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Hot water: Phoenix Unleashes Torrent of Winter Fun for Families

Phoenix is rising, and it could soon overtake Florida as the snowbird capital of the world thanks to an astounding array of new resorts, restaurants, family frolic spots and temps in the low 70s all winter.

High among their ranks is the Global Ambassador, which opens in Scottsdale’s Arcadia neighborhood this week. It’s backed by a cadre of celeb investors including restaurateur Sam Fox, ex-Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Phoenix Suns baller Devin Booker and country music star Dierks Bentley.

A member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ prestigious Legend Collection, food is a big focus here: Fox’s six on-site dining options range from French to Peruvian (from $600 per night).

“The growth here is phenomenal,” Fox tells The Post. “We have great weather, especially in the winter. The sunsets are amazing and we’re close to Sedona — and the Grand Canyon!”

For families looking to make a splash, the latest is JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, which reopened its AquaRidge water park in October as part of an $80 million overhaul. They’ve enhanced their not-so-lazy river and their Havasu Playground’s water slides are more screamadelic.

Grown-up fun can be found at the resort’s new adults-only haven, Sky Island, where chef Angelo Sosa dishes Asian street food at Kembara (from $795 per night).

A comprehensive rethink and refurbishment is wrapping up at the well-known Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch. Not only are the guest rooms, bars and spa getting a fresh new look — so is the marquee. The hotel is now the Scottsdale Resort & Spa.

The former guest rooms in the resort’s Stillman Building have been transformed into 12 two-story luxury villas, creating a little exclusive enclave with a private pool within the resort. Chef Ken Arneson kicked the resort’s food and drinks scene up a notch with a new café, wine bar, sultry speakeasy and La Fogata, the resort’s signature restaurant, with Southwestern grilling and Sonoran flavors (from $215 per night).

Due in mid-winter, the Caesars Republic Scottsdale marks the first nongaming hotel from Caesars Entertainment in the US and will include Luna by Giada, a restaurant from celebrated chef Giada De Laurentiis and a glitzy pool scene centered on SEVEN lounge (from $400 per night).

This winter’s activity follows a robust couple of years that saw doors open at the newly built Hilton North Scottsdale at Cavasson (from $199 per night) and Rise Uptown in Phoenix, a fabulous retro styled boutique hotel with a poolside restaurant and rooftop club (from $113 per night). Downtown’s mid-century Egyptian Motor Hotel was resurrected with a new 250-seat entertainment venue, Egyptian LIVE (from $129 per night).

Meanwhile, Montauk party palace Gurney’s Resorts is behind Sanctuary Camelback Mountain. The resort brought in chef Gregory James (most recently at the Inn at Perry Cabin in Maryland) to oversee the kitchen (from $487 per night).

But one of the greatest post-pandemic moves comes from the desert’s grand dame, the Arizona Biltmore. Set majestically near the base of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve and opened in 1929, the resort is now part of the Waldorf Astoria collection, which spearheaded a massive $70 million glow-up of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed property (from $487 per night).

“We have the largest hotel pipeline in the country,” says Eric Kerr, Visit Phoenix’s VP of insights and development. “Our figures show 120 hotels and resorts bringing 16,000 rooms over the past couple of years, and into 2025. But a lot of other properties here are renovating. We’ve tracked over $500 million in renovations since 2020.”

Source: New York Post