Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa – Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.

A Wrightian Legend

The only surviving hotel in the world in whose design Frank Lloyd Wright participated, the Arizona Biltmore is a historic temple to good times.

It’s one of America’s oldest resort hotels (it opened in 1929′ just minutes before the stock market crash), built by Albert Chase McArthur, an Oak Park apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright, to whom its design is often erroneously credited.

In fact, Wright acted only as a consultant on the project, but the spirit of the master designer is so evident, and so powerful, that it no longer really matters who built it.

Set in 39 lush acres (groomed by some thirty full-time gardeners) and now surrounded by Phoenix sprawl, this historic hotel garners high marks with modern-day trend seekers. A large hotel that feels intimate, the Biltmore is luxury all the way, lying at the end of a palm-lined drive that breathes with unforced relaxation. The staff is a joy, too.

Wake-up calls are made by real human beings, and room service is delivered by a smiling attendant riding a three-wheel bicycle. Harpo Marx and his bride honey-mooned here; so did Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

And it’s not hard to imagine one-time guest Marilyn Monroe frolicking in the original Hollywood-esque cabana-lined Catalina Pool, built when Chicago chewing-gum king William Wrigley Jr. owned the place.

What: hotel.
Where: 2400 Missouri Ave. Tel 800-950-0086 or 602-955-6600. fax 602-381-7600;;
Cost: doubles from $195 (low season), from $395 (high season).
Best Times: Sept-Apr for good weather.

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