SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A $7.5 million renovation of the 204-room SunBurst Resort, which added a spa and restaurant among other improvements, was undertaken to take the property from three-star to four-star, said Marc Pujalet, president of Noble House Hotels and Resorts, the company that manages SunBurst.

The project, to be completed by Dec. 1, involves updating the bathrooms, carpeting, armoires and bedding in guest rooms and suites.

The renovation of the entrance of the hotel, completed this summer, created a porte cochere that reflects the natural design elements of the desert landscape, said Pujalet.

Also added earlier this year was a 3,500-foot, Asian-inspired spa, the SpaTerre, consisting of seven treatment rooms, including a couples massage room, a wet room with Vichy shower, a facial room, a manicure/pedicure room and a meditation room.

An example of a treatment is the Desert Heat Wrap, in which adobe clay is applied to the body, followed by a thermal wrap. The cost is $100. The spa also offers treatments that draw on Indonesian and Thai rituals.

The spa is just off the lobby with access to the fitness and pool areas.

The renovations represent the second phase of the project. In 2003, the resort remodeled its meetings and public space. The property offers a total of 14,000 square feet of meetings space. The resort installed wireless Internet access in all rooms, the lobby and the pool and conference areas.

There is also a new outdoor event space with an infinity-edge water lagoon for weddings and social events.

In November, Baleen, a signature restaurant of Noble House, is to be added at SunBurst.

It will have the same core menu as the Baleen in Miami, San Diego and Santa Fe, N.M., with wood-roasted seafood, but there will also be menu items reflecting local fare, Pujalet said.

Sunburst is spending this year reintroducing itself to the local market and key customers, half of whom are leisure travelers and the other half groups and meetings, Pujalet said.

The resort is doing well, with 10% higher revenues than last year, and thats particularly impressive because were going through renovations, Pujalet said. Its been a very good year for the Scottsdale market.

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To contact reporter Laura Del Rosso, send e-mail to [email protected].

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