The Arizona Biltmore's architect of record is Albert Chase McArthur (brother of the hotel owners), yet the design is often mistakenly attributed to Frank Lloyd Wright. This is due to Wright's on-site consulting for four months in 1928 relating to the "Textile Block" construction used in the hotel. Albert McArthur had been a draftsman for Wright, and specifically asked Wright to assist with implementing the textile block system, which became a signature element of the hotel's appearance. The hotel has similarities to several Wright buildings, especially in the main lobby, owing to a strong imprint of the unit block design that Wright had utilized on four residential buildings in the Los Angeles area six years earlier. McArthur is indisputably the architect as original linen drawings of the hotel in the Arizona State University Library archives attest, as does a 1929 feature article in Architectural Record magazine. The two architects are a study in contrast with the famous and outspoken Wright being self-taught and never licensed as an architect in Arizona. The more soft-spoken McArthur was Harvard-trained in architecture, mathematics, engineering, and music. McArthur obtained an architect's license in Arizona, number 338, in 1925, the year he arrived in Phoenix to begin his practice.
Adding to the confusion, Frank Lloyd Wright influences have been added to the property over the years. This includes a stained glass window design entitled "Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers" that Wright designed as a magazine cover for Liberty Magazine in 1926. It was fabricated by Taliesin students and installed during the 1973 hotel renovations and restoration. Reproductions of the geometric 'sprite' statues originally designed by sculptor Alfonso Iannelli for Wright's 1915 Midway Gardens project in Chicago are placed around the property. Also, the original hotel solarium was converted to a restaurant in 1973 and since the mid-1990s has been named 'Wright's'. Three onsite restaurants bear Wright's name: Wright's at the Biltmore, The Wright Bar, and Frank & Albert's.
Authorship of the hotel's design is not a new dispute. Wright wanted square blocks as opposed to McArthur's mathematically proportioned rectangle block that was used. The pre-cast blocks which McArthur used became known as the “Biltmore Blocks". The blocks had a diverse geometric design and were made on site from desert sand.
Wright had condemned McArthur's use of the block system and publicly claimed credit for the building's design. Nonetheless, Wright issued a carefully worded letter in 1930 that was published in The Architectural Record (quoted in Brendan Gill's Many Masks):
All I have done in connection with the building of the Arizona Biltmore, near Phoenix, I have done for Albert McArthur himself at his sole request, and for none other. Albert McArthur is the architect of that building—all attempts to take the credit for that performance from him are gratuitous and beside the mark. But for him, Phoenix would have had nothing like the Biltmore, and it is my hope that he may be enabled to give Phoenix many more beautiful buildings as I believe him entirely capable of doing.
The Biltmore History Room is located on the third floor. In the room there are displays of not only historical artifacts related to the hotel's history, but also the early furnishes which were once used. Among the historical artifacts on display is a wooden key which Scenic Airways dropped on the roof of the ballroom on February 23, 1929, the opening day of the hotel. The key is on display above the room's fireplace.
On the second floor of the hotel there was a room known as the Mystery Room. It was called the “Men's Smoking Room” where supposedly the men who were guests went to smoke cigars and have a drink. This was during the days of Prohibition (1920 to 1933) and the name of the room was a disguise because its true function in the night was that of a Speakeasy. Only the guests that knew the secret password were allowed in. In the room there was a bar behind a revolving bookcase where the illegal alcoholic drinks were served. The hotel placed a beacon light (Spot light) atop the hotel whose official purpose was to alert the speakeasy guests in the event that the police arrived to raid the place. A hotel employee would be stationed on the roof and if he saw any police cars he would flash the spotlight on the skylight of the Mystery Room. When the guests in the room saw the light, they would return to their rooms through secret passageways. What is now an entry door to the room used to be an exit door behind a wall sealed off from the rest of the hallway so that police wouldn't see guests leaving. Actors Clark Gable and Carole Lombard would often stay in room 1201 (now known as the Clark Gable room) which was right next door to the Mystery Room. Their room had a secret passageway to the Mystery Room. The room is now used for meetings and conferences.
