5 New and Future Incentive Escapes in Arizona

These extraordinary resorts give winners new playgrounds in Arizona.

New resort properties are oases for incentive groups in Arizona's Sonoran Desert.
New resort properties are oases for incentive groups in Arizona's Sonoran Desert.

Arizona is hot in every sense of the word, and new hospitality offerings are raising the mercury, figuratively, even higher -- especially for incentive groups, who love the Grand Canyon State for its warm weather, convenient location, beautiful landscapes and exceptional accommodations. The state’s latest resort oasis is Ambiente, A Landscape Hotel. Scheduled to open in December 2020 in Sedona, the property will be North America’s first “landscape hotel” -- a new sustainable hotel concept wherein properties are built into the natural landscape in ways that showcase the environment without threatening it.

Developed and owned by local hotel development and management company Two Sister Bosses, Ambiente will be composed of 40 cube-shaped guest “atriums” that will be elevated above the ground by steel piers. Made of floor-to-ceiling bronze-tinted glass, matte-charcoal and rusted metal, the minimalist structures will blend into Sedona’s famous red rocks and will reflect them at dusk, when the tinted glass will create a mirrored effect.

The hotel won’t just reflect the environment; it also will respect it thanks to sustainable building practices. The aforementioned pier method of construction virtually eliminates the need to grade the land and allows each atrium to be hand-placed at specific angles in between existing trees and flora in a way that maximizes views without disturbing the natural vegetation and topography.

“It has been our longtime dream to create a truly exciting and unique experience that is in harmony with the rare beauty of Sedona, our hometown where our family has done business for close to 35 years,” said Jennifer May, co-founder of Two Sister Bosses, which she operates with her sister, Colleen Tebrake. “We have meticulously designed every element of the hotel with the sophisticated traveler in mind, while also remaining determined to set a benchmark for sustainable tourism. We look forward to sharing more details very soon.”

Four More Arizona Additions for Incentives

Ambiente will bring an entirely new kind of lodging experience to Arizona. But it’s not the only new flower that’s blooming in the Sonoran Desert. Here are four more incentive-friendly properties that have either recently opened or will be opening soon.

• CIVANA: Located at the former Carefree Resort and Conference Center, which underwent a $40 million transformation, CIVANA opened in March 2018 in Carefree. The wellness-themed resort has much on offer, including 189 guest rooms; 23,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space; an all-day dining outlet that specializes in shared plates and vegetable-forward dishes; a casual restaurant with a calorie- and nutrition-conscious menu; a fitness center that includes an on-demand digital kiosk that provides personalized workouts and expert-level coaching; a Yoga & Energy Center that includes a studio for both wall and aerial yoga, a movement/spin room and two other flexible-movement studios; an outdoor yoga lawn; and a 22,000-square-foot spa that opened in December 2018 with a variety of hydrotherapy immersions, including a tepidarium, a hot/cold walking pool, a cold plunge shower and a saunarium.

• Mountain Shadows: In Scottsdale, Mountain Shadows originally opened in 1959 in the “shadow” of Paradise Valley’s Camelback and Mummy mountains. The resort closed in 2004, however, then was entirely rebuilt and reintroduced in 2017. Today, the property offers 183 guest rooms and suites, a restaurant with an exhibition kitchen, two 75-foot swimming pools connected by a waterfall feature, a hot tub, an on-site art gallery with gallery tours, a fitness facility, a revamped 18-hole golf course, and 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space.

• Great Wolf Lodge Scottsdale/Salt River: Planning a family-friendly incentive trip? Great Wolf Resorts’ newest property -- the Great Wolf Lodge Scottsdale/Salt River -- promises to be a hit with attendees and their kids. Opening this September, the new resort will feature 350 guest suites; an 85,000-square-foot indoor water park with several water slides, a wave pool and a lazy river; a 27,000-square-foot family entertainment center with a ropes course, a climbing wall, miniature golf and bowling; several restaurants; and 12,118 square feet of meeting space.

• The Ritz-Carlton, Paradise Valley: Arizona’s second Ritz-Carlton, the Ritz-Carlton, Paradise Valley, is scheduled to open in Scottsdale in 2020. The first built-from-scratch Ritz-Carlton in the United States in a decade, the 20-acre resort will have 205 guest rooms and suites, 20,000 square feet of meeting space, multiple restaurants, an on-site garden and citrus orchard, a spa offering desert-inspired treatments, and a 400-foot-long pool that developers say will be the longest pool in North America.