Posted by: Waheeda Harris | October 12, 2010

The Arizona Biltmore Hotel, Phoenix

This hotel sits in the shadow of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, on a lush, expansive 39 acres, including multiple low-storey buildings.

This accommodation also has bragging rights, being the only hotel in the world with the unmistakable architectural influences of Frank Lloyd Wright, as it was designed by his former student, Albert Chase McArthur.

Opening in February 1929, the Arizona Biltmore was nicknamed the Jewel of the Desert, an oasis for the rich and powerful to enjoy the endless warmth and sunshine of winter in southern Arizona. In the 1930s and 1940s, it was commonplace for guests to stay four to five months, escaping the cold temperatures of other parts of the US.

This hotel has many traditional Frank Lloyd Wright influences, ,which patrons can see in the lighting, furniture and especially the small cabins which dot the landscape of the property, originally built to house the architectural team of McArthur and Frank Lloyd Wright during building of the property. Overall there are 739 accommodations, including 86 suites, decorated in the tones of the desert from cool cream to warm ochre with splahes of green.

Eight pools are available to guests, with the main pool area featuring the Cabana Club, with a swim-up bar and water slide, as well as numerous lounge chairs for guests to enjoy the sunshine in-between cooling off with a swim.

Patrons should also head to the Catalina Pool, which was a favourite of Marilyn Monroe and features tiles that were imported from California especially for the pool.

Other amenities of this hotel resort include seven shops and boutiques, two 18 hole golf courses, seven tennis courts, basketball court, life size lawn chess, croquet, bocce ball and guided hike or mountain bike trips nearby.

The extensive grounds were made for walking, with numerous pathways through the landscaped gardens and shaded walkways to find a quiet spot to read or lead you to another activity or pool.

This historical property was the winter home for many of the rich and famous including Irving Berlin, Bing Crosby, James Cagney, Walter Cronkite, Fred Astaire, Bob Hope and the newly-married Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

More recently, the hotel has welcome Shaquille O’Neal, President George W. Bush, former Mexican President Vincente Fox, Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox.

Although this hotel has a resort atmosphere, there is a happy mixture of design and architecture, history and Arizona, and is worthy of a stay or at least a visit while in Phoenix.

For more information: Arizona Biltmore Hotel


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