The Jewel Of The Desert
Establishment: The Arizona Biltmore
Published: October 25, 2010
Photos By: Robin Roth
Story By: Robin Roth
Editor: Andrew Boyer




Story And Most Photos By: Robin Roth

Except 1, 9, 10, 20, and 21




With all the reviews I have written over the years, I must say that I have never seen a hotel as unusual, dramatic, or unique as the Arizona Biltmore. It is understandable why it’s recognized as one of Arizona’s historical architectural landmarks. It is truly an extraordinary luxury oasis.



Arizona’s first resort, opened on February 23, 1929 when it was actually crowned, the “Jewel of the Desert.” The Arizona Biltmore stands out worldwide, for its signature design, style, and ambiance. Renowned Frank Lloyd Wright was the consulting architect; he collaborated with Albert Chase McArthur, who was the elder brother of the resort’s original owners. It was Wright’s first hotel project and remains the only existing hotel in the world with a Wright design.



Stepping into the lobby which boasts warm and rich earth tones is like stepping into an Egyptian Temple. It has a gold-leaf ceiling that was, and remains, the second largest in the world after the Taj Mahal. The hotel is more than just an opulent masterpiece; the Arizona Biltmore still retains something of the mien of a temple where great art took shape. There are blocks of glass, built into the walls which bring a natural lighting. The pre-cast blocks were made from desert sand on-site and created in 34 different geometric patterns. The stained-glass window created by Frank Lloyd Wright is an explosion of dazzling color, composition, and stunning brilliance. However, as grand as the resort is, I still felt it’s radiating, welcoming allure.

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The 740 beautiful and oversized guest rooms, and the 78 one and two bedroom villas are luxurious, well appointed and practical which all reflect its timeless Biltmore heritage and history. The bed and fine linens are totally comfy. The unique mission-style furnishings were lovely and handsome with their plush fabrics draped in desert palettes of beige sand and ivory reflect the surrounding mountain vistas. The Wiand state-of-the-art entertainment systems are amazing. In addition, the guest rooms feature: Working desk with two chairs, two telephones equipped with voicemail and speed dialing, High Speed Internet connection, well stocked mini-bars, Hairdryers, Make-up mirror, and Scale.


Everything I was offered at the stellar Biltmore made for an easy and relaxing stay. I felt pampered, spoiled, and treated like royalty. The storybook grounds are rich, plush, and nestled amid mountains and beauty.

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A luxury experience and special services are at the Ocatilla at the Arizona Biltmore.

I was fortunate enough to stay at the exclusive 120-room wing, ‘Ocatilla’, which opened in 2009. I must say, it totally redefines the highest level of a luxury hotel experience. It is a boutique hotel, a hotel within a hotel. If you really want to be spoiled like a movie star, this is where you should long to stay. You feel completely safe and pampered as if you were in a retreat or private haven. The 500-square-feet Club and Club Deluxe guest rooms feature: a traditional Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired interior with modern touches; a Media Wall with flat-screen HD TV, and business work area with a desk with high-speed internet connection; iPod dock; granite and mosaic-tile bathrooms with Kohler double sinks and special bath amenities by Pascal Morabito; and panoramic views of the mountains, pool or gardens. Furthermore, there is an enthusiastic concierge that attended to all my individual needs in a beautiful, relaxed lounge environment. There are continuous culinary offerings presented throughout the day including Continental Breakfast; beer, wine, beverages, fruit and snacks, chef selected light evening fare; and cordials and sweets at night.


In addition, there is an array of executive amenities. I was impressed with the other services offered such as: Two-hour pressing service daily, shoe shine, complimentary service provided overnight, Therapeutic Turndown Bath, a hot bath drawn with soothing sea salts, daily newspaper delivery, Wifi Internet Access and Computers available for guest use, guaranteed reservations at Arizona Biltmore restaurants, the spa and recreational activities when made through Ocatilla Concierge, head, neck and shoulder massage offered at various times, conference call space provided in the lounge’s conference room and Wii Gaming Systems available upon request.


The three-story Ocatilla, features a private Ocatilla Pool with poolside service as well.

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For your dining:


FRANK & ALBERTS:  The Arizona Biltmore’s brand new restaurant exudes a vibrant energy, delivering delicious comfort food with a healthy original twist. I love, love, love, this amazing restaurant. Foodies, you will want to fly in just for the restaurant alone. The brilliant chefs, Eric Schlicht and Conor Favre, eat, sleep and breathe their love of food, and their artistic creations and their enthusiasm is quite evident.


Please allow me to share some of my favorites:

Charred chicken lollipops: sweet and tangy delish

Pulled pork empanadas: out of this world



Wood stone baked brie: Ok, can we talk? I would kill for this one everyday of my life   yummy, yum, yum!



Biltmore’s famous tortilla soup since 1949: I can see why this one is a forever!



