These highlights are from the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau. They have a wealth of information that keeps me up to date. Most of the specials on the spas is near the bottom as well as the dining updates. I’m at Rancho LaPuerta, and do not have the time to change the order in my regular fashion. Enjoy Phoenix–a great place to live or visit.

Spring is a great time to see the Arizona’s Major League Baseball team the Diamondbacks.

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa received the “Platinum Choice Award” by Smart Meetings magazine.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North has earned the Gold Medal recognition in Golf magazine’s prestigious 2010 Premier Resort awards.

World Wrestling Entertainment’s WrestleMania, the “Super Bowl of pro wrestling,” will bring its high-flying athletes and earth-shaking pyrotechnics to University of Phoenix Stadium. It will stage a live performance of the popular Monday night television show “Raw” at US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix during the extended weekend.

The Diamondbacks, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, Indians, Rockies, Royals, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers, Athletics, Padres, Giants, Mariners, Reds, and Rangers will visit the Greater Phoenix area for Cactus League Spring Training in March 2010. Go to one of the many stadiums around the valley to enjoy the great weather in March with a comfortable spot in the grass to root for your team. There could be an opportunity to get up close to your favorite players to get autographs after the game. So, visit and help your team get ready for the season. Games are scheduled every day in March. Tickets start as little as $5 per game. See you at the ballpark!


The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa received the “Platinum Choice Award” by Smart Meetings Magazine. According to the publication, the award “covey’s the reader’s recognition that The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa has met the high standards the industry strives to achieve.” Smart Meetings Magazine sets the standard for the West. Each month, the magazine examines the meetings industry with a sole focus on the West. Their pages feature the latest in meeting professionals industry trends, corporate event planning, emerging technology, personality profiles, and updates on the best venues and destinations throughout the Western U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Celebrate the start of summer Nickelodeon style from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 15 at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort. Enjoy live kids music, the renowned “Slime Time,” Nickelodeon crafts and activities including t-shirt decorating and color-a-cookie, appearances by SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer, magician, culinary samplings and raffles for free resort stays, dining and more. Raffle proceeds will be donated to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Event is free and open to the public.

This Easter, you don’t have to hunt for the holiday’s best surprise – Hyatt Regency Scottsdale is handing it right to you. Book a five-night Easter getaway at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale and they will enhance the celebration with a $100 resort credit, 50% discount toward Camp Hyatt, “kids eat free” dinner with a paying adult, 20% off all spa services and your fifth night free. You’ll also enjoy 50% off a second room for the kids! At a nightly rate of just $399, this is an Easter offer too good to refuse.

During this holiday weekend, guests will also enjoy Experiential Vacations, activities for children, adults and families, including poolside activities, adult learning and interactive presentations on the Sonoran Southwest. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind experience. A defining difference between Hyatt Regency Scottsdale and other resorts is their commitment to providing each guest the opportunity to experience the unique culture of the Sonoran Southwest. Through foods, entertainment, art, landscaping and personal interactions with the staff, guests will be touched by the special stories that have influenced the history of our destination.

Experimental Vacations allows guests of the resort to immerse them in this rich history and take advantage of the many cultural opportunities available both onsite and in the surrounding area including Native American Dancing and The Native American and Environmental Learning Center.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale announces the completion of a $1 million pool enhancement effort. The project, which commenced in November 2009, creates a new sense of “arrival” to the pool complex with a bridge over the natural desert wash. Project highlights include new coping, plaster, expanded decking and paving, as well as enhanced landscaping offering additional shade options. An elevated chaise lounge area with lush grass provides additional seating, while many of the existing walls have been removed or transformed with transparent metal mesh to expose dramatic, sweeping views of the Valley below. Also included in the project are two VIP “super” cabanas, outfitted with such appointments as flat screen televisions, mini fridges, I-pod docking stations, ceiling fans and dedicated service from a designated staff member when occupied.

The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa is offering many different “Grown Up Getaway” vacation packages. From papering spa treatments and challenging golf to romantic getaways and solitary retreats, The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa is one of the few Arizona resorts to offer amenities and programs designed for a peaceful adult vacation. This Easter, Hotel Valley Ho welcomes families and friends with room specials, brunch in Café ZuZu, dinner at Trader Vic’s, and an Easter egg hunt.

