What’s New in Greater Phoenix?
June 2012


  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s new automated PHX Sky Train takes first journey.
  • Summer is here, so take advantage of the many deals at various resorts.
  • Celebrate Father’s Day with restaurant specials and resort packages offered at several Valley properties.

The PHX Sky Train achieved another major milestone as Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton sent Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s new automated train on its first official journey May 14. The PHX Sky Train traveled on the track between the East Economy Parking train station and its maintenance facility. The electrically-powered, automated PHX Sky Train will transport travelers between the regional light rail system, Sky Harbor’s largest parking area and Terminal 4, which serves 80 percent of the Phoenix Airport’s passengers. The train is set to provide service to  passengers beginning in 2013.  The PHX Sky Train will run 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and will be free of charge.  In future stages, the PHX Sky Train will also serve all of Phoenix Sky Harbor’s terminals by early 2015 and will continue to the Rental Car Center by 2020.

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Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix at CityScape celebrates its June 5 opening with a special offer for the entertainment lover: the “$139 and $25 to Dine” package. The “$139 and $25 to Dine” package combines a chic, cosmopolitan deluxe room with a $25 credit to use in Kimpton’s new American gastro lounge, Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, or to enjoy in-room for a leisurely breakfast in bed. “$139 and $25 to Dine” is available from June 5 to Sept. 3, starting from $139 per night, and is based on availability.Pointe Hilton Resorts are cooling down the summer with great offers for Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak andPointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs. In addition to a host of family activities such as Dive-In Movies, pool activities and games, relaxing spa treatments, golf and more, the Pointe Hilton Resorts are offering a range of “suite” summer deals including the “Summer Splash” and “Back to School” promotions. Available for stays between May 29 and Sept. 8, book at least seven days in advance to take advantage of the Pointe Hilton Resorts’ “Summer Splash” offer: suites at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort start at $89 a night, while suites at Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort start at $109 a night. Or, guests can have one last splash into summer savings in August with the Pointe Hilton Resorts’ “Back to School” offer: suites start from $65 a night at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort and just $75 a night at Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort when booked before June 30.The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa is celebrating its 10th Anniversary with a special “10 for $10” Celebration Package. The “10 for $10” Celebration Package offers the best way to experience all that The Westin Kierland has to offer with unprecedented savings on 10 signature Resort experiences. Book a stay and choose one of the following experiences per night purchased: $10 Signature Manicure at Agave, the Arizona Spa; $10 Signature Pedicure at Agave, the Arizona Spa; $10 Round of Golf at Kierland Golf Club; $10 Organic Spray Tan (25-minute) at Agave, the Arizona Spa; $10 Bubbles n’ Brunch for Two at Nellie Cashman’s (Sundays only); $10 Kid’s Club (full day session with lunch) for one child; $10 Tasting at deseo orNellie Cashman’s: choice of one appetizer, one entrée, and one dessert; $10 Pool Eats at J. Swilling’s Pool Bar & Grill: choice of two appetizers and two main dishes; $10 for $60 shopping credit at Kierland Golf Club Pro Shop or Agave Spa boutique; or a $10 room amenity: Signature Fruit Basket with Wine and Cheese. Rates are available from $159 per night for stays this summer, May 25th – September 4th, 2012.Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa has summer planned for the whole family, partnering with theLEGO Store at Chandler Fashion CenterSEA LIFE Arizona and LEGOLAND California Resort to offer this summer’s greatest family getaway in Arizona! Mom and Dad can spend their days enjoying a cool cocktail by the pool, pampering at the resort’s Native American inspired Aji Spa or teeing off on a Troon Golf course, while junior guests enjoy the “Building Fun Under the Sun” Family Weekend Camps. Join the resort for a fun-filled weekend of family programming, including a LEGO build session complete with races, trivia and a loose-brick-build-a-thon, presentations and interactive stations from SEA LIFE Arizona, Cinema Splash, Native American Storytelling and Song, a junior guest buffet and much more. . These family camps will be offered select weekends at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, June 15 through August 10, 2012, with rates from $149/per night. Reservations are required.

In honor of its more than three months of the “Hollywood & Wine” festival, the Arizona Biltmore will offer its lowest room rates of the year through Labor Day weekend. A special summer offer, Buy 2 nights, get 1 night free, is available from May 24, 2012 – September 4, 2012. The “Hollywood & Wine” festival is themed entirely around Hollywood in celebration of the Biltmore’s enduring connection to Tinsel Town, and will feature: celebrity bands in concert, movie screenings, special wine tasting weekends hosted by celebrity winemakers, classes on winemaking, wine barrel painting, live theater productions, a complete kids program that includes Splash Cinema dive-in movies at the pool, kids cooking classes, an Imagination Emporium studio for arts & crafts and much more.