Basil and goat cheese ravioli: So uniquely delectable



Filet Mignon straight up with sweet potato fries: succulent and tender love the fries…Yum



Meat loaf with turkey meat: Very original and healthy



Dessert: I beg you to order at least 3. My mouth is watering from all of them

The table side S’mores: I will dream of this one forever

As the cookie crumbles: Sorry calories don't exist here

Sundae tasting menu:  Awesome and matchless

Don't miss this memorable, fabulous food experience and tell my chefs hello!

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WRIGHT’S AT THE BILTMORE:  The Arizona Biltmore’s historic signature restaurant elegant but simplistic presentations focusing on fresh ingredients – produce, meats, game, and more.  The restaurant’s distinctive architecture combined with floor-to-ceiling windows and striking pewter chandeliers make it the perfect setting to enjoy a relaxing dinner with friends or family, or an intimate dinner for two acclaimed Sunday Brunch.

AFTERNOON TEA:  A delectable selection of finger Lobby Tea Court

WRIGHT BAR: A trendy black-granite and wood bar featuring a variety of beverage specialties and a light appetizer menu.

THE CAFÉ:  This relaxed bistro offers breakfast in the morning, deli sandwiches, salads, and more throughout the day.


There is a wonderful 22,000-square-foot SPA & FITNESS CENTER offering an extensive list of treatments and therapies from countries and cultures around the world.


There are three spa pools; steam rooms, saunas, separate men’s/women’s locker rooms, power shower and outdoor retreat areas. The Fitness Center features state-of-the-art cardiovascular and weight-training equipment, an aerobics room and an array of classes that was amazing. Thank goodness for the full-service beauty salon Boutique to get my hair fixed after my work outs.


Golf Facilities and Amenities 

There are two18-hole championship golf courses: set in the shadow of the impressive peaks of Phoenix Mountain Preserve. There are driving and chipping ranges, putting green, The Adobe Restaurant serving traditional Southwestern cuisine and golf shop. Private golf lessons and daily clinics Greens are offered daily.





Kids Korral: Supervised program for children five to 12, combining sports activities, games, arts and crafts;

Kids Playground: The children’s play area features a full range of playground equipment.




 Basketball, 18-hole championship putting course, Hiking/Mountain Biking,  Life-Size Lawn Chess, Croquet & Bocce Ball,  Biltmore Power Walk,  Biltmore Estates Walk and The Arizona Biltmore History Tour.




The Arizona Biltmore is rich in a history that has weathered the Depression, WWII as well as the stock market crash. Even prohibition was circumvented by the “mystery room,” a men’s only smoking room up a back stairway.


In 1930, Chicago chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr. became the sole owner.  Over the course of the next 43 years, the Wrigley family owned and operated the Arizona Biltmore and, under their aegis, it became world renowned as a preferred luxury oasis for celebrities, heads of state, captains of industry and other famous travelers. It storied legacy remains that the Biltmore Hotel is a favorite playground of the powerful and famous. Status, prestige, extravagance and cachet have swept through this amazing hotel.

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard honeymooned at the hotel, as did Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Marilyn Monroe had her favorite swimming pool here (Catalina Pool), every U.S. president since Herbert Hoover has stayed at the Biltmore. Countless other celebs have also, enjoyed the famed ambiance, and true opulence. The Biltmore’s famous guests includes: Oprah, Gracie Allen and George Burns, Fred Astaire, Jack Benny, Marlon Brando, Nicholas Cage, Johnny Depp, Kim Basinger, Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn, Johnny Carson, the cast of Seinfeld and Friends, George Clooney, Bill Cosby, Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Hope, Jay Leno, Gregory Peck, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Sinatra, Steven Spielberg, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone and Elizabeth Taylor. Musical artists have enjoyed fun in the sun here including: Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler and Aero Smith, Glen Campbell, Neil Diamond, Diana Ross, Led Zeppelin, Lil Wayne, Steely Dan, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Idol, Eric Clapton, Pat Benatar, Mariah Carey, 50 Cent, and U2. Even famous broadcasters such as: Tom Brokaw, Barbara Walters, Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams, Larry King and Peter Jennings have been pampered at the Biltmore. Politicians and sport stars such as: Newt Gingrich, Dan Quayle, Al Gore Magic Johnson, Joe Montana and Michael Jordan spent time here as well.


The Arizona Biltmore is perfectly located within minutes of Phoenix’s major arenas, museums, concert halls and other popular urban venues as well as a nature preserve with hiking trails to horseback riding. Sky Harbor International Airport is just a 15-minutes drive away. It is very family and pet friendly, perfect for vacations, weddings, honeymoons, reunions, meeting or social events.



I am so proud to have been given the opportunity to brag about this spectacular resort. I would like to thank Marian Gerlich who helped to make this article possible with her elegance and charm.

Tel: (602) 955-6600, (800) 950-0086, Fax: (602) 381-7600, Arizona Biltmore, 2400 E. Missouri, Phoenix, AZ 85016