Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Announces Final Phase Of Its $60 Million Strategic Renovation Plan

Oct 18, 2012, 19:31 ET from Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Oct. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Fairmont Sc­ottsdale Princess, a distinctive AAA Five-Diamond Southwest resort in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, is announcing the final phase of its full-scale, five-year $60 million property renovation plan. Designed to enhance the guest experience for both leisure and corporate travelers, the improvements coincide with the resort's 25th anniversary in December 2012, underscoring its continued evolution and status as a vibrantly contemporary, premier entity in the hospitality market. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is owned by a joint venture between Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: BEE) and Walton Street Capital, L.L.C. The resort's renovation strategy is the innovation of Strategic Hotels, which also serves as the resort's asset manager.

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Set to be complete in spring 2013, the final $25 million phase of the resort's renovation plan includes the debut of the Palomino Conference Center and remodeling of the Princess Conference Center; the introduction of the innovative Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa; the outdoor enhancement of Michael Mina's BOURBON STEAK; the addition of a "living wall" to the resort's facade; the re-concepting of the resort's three-meal restaurant, LV Bistro; and enhancing the Fragrance Garden for weddings and group events. 

"We are proud to unveil these exciting additions, which will highlight the resort's meetings and events, spa and culinary offerings," said Jack Miller, General Manager of the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. "We are particularly eager to debut the new Palomino Conference Center and newly renovated Princess Conference Center. The expanded and upgraded facilities will further establish the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess as a preeminent meetings and events destination, and our cutting edge spa and wellness offerings will serve as great assets to planners and guests alike."

The hotel's earlier phases of renovations, additions and enhancements were completed from 2007-2010. This included renovated guest rooms and lobby, the new Fairmont Gold Lounge, new fire and water features throughout the resort grounds, new Bobcat Billy's Clubhouse for kids, as well as dining and nightlife additions, including Michael Mina's BOURBON STEAK, Stone Rose Lounge and the re-opened La Hacienda with Richard Sandoval.

While leisure and corporate travel to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area continues to improve, the market has remained stable with relatively no new competitive supply. Leveraging this dynamic, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess's capital improvement plan is designed to best position the resort to capitalize on the increase of leisure travel and capture greater share of group and event business. Looking forward to 2013, the resort's group bookings are trending 45 percent higher than 2012, an indication these improvements are resonating with the resort's core guests.

"The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is the definition of a true world-class resort," said Laurence Geller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. "Knowing the market was set to improve, we made the strategic decision to meaningfully invest in the property, taking it from an already magnificent resort and elevating it into a class of its own. While the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is regularly recognized as a destination of choice among leisure and corporate travelers, the extremely positive reception to the renovations is indicative of the property's long-term ability to drive memorable guest experiences, as well as improved hotel performance."

Meetings & Events

With the addition of the new Palomino Conference Center, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess now offers 156,000-square-feet of indoor and outdoor meetings and events space, making it the largest meetings resort in the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts portfolio worldwide.  This equates to 106,000-square-feet of indoor space and 50,000-square-feet of outdoor space, comprised of 21 unique and authentically local outdoor venues, two 23,000-square-feet ballrooms and 47 meeting rooms, several with their own patios. 

  • Palomino Conference Center – Adjacent to the existing Princess Conference Center near the resort's main entrance, the new Palomino Conference Center adds 52,331-square-feet of meeting space, anchored by the 23,000-square-foot Palomino Ballroom.  The new conference space also features modern design elements, such as "nano" tech bi-folding glass doors to showcase the outdoor vistas and warm Arizona climate. The center offers larger break-out areas and additional move-in/move-out flexibility for meeting planners' production staff. The Palomino Conference Center's dedicated porte-cochere and outside veranda will feature an artistic fountain and provide seating where participants can relax between meeting sessions.
  • Princess Conference Center – As part of the multi-million dollar renovation, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess refurbished its existing 23,000-square-foot ballroom and meeting space with contemporary furnishings, lighting, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired carpeting and other fresh finishes.  The renewal incorporates seamless design transitions between existing and new spaces, including private walkways between the two ballrooms to ensure group privacy.

Ideal for gatherings of all sizes, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess offers modern amenities, elevated culinary offerings and award-winning service that groups expect from a world-class resort.  A revamped banquet program offers a new, personalized butler program and unwavering attention to detail in providing restaurant-style service to guests and meeting participants.

Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa

Beginning January 1, 2013, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess will be the first luxury resort to implement Well & Being's expertly-guided and fully-customized wellness experience. Managed by Trilogy Spa Holdings, Well & Being is a wellness and integrated medicine program that allows guests to personalize their spa experiences and to sustain the benefits once they have returned home. With a medical doctor on staff, Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa will offer a dynamic array of services to both resort guests and local visitors, ranging from diagnostic health tests and specifically-targeted skincare treatments such as HydraFacial, to acupuncture, massage, beauty services and aromatherapy. Additionally, Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa will introduce cooking demonstrations, guest lectures and innovative fitness equipment and classes.

The addition of the Well & Being programming at Willow Stream Spa now gives corporate groups a great option for promoting wellness and ensuring a powerful ROI.  Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa enables companies to use a specialized spa experience to support the health and wellness of their employees throughout the year, providing a progressively-minded way for a company to invest in its workforce.

Expanded Dining, New Concepts

Named the "Best Resort Dining" by readers of the Arizona Republic, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess provides exceptional gastronomic experiences. New culinary enhancements include:

  • Michael Mina's BOURBON STEAK, AAA Four Diamond contemporary steakhouse, will have its outdoor space enhanced as part of the resort's master renovation.  The revamped patio area will feature inviting couches and lounge areas with seating for an additional 30-40 guests, a large fire pit as the focal point, as well as retractable sun shades, keeping guests cool during the warm summer months while still allowing them to experience the stunning desert vistas.  The expanded patio is also an ideal venue for private events, such as special occasions and celebrations, or as an intimate setting for corporate groups. Future plans call for an outdoor exhibition kitchen.
  • LV Bistro – LV Bistro, the resort's restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner, will be renamed and rebranded, in consultation with celebrity chef Richard Sandoval (who also collaborates with La Hacienda). The new restaurant will be American wood-fired cuisine, offering an all-day menu featuring clay pot frittatas, pressed paninis, wood-oven pizzas, flatbreads and a live omelet station.
  • Retail Shop & Coffee Market - Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is transforming the Princess Shop, the resort's primary retail and sundries location, by adding a coffee market.  Proudly serving Starbucks, guests may grab-and-go beverages, sandwiches, snacks and gelato, or stay awhile at the workstation with iPads for browsing the Internet or relax with a cappuccino on the new patio.

Enhanced Grounds & Exteriors

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess reflects its Southwestern setting with distinctive Spanish Colonial-style architecture, expansive plazas, lush, flower-filled gardens, and scenic fire pits, fountains and lagoons.  New upcoming features include:

  • Living Wall – Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is installing a "living wall," a unique system of plants and flowers that drape the main resort building in greenery. The design will be on the front wall in Princess Plaza, and in back facing the South Pool, making it one of the largest living wall displays in the U.S. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess will use reclaimed water to irrigate this vertical garden, and its full coverage of the facade will add a layer of insulation, promoting energy efficiency and reducing costs. The foliage will integrate native cactus succulents and colorful vinca.
  • Fragrance Garden – An ideal setting for Southwest destination weddings, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is revitalizing its Fragrance Garden, a cherished venue for exchanging vows due to its visual beauty and unique redolence of its flowering trees and shrubs.  This popular outdoor wedding site will be transformed with tall gates, trellis plantings, fire and water features and arrays of flowers, creating an intimately private space for a memorable and elegant event.
  • Exterior Paint – The Scottsdale Princess, which has been wearing a sunset shade of pink since opening in 1987, is getting a fresh, updated look. The resort is being entirely repainted to be off-white, trimmed in desert sage and slate gray.

The resort is located at 7575 East Princess Drive in Scottsdale. More information about Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is available at www.scottsdaleprincess.com or by calling (480) 585-4848.

The property was acquired by Strategic Hotels & Resorts in 2006. In 2011, the company recapitalized the property through a 50/50 joint venture with Walton Street Capital, with Strategic Hotels serving as the managing member and the property's asset manager.