ARTS, CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT Spring is a great time to see the Arizona’s Major League Baseball team the Diamondbacks. Opening day at Chase Field is April 5 against the San Diego Padres. The Diamondbacks entered Major League Baseball on March 31, 1998 and quickly secured their place in baseball history, winning the 2001 World Series against the NY Yankees in a thrilling come-from-behind victory. Since the team’s inaugural season, over 25 million fans have enjoyed watching the D-backs at Chase Field. A wide variety of D-backs ticket options give fans the ability to choose their baseball experience with tickets ranging from just $5 or for an affordable family outing enjoy Family Fridays or Kid’s Sundays. With over 10 games at home in the regular season just in the month of May this is an opportunity you can’t pass up.

The Heard Museum will be hosting the Guild American Indian Student Art Show & Sale on Saturday, April 10 to Wednesday, April 14, 2010. View and purchase work by more than 1,000 students from the U.S. and Canada at this unique event, which celebrates the achievements of young Native artists. Proceeds benefit the students.

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix will benefit from several creative improvements thanks to the generosity of a convention bound for Phoenix and its new convention center: the Concrete Décor Show and Decorative Concrete Spring Training in March 2010. In advance of the event, several artisans and trainers are visiting the Children’s Museum this week to work on colorful concrete artworks that will be showcased during the March event.

Downtown Phoenix Partnership, ASU’s College of Public Programs, City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, Karuna Village Fair Trade and Radio Phoenix, will be providing local music in the Downtown Civic Space Park on Thursdays from January 28 to April 29 at 11:00am until 1:00pm

Arizona Science Center is opening a new exhibit called “Face Your Fears When Goose Bumps!” It’s all about the Science of Fear! The Science of Fear explores the universal emotion of fear through fun, interactive challenges where guests can experience fear in a safe environment and discover the science behind their physical and emotional responses.

Phoenix Art Museum is the exclusive venue for Ansel Adams: Discoveries. Ansel Adams: Discoveries, offers new insights into the photographer’s greatest works by bringing the unparalleled holding of the Center for Creative Photography’s Ansel Adams archive to light. It features 120 photographs and dozens of rare archival documents and materials.

The Heard Museum is presenting 羨 Gathering of Carvers: Katsina Doll Marketplace’ on Saturday, April 10, 2010. The nation’s largest gathering of Hopi katsina doll carvers takes place at the Heard Museum, as more than 100 artists gather to show and sell their unique creations. Enjoy musical performances, book signings, carving demonstrations and drawings. Admission to the Marketplace is FREE (museum admission additional). Arizona Popular Culture Museum will be celebrating their grand opening on March 5, 2010. Their goal is “Encouraging Imagination, Innovation, Education and Enlightenment for the Mind and Spirit.” The coming museum says that every person has been affected by an element of popular culture at some time in their lives and it is the museum’s job to preserve and present the cultural icons for the present and for the future generations.

Play Ball: The Cactus League Experience is open in Mesa for the month of March. This is an interactive exhibit that celebrates baseball history in Arizona and it covers 100 years of baseball in the desert. It features never before seen artifacts and memorabilia on display.

Enjoy ASU Art Museum First Saturdays for Families. This is a free program at ASU Art Museum that helps teach children about art and encourages them to be creative. Stop by on the first Saturday of each month (excluding holidays) to learn about one artist whose work is in the museum, and then make your own project based on what that artist does. In March, we’ll be making small-scale sculptures that are based on the exhibition Wanxin Zhang: A Ten Year Survey. There is no cost to participate in our events and kids get to keep their art projects. It’s a perfect day for kids 4-12 and their families, and no registration is required. Just stop by the museum any time between 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on the first Saturday of the month!

Trader Vic’s at the Hotel Valley Ho will be having “Acoustic Soul Nights” every Thursday throughout the month of March. The nights will include live music from Myles David Lancette, and artist with an “acoustic soul” sound. GOLF The Phoenician in Scottsdale introduces the “Complete Golf Makeover,” which is a unique golf performance program for local residents. The “Complete Golf Makeover” is a groundbreaking, 12-week course designed to help individuals maximize their playing potential. This is an innovative, comprehensive program available to local residents of all skill levels.

