Phoenix Hotels and Airport: What's New
Downtown lodging to grow, plus Sky Harbor enhancements ahead.
Airport improvements, better transportation options and new hotels are helping Phoenix attract business travelers and fill its convention center, which underwent a $600 million expansion a few years ago. At Sky Harbor Airport, the recent completion of a new baggage security screening system with 6.5 miles of conveyor belts means customers can leave their bags at the check-in counter instead of hauling them to the old bag-screening facilities. Construction has also started on the PHX Sky Train, a free people-mover system open 24 hours that will link Phoenix’s Metro light-rail system to the airport. The first phase, opening in 2013, will connect the 44th Street Metro stop to the airport’s East Economy Parking Lot and to Terminal 4; by 2020, Sky Train will extend to the other terminals and the consolidated rental car center. Officials estimate it will eliminate 20,000 vehicles per day at the airport, or one-fifth of total traffic. On the lodging scene, Starwood recently opened its second Westin hotel in the city, the 242-room Westin Phoenix Downtown, a block from the Phoenix Civic Plaza convention and entertainment complex. It occupies nine floors of the 26-story Freeport McMoRan Center and has more than 11,000 square feet of meeting space. Close to the airport, at 44th Street and East McDowell Road, the former Embassy Suites has undergone a $10 million conversion into the Holiday Inn & Suites–Phoenix Airport. And in 2012, Kimpton Hotels is due to cut the ribbon on a 250-room Hotel Palomar as part of the mixed-use CityScape development going up in downtown Phoenix.