The distinguished Arizona Biltmore Resort is often thought of as a Frank Lloyd Wright design. Not so, the architects name was Albert Chase MacArthur, a brother of the owners. Albert, a former student of Wright, consulted with him on the textile block system for the hotel,
and later, after a fire damaged much of the hotel in the early 1970’s, the hotel owners, the general contractor and Taliesin Associates Architects had the renovation completed in 3 months.
Taliesin, founded by Frank Lloyd Wright, furthered the Wright influence on the hotel. During the renovation the original solarium was converted to a restaurant which was renamed “Wright’s” in the 1990’s. Even now, 3 of the hotel restaurants use Wright’s name: Frank and Albert’s, Wright’s at the Biltmore and Wright’s Bar.
The Arizona Biltmore has a colorful history, and offers guided historic tours 3 days a week. There is a history room with early furnishings and historical artifacts on display. The hotel was very popular with the Hollywood elite. Clark Gable and his friends used to dine in the Gold Room, and Marilyn Monroe often sunbathed around the Catalina pool.
The Cowboy Bunkhouse was also popular with Hollywood celebrities. Irving Berlin wrote “White Christmas” by the Catalina Pool and there are photos of Martha Rae playing a giant lawn chess game.
In 1952 Nancy and Ronald Reagan were married and also honeymooned at the Resort.
There was a large Mystery Room on the 2’nd floor called the “Men’s Smoking Room”. During Prohibition, 1920 to 1933, it really was a Speakeasy that required a password for entry. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard often stayed right next door to the mystery room. Their room had a secret passage way to the mystery room. Room number 1201 is now the Clark Gable Room.
The Arizona Biltmore is now a Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and is designated a “Phoenix Point of Pride”.