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa and Kierland Golf Club received the honor of “100 Best Golf Shop” by Golf World Magazine for its third consecutive year. Golf Magazine has also awarded The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa with “Premier Resort Award: Silver Medal.” The Resort was one of the only two Scottsdale Resorts awarded a “Silver Medal.”

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North has earned the Gold Medal recognition in Golf Magazine’s prestigious 2010 Premier Resort awards. This is the 11th edition of the awards, which began in 1988, and is considered the oldest and most authoritative rating of the game’s finest properties.

The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa has a wide acclaim as one of the top women-friendly gold resorts in the country and it now welcomes new LPGA instructor, Jean Crawford. Crawford has designed “Fore Ladies” as part of the Golf Academy offerings for the perfect blend of recreation and relaxation while also learning a new skill that’s useful for a lifetime.

SPA Aji Spa at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort invites guests to join them as they celebrate the original relationship: mothers and daughters. This special engagement that was designed specifically for mothers and daughters to bask in the benefits of a relaxing spa day together lasts from Feb. 15-March 31, 2010.

Agave, The Arizona Spa at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa has added two new fitness classes to existing fitness schedule. Guest looking to get their children involved in fitness, can now enjoys “Kid Fit.” This fitness class, designed especially for children ages 7-11, provides an active atmosphere and a FUN way to workout. Children learn the importance of stretching and are introduced to child-friendly workout equipment while participating in cardio exercises, deep breathing and learning FUN facts about the body. Agave Spa is offering guests a more adventurous way to work out with the “Desert Renewal Hike.” This hike provides an easy to moderate 3-mile guided hike at the base of the McDowell Mountains. The “Desert Renewal Hike” is approximately 2 hours long and includes travel to and from The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa.

VH Spa at Hotel Valley Ho participates in Spa Week once again! Spa Week is a twice-yearly event that allows guests to experience spa treatments at various spas for a discounted price of $50. It is an opportunity for those who do not normally visit spas to enjoy a treatment (or a few). Also, VH Spa is offering a Mother’s Day Spa Party. VH Spa staff welcomes all to this special one-day event. Guests can enjoy a wide array of treatments, classes, and more.


True Food Kitchen offers a series of informative sessions on Tuesdays from March through April on how to prevent cancer brought to you by experts from the University of Arizona and The Arizona Cancer Center.

The Brittlebush Bar & Grill at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa introduces the new Gastropub Menu that offers a slight Scottish influence. “Gatropub” is a British term for a public house which specializes in high-quality food a step above the more basic “pub grub.” Gastropubs are generally known for a relaxed atmosphere as well as a menu that complements an assortment of beers and wines offered.

Elements restaurant at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain has acquired a smoker, intense-heat char-broiler, plancha grill and other enviable kitchen gadgets, giving Chef MacMillan double the space to produce his vision for the restaurant. Patrons will find a new “raw” menu featuring sake poached shrimp and other sustainable delicacies from the sea, as well as a host of locally-sourced and organic ingredients on the expanded menu. Chef MacMillan (well-known as a winner of the Food Network’s Iron Chef Competition and currently appearing in its new series, Worst Cooks in America) is using his new, world-class space to elevate Sanctuary’s dining experience. elements recently unveiled its newly re-done outdoor dining space, called Praying Monk (we refer to it as “infinity-edge dining.”)

This spring, a truly one-of-a-kind private dining room called “XII” (twelve) will be revealed. Caffe Boa in Tempe introduces an exotic new wine program focusing on wines of Eastern Europe. Caffe Boa is on the heels of two consecutive years of “Best Of” awards by Wine Spectator, and is one of Arizona’s most noted destinations for food and wine.

La Hacienda
in Scottsdale has been recreated bringing guests a refreshing take on modern Mexican cuisine in a new more casual setting. Internationally recognized “Father of Modern Mexican Cuisine” chef Richard Sandoval brings his contemporary approach to classic Mexican recipes. He combines the bold flavors and ingredients of classic Mexican cuisine with European cooking techniques resulting in a vibrant approach that is lighter and ingredient driven.

Maralyn D. Hill, President
International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association
Books By Hills Success Log Where & What in the World Blog
Big Blend Magazine
Member: Society of Professional Journalists

“Success” was Indie Finalist in the Writing and Publishing category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards