At the 27-acre Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch, general manager Peter Rice welcomes groups into an indoor/outdoor lobby whose retractable shotgun design allows for a natural air-conditioning system fueled by the high desert winds.
“We’re taking climate control to a whole new level,” says Rice of the engineering triumph, which can be opened or closed with the temperatures of the Sonoran Desert. Buildings are designed to blend into the majestic landscape and city ordinances call for low wattage signage no taller than local scrub oaks.
“It’s not about separating ourselves from the location, but figuring out how to become the best part of it,” says Rice.
The Hyatt’s architectural fluidity, inspired by famed architect and Scottsdale winter resident Frank Lloyd Wright, fans out to 483 revamped guest rooms and suites, 33 meeting rooms and 70,000 sf of indoor/outdoor function space. Architecture aficionados in the group will delight in a tour of Wright’s studio.
Corporate gatherings set against the McDowell mountainside up the ante on group return on experience (ROE) with a chorus of cacti, palm trees and wildflowers that perform an inspirational stage show in the sky. Planners will make good use of Hyatt’s Passkey, a digital dashboard that keeps up with every facet of group activity in real time, whether taking in the sites, local culture or cuisines.
There are quite a few on- and off-site Native American cultural experiences to be had. Hyatt’s Native American Learning Center offers Hopi and Navajo exhibits, a reference library and local art. The Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art and Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park are treasure troves for education and discovery. Groups can marvel at a 20-room, 12th-century cliff dwelling in the Verde Valley or study petroglyphs in the Hedgpeth Hills. Local tribes stage interactive dances at the Hyatt during a lively happy hour every Friday.