Enjoy a summer lovin’ getaway for the young and young at heart with the “Family Fling & Swing” package atJW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa—perfect for Father’s Day! Starting at just $149, this summer package is back due to popular demand and includes: a $50 daily resort credit, free golf on Faldo and Palmer championship golf courses, free meals for kids 12 and under at Blue Sage, free daily appetizer at Meritage Steakhouse, free in-room Wi-Fi, 10% off retail purchases in the resort’s Marriott outlets, complimentary parking, and no resort fee. The “Family Fling & Swing” package is available June 3 through September 5, 2012.

The Royal Palms Resort and Spa is offering savvy summer savings with its “99 Hot Dates of Steaming Rates.” From May 16 – September 10, 2012, valid Sunday through Thursday, Arizona residents can enjoy the graciousness and sophistication of a Mediterranean villa for just $129, when combined with one of the following steamy summer specials: $99 Alvadora Spa treatment, $99 T. Cook’s dinner for two, or $99 Cabana rental. For just $99, enjoy your choice of any 50-minute treatment, ranging from a stone massage to a signature facial, select a favorite appetizer, entrée and dessert from Executive Chef Lee Hillson’s special dinner menu, or relax poolside in the luxury of a privately curtained cabana, complete with a cooling ceiling fan, extra-luxurious chaise lounges and a choice of several refreshing snacks. Though all of the dining and spa summer specials can be enjoyed singularly, combined with the ultra hot room rate, the savings absolutely sizzles with 50% off upgrades.

Buttes, a Marriott Resort, has changed its company name to Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes. Sitting atop a 25-acre Valley landmark, Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes welcomes guests to experience the desert in luxury with stunning mountainside views and the use of its swimming pools, water slide, Narande spa, fitness center, and tennis and volleyball courts.

A memento of love will bloom anew each year for couples who say “I do” at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain. Located appropriately on the Paradise Lawn, the Love Garden—a new signature element of the Sanctuary wedding experience—will eventually fill with colorful blossoms, each commemorating a wedding held at the award-winning Scottsdale resort. And for every bulb planted in the garden, the resort will send a matching bulb to the bride and groom to plant at home, complete with instructions for its care. Sanctuary horticulturist Jeff Sweeney has selected three flowers for the Love Garden, each of which grows from a bulb. They include calla lilies, whose white, feminine blooms have long been associated with weddings and the qualities of purity, faith and devotion; brightly colored dahlias, symbolic of commitment; and delphinium, whose deep blue flowers represent an open heart and devotion. With exclusive weddings held at Sanctuary each year (and no two at the same time), Sweeney anticipates adding a new bulb to the garden almost every week.

Hotel Valley Ho – the perfect place to relax poolside with live music on the weekends – is offering low rates all summer long. Through Labor Day, enjoy up to a 60% savings from high season rates with rates starting at just $119 Sundays and Mondays, $139 Tuesdays through Thursdays, $149 Fridays, and $159 Saturdays. Room rates include use of the 24-hour, state-of-the-art fitness center; movement studio; steam rooms; and the OH Pool. Or, take advantage of the “Suite Deal,” which offers Executive Suites starting at just $299, and Tower Suites starting at $299 per night every Sunday through Friday and $399 on Saturdays. The exclusive, two-story Loft Suite starts at only $449. Suite rates are available through Labor Day (September 3, 2012).

Make the most of summer with the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess and the new “Playcation Family Package.”  This AAA Five Diamond getaway is the perfect playground for kids and adults alike, splashed with sensational saving. The “Playcation Family Package” includes: a guaranteed adjacent room at 50 percent off, two Kid’s Resort Dining Passes, two full-day passes to attend Bobcat Billy’s Clubhouse for kids (ages 5-12), one complimentary court time session at the Tennis Center for the entire family, complimentary access for two adults to Willow Stream Spa facilities, and complimentary self-parking. The “Playcation Family Package” is valid through September 5, 2012, with rates beginning at $179 per room, per night.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain is offering guests 20% off with the “Summer Escape” promotion when they book 30 days in advance, now through Labor Day weekend. In addition, for Arizona residents only, the resort is offering 15% off when booking a two-night stay or more from June 1 – September 17, 2012.

The Gila River Indian Community’s (the “Community”) Council awarded a contract to Tutor Perini Building Corporation to begin construction on the Gila River Gaming Enterprise’s new Vee Quiva Casino. The new Vee Quiva Casino is expected to cost approximately $135 million and will feature an expansive 70,000 square foot casino; over 900 slot machines; 50 table games, including a poker room; 750 seat bingo hall; three-story hotel with 90 tastefully appointed rooms that will boast a fitness center, pool and over 3,000 square feet of banquet space; two lounges including a premium Players Club Lounge; and 2,800 total parking spaces including a 1,000 space covered parking garage. These amenities will be combined with a wide variety of dining options, including: a food court, coffee kiosk, signature restaurant and a dining option that will remain open all day, Construction is scheduled to begin this June and will take place just south of the existing Vee Quiva Casino’s footprint. The current casino will remain open and operational during construction until the new Vee Quiva Casino & Hotel opens in the summer of 2013.

Send dad to Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North for a “Barbecue Basics” class, where he will learn the secrets of sauces, rubs, and grilling techniques just in time for Father’s Day.  The Barbecue Basics class will be held on Saturday, June 16, 2012.  Participants will enjoy cold beer from a local brewery, specialty cigars rolled onsite, and of course, demos of sauces, rubs and techniques by Executive Chef Mel Mecinas and Executive Sous Chef Jesse Hansen. Guests will enjoy barbecue fare after the demonstration, as well as homemade ice cream and whiskey floats.  Each guest receives a takeaway recipe book, sample sauces and rubs, and a cigar to enjoy while grilling at home with their family.  Participants can choose to extend the fun with an overnight stay Saturday, June 16, or Sunday, June 17, 2012. Weekend summer rates start at just $179 per night, and the cost for the class is $75 per person. Reservations are required.

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The Desert Botanical Garden invites visitors to join its evening flashlight tours –As the nights cool down and desert critters come out to play, use your senses as you see, hear and feel the desert night with a self-paced stroll along the Garden’s Desert Discovery Trail. Along your stroll, you will encounter 10 different discovery stations where you get to experience diverse plants and animals native to the desert. The flashlight tours take place every Thursday and Saturday evening from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. until September 1, 2012. This experience is perfect for guests of all ages and group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more.The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) opens a new exhibit dedicated to the beloved genre of jazz. The exhibit currently open is located in the museum’s United States/Canada gallery, and houses some of jazz history’s most noteworthy instruments – This is one of the largest genre exhibits at the museum. The jazz exhibit includes approximately 20 instruments, many played by jazz greats, as well as original, unreleased performance footage of Stanley Turrentine, Herbie Mann, and Lewis Nash from Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. Some highlights from the exhibit include a cornet played by Louis Armstrong, clarinet played by Benny Goodman, trumpet played by Harry James, drum set played by Lewis Nash, and guitar played by Charlie Christian.To celebrate Arizona’s Centennial and more than a quarter century of cultural achievements by the Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission, the City of Phoenix has opened “The Gallery @ City Hall,” a newly renovated gallery on the first floor of City Hall. The gallery, open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., is free to the public and features key works from the city’s nearly 100 years of collecting art. The current exhibit, “Place: Images of the West,” features 23 works of art including paintings, photographs and prints that highlight the landscape-inspired vision of artists working in the west.In recognition of National Independents Week, Local First Arizona will honor locally owned, independent businesses from July 1 – July 7, 2012. Known fondly as ‘Indie Week,’ this weeklong celebration will be filled with festive events and a special “Golden Coupon” offer which is good for 20% off purchases from hundreds of locally owned establishments, including auto repairs, home furnishing stores, florists, restaurants, yoga studios and nurseries.

An old friend is being welcomed back to the Mill Ave neighborhood – after being closed for nearly 15 years, the historic Hayden Flour Mill has reopened to the public. Tempe City Hall and Mayor Hugh Hallman took up the cause and renovated the facility with private and public sector dollars. The public is encouraged to take a step back into history and tour the facility that was built in the late 1800s.

The third annual Southwest Ambulance Arizona Celebration of Freedom, the state’s “coolest independence festival,” is being held this year in downtown Mesa on Friday, June 29 and Saturday, June 30 on Main Street. The event will feature more than a dozen “cool zones,” “family fun zones,” live country and rock and roll music on multiple stages, numerous patriotic displays, Heritage Lane, a classic car show and the Chicago Cubs Salute to America fireworks extravaganza. In addition, this year the festival is introducing “Motorcycle Mania,” a new event for motorcycle enthusiasts.

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The Boulders Resort, home to one of Golf magazine’s “Top 10 Golf Courses,” is offering exceptional summer values and golf instruction at the Boulders Golf Academy.  New for summer is the “Family Golfers Guide”—ideal for families, new golfers or golfers who need help with approach shots—which allows participants to play the new and innovative “Pebble Tee’s” with hole lengths between 60 and 200 yards with tees.  The “Summer Bonus Golf Series” is perfect for the avid golfer to build consistency in the game and it includes added value. “Summer Vacation Fix” includes two days of instruction (a total of 4 hours), personalized full swing diagnosis; short game finesse shots; and two 9-hole rounds.

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In order to help with the physical and psychological ailments of daily stress, the Golden Door Spa has introduced a new “Desert De-Stress Package,” including a vacation package and meditation classes. The package includes a 50-minute therapeutic massage, 50-minute Vitamin C facial, and a relaxing lunch at the Spa Café.  Additionally, the Spa has expanded its meditation sessions so guests can take advantage of a variety of programs designed to help them address stress in their lives.  In private meditation, guests learn techniques for stress reduction, including visualization and connection of the mind, body and spirit.  Meditation takes place in the Spa’s labyrinth, the organic garden, on a meditative walk or in the Spa’s authentic Tipi – a structure that stands 18 feet in diameter and 26 feet in height and is used for guided meditation sessions by the Spa’s resident “shamanic ceremonialist”.  Astrological Soul Readings and the Spa’s Wellness Series presented by a Buddhist Monk are other programs offered at the Golden Door Spa that can help ease stress and promote spiritual healing and wellness.

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Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails at CityScape Phoenix has announced the newest “bar star” to the team mixologist Shel Bourdon – to spearhead one of the state’s most ambitious cocktail programs at the soon-to-open restaurant. A 24-year old protégée deemed one of the top five female mixologists in Los Angeles by Urban Times before relocating to the desert last July, Bourdon took Scottsdale by storm, earning considerable local and national attention as the winner of the Last Slinger Standing Ultimate Shake Off competition during February’s Arizona Cocktail Week. Bourdon’s menu will be an integral part of Blue Hound’s gastro lounge concept, treating Phoenix restaurant-goers to artfully designed cocktails paired with Chef Stephen Jones’ contemporary American shared plates. Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, located at Hotel Palomar, is set to open in June 2012.Downtown diners will have yet another local restaurant favorite to frequent this summer as CityScape Phoenix prepares to welcome Fuego CityScape. Opening its doors the first week of June, Fuego CityScape will offer modern Mexican cuisine with a colorful, vibrant atmosphere and a casual yet intimate vibe. The menu will highlight local ingredients and small plates of Mexican favorites including quesadillas, nachos, and Fuego’s award-winning Pernil tacos with mango salsa. A variety of lunch options will include sliders and the Sangria Salad. On the cocktail menu, look for Fuego’s esteemed house-made sangria and craft mojitos. Fuego CityScape will offer happy hour food and drink specials from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and all day on Saturday.Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa makes it easy to show your dad that he’s a hero this Father’s Day by spoiling him with two things he is sure to love: your time and a delicious meal.  The resort is offering guests a special Father’s Day brunch prepared by award-winning Executive Chef, Michael O’Dowd. The brunch will take place Sunday, June 17 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. in the resort’s Ko’Sin restaurant, and offers indoor seating at $39 per adult, $35 for seniors, $20 for children 5-12 years old and is free for children four and under. Reservations are recommended for this special event.The signature Top of the Rock Restaurant at the famed Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes celebrates Valley fathers on Saturday, June 16, and Sunday, June 17, with a “Pork and Porter’ special in honor of “dear old dad.” Diners can enjoy the “Pork & Porter for Pops Deal” for only $29.99, in addition to other signature menu items.

Take a day off this Father’s Day and bring Dad to Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse for a “Free Steak Dinner and a Show.” Dads are invited to indulge in Executive Chef Jon Andersen’s Jack Daniel’s Prime Rib, or upgrade to a 12oz. Prime Rib for just $5. Dads can also “get the boot” with Rawhide’s 24oz. Souvenir Boot Mug of ice cold Rawhide beer priced at $6—the perfect gift to celebrate this special occasion.  After dinner, Dad can enjoy a free action stunt show in the Six Gun Theater, or play in the “Daddy Daycare,” where he can shoot some pool and continue the celebration at Belle’s Saloon while the family shops and plays in town. Free Steak Father’s Day will be available Sunday, June 17 from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at Rawhide Steakhouse.  Reservations are recommended.

The Center Stage Bar at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa is doing its part to help “save our planet” by introducing its new “Wines on Tap,” offering a wine product that is at its peak, right from the barrel and into the keg. With wine on tap, there is no waste; there are approximately 26 bottles worth of wine in a keg, which saves more than two cases worth of glass, cork, cartons and labels. Empty kegs are returned for washing, sterilization and refilling, and there is a short travel time in temperature controlled containers. Offering quality, value and a sensitivity to our environment, the “Wines on Tap” is a welcomed complement to the bar’s 375-label Wine Spectator award-winning wine list. The current offerings include: Gotham Project – Columbia Valley, Washington and Monterey, California; Copain – Mendocino, California and Imprint Cellars – Alexander Valley, California.

Choose from a cheese dinner, Champagne and other sparklers, or a blind tasting where your palate is the guide as “Taste Talavera” returns this June at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. With a series of specialty events sure to liven up the dog-days of summer, Talavera announces the following line-up for the summer 2012 series: Guest Chef Lee Hillson of T. Cook’s and Featured Four Seasons Signature “Iconoclast” Wine on June 29, 2012; Cheese Dinner on July 28, 2012; Champagne/Sparkling Wines on Aug. 25, 2012; and a Blind Tasting on Sept. 29, 2012. Each “Taste” evening features a four-course tasting menu highlighting the guest spirit maker, winemaker, or star ingredient.  The flow-style evening allows patrons who wish to dine on the à la carte Talavera menu to do so, even if their tablemates choose the “Taste” option. The cost for each “Taste” evening varies, from $65 to $95.  Reservations are required for seating at “Taste Talavera” dinner or the series.

Arizona’s only AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star restaurant, Kai at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, ushers in summer with a new “Essence of Summer” menu. Designed to celebrate its local followers by offering an affordable dining experience at only $65 per person, the specialty three-course menu features a few of Kai’s signature items: start with chilled heirloom tomato gazpacho, move on to the grilled tenderloin of buffalo and conclude with rare chocolate pudding from the Bolivian rainforest. All three dishes, as well as the many intermezzo courses that come standard in Kai, are offered for a limited time at $65 per person. This special menu will be available June 1 – July 28, 2012 every night that Kai is open.  As an additional perk, guests are invited to order a corresponding wine-pairing for only $15 per menu. Reservations are required. This offer is not valid with any other promotion, does not have a per-table minimum requirement and menu items cannot be substituted.

Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group is pleased to announce the opening of its third Del Frisco’s Grille coming June 9th to the Esplanade. Del Frisco’s Grille is a new concept for the Texas-based restaurant group, also known for its award-winning brands Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House and Sullivan’s Steakhouse. The new-kid-on-the-block Grille concept combines a comfortable and social atmosphere with exciting cuisine, an expansive wine list and hand-crafted cocktails. Welcoming guests with genuine hospitality, Del Frisco’s Grille takes the classic bar and grill to new heights, with Executive Chef Kevin Wemlinger’s menu featuring a selection of appetizers, innovative flatbreads, hearty salads, fresh selections from the sea, two-fisted sandwiches and “knife and fork” entrees, as well as Del Frisco’s award-winning Jumbo Lump Crab Cake and renowned signature hand-cut prime steaks. Del Frisco’s Director of Wine, David O’Day, has crafted a mammoth wine list with more than 400 selections. For those looking for something other than wine, Del Frisco’s Grille will feature a selection of hand-crafted cocktails, such as the Apt. 5D, skinny cocktails and signature shots on tap, like the Honey Badger. The bar will also feature a curated selection of draft and bottled beers including local favorites and sought-after craft beers. Del Frisco’s Grill will occupy 7,379 square-feet of space, plus an additional 3,000 square-feet of rooftop patio and bar space.  The restaurant opens to the public on June 9th with daily lunch and dinner service.

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For more information on any of these events or updates, please contact the
Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau Media Department.


Media Contacts:

Douglas MacKenzie
Director of Communications
(602) 452-6250

Trish Hendrickson
Communications Coordinator
(602) 452-6249




Maralyn D. HillThe Epicurean Explorer

President, International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association

Editor-at-Large, CityRoom

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