the updates were scheduled to be completed by the end of September.
In late 2014, The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, renovated its guestrooms and suites, meeting spaces, ballrooms, prefunction rooms, spa and salon, as well as its Prohibition-era bar. The multimillion-dollar renovation added new interior décor and enhanced technology while preserving the historic Frank Lloyd Wright architectural style under the guidance of interior designer Smith Firestone Associates.