Phoenix doubles as one of the country’s most enticing vacation cities and the United States’ fifth-largest, with a population of nearly 1.5 million. Here, over 310 sunny days per year, a bevy of resorts, and more than 200 golf courses lure 13-15 million people to Greater Phoenix (which includes Chandler, Glendale, Scottsdale and Tempe, and other cities covering 2,000 square miles, with a population of nearly 3.8 million). Major industries include high-tech manufacturing, tourism and construction.
Maria Bailey-Benson opened the doors of Nyla Simone, an exotic furniture boutique, two and a half years ago. The store carries the urban chic furnishings of Bailey-Benson’s father Arthur L. Bailey, who designs and manufactures the masterpieces in Tucker, Ga. The family-owned enterprise also sells the urban chic furnishings through larger furniture outlets and fabric stores. “Doing business in Phoenix has been profitable, according to Bailey-Benson, and being an African American in a city with so few us, simply adds to our shop’s intrigue and mystique.” www.nylasimonehome.com
To tour the sprawling city of Phoenix, the desert and surrounding area, a rental car is needed. Pick up a Thrifty Rental Car with GPS system at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Rental Car Center. 877.283.0898
Bring hiking gear to trek Camelback Mountain; golf clubs to hit the many resort courses; and your eye pads to indulge in blissful spa services.
The Arizona Biltmore opened in 1929, and is known as the “jewel of the desert.” Nestled on 30 acres at the foot of the Phoenix Mountain Reserve, panoramas of majestic Squaw Peak loom in the distance. A business executive’s dream unfolds in the form of two 18-hole championship golf courses, an 18-hole putting course, and full-service spa/salon and fitness centre. Ocatilla, a boutique hotel within the Arizona Biltmore, offers the ultimate VIP experience. www.arizonabiltmore.com
For a meal that is sure to seal any deal, it’s a coin toss between Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn (www.lons.com) and Different Pointe of View, at the The Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort (www.tapatiocliffshilton.com). Both boast breathtaking vistas and sufficient cuisine. Lon’s quaint desert view of Camelback Mountain or a private lunch in the eatery’s intimate wine cellar would win-over Donald Trump himself. Meanwhile, Different Pointe of View, which is perched on a cliff, is sure to bedazzle clients.
Petite Maison is a chic and cozy cultural eatery that flaunts classic French cuisine. The wee size spells intimacy, and the reasonably priced and impeccably prepared dishes and wine pairings are magnifique. www.petitemaisonaz.com
Netlans Internet Café is Phoenix’s state-of-the-art spot to grab a caffeine and cyber boost. 602.494.5450
For the ultra-mod biz networking spot that’s close to the airport, book a room at the urban-business/boutique hotel, the Aloft. It’s a youthful think tank for fresh ideas. www.aloftbrandbuzz.com
Never will you be so tempted to buy mud and sea plants. After a healing mud wrap administered at the Arizona Biltmore Spa I was floating on “Cloud 9.” At the Tocasierra Spa at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, I found myself lathered in exotic emollient yet again. This time it was a seaweed body treatment. www.arizonabiltmore.com; www.pointehilton.com
Footloose & Fancy-free
I’ve rode camels in Egypt, swam with the dolphins in Hawaii, been on Safari in South Africa, picked bananas in St. Lucia — but no experience is as exhilarating as a hot air balloon ride over the Sonoran Desert. www.hotairexpeditions.com
AirTran Airways offers daily, non-stop flights to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and more than 56 major U.S. cities. 1.800.AIR.TRAN, www.airtran.com
Thanks to our friends at www.visitphoenix.com and other tourist venues for providing us with facts, figures and fun information for this article.