Hotels Of Whim And Vigor

Chic suites are not enough. A growing number of travelers want their hotels transformed into little theme parks. Who says you can't scuba to bed?

Ray Stonecipher thought it was hokey when he heard that his biotechnology convention was booked at the Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa outside Phoenix, Ariz. The idea of a hotel designed around a western theme "sounded like a dude ranch," he says. Instead, the marketing manager from San Jose, Calif., found rooms decorated with authentic baskets and pottery from the Pima and Maricopa tribes; an upscale spa that offered such Indian-inspired treatments as tashogith, a clarification bath using juniper and cypress; and the Kai restaurant, which features dishes like lobster with fry bread, a Native American staple. Says Stonecipher: "It...

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