The Francisco Grande dates
back to 1959 when San Francisco Giants owner Horace Stoneham developed the
property as a spring training camp for his popular Major League Baseball
team. Then Arizona Governor Paul Fannin attended the dedication before the
first exhibition game in 1961, as did National League president Warren Giles,
to an overflowing crowd. Optimism swirled like desert dust devils when Willie
Mays hit a 375-foot home run off Gaylord Perry in the forth inning of the
first ever game at Francisco Grande. "Francisco" was taken from
the San "Francisco" Giants and "Grande" was taken from
Casa "Grande"; thus the name "Francisco Grande." While
Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal were honing their Hall of Fame
skills, the Resort became an exclusive and intimate desert hideaway for Hollywood
elites. Legends such as John Wayne, Dale Robertson, Pat Boone, and Gale Gordon
made the Francisco Grande their home away from home.
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several unique architectural facts concerning our Resort. Our famous swimming
pool is in the shape of a baseball bat, and the hot tub is shaped like a
baseball. The parking area in front of the hotel where Willie Mays parked
his pink Cadillac with "Say Hey" plates was originally designed
like a baseball diamond and the flower beds were constructed to resemble
bats and balls. The overhang on the north side of the tower was built to
resemble the brim of a baseball cap. The stairwells on the south side of
the building were built to resemble those in a stadium at the time of construction.
From the Sunset Terrace, you will notice the coach's observation tower; a
round two story structure which was used by coaches and members of the press
to view the action of players during practice. With your imagination, you
can see the four baseball diamonds with some of the sport's best known players
(then and now) as they practiced in their "Field of Dreams".
Giants were enticed to move to Scottsdale, the California Angels used the
facility from 1982 until 1984. The next two years saw the transformation
of the baseball fields into football fields, which were used as the training
camp headquarters for the USFL's Arizona Wranglers and the Denver Gold.
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to 2002, the Francisco Grande operated as a destination golf resort. Visitor's
golf skills were tested on one of Arizona's longest PGA Championship courses.
The course plays 5,224 yards from the front tees and a staggering 7,545 yards
from the championship tees. Guests were treated to exceptional service and
fine dining in the Palo Verde dining room and helped the Francisco Grande
become known as "Arizona's Friendliest Resort."
In 2003, the
"Old Girl" was completely closed for a much needed repositioning.
This $8.5 million dollar undertaking included a complete renovation of the
main tower, all restaurant and banquet facilities as well as a major facelift
for the golf course and hotel grounds. This project was done in a way as
to not change the history or integrity of the original Francisco Grande.
Our history is one of the most important parts of our culture and your guest
experience. If you left your heart in San Francisco and want to go back and
visit a little bit of your youth, you have come to the right place.