Louise Speaks: It’s hard to imagine that after all the traveling we’ve done, that we still haven’t completed Arizona, the state we live in. It’s not that we don’t drive through the state, but stopping at all these hotels and resorts takes a lot of time and energy.
The Arizona Biltmoreis probably one of the most famous hotel/resorts in Arizona. Since 1929, The Arizona Biltmore has been a destination of inspiration. With 39 acres of gardens, swimming pools and iconic architecture it brings the resort to life. This resort has provided a safe haven to celebrities and presidents. There is also a championship golf course, a 22,000+ square foot spa and fitness center, multiple restaurants, and a variety of amenities to fit the entire family.
The Biltmore is one of the only existing luxury hotels in the world with a Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced design, The Arizona Biltmore has been an Arizona landmark since its opening on Feb. 23, 1929 when it was crowned “The Jewel of the Desert.” The resort was designed by Albert Chase McArthur, a Harvard graduate, who had studied under Frank Lloyd Wright from 1907 – 1909 in Chicago.Although the resort has many pools throughout the property, the original pool was first built by the Wrigleys in 1930 and has been host to diving competitions as well as fashion shows. Marilyn Monroe called this her favorite pool. I bet you didn’t know that the famed song composer Irving Berlin wrote many tunes, including “White Christmas” while sitting poolside at the Arizona Biltmore. Harpo Marx and his bride honeymooned here as well as Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
In 1930, when the estimated $1 million construction cost doubled, Chicago chewing gum millionaire, William Wrigley, Jr., one of the original investors, became the sole owner of the property. Over the next 44 years, the Wrigley family owned and operated the Arizona Biltmore and it became world-renowned as the preferred luxury oasis for celebrities, heads of state, captains of industry and other famous travelers. The Wrigley Mansion can still be seen atop the mountain from the Arizona Biltmore.
In May of 1973, the Wrigley family sold the Biltmore to Talley Industries, which closed the resort for renovations that summer. The project was completed in a record 82 days and the result was a finer, more complete hotel than had previously existed. In 1975, under Talley Industries’ ownership, the first major expansion took place with the opening of the 90-room Paradise Wing. This expansion continued over the next seven years with the addition of the 120-room Valley Wing and a 39,000-square-foot Conference Center in 1979. In 1982, the 109-room Terrace Court opened. Another renovation was completed in 1987 which included the remodeling of 120 guest rooms throughout the main building in addition to the East and Garden Wings. A year later, the historic cottages were also refurbished. One of these cottages hosted President and Jacqueline Kennedy. In January 1998, a 20,000 square-foot spa and fitness center as well as a full-service beauty salon opened. The newest addition is the new Arizona Wing, which features 120 new guest rooms, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and two new meeting rooms. The Arizona Wing was completely renovated in March of 2009 to become Ocatilla at The Arizona Biltmore, a “hotel within the hotel”. The Arizona Biltmore now boasts 740 guest rooms and 78 villa suites. There is also 8 swimming pools, 7 tennis courts, and 5 exclusive dining options. The adjacent Arizona Biltmore Country Club boasts two of the best 18-hole PGA golf courses in the Phoenix area. With all of this, The Arizona Biltmore is one of the largest hotels in Arizona. Classic rooms at the Biltmore range from $227.00 to $527.00 per night, and a signature suite will cost between $567.00 to $587.00 per night. Although the rooms are large in comparison to regular resort rooms, I’m not sure what the big deal is, other than the views are breathtaking, wake up calls are made by a real person, and room service is delivered by a smiling attendant riding a three-wheel bicycle.
Thanks to conscientious owners who have been committed to preserving the Biltmores architectural integrity, the resort is, in many ways, more “Wright like” now than when it was built. Throughout the years, the Arizona Biltmore has set the standard for elegance and style. It continues to attract celebrities and dignitaries from around the world. I know this is an Arizona landmark. I know famous people and ALL the presidents, except President Obama have stayed here, but I just don’t get all the hype. It is in the middle of town so not very secluded and it is very very large so seems like a city all by itself so not very intimate. That being said, it is a beautiful place but not sure it’s worth the prices they charge to stay here. That being said The Biltmore gets a rating of a B…it’s worth stopping by and if you can afford it, I guess if you want bragging rights, go ahead and spend the night.