Sweeping in a windfall of more than $300 million annually, Cactus League baseball, including revenue generated by the Dodgers and Angels spring training facilities, may be the biggest reason March is the most popular month to visit Arizona. That's not lost on area hotels and resorts, which are offering a plethora of spring training specials.
The Wigwam Resort, at 300 Wigwam Blvd., has been in its same location for more than 75 years. The soaring and stately palm trees are testament to the resort's history, and the serene surroundings are reminiscent of what resort properties were before their own popularity turned many of them into 24-hour party palaces.
With more than 300 spacious casita-style rooms, the Wigwam, is most widely regarded as a golf resort. Its three courses, including two designed in the 1930s by Robert Trent Jones Sr., are among the early classic desert courses.
The Wigwam is the official spring training resort of the Kansas City Royals and preferred hotel of the Dodgers and White Sox, who play at Camelback Ranch. Special spring training packages include a two-night stay in an Oasis Terrace room or traditional Adobe Suite, a pair of infield tickets and game day parking for Dodgers and White Sox games at Camelback Ranch or Royals games at Surprise Stadium for $399.
The coolest place to go after a game in Glendale or Goodyear is Haus Murphy's German Restaurant & Beer Garden, 5739 W. Glendale Ave., in downtown Glendale. We sat in the beer garden outside and washed down sausages, pretzels and potato pancakes with huge steins of German beer. The dinner menu contains seven styles of schnitzel and nine kinds of sausages, as well as a variety of Haus specialties. You can get really comfortable here, and the owners encourage you to stay as long as you like. Dinner entrees range from $13.95 to $17.95.
About 10 miles north on Scottsdale Road and about 30 miles from the Dodgers Camelback Ranch ballpark is the Fairmont Scottsdale, 7575 E. Princess Drive. This is among the state's premier resort properties and sought-after golfing locales, boasting two 18-hole championship golf courses, one of which hosts the PGA Tour's Annual Waste Management Phoenix Open. Travel & Leisure last year ranked the Fairmont Willow Stream Spa as No. 3 among the top 25 spas in the U.S. and Canada.
The Fairmont's Windy City Duel package includes a pair of tickets to one of the Cactus League's premier rivalry games between Chicago's Cubs and White Sox at Camelback Ranch. The package also includes two specialty cocktails, either a "Soxtail" or a "Cubtini," at the hotel's Stone Rose Lounge and admission to other "Windy City Duel" activities in the lounge, including celebrity bartenders. Room rates for the package start at $299.
The nouveau-retro Hotel Valley Ho, 6850 E. Main St., within walking distance of San Francisco Giants Scottsdale Stadium spring training home, is a favorite among the ballpark crowd. Originally built in 1956, Valley Ho was a popular haven with the Hollywood elite, attracting such luminaries as Humphrey Bogart, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood held their wedding reception here in 1957. Its fluorescent hues still feel like a throwback to the '50s and '60s cocktail party days.
Spring training rates start at $199. Baseball fans can also receive a 20% discount on treatments at the hotel's VH Spa and at Café Zuzu and Trader Vic's restaurants by presenting any Cactus League game ticket stub (one stub per transaction can be used for an entire party).
Last-minute-deal(s)-of-the-month specials, such as March's "stay Sunday and Monday and get Tuesday and Wednesday free," are available only by telephone at (866) 882-4484. The hotel's Easter special has rooms starting at $159 from April 1-5.
The Major League Baseball network reality show, "The Club," which is to make its debut this summer, focuses on the Chicago White Sox and primarily on the team's its loose-tongued manager Ozzie Guillen. Scenes for the program will also be filmed during spring training in Arizona.
The slick and polished W Scottsdale, 7277 E. Camelback Road, is a see-and-be-seen kind of place. The second-floor pool party deck is a nonstop gathering place with a cool infinity-edge swimming pool surrounded by a sandy beach. It's a mile and a half from Scottsdale Stadium, and complimentary transportation is included in the W's spring training package.
Rates for the "Who's Ready for Spring Training?" package begin at $379 and include two "Baseball Bucks" worth $5 each at the ballpark, a box of Cracker Jack and a sack of peanuts, a W Scottsdale baseball hat and two spring training game tickets for the price of one. The "Who Scored a Home Run at W Scottsdale?" package also includes signed baseball memorabilia, access to an on-field practice and mingling with the team, and a "Cool Comer Suite" for $999.
The boutique-style Hotel Indigo Scottsdale, 4415 N. Civic Center Plaza, offers an affordable alternative to the predominant resort scene and is just a few blocks from Scottsdale Stadium and the downtown shopping, art, dining and night-life district. Hotel Indigo's special spring training rates begin at $129.
The recently refurbished Hilton Phoenix/East Mesa, 1011 W. Holmes Ave., is the city's premier luxury property. The Hilton's spring training package starts at $149 and includes a full breakfast in the hotel's Zuni restaurant, transportation to Hohokam Park and ballgame tickets you can buy directly from the hotel.
Like living in a full-service condominium residence, Xona Resort Suites, 7677 E. Princess Drive, provides all the comforts of home in spacious one-, two- and even four-bedroom apartments in the bustling North Scottsdale dining and shopping district. Xona's 2010 Cactus League package ($249, plus a $15 resort fee) includes accommodations in a two-bedroom suite and a $50 food and beverage credit at the resort's restaurant, with additional rooms available for $129 (and a $15 resort fee). The resort's concierge can help with ballgame tickets.
In picturesque Paradise Valley, the Intercontinental Montelucia Resort & Spa, 4949 E. Lincoln Drive, is right out of a sexy Moroccan fantasy. It's just six miles from the San Francisco Giants spring training home of Scottsdale Stadium, and its "Spring Training Plus" package includes a $100 resort credit for each day of the stay, which can be used at the hotel's Prado restaurant or the Roq outdoor American Bistro as well as for cabana rentals, poolside drinks and any treatments at the Joya Spa.
There is no minimum stay, but with a three-night stay or longer guests can receive a one-category room upgrade. Tickets to ballgames can be purchased on the hotel's website. Rates begin at $284 a night for a deluxe view room. A premium Full Camelback Room with a direct view of Camelback Mountain, either from the balcony or private patio, starts at $334, and one-bedroom suites are available beginning at $434.
If you're following the Dodgers on the road to Tucson for games against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies in their final spring season in the Old Pueblo, be sure to check into the spring-training themed packages available at Tucson area hotels and resorts.
Surrounded in scenic splendor, the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N. Resort Drive, is woven into the tapestry of the Sonoran Desert in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains.
The "Sandlot" package includes a one-night stay in a luxury room, two tickets to a spring training game and a copy of the film "The Sandlot" for $249, a decrease of $50 from last year. You also may be able to snag a 30% discount on stays of three or more days.
Consistently the Cactus League's biggest drawing card, the Chicago Cubs drew a league record 203,000 fans last year to the team's Hohokam Stadium in Mesa. Several Mesa hotels are offering packages that pair tickets with discount rates and amenities.
The host hotel to the Chicago Cubs each March since 1979, the historic Dobson Ranch Inn, 1666 Dobson Ranch Road, is one of the city's first resort hotel properties.
This year's Cubs package at the inn includes one ticket per guest to a Cubs home game at Hohokam Park, standard ($125) or king ($130) accommodations, complimentary full American breakfast buffet, and a welcome beverage token at check-in.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times