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The Snickering Sanctuary

The Sanctuary Resort in Paradise Valley is a beautiful property run by respected industry veterans.  Indeed, it’s one of the finest small hotels in Arizona, if not the best.

The one amusing exception seems to be its disregard for Sun Devil fans.  Curiously, bar management shuns ASU football on its televisions for games in Gainesville and the like.  Higher-ups may want to have a chat with staff as come summer time the locals not the Floridians keep the place in business. But we digress . .

The Sanctuary’s class is why ownership and management’s conduct at a recent Paradise Valley Town Council meeting about the proposed Ritz-Carlton resort was a real head scratcher.  Sitting in the back of a packed hearing room, predominantly of supporters, they resembled the kind of people movie theaters have to run ads about before the show, so people can best enjoy the featured presentation.

Snickering, whispering, eye-rolling, their competitive jealousy of the Ritz proposal was disappointing to observe. After all, earlier in the night the General Manager of another Paradise Valley hotel, the Camelback Inn, told Ritz backers he was rooting for them and the good it could do the town.  A recent economic impact report submitted to the town said the Ritz and related development could generate a staggering $5.3 million annually for the town. 

Besides, after the Planning Commission properly whittled down the original Ritz-Carlton resort and residences plan into something more palatable what is there left to snicker at?  Very few residents are.  Indeed, recent polling and community events now show overwhelming support for the plan.

Surely the Sanctuary cynics can’t be upset about a quiet rooftop deck atop the Ritz lobby?  They have one at their sister property in Scottsdale – Valley Ho – but two times as tall.  Nor can or should they be upset about 3-story residential as they are developing some – and locating next to other such product – at the revitalizing Mountain Shadows.  Nor can they credibly criticize special treatment for the Ritz having bought the hotel rights at Mountain Shadows which gobbled up the golf course’s driving range as well as holes one and two.  And it should be noted their acquisition includes new commercial rights for a restaurant on the southwest corner of 56th Street and Lincoln.

Once ridiculous the Ritz plan has been debated and discussed into something properly called responsible.  The Sanctuary folks might best use their time not with political petulance but by not falling further behind on their own Mountain Shadows hotel project and finally finding a quality restaurant operator for the corner, having already been rejected by some of the Valley’s biggest names.

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