Tag Archives: hotel

Mega housing, retail development planned near Grand Canyon

The U.S. Forest Service is clearing the way for a sprawling urban development near the southern edge of the Grand Canyon. The development involves more than 2,100 housing units, 3 million square feet of retail space plus hotels, a spa and conference center.

The superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park has said the project is one of the greatest threats to Grand Canyon in the park’s 96-year-history of the park.

The proposal — by the Stilo Development Group — would transform the 580-resident community of Tusayan, Arizona, from a quiet tourist town into a sprawling complex of high-end homes, strip malls and resorts only a mile from the park boundary near the southern entrance.

Stilo partnered with the town of Tusayan in order to seek a federal permit to expand road and utility access through public lands in the Kaibab National Forest so development can proceed.

The U.S. Forest Service in mid-April began moving forward with the process to approve the special-use permit despite objections from the park service, park advocates and many environmental groups.

“The Forest Service is putting Grand Canyon National Park in the crosshairs by considering Tusayan’s dangerous, damaging plan for a mega-resort,” said Kevin Dahl of the National Parks Conservation Association. “This proposal is not in the public interest and is one of the greatest threats Grand Canyon National Park has seen in its history. The Forest Service can and should have rejected it out of hand.”

The National Park Service considers the mega-development a significant threat to Grand Canyon because it will require vast quantities of water and could lower the aquifer that feeds seeps, springs and streams that support wildlife and recreation on the park’s South Rim.

Groundwater pumping accompanying the development could also lower the aquifer that is the exclusive source of all water for Havasu Falls, the cultural foundation of the Havasupai tribe.

Change swirls inside the landmark Shorecrest Hotel

When Anthony D’Amico took over the Savoy Room Piano Bar and Lounge two years ago, he began re-designing a hospitality venue with a long and varied history.

Notably, D’Amico put out a welcome mat for the East Side’s large LGBT community through ads in WiG, as well as networking.

“We’re trying to let the gay community know that we’re gay friendly,” D’Amico said. “We treat everyone very nice here, we’re very nice and hospitable.”

D’Amico came to the Savoy from a family deli and catering business, which he continues to run with his wife. Mama Angie’s Italian Deli & Catering might well be the basis for many of the items on the Savoy’s menu of Italian/American dishes, including some of the best, most reasonably priced veal entrées in town, according to D’Amico.

Located in the Shorecrest Hotel, 1962 N. Prospect Ave., the space currently occupied by the Savoy has survived many incarnations in its landmark home – a nine-story building listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its Moroccan/Art Deco architectural style.

Snug’s operated in the space for many years, starting in 1976. The space later was home to Beccofino, La Dolce Vita and Lou Bruno’s.

Sally Papia, formerly the proprietor of a restaurant that bore her name, returned from a hiatus to open the original Savoy Room in 2002. She died in 2005, and the restaurant was closed until D’Amico refashioned it in its current form, opening in early 2010.

Late last month, an investment group led by Jim Cadd, one of the owners of the Astor Hotel, purchased the Shorecrest, leaving the Savoy’s future in question. Since 1971, members of the Balistrieri family had owned the building. Their family tree includes former Milwaukee Mafia chief Frank P. Balistrieri, convicted along with sons Joseph and John, of extortion in 1984.

The change in the Shorecrest’s ownership comes after D’Amico spent considerable time and energy in creating a warm, welcoming place to enjoy good food and drink – and good music. 

As part of D’Amico’s redesign of the Savoy Room, he brought in a grand piano. Two Friday nights each month, John Hefter performs on the grand piano and Madeline Dietrich is on bass, backing up singer Vickie Provencher.

Jerry Grillo, who regularly sang classic jazz at the Savoy location 12 years ago, is back for two shows – Nov. 12 and Nov. 26. A third show scheduled for Dec. 10 is up in the air, depending on the Shorecrest’s now uncertain future.

Much like the Savoy, with its history of change and reincarnation, Grillo continues to grow as a jazz singer and to develop his fan base. He won the 2011 WAMI Award for Jazz Singer of the Year. He’s excited about the opportunity to perform in such a beautiful environment as the Savoy.

“I’ve finally found my true voice,” Grillo said. “I know now how to express myself – the words, the phrasing, the melody, jumping from octave to octave – it’s like performing an artwork on stage. I’ve finally learned, that’s what a jazz singer is.”

That’s an apt metaphor for Grillo’s scheduled dates at the Savoy Room, where beautiful artwork and Art Deco fixtures surround guests and performers. The future for both the Savoy Room and Grillo continues to evolve. 

Grillo’s show “Songs From Broadway and the Movies” will be filmed live to DVD on Nov. 13 at the Wherehouse/Hot Water, 818 S. Water St.

Gay-exclusive hotel opens on Riviera Maya

A luxury hotel catering exclusively to gay men is opening next month on the Mexico’s Riviera Maya near the Tulum archaeological zone.

The Adonis Tulum Gay Men Resort & Spa features 94 oceanfront suites along with a menu of spa services and recreational activities, such as snorkeling and scuba diving. Prices for two are in the $846 – $900 range per night, although special packages include three nights for $1,069 per person.

“The hotel is uniquely for men, says general director Patrick Lurenz. “That is to say, only homosexual couples are accepted, it’s not for women, although among our personnel we have heterosexual men and women and all have received specialized training to avoid having our guests feel uncomfortable or discriminated against.”

Lurenz said that the hotel is the first establishment of its kind in the state of Quintana Roo.

The property is on this year’s Expedia Insiders’ Select list, an annual selection of the top hotels based largely on traveler opinions as well as value and Expedia expert input.

The property also is affiliated with the International Gay & Lesbian Trave Association.