Boutique hotels are booming in downtown Scottsdale, thanks to younger tourists who are looking for something exciting and different, according to industry analysts.
More than a half-dozen of the upscale chic establishments are either new or have revamped themselves in the last couple of years to cater to the growing market of Generation-X tourists. And one more may be on the way.
The latest developer to respond to the trend is Grace Communities, the firm behind the proposed Portales Place “ultra-luxury” condominium complex just north of Scottsdale Fashion Square. The company is floating plans to add a boutique hotel on the site. The firm’s representatives did not return repeated phone messages inquiring about the project.
But Jesse Thompson, sales and marketing director for the grande dame of Scottsdale boutique hotels, the Valley Ho, said there’s room for more trendy hotels like his.
“If you go to any city that has a comparable population...they will have a plethora of boutique hotels,” he said. “We’re kind of behind the curve. We need more.”
City officials previously approved the Portales Place condominium complex, at 5000 Portales Place between Goldwater Boulevard and Chaparral Road, in 2005, said city spokeswoman Robin Meinhart.
Grace Communities recently submitted a preliminary plan to add a hotel on the nearly 10-acre site to elicit feedback from city officials on what additional information is needed to make an official application, she said.
If the developers decide to go ahead with the application, the proposal would need to go through the city’s public hearing process, Meinhart said.
“Now we’re looking at a different site plan than what was previously proposed,” she said.
According to the application, developers hope to begin construction in September.
Vehicular access to the subdivision would be off Goldwater Boulevard, and the site would have a multi-level underground parking garage.
As it sits now, however, it’s essentially a hole in the ground surrounded by opaque fencing.
Dave Roderique, the city’s economic vitality director, said the desire to include a hotel is likely a reflection of the current real estate market.
“The condo market has slowed down over the last year or so, while the hotel market is picking up,” Roderique said.
The tourism industry is hot in Scottsdale right now, he said, with high hotel occupancy and room rental rates.
Thompson said the Valley Ho, which opened in 1956 at 6850 E. Main Street and reopened again in 2005 after multi-million dollar renovations and a four-year hiatus, has begun to attract guests aged 21 to 44 who are looking for something unique and close to the downtown’s nightlife.
“It’s just a little bit more of a demographic coming into society,” he said. “You’re always going to want to try something new and fun.”
Rick Kidder, president of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged the “blossoming” of the boutique hotel here.
“It would tend to be a more upscale crowd,” Kidder said. “The boutiques tend to attract the young and hip, and downtown Scottsdale is hip and cool.”
Downtown Scottsdale boutique hotels
• Portales Place 5000 Portales Place Plans submitted mid-April
• W Scottsdale Hotel 7277 E. Camelback Road Projected opening: Feb. 2008
• Hotel Indigo 4415 N. Civic Center Plaza Opened: Dec. 2006
• Sundial Resort 7320 E. Camelback Road Projected opening: Fall 2007
• Mondrian Scottsdale 7353 E. Indian School Road Rebranded: Jan. 2007
• Valley Ho 6850 E. Main Street Reopened: Dec. 2005
• FireSky Resort and Spa 4925 N. Scottsdale Road Rebranded: April 2007