Arizona Biltmore Review - Celebrating 80 Years as the Jewel of the Desert

The Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa at night

The Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa could not have chosen a more fitting place to make its debut and transform the desert to an improbable, incredibly lush resort. The year was 1929. The crash on Wall Street had ushered in the Great Depression. And, defying all odds, the Biltmore emerged in Phoenix, the city named after the immortal bird that is the very embodiment of vision, excitement and beauty. With its distinctive and heralded Frank Lloyd Wright-style architecture, the Arizona Biltmore overnight became a playground of the rich and famous, as well as the standard by which  elegant, gracious hospitality is measured. To this day, it is the unrivaled social hub of the Southwest.

The Biltmore Golf Course at the foot of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve

Nestled on 39 acres at the foot of Phoenix Mountain Preserve, the legendary “Jewel of the Desert” remains a world class resort noted for its distinctive architecture inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, gracious service and exquisite dining. Facilities include luxurious accommodations for 739 guests: eight swimming pools including Marilyn Monroe’s favorite, the Catalina; seven tennis courts; full-service spa, salon, and fitness center; two 18-hole championship golf courses plus an 18-hole putting course; life-size lawn chess, croquet and bocce ball.

The gracious staff anticipates everything you could possibly need—we felt like royalty.  We stayed in one of the historic cottages—ours even had a patio with a couple of comfortable chairs overlooking the Squaw Peak Terrace and Lawn.

Inside a Historical Cottage

This is the gorgeous view from our patio:

The Squaw Peak Lawn and Terrace

The Paradise  Pool, one of the nation’s premier resort pools, boasts three different pools of varying size and depth, a 92-foot waterslide, in-water bar and dining, poolside dining, games and activities. The “Jewel of the Desert” is a haven for couples as well as active families. Spacious, comfortable cabanas can be custom equipped with a private bathroom, pay-per-view movies, misters, a refrigerator, even a table for four. Cabana guests receive luxuries such as chilled, scented grapefruit facial towels, and bottles of water.

The Paradise Pool with Cabanas

It was such a pleasure to be outside and warm, we went hiking with one of the Biltmore’s knowledgeable guides who took us as far as we could hike into the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. He was even kind enough to demonstrate Jumping Cholla cactus which jumped right onto him. On cue. Ow!

The Jumping Cholla that jumped at the chance to be in the picture

In addition to our hike, we thoroughly enjoyed a historical tour of gilt rooms (only the Taj Mahal has a larger gold ceiling than the Biltmore lobby), the art and architecture including  two huge murals by Maynard Dixon and a stained glass window in the entrance by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Frank Lloyd Wright's "Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers"

Whether you’re a guest or not, you really must treat yourself to at least one special dinner at Wright’s at the Biltmore.

Wright's at the Biltmore

In the tradition of American Lodge, Chef de Cuisine Conor Favre’s creations are an innovative culinary style characterized by fresh, local ingredients that are hearty, yet simply elegant. Each course utilizes the freshest ingredients from boutique farms across the country including herbs from his herb garden outside the dining room. The menu changes weekly to reflect what is in season.  Our dinner was so noteworthy I have written a separate review of it including pictures of the all the courses, the chef, our waiter and the wine room. Look for the story HERE .


Chef de Cuisine Conor Favre's Herb garden

The Arizona Biltmore, the resort that invented the Tequila Sunrise has updated its afternoon tradition to “Tea or ‘Tini?”  Of course you can still choose elegant afternoon High Tea in the comfortable lobby.

The Lobby of the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa

Or, the relentlessly hip can choose martinis in the Wright Bar with its popular outdoor seating area.

The Wright Bar

Before checking out, I had a 4-hour spa treatment that included the 80th Anniversary Spa creation the Jackie O, an 80-minute Anti-Aging Caviar Facial, 50-minute Caviar Manicure as well as a 50-minute Caviar Pedicure. And when I was done, the head make-up artist made me up! I was so totally relaxed and gorgeous I felt like I was in a trance! If you act before Labor Day, you can do the same and save 30% on ala carte spa services. Here's to a more beautiful YOU!

To celebrate its landmark 80th anniversary, the Biltmore is offering a variety of outstanding anniversary specials including room rates from $99 per night!

Visit the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, 2400 East Missouri, Phoeniz, AZ 85016, 602.955.6600, or for information, inspiration, special offers and special events. It truly is a “Jewel in the Desert.”

Photos: Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa

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