March 8, 2024, 6:03 PM ·

Arizona’s VAI Resort might be known best to theme park fans as the site of the Mattel Adventure Park. But the resort, now under construction in Glendale, also deserves attention for a novel design.

I had the opportunity to tour one of the four towers in the 1,100-room resort yesterday with VAL Destination Group CEO Grant Fisher. The Amphitheater Tower will offer 328 rooms, with about half of them facing and accommodating about 2,000 fans in the resort’s 11,000-seat amphitheater. It promises the ultimate in a luxury skybox experience for a headliner concert.
Concept art courtesy VAI ResortVAI Resort has partnered Live Nation and C3 Presents to book and promote shows for the amphitheater, which Fisher says will be ready to open next year. While the organization is working toward a soft opening of parts of the resort by this December, VAI Resort – including the Mattel Adventure Park – will open in phases starting in 2025, Fisher said during yesterday’s press tour.In addition to the The Amphitheater Tower, VAI Resort will offer:311-room Rhythm Tower, which will include a nearly 100,000 square foot convention center299-room Cadence Tower, a “boutique-style” hotel towerVAI Village, a suite tower with rooms ranging from 1,100 square feet to a 5,300 square foot PenthouseVAI Resorts is not partnering an outside company to operate the hotel. However, it has hired Wynn Las Vegas executive Ben Yoo as its new Vice President of Hotel Operations. Yoo also has served a Director of Hotel Operations for Station Casinos and Director of Rooms for Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts in Las Vegas.In the following video, Fisher takes me and four other invited reporters for a tour of a model room in the Amphitheater Tower. He talks about room pricing, reservation scheduling, luxury amenities… and how VAI is working to avoid a “SkyDome problem” (IYKYK).Fisher name-checked Walt Disney World in explaining why VAI has created a tunnel system underneath the resort. One of the features of the tunnel system is that it will allow an artist staying in top-floor Presidential Suite on the Amphitheater’s eighth floor to take a private elevator and make it from their suite to the stage in about 90 seconds. After the show, an artist can reenter the tunnel for the invited guest meet-and-greet area and then either return to their suite or get in a waiting car and be on their way to a private jet at the Glendale Municipal Airport, which is less than a 10-minute drive from the resort.The Presidential Suite also will feature a private dining room, separated from the adjacent eighth-floor steakhouse, which will be one of 12 restaurants planned for the resort. The resort also is planning about 80,000 square feet of retail, through which visitors will walk on their way from the planned five-story parking structure to either Mattel Adventure Park or other attractions at the resort.

In addition to the indoor theme park and amphitheater, VAI Resort will offer an Aerophile tethered balloon ride that will take visitors 400 feet above the resort (there are Aerophiles at Disney Springs in Florida and Disneyland Paris in France), and a white-sand beach surrounding a five-acre pool with the Konos Island at its center. Billed by VAI Resort as “largest man-made party island in the world,” Konos Island will include the Konos Sky Bar that rotates up an icon tower to provide another aerial view of the resort while up to 16 guests sample creations by a resort mixologist. That pool has been scaled down from its original size back when this resort was first introduced as Crystal Lagoons Island Resort in 2021. Crystal Lagoons exited the project soon after, turning it over to builder Fisher Industries, which reimagined the property as VAI Resort. Crystal Lagoons is the provider of lagoon amenities at dozens of resorts worldwide, including the Evermore Orlando Resort (the former Grand Cypress Golf Resort) and Disney’s upcoming Cotino – Storyliving by Disney development in Rancho Mirage, California.With VIA Resort, Glendale city officials are hoping to add the tipping point to a growing sports and entertainment district that will help make Glendale a more attractive national destination. VAI Resort stands just 1,000 feet south of State Farm Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals and host of two Super Bowls. And that’s adjacent to the Westgate Entertainment District, which houses multiple hotels, restaurants, and destination retail. That also is the home of the Desert Diamond Arena, which until recently was the home of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. [That’s a fascinating story, if you want to give it a read.]Within a few minutes’ drive of VAI Resort, visitors also can find the Desert Diamond Casino (which is non-smoking, by the way) and Camelback Ranch, the spring training home of Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox.Follow Theme Park Insider for more news about VAI Resort, Mattel Adventure Park, and other themed entertainment developments around the world. The best way to do that is to sign up for Theme Park Insider’s weekly newsletter. And to help support Theme Park Insider while saving money on discounted theme park tickets, please visit our international and U.S. attraction ticket partners.

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