Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

2400 E Missouri Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85016, USA

Marilyn Monroe once proclaimed that her favorite swimming pool was at the Arizona Biltmore. And Irving Berlin, obviously a person who didn’t know how to relax, is said to have written “White Christmas” while a guest at the hotel. Other musical guests have included Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., who were known to play on a piano in the lobby. But that’s history, and the Jewel of the Desert, as the 90-year-old hotel was once known, is now just one more sparkling gem in a treasure chest of Arizona resorts. To continue shining, the Biltmore underwent a major renovation that was completed in late 2016. Much of the update focused on restoring the hotel’s original main building, but the guest rooms, meeting spaces, ballrooms, and spa were also polished. The contemporary style that now dominates the Biltmore was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, who played a significant role in determining the hotel’s original look. In the guest rooms, Wright’s influence is most notable in the wall coverings, embossed with a design similar to that found on his “Biltmore Blocks,” used in the construction of most of the resort. Of course, for guests who didn’t come for the history, or the design lecture, there are still the eight swimming pools, seven tennis courts, and, next door at the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club, 36 holes of golf.

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Stay at Frank Lloyd Wright's Hotel in Arizona

The Arizona Biltmore resort was built in 1929. One of the first and still one of the finest resorts in Phoenix, it remains a unique architectural gem. Frank Lloyd Wright was the consulting architect, and his work has been well maintained. The lobby has a ceiling made of gold leaf. No other resort in Phoenix has the history or the architecture of the Biltmore. Recreation includes two golf courses, tennis, hiking into the Phoenix mountains, biking or walking along the Salt River irrigation canal, swimming in a pool where Marilyn Monroe once swam. This resort is a perfect base camp for all outdoor activities. The free-standing cottages are some of my favorite rooms. The villa suites include fireplaces and kitchens, although the excellent restaurants and room service make the kitchens rarely needed.

Bike along a Canal

Canals run for quite a distance across Phoenix and Scottsdale. Adjacent to them are excellent, safe biking and walking paths. The Salt River Project has allowed licensed recreational use of the canal banks since 1964, when the first recreational use agreement was signed by Maricopa County for the Sun Circle trail, a multipurpose path that circles the valley and follows nearly 70 miles of canal. Since then, other cities have constructed paved bike paths with lights, completed bank-side landscaping, and installed public art.

Afternoon tea at the Biltmore

What an incredible afternoon tea extravaganza. This Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired resort houses what I suspect is the best afternoon tea in Phoenix. Kevin, our tea sommelier, was so passionate about his craft and helped us select the best teas to pair with tea sandwiches and pastries. Everything was delicious and I could tell the sandwiches were assembled to order, the bread so so soft and the ingredients very fresh. I wish I could have stayed at this resort too! They have an incredible spa, beautiful pool and the building has such history behind it. It was built in 1929 and has just finished undergoing renovations, so the rooms are clean, modern and very comfortable. At least they looked like it on a tour.

High Tea in the Desert

Wine tasting? Been there, done that. At High Tea at the Arizona Biltmore, you can sample the world’s finest black, white and herbal teas in astounding flavor combinations. With an expert tea sommelier at your service, indulge in delicate pastries, sandwiches and cakes paired with hot or cold brews of your choice. You’ll be surprised and delighted by the depth of flavor, tastes and aromas in the fine teas and treats. Sip a blackcurrant black tea, a South African rooibos, or a ginger & pear white tea. Enjoy a whole new level of sophistication in the Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore’s beautifully restored Art Deco hotel lobby sunroom. It’s an 85-year old tradition at one of Arizona’s most luxurious resorts.

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