Case: The Phoenician

Result: Sunray provided a unique solution for this 250-acre resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Project Overview

The Phoenician, part of the Starwood Luxury Collection, is a AAA Five Diamond resort nestled in the foothills of Scottsdale, Arizona. The Phoenician offers a boutique hotel, 10 restaurants and lounges, a championship golf course, a world-renowned spa, retail shops, tennis courts and even a 2-acre cactus garden. As part of a capital improvement project, resort leaders sought an upgrade The Phoenician’s data and communications network in 2008. Its pre-existing equipment was aging and offered limited network management capabilities. Also, the resort’s wireless local area network (WLAN) only supported WiFi in the hotel lobby and pool area.

"Its pre-existing equipment was aging and offered limited network management capabilities."

The Challenge

"We faced two major obstacles," explains Billy Graham, Systems Manager for The Phoenician. "First, we wanted network coverage throughout the entire resort, which spans 250 acres. Second, we don’t have CAT-5 cabling in the hotel guest rooms and rewiring the entire facility was not feasible from a cost standpoint."

To overcome these challenges, Graham and his team decided to pursue a mostly wireless network infrastructure. Unfortunately, this tact presented hurdles of its own.

"Our resort covers a lot of ground and our walls are made of concrete, so we couldn’t use indoor access points," says Graham. "We needed to find an outdoor-in solution that can withstand the harsh conditions of the Arizona desert."

Manageability was also a top priority, he adds. With The Phoenician’s previous network, each switch, router and access point had to be administered manually. Graham sought network equipment that could be managed collectively and remotely.

Our Recommendations

Sunray needed to take a very unique approach to the way we designed the Internet system since cosmetically, we could not install any gear inside the hallways and/or guest rooms. Plus, the resort requested that whatever we installed, it needed to be a controller based WiFi network. The design Sunray settled on was an outdoor-in Colubris/ProCurve solution. The end result was 100% coverage in all guest room, meeting room, outdoor and common areas in pre-determined locations. With the use of a controller based WiFi network, the resort was able to accomplish 3 main goals.

  • 100% WiFi coverage for the entire resort for hotel guest Internet access throughout areas identified by hotel staff
  • PCI Compliance so that hotel staff could use handheld devices to order food and beverages for hotel guests
  • Securely access administration resources anywhere on the resort with the use of secondary SSID’s and tunneling of admin data directly back to admin resources

The Sunray Solution

  • Extend network coverage throughout the property
  • Ease network monitoring and management
  • Boost network reliability and scalability
  • Expand guest and conference services
  • Improve operational flexibility
  • Enhance workforce productivity

The Results

The wireless network is currently supporting handheld point-of-sale (POS) devices for food and beverage sales throughout the property. It also enables The Phoenician to offer guest registration, no-cash bars and credit card transactions anywhere on resort grounds – whether it is in the conference area, on the golf course or among the cactus garden.

"Our HP ProCurve network has helped us think and operate differently," says Graham. "The wireless infrastructure has only been in place for a half year, but we’ve already utilized it in ways that we never imagined. And the possibilities for future use are unlimited."

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