Gila River Resort Expansion

Chandler Resort Transitions Into a Leisure Travel Destination 

This past January, Gila River Resorts unveiled its $180 million Wild Horse Pass expansion. The project had officially broken ground in February 2019, and updates include the addition of a new resort tower and the rooftop restaurant Prime, a Shula’s Steak House, plus a newly renovated lobby, increased meeting/event space, and a new event lawn.

This is the property’s first expansion project since opening in October 2009. 

“We are truly excited to introduce our expansion. Throughout the past several years, we have been creating a destination packed with thrilling entertainment and new ways to relax,” says Kenneth Manuel, CEO.

The expansion marks Gila River's transition into the “resorts" category.

“We recognized the large demand for leisure travel as there are very few full-service resorts in the Chandler area, so we wanted to rebrand as a destination where guests can have everything they need and want in one stay,” says Denise Pfaff, corporate director of resort operations. 

The new Sunrise tower is 11 stories and connects to the existing Sunset tower. It features 205 new guest rooms and suites, for a total of 446 rooms at the resort. Many of the rooms boast sweeping desert and mountain views. 

“We're close to the airport, yet guests will still have a secluded feel surrounded by the Estrella Mountains, Whirlwind Golf Course, and the beautiful sunsets,” says Pfaff.

The newly renovated lobby entrance at Wild Horse Pass showcases a stunning chandelier atop the resort's iconic rearing horse sculpture, and a diverse collection of art by Gila River Indian Community artists is prominently featured throughout the lobby. 

The resort has also enhanced the pool experience by adding two new pools—the Oasis Pool, with 17 poolside cabanas and a bar and grill, and the Serenity Adult Pool, which caters to the 21-and-older crowd. In addition, the resort increased its event space for a total of 30,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, and 7,000 square feet of outdoor meeting space with an event lawn. 

The crowning jewel of the new expansion at Wild Horse Pass is the rooftop restaurant Prime, A Shula's Steak House, which is accessed by a stunning glass elevator and features a menu crafted by celebrity chef Demetrio Zavala. 

“This is fine dining experience in the east valley that is amazing with a view,” Pfaff says.

Prime is open for dinner service, and on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, the restaurant transforms into 11ven, a nightlife lounge with craft cocktails, entertainment, and a live DJ. The venue offers spectacular views from the 11th-floor balcony for a perfect happy hour sunset.

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