ABOUT FAIRMONT SCOTTSDALE PRINCESS: Set against the backdrop of Arizona's McDowell Mountains, the AAA Five-Diamond Fairmont Scottsdale Princess reflects its Southwestern setting with Spanish colonial-style architecture, expansive plazas and lush, flower-filled gardens. The resort features 649 oversized guest rooms, including 69 Fairmont Gold rooms and suites, five heated swimming pools, the luxurious 44,000 square-foot Willow Stream Spa, world-class tennis center and championship golf at the adjacent TPC of Scottsdale. Dining options include BOURBON STEAK, a AAA Four-Diamond steakhouse by the acclaimed Michael Mina; modern Mexican cuisine at La Hacienda by Richard Sandoval; LV Bistro, serving favorites for the whole family and gastro-pub fare at The Grill, with stunning views overlooking the 18th green at the TPC of Scottsdale Stadium Course. Stone Rose, a contemporary bar and lounge presented by nightlife entrepreneur Scott Gerber, is the spot for cocktails in Princess Plaza. Become a fan and follow the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Join our online communities at www.facebook.com/FairmontScottsdale and https://twitter.com/fairmontscotsdl. The resort is located at 7575 East Princess Drive in Scottsdale. For more information, please call (866)-540-4495.

ABOUT FAIRMONT HOTELS AND RESORTS: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, which will arrive in destinations as diverse as Jaipur, Kyiv and Manila in 2012, is a celebrated collection of more than 60 luxury properties around the globe, including Shanghai's Fairmont Peace Hotel, The Plaza in New York, and Makkah Clock Royal Tower in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The luxury brand's distinctive hotels offer a sense of heritage and sophistication, warm, engaging service and culturally rich experiences. A community and environmental leader, Fairmont is also recognized internationally for its responsible tourism practices and award-winning Green Partnership program. Fairmont is owned by FRHI Holdings Limited, a leading global hotel company with over 100 hotels under the Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissotel brands. The company also manages Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel branded luxury private residences club, whole-ownership residences and serviced residences properties.  For more information or reservations, please call 1-800-441-1414 or visit fairmont.com. Become a fan of Fairmont. Join our online communities at everyonesanoriginal.com, facebook.com/fairmonthotels, and twitter.com/fairmonthotels. For career opportunities, visit facebook.com/fairmontcareers.

ABOUT STRATEGIC HOTELS & RESORTS, INC. Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. is a real estate investment trust (REIT) which owns and provides value-enhancing asset management of high-end hotels and resorts in the United States, Mexico and Europe. The Company currently has ownership interests in 18 properties with an aggregate of 8,271 rooms and 851,600 square feet of multi-purpose meeting and banqueting space. For a list of current properties and for further information, please visit http://www.strategichotels.com/.

ABOUT WALTON STREET CAPITAL Walton Street Capital, L.L.C. is a private equity real estate investment firm based in Chicago. Since its founding in 1994, affiliates of Walton Street Capital have received total equity commitments of $5.7 billion from public and corporate pension plans, foreign institutions, insurance companies and banks, endowments and foundations, trusts, and high net worth individuals. Affiliates of Walton Street Capital have invested and/or committed to invest approximately $5.5 billion of equity in over 200 separate transactions. For more information, please visit www.waltonst.com.

ABOUT TRILOGY SPA HOLDINGS Trilogy Spa Holdings, based in Phoenix with offices in New York and Denver, is a professional spa management company dedicated to creating and operating the most innovative, service-centric and performance optimized branded spas and wellness destinations in the hospitality industry. Built on a foundation of experienced spa operators, healthcare professionals, beauty and hospitality industry veterans, Trilogy is the critical management link between hospitality companies, integrated medical and wellness services and beauty brands.

This press release contains forward-looking statements about Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (the "Company"). Except for historical information, the matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from the Company's projections. Factors that may contribute to these differences include, but are not limited to the following: ability to obtain, refinance or restructure debt or comply with covenants contained in our debt facilities; volatility in equity or debt markets; availability of capital; rising interest rates and operating costs; rising insurance premiums; cash available for capital expenditures; competition; demand for hotel rooms in our current and proposed market areas; economic conditions generally and in the real estate market specifically, including deterioration of economic conditions and the extent of its effect on business and leisure travel and the lodging industry; ability to dispose of existing properties in a manner consistent with our disposition strategy; delays in construction and development; demand for hotel condominiums; the failure of closing conditions to be satisfied; risks related to natural disasters; the effect of threats of terrorism and increased security precautions on travel patterns and hotel bookings; the outbreak of hostilities and international political instability; legislative or regulatory changes, including changes to laws governing the taxation of REITs; and changes in generally accepted accounting principles, policies and guidelines applicable to REITs.

Additional risks are discussed in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those appearing under the heading "Item 1A. Risk Factors" in the Company's most recent annual report on Form 10-K and subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. Although the Company believes the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its expectations will be attained. The forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this press release, and we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc.