An Arizona architectural gem
720 Rooms / 80 Suites
Opened in 1929, Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort exudes a singular, sublime combination of Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced architecture, art deco design and desert botanical chic, with a splash of old Hollywood glamour.
Marilyn Monroe stayed here and took some famous photos by the pool, while the Biltmore lobby piano has seen late-night impromptu performances from Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, Liza Minnelli, Elton John and Bono. You never know who you might see at this historic hotel — it’s still a favorite of celebrities during the winter and spring.
The Phoenix resort resembles a secluded city unto itself, sprawled across 39 acres of gardens, golf courses and pools surrounded by modern estates and gated communities. Part of the Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts collection, the Biltmore recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation, which made improvements to Spa Biltmore, guest rooms and the main building.
Our Inspector’s Highlights
• Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright student Albert Chase McArthur, the Arizona Biltmore exhibits numerous signature flourishes (Wright himself was the consulting architect). The concrete “Biltmore Blocks” proliferating throughout the property are the most obvious Wright touches, created in 34 different geometric patterns inspired by the trunk of a palm tree.
• The Arizona Biltmore has long been a favorite of power players, too — every president from Herbert Hoover through George W. Bush has stayed here. Ronald and Nancy Reagan even honeymooned at the Phoenix resort.
• The Biltmore is the birthplace of the Tequila Sunrise cocktail. A longtime guest told the bartender loved tequila, but wanted something refreshing. The bartender then mixed soda, tequila, crème de cassis and lime juice, which became the Tequila Sunrise. Pop into The Wright Bar to try the original.
• Spa Biltmore offers a wide range of salon and massage services, but its skin treatments are especially heavenly. Refresh overly sun-kissed skin with an Organic Super Fruit Hydration Wrap that begins with a coconut scrub before enveloping you in a mango enzyme mask for a luscious finish.
• Architecture enthusiasts and history buffs will want to take advantage of the Biltmore’s complimentary tours. Book your spot with the hotel’s concierge to enjoy this one-and-a-half-hour guided walk through the property.
Things to Know
• Summer’s a bust for celebrity sightings in the Valley of the Sun, but come spring — and its bevy of local events and festivals — the Biltmore sees some recognizable faces, which could range from actors like Lord of the Rings’ John Rhys-Davies to Lady Gaga on the links with shock rocker/golf fanatic Alice Cooper, who lives in nearby Paradise Valley and frequently plays the Biltmore courses.
• Pool cabanas can be rented and are highly recommended. In addition to private seating, personal service and shade, they come with mini-fridges and flat-screen TVs equipped with premium channels.
• Nearby activities and attractions abound, including the Heard Museum, which highlights Native American heritage and art; Wrigley Mansion, former home of chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr.; Thursday night art walks through the galleries of Old Town Scottsdale; and of course, more golf courses than you can swing a club at.
• With 740 guest rooms, the Phoenix hotel is one of the largest in Arizona. There are five types of accommodations, ranging from 400-square-foot classic rooms to private cottages with fire pits.
• If you need a little more space to stretch out, opt for a suite. These luxurious spaces range from 600 to 1,157 square feet and have comfortable separate sitting areas and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
• One- and two-bedroom villas are ideal for families, offering kitchen and dining areas, large Roman tubs with separate showers and views of the golf courses or the Catalina Pool.
• Ocatilla accommodations feature décor that evokes a stylish 1920s lounge and include concierge services to cater to your every need, from complimentary beer and wine and hot drawn baths to airport transportation and a two-hour garment-pressing service.
• Frank & Albert’s is the Arizona Biltmore’s lunchtime hot spot (you can also dine here for breakfast and dinner). While enjoying some fantastic soups and sandwiches, check out the bevy of bronze Soleri wind chimes. Mounted on the walls as decoration, these geometric bells lend turquoise splashes to the earthy brown and grassy green scheme of the bright and airy eatery.
• Wright’s at the Biltmore combines classic fine-dining environs with a modernized menu that makes use of indigenous ingredients and heritage grains. Plates are simultaneously imaginative and comfortable, like prime beef tenderloin with Indian corn pudding and achiote carrots; smoked elk strip tenderloin swathed in barley and pumpkin; Alaskan halibut with mancha manteles (“tablecloth stainer”) mole and a dandelion green salad.