January 23, 2011

November 1, 2004

The Phoenician

A Photo Reportage from a Business Meeting...


The Phoenician... Posh and Pretty

I had a meeting with a prospective client on this beautiful fall morning at the Phoenician resort on Camelback Mountain.  Which is the reason for this photo reportage.  

First, here an "aerial" view of the Phoenician resort and its golf course taken during my birthday climb of Camelback Mountain in June 2004... 

And now, a bit of the Phoenician history...

Dubbed "Club Fed" when the Resolution Trust Corp. (RTC) took it over in 1989, the posh Phoenician Resort in Phoenix was once the hub of Charles Keating's empire and, with its marble tubs and mother-of-pearl swimming pool, a notable specimen of '80s indulgence. Keating, former chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, was convicted in California of securities fraud and in federal court on racketeering, fraud and other charges. In 1992, the RTC sold the Phoenician to the Kuwaitis. Now, the resort is as posh and bustling as it gets in this bustling city full of posh resorts.

Construction of the lavish retreat in the late 1980s drew considerable attention -- including that of queasy federal regulators, who didn't like the fact that it was bankrolled to the tune of almost $300 million by Lincoln customers' federally guaranteed deposits and thought Keating was overvaluing it. But Keating found an investor in 1987 to buy 45 percent of the Phoenician and another hotel, the Crescent. That minority investor was the Kuwaiti government. Lincoln failed anyway.  The government seized it in 1989, and control of the Phoenician and Crescent with it. Thus the "Club Fed" term.

Lining the entrance to the Phoenician are beautifully designed flower beds (above).  In the city that abounds with such artistic displays, this one probably takes the cake.  

There is a story behind it, too.  During a visit to Tonga in the 1980s, a tiny island in the Pacific, Keating was very impressed with how the locals did their flower arrangements.  So he imported a bunch of Tongans to work as gardeners at the Phoenician.  Many have evidently stayed.  During my drive to the hotel this morning, I saw a number of Polynesian-looking faces tending to the beautiful flowerbeds.

The above are some of the views from the hotel lobby, looking toward the south.

An outdoor fountain...

...and an indoor fountain.

The hotel lobby... Minutes after this picture was taken, the "prospective client" became a "new client" of  Annex Research, after Bob's  meeting with the CFO that took place on those beige sofas.

And that's all she wrote... :-)

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