Developers of the new Paradise Valley Ritz-Carlton resort community promise the new facility will be like no other — and that one-of-a-kind experience will be evident the second guests step foot on resort grounds.
The resort planned on just over 100 acres of land within the Town of Paradise Valley will be the first of its kind and the only new Ritz-Carlton built in the last decade, proponents say.
Design plans call for an elevated lobby structure meant to provide panoramic views of both Camelback and Mummy mountains, use of virtual reality to enhance a customer’s experience and specific landscaping offering patrons a lush experience in the middle of the Sonoran Desert.
Scottsdale-based Five Star Development is preparing a 105-acre swath of land an arrow’s shot from Scottsdale and Lincoln roads for a Ritz-Carlton project that includes six development-area characteristics:
- Area A: 200-room resort on 20.3 acres
- Area A1: 120 resort-branded villas
- Area B: 89 single-family homes on 28.7 acres
- Area C: 55 resort-branded, single-family homes
- Area D: 100 condominiums on 8.3 acres
- Area E: Influx design as deannexation of 16.2 acres is yet to be determined
The Town of Paradise Valley is home to some of the best-known resorts in the country. Developers of the Ritz-Carlton project contend their resort will be a new level of excellence catering to the next generation of affluent vacationer — both young and old.
“I think what is unique is that we are implementing about 29 acres of land to present the Town of Paradise Valley the next generation of resort hotels,” said Five Start Project Manager Richard Frazee in an Aug. 25 phone interview. “By having that much of land as part of the management facility you get the opportunity to create a resort that is horizontal in nature.”
The idea of going horizontal as opposed to vertical is a unique concept in the resort industry and one with few examples, Mr. Frazee explains.
“By being spread apart the grounds can have unique uses of both indoor and outdoor lighting,” Mr. Frazee said of the casita-style hotel rooms to be embedded within a lush landscape. The Ritz-Carlton has the opportunity to enjoy a great amount of wonderful weather where new spaces and uses for that space can be created. I think what the horizontal environment will do is inject a tranquil experience.”
A resort experience similar to one found in tropical climates will be the key to making the Paradise Valley Ritz-Carlton feel like no other, Mr. Frazee says.
“I think as a resort we are responding to multiple markets,” he said of various experiences to be offered from the atmosphere poolside to the dinner table. “There are those who don’t have children and who want to be pampered and have their own destination where they are not interacting with anyone else. You can have a very private experience or have a day with the family — we are responding to the multiple scenarios and what different guests expect.”
An arrival that’s a cut above
“We are designing the hotel to be able to arrive at the lobby with a Porte-cochere experience,” Mr. Frazee said of a French term describing an entryway through a building or wall into an inner courtyard.
“The lobby building will be offering unobstructed views of Camelback and Mummy mountains. Those panoramic views are what Paradise Valley is all about. Once you are in the lobby building you are entrenched in the Ritz-Carlton experience.”
Mr. Frazee says the true innovation of the Paradise Valley Ritz-Carlton project is the subterranean parking proposed.
“The reality of it is the lobby building is a two-story building, which gives us the opportunity for this elevated feel,” he said. “With this parking configuration it allows us to have a horizontal layout for the resort. What we are bringing to Paradise Valley is the next generation of sophisticated elegance to the resort experience.”
Paradise Valley Councilman David Sherf says he believes the Ritz-Carlton proposal is unique to the Arizona tourism landscape.
“The hotel lobby will provide a dramatic sense of arrival with an elevated, unobstructed view of Camelback Mountain that no other resort has,” he said. “This expansive space should help set the tone for the resort and welcome guests with its dramatic views.”
Councilman Sherf, who is serving as liaison between the developer and municipality for the project, says the proposed layout will create a unique experience for patrons.
“The proposed individual casitas will provide a great resort experience through openness, landscaping, privacy and light,” he said. “Fortunately, the site is large enough to accommodate these casitas as opposed to the traditional stacked hotel rooms found in most resorts. Guests should have a true outdoor experience and be able to avoid hallways and elevators as they navigate the resort. I think this will provide a distinct competitive advantage for the Ritz-Carlton.”
Competition breeds excellence, Councilman Sherf says.
“The Ritz-Carlton will be competing with other fine Paradise Valley and local resorts and should draw guests that have not previously visited our resorts. However the majority of guests will be those that have previously stayed at competing resorts,” he said of the local resort market.
“Thus, the ‘pie’ will be split up and the other resorts will have to find their own new customers to replace those that will now be staying at the Ritz-Carlton. That is the nature of the hotel business and smart operators have successfully responded to new competition in the past and will do so in the future.”
The next generation of service
As smart phones continue to become human appendages and the usage of holograms appear closer to reality than science fiction, the Paradise Valley Ritz-Cartlon experience expects to capitalize on both, Mr. Frazee says.
“A resort hotel and its ability to allow guests to enjoy themselves is different now then it was years ago,” he explained.
“You can actually check into the Ritz-Carlton before you arrive. Your smart phone can be automated to work as your hotel key. Those are the kinds of things that certain tourist markets thrive on. And there is a market that needs to be greeted — that will occur as well, but we are responding to that next generation of traveler.”
In addition, the usage of virtual reality will be a spectacle all segments of the tourism industry will enjoy.
“With virtual reality, we are entering a generation where what you see in front of you is not always something that exists,” he said.
“We can turn a ballroom into a beach experience. We can theme the experience where the chef can be a hologram explaining your meal — There is an unlimited opportunity. Those types of reality are not far fetched, you are only limited by your imagination.”
The Ritz-Carlton brand is something envied by all markets — technologically savvy or otherwise, according to Scottsdale Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Community Affairs Manager Megan Doyle.
“Ritz-Carlton is known for its luxury, sophistication and top-notch service, all qualities that blend perfectly with the Scottsdale brand,” she said. “The Ritz-Carlton project is a welcome addition to an already impressive mix of award-winning resorts in the area, which continue to boost the destination’s reputation as a luxury destination. High-end properties, such as the Ritz-Carlton, attract high-spending visitors who add to Scottsdale and Paradise Valley’s bottom line.”
Tourism is important to the state’s economy and construction of the Ritz-Carlton will help keep those tourism dollars in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley.
“The tourism industry is vital to the local economy,” she said. “In 2013, Scottsdale tourists generated $38 million in tax revenue. Beyond the bottom line, one in every eight jobs is directly related to tourism.”
North Valley News Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at 623-445-2774 or at email@example.com