Reise: Arizona speed dating

flag-usaARIZONA: der 48. Bundesstaat im Südwesten der USA

Am 27. Mai 2016 lud Arizona Office of Tourism zu einem Destinations-Speed-Dating für Reisejournalisten in das Le Meridien Hotel München ein. Hier bot sich Gelegenheit, sich in zehnminütigen Sequenzen in die einzelnen Regionen des facettenreichen 48. Bundesstaats im Südwesten der USA zu verlieben – in Arizona. Der einmalige Grand Canyon, die legendäre Route 66, der echte Wilde Westen mit seinen amerikanischen Ureinwohnern und atemberaubenden Naturwundern, sind nur wenige der zahlreichen Attraktionen, die jeder schon irgendwann einmal gesehen hat – jedenfalls als Abbildungen.

SedonaCathedrlRckDas völlig neuartige Konzept der Destination-Präsentation: „Speed Dating“ hat was. Man bündelt die Zeit und kann zum Ende kommen, falls es sich hinzieht, sobald die Glocke erklingt. 6 Vertreter standen Rede und Antwort.
Arizona Office of Tourism: Kimberly Todd
Visit Tucson: Mary Rittmann
Scottsdale CVBLaura McMurchie
Visit Phoenix: Douglas MacKenzie
Visit Mesa: Michelle K. Streeter
Das Flagstaff CVB: Joanne Hudson
Speed-Dating-Organisatoren vor Ort: Marcus Feuerstein (Arizona Office of Tourism) & Axel Kaus (Kaus Media Services)

Resorts, Hotels & Spas

Greater Phoenix and Central Arizona

Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Downtown Opens
Hilton Garden Inn recently opened (December 2015) in a landmark building in downtown Phoenix that is on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1931, the building’s original limestone facade features classic Art Deco embellishments along with original bronze work above the main doors. The building has been entirely renovated and restored to its original artistry complete with a two-story grand lobby where modern design seamlessly mixes with Art Deco. Its location, in the heart of the city, is conveniently close to sporting venues and entertainment districts, as well as business and government offices.

Andaz Resort & Spa to Open
Hyatt Hotels Corp. announced it will be opening the Hyatt-affiliated Andaz Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley, with an anticipated mid-2016 opening. The resort will include 201 guestrooms and suites, ranging in size from 350 to 500 square feet configured in bungalow-style clusters of six units each; private terraces, including some with outdoor showers; a large pool and sundeck with a luxurious 12,000-square-foot spa facility and a fitness center; and more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and event facilities. The resort will be designed in the „1950s desert art“ style, drawing inspiration from designers like Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Boulders Resort & Spa Undergoes Extensive Renovation
In April 2015, The Boulders Resort & Spa joined the Hilton Curio collection of distinctive upper upscale and luxury hotels. The luxury resort, set among 1,300 acres of Sonoran Desert north of Scottsdale, has recently finished (December 2015) a significant renovation project. As part of the renovations, the property upgraded casitas, rooms and bathrooms, as well as remodeled the lobby bar, front desk, and Palo Verde restaurant. The design by awarding-winning design firm, DiLeonardo, reflects Arizona’s Sonoran Desert while embracing Spanish-influenced adobe style architecture.

Marriott to Open Dual-Hotel Property on Downtown Phoenix Historic Site
Marriott has announced two brands coming to downtown Phoenix in 2016. Now under construction on the northwest corner of Central Avenue & Madison Street, the all-new Luhrs City Center Marriott will be a 19-story, 320-room property scheduled for completion in 2016. Designed to blend seamlessly with its historic neighbors while still offering state-of-the art guests amenities, the hotel will house two brands: a Courtyard by Marriott and a Residence Inn by Marriott, which will share a lobby and other amenities, including a fourth-floor pool. When finished in 2016, Luhrs City Center Marriott will complete the Hansji Corporation’s decade-long preservation and revitalization efforts of this landmark city block.

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is Expanding
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, a AAA Five Diamond Southwest resort, will open an additional 102 new guest rooms for a total of 750 by summer 2016. This expansion also includes three luxury suites, a new pool, Great Lawn and new Western town event venue.

The Camby Opens, An Autograph Collection Hotel
The Camby, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection of independent upscale and luxury hotels, recently opened at 24th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix. Formerly home to the Ritz Carlton, the property underwent extensive renovations and has been rebranded as a “lifestyle hotel” to capitalize on its location near the Arizona Biltmore shopping mall and various nearby businesses. The first phase of renovation (priced at $9 million) included a new restaurant and bar, renovations to the main pool and enhancements made to guest rooms.

Westroc Hospitality, Woodbine Development to Build New Mountain Shadows Resort
Plans have been announced for the rebuilding of the historic Mountain Shadows Resort, one of the first resorts in the Paradise Valley area. Construction began in the summer of 2015 on the new Mountain Shadows Resort at the southwest corner of 56th Street and Lincoln Drive, with a projected opening in early 2017. The boutique luxury resort will feature 175 modern guest rooms in two buildings, an adjacent building with 31 hotel-condominium units, a neighborhood restaurant and market, high-tech fitness facility, and the rehabilitated Mountain Shadows Golf Course featuring 18 executive-style holes. Marriott Mountain Shadows closed in 2004 and was demolished in 2014. For media information, contact Kristin Heggli or 480-421-7734.

Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch Reopens After Renovation
The Scottsdale resort at McCormick Ranch, A Destination Hotel, (formerly Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center) reopened on Sept. 8, 2015, after a massive renovation. As part of the $10 million renovation, the resort boasts two new restaurants and a bar, a transformed main pool, a significant addition of outdoor meeting and event space, enhanced guest rooms, and a more open, welcoming feel throughout.

The Courtyard Marriott Sedona to Open
One of Sedona’s newest lodging partners, The Courtyard by Marriott Sedona, is planning a grand opening in September 2016. The property will feature 121 beautifully appointed rooms with fantastic mountain views, showcasing the beautiful landscape Sedona has to offer. The property will also have 1,400 square feet of meeting space to accommodate corporate retreats and social gatherings.

Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock Debuts Following Major Renovation
The former Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa has debuted a new name, Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock, following a multi-million dollar renovation completed last spring along with a full resort rebranding and repositioning.

Northern Arizona

Navajo Nation Takes Over Thunderbird Lodge at Canyon de Chelly
The Navajo Nation Hospitality Enterprise has entered into a lease with the National Park Service to operate Thunderbird Lodge, formerly the Sacred Canyon Lodge, at Canyon de Chelly. The hotel has been renamed the Thunderbird Lodge in honor of the property’s storied history. Improvements planned include a major guest room renovation and the return of Canyon de Chelly vehicle tours. A Grand Opening will be held in early spring 2016.

Moenkopi Announces Partnership with Tesla
The Moenkopi Legacy Inn & Suites launched a new partnership in September 2015 with electric car giant Tesla Motors to install the first high-voltage Tesla chargers on the Hopi reservation. The new Tesla charging station now gives travelers the ability to recharge in Moenkopi, the western Gateway to Hopi, and visit artists and galleries in the Hopi villages along State Route 264. For more information, contact James Surveyor

Tucson and Southern Arizona

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort Undergoing Renovations
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort is undergoing a comprehensive renovation to enhance the overall guest experience and maintain its presence in the Tucson marketplace. The multi-million dollar remastering of the guest rooms, meeting space, lobby, fitness center, signature Lakeside Spa and Flying V Bar & Grill began in June and is scheduled for completion in early 2016. The new look will create modern refinement throughout the property while preserving the original intention of blending the property with its striking desert surroundings.

Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort to Open Additional Guest Rooms
Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch has completed the construction of 32 additional guestrooms. The luxurious new rooms and suites were designed and built to reflect the same Santa Fe style construction of the existing historic structures. The Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort is a member of the Lifestyle Collection of Preferred Hotels and Resorts.

Grapevine Canyon Ranch Reopens in Pearce
After a four-year absence, the Grapevine Canyon Ranch in Pearce has reopened as the Double R Ranch at Grapevine Canyon. Eve Searle, former owner of Grapevine Canyon Ranch, retired about 4 years ago, closed the ranch and put it up for sale. The Ranch was purchased and reopened this past year. The area’s history date back to the late 1800s.

Boutique Hotel Opens in Downtown Tucson
The Downtown Clifton at 16th St. and Stone Ave. is a single-story ten-room motel that is tucked unassumingly onto a less-than-half-an-acre lot on the eastern edge of the Barrio Viejo neighborhood in downtown Tucson. The staff at the Clifton curate a customized experience to make sure each guest is a part of all of the exciting things happening in downtown Tucson. The Downtown Clifton opened March 2015.

Marriott Hotels to Open Two New Properties in Tucson
A new 137-room AC Hotel by Marriott at 5th Avenue and Broadway will open in downtown Tucson in early 2017. The eight-story property will include a full block of retail outlets, including a grocery store. Nearby, the 14 story, 213 rooms Tucson Residence Inn by Marriott Hotel will be located at the corner of 2nd Street and Tyndall Avenue. This hotel will be located in Main Gate Square, a pedestrian-friendly dining and shopping district with over 20 retailers and 30 restaurants.

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Arizona Attractions

Greater Phoenix and Central Arizona

OdySea Aquarium to Open July 2016
In July 2016, the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community will bring the sea to Scottsdale with the opening of OdySea Aquarium. This 16-acre complex will be the largest aquarium in the Southwest, spanning 200,000 square feet over two levels. OdySea Aquarium promises guests a high-tech, high-entertainment, oceanic adventure with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer aquatic life viewing – even in the restrooms – and underwater acrylic tunnels that lead to each level.

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center to open at Arizona Mills in spring 2016
LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Arizona is a 40,000 square-foot indoor attraction featuring more than one million LEGO® bricks, LEGO® themed rides, a 4-D cinema and themed build-and-play areas providing a world of creativity and learning for young children. Families with young children can explore their imagination, color and build in the ultimate indoor LEGO® playground. LEGOLAND Discovery Center is slated to open at Arizona Mills in Tempe in spring 2016.

New York-based Shake Shack to Open in Scottsdale
Shake Shack, one of the most popular hamburger restaurant concepts in the U.S., has plans to move into Scottsdale Fashion Square in 2016. The Scottsdale location will feature the same menu as all other Shake Shacks, but also will include select frozen custard from local purveyors. Currently, there are just two Shake Shacks located west of the Mississippi River, one in Las Vegas and one in Austin, TX.

Northern Arizona

Grand Canyon West Offers Weekend Colorado River Tour
Grand Canyon West is now offering „The Walapai Experience“; a guided weekend tour of Grand Canyon’s West Rim that takes adventurers from the rapids of the Colorado River to an overnight encampment in Spencer Canyon then into the sky by helicopter to tour the Grand Canyon’s West Rim. The tour begins the weekend of March 5, 2016 and runs every weekend (weather permitting) until October 30, 2016.

Flagstaff Launches Unique “Selfie Trail”
The Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau has released the new Flagstaff Selfie Trail as of September 2015. The trail takes visitors on a tour of 12 iconic Flagstaff locations such as the Weatherford Hotel, and Route 66 hot spots including The Museum Club. In addition to these year-round highlights, the trail features three seasonal selfies; a trip on the Arizona Snowbowl Scenic Chairlift Ride, the Great Pinecone at the Weatherford Hotel and a stroll at The Arboretum at Flagstaff. Each location is marked with a ground medallion indicating the best place to snap your selfie and can be easily found using the Flagstaff Selfie Trail map.

Route 66 to Celebrate 90th Anniversary in 2016
In 2016, America’s Mother Road (Route 66) will celebrate its 90th anniversary. Several communities will take part in the celebration, including Flagstaff, which will mark the anniversary with a “66 Kicks on Route

66” campaign. It will include special events and ongoing experiences for groups to commemorate the iconic road. Route 66 was commissioned on November 11, 1926 and officially decommissioned in 1985. Today, Arizona boasts the most drivable original miles of Route 66 and is lined with relics from the route’s heyday.

Also, the world’s first international electric vehicle museum opened on August 15, 2015 on Route 66 in Kingman. The Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation (HEVF) opened the museum in conjunction with the Route 66 International Festival.

Grand Canyon West Opens New Visitor’s Center
Grand Canyon West opened its new visitor’s center at the Grand Canyon Skywalk in July 2015. For the first phase of the Grand Canyon Skywalk facility expansion project, the first floor of the building has been transformed as a main hub for those wishing to walk 4,000 feet above the Grand Canyon floor. This first floor features a gift shop, dining and a beautiful view of the natural surroundings.

Camp Verde Welcomes New Wine Tasting Room
The newest tasting room on the Wine Trail has opened in Camp Verde. As of June 15, 2015, the Clear Creek Vineyard & Winery is open for tastings by appointment Wednesday-Sunday from 1:00 to 6:30 p.m. Winemakers Ignacio and Sue Mesa currently produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Petit Sirah, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. Their white wines include Chardonnay, Viognier and Chardonnel.

Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim Closed for the Winter Season
As of December 1, 2015, the North Rim is closed to vehicle traffic for the winter. State Route 67 and all services on the North Rim are expected to re-open for the 2016 season on Sunday May 15, 2016. The North Rim campground and yurt will still be available for winter camping and are accessible via inner canyon trails from the South Rim or by hiking, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing 45 miles from Jacob Lake. To camp at the North Rim during the winter months, visitors need a backcountry permit. For additional information on North Rim winter camping, please call the Backcountry Information Center at 928-638-7875 weekdays between 1 pm and 5 pm MST.

The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is open year-round. Additional Park information can be obtained by calling 928-638-7888 or by visiting the park website.

Grand Canyon National Park Announces Entrance and Backcountry Camping Fee Increases
Effective June 1, 2015, Grand Canyon National Park will increase park entrance fees and the cost of overnight backcountry permits. The current park entrance fees have been in place since 2006.

The single vehicle entrance fee will change from $25 to $30 for a seven-day pass. The motorcycle entrance fee will increase to $25 for a seven-day pass. The current rate of $12 per person entering the park via Grand Canyon Railway, the park shuttle bus, private rafting trip, by walking or riding a bicycle will increase to $15. Grand Canyon National Park’s annual pass will increase from $50 to $60.

Entrance fees are not charged to persons under 16 years of age or holders of the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Annual, Senior, Access, or Military Passes.

Grand Canyon Brewing Company Re-Opens Newly Renovated Taproom in Williams
As of March 2015, Grand Canyon Brewing Company has renovated and reopened a taproom. The brewery features 16 different tap handles, including its own core and seasonal brews and a few guest beers – all from local breweries. The taproom is located within the Grand Canyon Brewing Company’s brew house at 233 W. Route 66 in Williams.

Southern Arizona

Pima Air & Space Museum Showcases 787 Dreamliner
The Pima Air & Space Museum has added an original flight test 787 Dreamliner from The Boeing Company into its world renowned collection. The 787 Dreamliner arrived in March 2015 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and was towed to nearby Pima Air & Space Museum where visitors can now view the second 787 Dreamliner ever produced.

Colossal Cave Mountain Park Reopens
Located 15 miles southeast of Tucson in Vail, Ariz., Colossal Mountain Park reopened in November 2015. There is no fee to enter the park, where there are picnic areas on-site. The cave itself has five separate tours: the Regular Tour; the Daytime Ladder Tour; the Nighttime Ladder Tour; the Wild Cave Tour; and the Candlelight Tour. Colossal Cave Mountain Park plans to further update the park and continue renovations.

Tucson Premium Outlets Opens in Marana
Simon, a leading global retail real estate company, has announced the opening of Tucson Premium Outlets  in Marana. Tucson Premium Outlets is destined to become Southern Arizona’s premier outlet shopping destination, featuring designer and name brands at savings of 25 to 65 percent.  The multi-million dollar project anchors the Marana Center; introducing more than 90 retailers and dining options to the170-acre mixed-use commercial center. For more information, contact Toby Parks. 

White Stallion, Tombstone Monument Ranches Partner on Two-Ranch Experience
Tucson’s White Stallion Ranch and Tombstone Monument Ranch have partnered to introduce an all inclusive two-ranch adventure. Starting in May 2015, packages are available that include three meals, a variety of rides, all ranch activities and evening entertainment. The 7-, 10- and 14- day packages include ranch transfers. For more information, contact White Stallion Ranch at 520-297-0252 or mail to.

Changes Coming to Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum
The Presidio Museum in Tucson has announced that as of Oct. 1, 2015, guests ages 14 and older will pay a $3 admission fee as part of a transition from being funded by the City of Tucson to being fully operated by the not-for-profit Presidio Trust. Amy Hartmann-Gordon, Presidio Museum executive director, says, “The admission fees will support the operations and educational programs offered to visitors and the Tucson community, while allowing us to create sustainability, maintain quality and protect this important place in Tucson’s history for future generations.”
The Tucson Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum is located on the northeast corner of the original Presidio, where the museum was reconstructed in 2007 to provide a glimpse of Tucson’s origins. It is managed by the Tucson Presidio Trust for Historic Preservation, a not-for-profit entity whose mission is to guide and aid in the interpretation of history at the Presidio San Agustín through research, education and living history experiences.

