Although the Wigwam is a historic Arizona resort, with an Old Southwest look and feel, the history here has nothing to do with cowboys and Indians, but cotton and car tires. Originating in 1918 as company lodging for the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, which owned thousands of acres near Phoenix (where it grew cotton used in making tires), the Wigwam opened to the public in 1929. The property has grown into a 331-room Arizona luxury resort, but its location to the west of Phoenix (instead of around Scottsdale to the east, where much of the area's tourism development lies) means that it largely flies under the tourist radar. The resort has been trying to change that perception, with a major refurbishing completed in 2011 and a promotion of the benefits of staying west of Phoenix. Yet with its 54 holes of championship golf, nine tennis courts, four swimming pools (including one with a 25-foot waterslide), and all the expected dining options and health and fitness amenities, the Wigwam's relatively low rates still reflect the greater visibility of the resorts to the east. Which is no doubt why it's popular with meeting and convention travelers and destination weddings, two groups more keenly attuned than most to good value for money. That, and what bride could resist a venue that boasts 8,000 rose bushes?
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In addition to hosting the 2015 Super Bowl, the University of Phoenix Stadium is home to the NFL's Arizona Cardinals. NASCAR's Phoenix International Raceway is the site of both NASCAR and Indy Car events. The Gila River Arena (until recently the Jobing.com Arena), is where NHL's Arizona Coyotes play ice hockey, and it also hosts concerts by performers such as Katy Perry. Of interest to baseball fans, the Wigwam is minutes from the spring training stadiums of many major-league teams.
Need to Know
Rooms: From $100 low season, $299 high season. 331 rooms, including 72 suites. Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options:Litchfield's, named after the Goodyear executive who got the tire rolling in Phoenix, is the Wigwam's signature restaurant, specializing in farm-to-table cuisine. And while everybody claims to be locally sourced, Litchfield's is one of the few restaurants that actually lists those sources on the bottom of its menu. Spa and gym details: The resort's full-service Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa has 15 treatment rooms, three couple's suites, and a coed lap pool. The fitness center offers a variety of classes, and rents bikes.
Who's it for: For golfers and groups, including families, who appreciate luxury but also prefer good value over a fashionable address. Our favorite rooms:All rooms in the Fairway Collection that face the Patriot Course fairways, of which there are views from the private patio. Golfers particularly like them, because the pro shop is only a short walk. Go for the green: A long-held secret is that the Wigwam Resort's three 18-hole championship golf courses, two of them designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., are among the most underrated in the Southwest. They may have been the last in the Phoenix area built to best benefit golfers, not developers.