Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort

Chandler, AZ

Centuries ago, the Gila Indian tribe of Southern Arizona settled along the banks of the Gila River. The river provided much needed water for the people and their crops. As development grew in the region, dams upstream reduced flow in the river, denying future generations of Gila Indians the strong relationship the tribe had with the river. In order to reconnect the tribal people with their river roots, the Gila community hired PACE to turn their vision of recreating the river into a reality. PACE provided complete design services for a 1.5-mile replica of the historic river.  Meandering along Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort’s entry road, the river features rapids, rock outcroppings and manmade rock formations scattered along the river’s edge. Wetland planters and sand bars recreate the natural flow of the desert river that ends in a 3.5-acre lake at the rear of the 550-room resort.

The river’s circulation system provides variable river flow of up to 9,800 gpm to simulate dry and wet season conditions. An additional half-mile river defines the front of the resort and is not only aesthetically appealing, but also a functioning boat taxiway for guests going to and from the hotel, golf course and casino. For guests who prefer to walk, PACE designed a river-spanning 36-foot wide arch bridge.

PACE’s design was not limited to the river. The resort pool complex includes a main pool, sports pool, two spas, a children’s pool and a twisting water slide, all of which enhance guests’ enjoyment of the property. Finally, PACE designed a signature rock formation and waterfall, which drops three floors into the hotel’s main bar for the hotel lobby.  By bringing the river back to life through the Wild Horse Pass Resort river project, the Gila community can once again share the spirit of the Gila River.