Arizona Tours

Northern Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park and Havasu Falls Adventure Trip
Spend a week exploring the highlights and hidden gems of the Grand Canyon. The trip, called the „Grand Canyon Ultimate“ combines the iconic beauty of the Grand Canyon National Park with the adventure of the less traveled gem of Havasu Falls in Havasu Canyon, a large tributary on the south side of the Colorado River, located on the Havasupai („Land of the Blue Green Waters“) Indian Reservation. The trip, led by Arizona Outback Adventures, is new for 2016 and combines these locations to give guests an adventure that includes a broader experience of the Grand Canyon. The trip runs May through October.

Petrified Forest National Park Now Offering Classes and Hiking Tours
The Petrified Forest Museum Association (PFMA) has launched its inaugural season of the Petrified Forest Field Institute (PFFI). PFFI offers outdoor learning opportunities – the park is the classroom. Classes will cover geology and paleontology, archaeology, human history and photography in this first season. Petrified Forest National Park in northeast Arizona preserves some of the most pristine and colorful deposits of petrified wood from the Late Triassic Era (200 – 225 million years ago).
PFFI provides an opportunity to explore the Petrified Forest with expert guides to:

  • Learn more about the fascinating events which sculpted the land
  • Take part in and contribute hands-on with fossil excavation of an ancient lake
  • Record rock-art (petroglyphs) on newly acquired park lands
  • Learn how to use light and shadow to capture exquisite pictures of the Painted Desert.

Eco-Friendly Raft to Launch Trips Through the Grand Canyon
In partnership with the National Park Service, Colorado River Discovery is introducing a new raft to their fleet that is 100% electric and the first of its kind in the region. The raft, named „Helios“ in honor of the Greek God of the Sun, will produce zero emissions and reduce noise pollution on the Colorado River. The Colorado Rafting Trips will run from March to November each year, starting and ending at Colorado River Discovery’s Welcome Center in Page, Arizona.

Discover Flagstaff’s Best Breweries guided by The Flag Brew Tour

Arizona Tourism Industry News

Greater Phoenix and Central Arizona

The Sedona Verde Valley Geotourism Website launched

The Sedona Verde Valley Geotourism website was launched on November 12, 2015, in collaboration with National Geographic and Sedona Verde Valley Tourism Council. The comprehensive website highlights the natural, cultural and historic attractions that define the region which includes Sedona, Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Camp Verde and the Yavapai Nation. 

Northern Arizona
Xanterra Parks & Resorts to Continue Operating Grand Canyon Concessions
As of September 2015, Xanterra Parks & Resorts® affiliate Xanterra South Rim L.L.C. has been awarded a new 15-year contract to continue operating the primary concessions at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Xanterra’s bid was chosen by the National Park Service and continues a tradition dating back to 1905 when the Fred Harvey Company, even before the Grand Canyon was designated a national park, began operating concessions in Grand Canyon Village, including El Tovar Hotel and Hopi House.

New Interactive Webcam Displays 360 Degree Views of Flagstaff
As of June 2015, Flagstaff has launched a new interactive webcam, mounted on the Flagstaff Visitor Center in the heart of historic downtown Flagstaff, offering real-time views of Arizona’s premier mountain town. Visitors can remotely experience Flagstaff’s daily happenings, renowned changing seasons, and beautiful scenery without ever leaving home. The webcam is equipped with advanced features like a 360 degree display, zooming capabilities, and a preset position menu that provides quick-views to iconic Flagstaff scenes like the San Francisco Peaks, Route 66, and the railroad tracks to offer users effortless and personalized viewing control.


NCAA Men’s Final Four
The Men’s Final Four will make its first-ever visit to Arizona April 1-3, 2017 when the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale plays host to the event that will crown the NCAA Division 1 basketball national champion. Arizona will become the first western state to host the Final Four since Seattle, WA hosted in 1995.
The Cactus League, Arizona spring training home to 15 Major League Baseball teams, will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2017.

Arizona Fact Sheets 

Curious about Arizona’s official state bird or wonder when it became a state? Here is a fact sheet with basic information and background on Arizona. And, did you know Arizona grows enough cotton each year to make more than one pair of jeans for every person in the United States? Check out 100 Fun and Fascinating Facts about the Grand Canyon State.
For more information on this topic and others see the official Arizona travel and vacation guide from the Arizona Office of Tourism. Find in-depth AZ visitor information and videos about visiting the state of Arizona, including comprehensive directories of Arizona hotels, dining and shopping, as well as things to do and places to visit throughout the Grand Canyon State.

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