The Arizona Biltmore

In the locker room, I spoke to one woman who was there with a group of friends celebrating a significant birthday which is a great idea. Then I saw another group of off-duty bridesmaids just back from getting “picture perfect” HD Finish airbrush make-up applications. Here’s how relaxed I was: they were young, they were thin, they were flawless… and I didn’t hate them!

Besides being an ideal wedding location, the Arizona Biltmore is also dog friendly and kid friendly but you know, in different ways. Although both can special order from room service, the dogs can be walked or even massaged (I withhold my judgment having once gone to a Doggie Psychic. I’m not proud of that but there you have it) and kids have a remarkable program that’s flexible enough to tailor the activities to the ages and interests of the kids on hand. That’s crucial if you’ve ever left your 12 year-old son at a hotel “kids kamp” with nothing put a pile of glitter and shoebox full of buttons.

We started Saturday with an incredible 90-minute tour of the Biltmore led by, I swear to you, a certified Hotel Historian. Look, I live in Los Angeles so “history” means “Vanna White lived here” so I’m always up for the real thing. The tour was like being in a Ken Burns documentary without the PBS Pledge Drive in the middle.

My husband and I hopped in the car and headed out to Taliesin West high above the Sonoran Desert just northeast of Scottsdale. It was here in 1937 that Frank Lloyd Wright began to build his winter home, studio and architectural campus. Guided by a charming and fascinating docent, we literally walked through the birth of modern architecture. And don’t get me started on the gift shop. The only thing that saved us was that we only brought carry-on luggage.

Driving was a pleasure (again, I live in L.A. meaning this is the first time I’ve ever said that phrase) so we headed off to explore Scottsdale. In Old Town, we were giddy at so much free parking (see above) so we poked around cowpoke-funky shops and restaurants ’til we settled on a place called Cien Agaves Tacos and Tequila. I’ll leave it to you to decide which attracted me more.

Back in the car for a short drive to Main Street in Scottsdale. If that was Old Town we were just in, this is definitely New Town with high-end stores, restaurants and over 125 art galleries, museums and shops. Think Miami Beach without high rises, Rodeo Drive without tour buses or SoHo without attitude.

If you’ve never driven through the desert, I highly recommend it. I mean it’s not a Lawrence of Arabia desert but it’s still other-worldly, serene and sort of bewitching. I forget sometimes what wide-open spaces look like, and I’m glad the Phoenix area was there to remind me.

Did you know that the Tequila (there’s that word again) Sunrise was invented at the Arizona Biltmore? And it’s not the drink you’re thinking of; this one’s a layered treat of deliciousness that actually looks like a sunrise. Sit in understated elegance at the Wright Bar and have one. Or the Lavender and Lemon Martini. I’ll stop now.

Both restaurants, the casual Frank and Albert’s and the more luxurious Wright’s at the Biltmore were welcoming and friendly, and both offer indoor and outdoor dining.

The Arizona Biltmore boasts 740 rooms, suites and cottages on 39 acres of land and yet it feels as intimate as a boutique hotel and as private as a whisper. Frank Lloyd Wright said: “Give me the luxuries of life, and I will willingly do without the necessities.” At the Biltmore, you’ve got ‘em both.

Go. And take me. Please?

The Arizona Biltmore

2400 East Missouri Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85016
(1 800 950 0086)

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