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Zilda Brandão
03/09/2008 às 18:42hs


  • Downtown Phoenix's landscape to see three major additions in the coming months
  • InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa, on schedule to open in November, announces names of on-site dining venues
  • Dale Chihuly, whose sculptures of hand-blown glass adorn the Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York Botanical Garden, displays his new exhibition to Desert Botanical Garden.


Five years and $600 million in the making, the newly expanded Phoenix Convention Center is an architectural masterpiece in the heart of downtown Phoenix.  Inspired by the colors and textures of the Grand Canyon, the convention center's three-building campus boasts nearly 900,000 square feet of exhibition and meeting space, three ballrooms with cutting-edge audio and video technology, $3.2 million worth of public art, and ecologically friendly features like solar paneling and a water-harvesting garden.  The convention center's technological infrastructure satisfied the needs of the worldwide media during Super Bowl XLII, and its flexible environs will accommodate an array of exhibits (including a basketball court with stadium-style seating) during the National Basketball Association's 2009 All-Star Weekend.  User-friendly features at the new convention center include exhibit halls with pre-scored floors, loading bays with air conditioning, outdoor meeting spaces with beautiful views, and a food court with five themed eateries. The fully expanded Phoenix Convention Center will welcome its first meeting groups on Jan. 1, 2009.


Located a block from the new convention center, the Sheraton Downtown Phoenix boasts 1,000 guest rooms, making it not only the largest hotel in Greater Phoenix but also in the entire Grand Canyon State. The Sheraton also houses a conference center with more than 80,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, 17 meeting rooms, two ballrooms, two boardrooms and a terrace for outdoor events. Its meeting facilities incorporate high-speed Internet access and videoconferencing capabilities, and an audiovisual staff is available on site.  When meeting attendees and their families are ready to unwind, they can do so outside at a 2,000-square foot outdoor pool and sundeck or inside at a 6,500-square foot fitness center and spa. The Sheraton Downtown Phoenix also features a contemporary restaurant with a full bar, private dining room and outdoor seating.  The addition of the Sheraton gives downtown Phoenix nearly 2,500 guest rooms within walking distance of the convention center. The hotel will open Oct. 11, 2008.


When a $1.3 billion METRO light-rail system debuts in downtown Phoenix on Dec. 27 2008, it will usher in a transportation revolution not seen in the Sonoran Desert since the thirsty horse gave way to the combustion engine. The initial 20-mile line will link Phoenix to the neighboring communities of Tempe and Mesa, and include stops at attractions such as Phoenix Art Museum, the Heard Museum, Chase Field and US Airways Center.  Residents and visitors will be able to travel to and from points of interest via quiet, efficient, air-conditioned trains that will operate 18 to 20 hours per day, seven days a week. The system ultimately will have the capacity to transport 15,000 people per hour—about the same number of people as a six-lane freeway.  A $1.1 billion, driverless "people mover" will transport light-rail passengers to Sky Harbor from the 44th Street and Washington stop beginning in 2013. Until then, riders can take a convenient shuttle from that stop to the airport.  About 40 miles of extensions to METRO Light Rail will be phased during the life of the project's 20-year plan, ending in 2025.



The Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa
is partnering with Ryan House (a non-profit organization founded in 2004-dedicated to providing essential respite and end-of-life care, free of charge, in a home-like setting for families of children with life-limiting conditions). The signature fund-raising effort will be an annual charity event held at the resort each December.  The inaugural event,  "White Christmas: A Holiday Gala & Tribute to Irving Berlin," will be held on Friday, December 12, 2008 at the Arizona Biltmore, starting with a reception at 6:30 pm in the Biltmore Grand Lobby and followed by dinner at 7:30 pm in the historic Gold Room.  The black-tie affair with a "1940s Glamour" theme will feature a nostalgic tribute to Mr. Berlin, who wrote his renowned "White Christmas" at the Arizona Biltmore in 1940.  For more details and reservations, please contact whitechristmas@ryanhouse.org.


Calling all sports fans!  Escape the snow this winter and visit the Valley of the Sun to cheer your teams to victory. To welcome dedicated local and national NFL enthusiast, the Pointe Hilton Resorts, has created a special "Fall Sports 3 Nights" package, in time for football season. The Fall Sports 3 Nights package includes; room rates starting at $99 per night, guests and local fans wearing their favorite NFL team's jersey will enjoy a 20 percent discount on food and drink items at participating restaurants.  Package valid: September 1, 2008- January 4, 2009.    For more information visit: www.arizonahiltonresorts.com



ARTS AND CULTURE Dale Chihuly, whose spectacular creations have been exhibited at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York Botanical Garden, debuts his spectacular exhibition the Desert Botanical Garden Nov. 22, 2008 through May 31, 2009. Chihuly's large and colorful hand-blown glass will be elegantly staged along the Garden's trails. 


Visitors can meet some of the Southwest's finest Navajo weavers at the Heard Museum's Gathering of Weavers Marketplace on Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This free gathering will be the Heard's first-ever marketplace exclusively showcasing textiles. 


Spanish Market is returning to the Heard Museum. Strolling mariachis and artwork by Hispanic artists from Arizona and New Mexico highlight this festive annual marketplace, the largest of its kind in Arizona. Spanish Market offers buyers a wide selection of objects from different Hispanic traditions, including santos, pottery, embroidery, furniture making, painting, printmaking and silver and tinwork. Spanish Market takes place Nov. 8-9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, and admission is free. (Museum admission is additional.) 


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