Clark Gable and friends used to dine in the Gold Room. The 7,000 square foot ballroom could accommodate 480 guests. The Gold Room, with the gold leaf ceiling, was the original dining room of the Biltmore. It featured dancing and a live orchestra every night. The gold leaf ceiling and windows are from the original structure. There are two murals on the walls: "Legend of the Sun" and "Warrior Twins" by Maynard Dixon (a 20th-century American artist whose body of work focused on the American West) which were done on Belgian Linen.
The Aztec Room was the original ballroom of the Biltmore. The 2,800 square feet room has a gold leaf ceiling and copper beams. Frank Lloyd Wright was instrumental in the room's design which had few or no adjustments.
William Wrigley Jr. becomes full owner
In 1930, the McArthurs (the owners) lost control of the property to one of their primary investors, William Wrigley Jr., who became full owner. The nearby Wrigley Mansion was built in 1931 and now operates as a private club with memberships starting at $15/year.
Original Tequila Sunrise
The Tequila Sunrise is an alcoholic cocktail whose ingredients include Hornitos Plata tequila, Crème de Cassis, fresh squeezed lime juice and Club Soda. It was invented in the late 1930s by bartender Gene Sulit. Sulit was attending customers in the hotel's "Wright" bar when one particular customer asked Sulit if he could come up with a new drink to be enjoyed at poolside. Sulit mixed the ingredients mentioned above and the drink became known as the Biltmore Tequila Sunrise.
In 1940, the Catalina Pool aka Marilyn Monroe's Pool and the Cowboy Bunkhouse areas opened. These would become favorite areas of Hollywood celebrities. The Catalina Pool was Marilyn Monroe's favorite and she was often seen around the pool area sunbathing. Catalina pool supposedly is where Irving Berlin penned the iconic song “White Christmas”.Martha Raye was photographed playing chess on a large chessboard around the Cowboy house.
On March 4, 1952, Ronald and Nancy Reagan were married and spent their honeymoon at the resort. Their favorite cottage in the resort was Cottage I.
In 1970, the Wrigley family sold the hotel to the Talley family. 1973 almost spelled doom for the hotel: a large fire erupted on June 21, destroying interiors of large parts of the 3rd and 4th floors and tremendous water damage on the 2nd and ground floors. Investigators discovered that an arc from a welder installing a sprinkler system had started the blaze. Thirty-five (35) firetrucks and a hundred and fifty (150) fire fighters responded to the 6-alarm fire which resulted in $2.5 Million dollars of damage.
It was announced immediately by the new owners that this famed hotel would be rebuilt in 90 days and opened on schedule for its regular winter season the last week of September 1973. The prompt re-building included new custom designed carpets throughout the hotel, new furniture for guest rooms and public areas, new restaurant kitchen equipment, and renovated public interiors throughout the hotel. "Saguaros", a design by Wright for the cover of Liberty Magazine, was fabricated by Taliesin students during the remodeling of the hotel and was installed in the lobby. Three separate crews were employed around the clock. In the wee hours before opening day, the final carpets were laid and the deadline had been met by a partnership of the owner, Talley Industries, the general contractor, J.R. Porter Construction Co., and the architect, Taliesin Associated Architects.
In July 1999, Florida Panther Holdings, Inc. acquired the property from Grossman Company Properties for $228.5M ($126M cash, $100M Florida Panther stock, and $62.5 debt assumption). Also, in 1999 Florida Panther Holdings, Inc. changed its name to Boca Resorts, Inc. At the time, Florida Panthers Holdings, Inc. also owned the Boca Raton Resort & Club, the Registry Resort, the Edgewater Beach Hotel, the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Resort and Marina, the Radisson Bahia Mar Resort and Yachting Center and Grande Oaks Golf Club. The Company also owned the Florida Panthers Hockey Club and had interests in the operations of the National Car Rental Center located in Sunrise, Florida and the Miami Arena.
In 2004, while doing a campaign stop in Arizona, United States president George W. Bush slept there, under strict security measures. Over 200 policemen, Secret Service agents and bomb-sniffing dogs were at hand.
In 2009, the Arizona Biltmore marked its 80th anniversary with two additions that reinforced the history and architectural legacy of the resort. Ocatilla at Arizona Biltmore – a 120-room addition offering the resort’s most enhanced guest services, many complimentary amenities, club accommodations and Wright-inspired décor – was named for a compound Wright built in Phoenix’s South Mountains to serve as his secluded, inspirational workplace. A new restaurant, Frank & Albert’s, was inspired by and named for Wright and McArthur. A menu was created – of comfort foods and American classics with an Arizona twist – reflecting the dual influences of the two architects.
On November 4, 2008, the McCain/Palin campaign hosted its final party at the hotel. Sen. John McCain, the Republican candidate for president, conceded defeat when he spoke to reporters and disappointed supporters on the hotel's lawn. Some supporters watched McCain's speech via closed circuit TV from the ballroom. Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer acted as master of ceremonies for the evening's entertainment earlier in the evening, in the ballroom.
The Arizona Biltmore Hotel
Hotel street entrance
Arizona Biltmore Hotel bridge
The Arizona Biltmore Hotel.
Inside view of the main entrance of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel.
Saguaro Stained Glass by Frank Lloyd Wright in the lobby
The lobby of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel.
The Paradise Wing of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel built in 1929 and located at 2400 Missouri Ave.
Mystery Room secret passageway
Inside the Mystery Room
Stained glass ceiling in the Mystery Room.
Mystery Room look out tower secret stairs
Spotlight on top of the hotel tower
Room 1201, Clark Gables room.
Inside the Arizona Biltmore Hotel Aztec Room.
Inside the Biltmore History Room
Furnishings inside the Biltmore History Room.
The Gold Room.
Interior Gold Room beam
The "Legend of the Sun" painting.
The "Warrior Twins" painting.
Large chess board on the grounds of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. According to the Arizona Biltmore Hotel historians, American actress Martha Raye played there.
The Arizona Biltmore Hotel Catalina Pool was built in the 1930s. The pool was often used by actress Marilyn Monroe and allegedly the site where American composer Irving Berlin wrote “White Christmas”.
Catalina Pool Water Fountain
Paradise Pool three story water slide
The Reagan honeymoon cottage, Cottage I.
The Frank Lloyd Wright “Sprites” are statues that were made in 1914 and adorned the Midway Gardens in Chicago. After World War II, the “Sprites” were in a state of abandonment and in pieces. They were restored and became part of the adornment of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel gardens in 1985.
Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect, interior designer, writer, and educator, whose creative period spanned more than 70 years, designing more than 1,000 structures, of which 532 were completed. Wright believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. This philosophy was best exemplified by Fallingwater (1935), which has been called "the best all-time work of American architecture." As a founder of organic architecture, Wright played a key role in the architectural movements of the twentieth century, influencing three generations of architects worldwide through his works.
Taliesin West was architect Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home and school in the desert from 1937 until his death in 1959 at the age of 91. Today it is the main campus of The School of Architecture at Taliesin and houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
The Millennium Biltmore Hotel, originally named the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel of the Biltmore Hotels group, is a luxury hotel located opposite Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles, California, US. Upon its grand opening in 1923, the Los Angeles Biltmore was the largest hotel west of Chicago, Illinois in the United States. In 1969 the Biltmore Hotel was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument by the City of Los Angeles. Regal Hotels purchased the Biltmore in 1996, and then sold it in 1999 to Millennium & Copthorne Hotels. As of 2009, the Los Angeles Biltmore is operated as part of the Millennium & Copthorne Hotels chain as the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. The hotel has 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2) of meeting and banquet space. From its original 1500 guestrooms it now has 683, due to room reorganization.
The Tequila Sunrise is a cocktail made of tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup, and served unmixed in a tall glass. The modern drink originates from Sausalito, California in the early 1970s after an earlier one created in the 1930s in Phoenix, Arizona. The cocktail is named for its appearance when served—with gradations of color resembling a sunrise.
The Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix, Arizona, is a landmark building constructed between 1929 and 1931 by chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. It is also known as William Wrigley Jr. Winter Cottage and as La Colina Solana.
The Imperial Hotel is a hotel in Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda ward, Tokyo. It was created in the late 1880s at the request of the Japanese aristocracy to cater to the increasing number of Western visitors to Japan. The hotel site is located just south of the Imperial Palace grounds, next to the previous location of the Palace moat. The modern hotel overlooks the Palace, the 40-acre (16 ha) Western-style Hibiya Park, and the Yurakucho and Ginza neighborhoods.
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy is a private, all-girls Catholic high school in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles run by the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose. It is located in La Cañada Flintridge, California, on a 41 acres (170,000 m2) campus near the San Gabriel Mountains.
The Gerald B. and Beverley Tonkens House, also known as the Tonkens House, is a single story private residence, designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1954. The house was commissioned by Gerald B. Tonkens and his first wife Rosalie. It is located in Amberley Village, a village in Hamilton County, Ohio.
Albert Chase McArthur was a Prairie School architect, and the designer of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Historic Park Inn Hotel and City National Bank are two adjacent commercial buildings located in downtown Mason City, Iowa, United States which were designed in the Prairie School style by the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Completed in 1910, the Park Inn Hotel is the last remaining Frank Lloyd Wright-designed hotel in the world, of the six for which he was the architect of record. The City National Bank is one of only two remaining Frank Lloyd Wright-designed banks in the world. It was the first Frank Lloyd Wright-designed project in the state of Iowa, and today carries both major architectural and historical significance. In 1999, the Park Inn Hotel was named on the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance's Most Endangered Properties List.
Taliesin Associated Architects was an architectural firm founded by Frank Lloyd Wright to carry on his architectural vision after his death in 1959. The firm disbanded in 2003.
Millard House, also known as La Miniatura, is a textile block house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1923 in Pasadena, California. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
The Rayward–Shepherd House, also known as Tirranna and as the John L. Rayward House, was designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright and built in New Canaan, Connecticut in 1955 for Joyce and John Rayward. Although commissioned by the Raywards, Herman R. Shepherd completed the design after purchasing it in 1964. William Allin Storrer credits Shepherd's actions with salvaging the house, repairing the poor work that Storrer attributes to John Rayward's "constant pursuit of the lowest bid."
Bennie M. Gonzales FAIA was an American architect known for a distinctive style of Southwestern architecture which has since been widely copied. Gonzales designed most of Scottsdale, Arizona's, major municipal buildings including Scottsdale City Hall, the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and the Civic Center Library. His resume also included hundreds of private homes and residences throughout Arizona.
The John Gillin Residence is a large single-story Usonian house, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1950 and built in Dallas, Texas, in 1958. The Gillin House is Wright's only residential project in Dallas. Gillin, a successful oilman, geophysicist and electronics "gadgeteer", commissioned Wright to design a work of art that would also be suitable for living and entertaining. A self-made man, Wright respected him and allowed him to design many details including all door hardware, the stainless steel kitchenettes and even the diving board support.
Hotel Valley Ho is a historic hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona. Also called the Valley Ho and, for 28 years, the Ramada Valley Ho, the hotel was originally designed by Edward L. Varney, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. It first opened in 1956 with a forward-looking and futuristic design. Movie stars and famous baseball players stayed, and the building quickly became known for its trendsetting guests and its fashionable atmosphere. The success of the venture resulted in expansion in 1958, with two additional two-story wings of guest rooms extending to the north. Though initially proposed by Varney, a central tower of guest rooms, rising over the lobby, was not built.
The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe in Tempe, Arizona opened in 1975 as the Fiesta Resort. It is renowned for its distinctive Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture. The hotel is located at 2100 South Priest Drive, Tempe, Arizona.
The King Kamehameha Golf Course Clubhouse, formerly known as the Waikapu Valley Country Club, is a building in Waikapu, Maui, Hawaii. The structure is based on the unbuilt Arthur Miller house (1957) originally conceived by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959). Wright designed the house for Arthur Miller's wife, Marilyn Monroe (1926–1962), but Miller and Monroe divorced soon after and the project was abandoned. The Arthur Miller house design was a modification of two previous unbuilt projects—the Raúl Baillères house (1952) and before it, the Robert F. Windfohr house (1949), also known as the "Crownfield" house.
The David and Gladys Wright House is a Frank Lloyd Wright residence built in 1952 in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix, Arizona. It has historically been listed with an address of 5212 East Exeter Boulevard, but currently has an entrance on the 4500 block of North Rubicon Avenue. Parking and access is through the Camelback Church of Christ at 5225 E. Camelback Road.
Talking Stick Resort is a luxury hotel and casino resort located on the Salt-River Pima Maricopa Indian Reservation near Scottsdale, Arizona. The hotel tower, which was designed by FFKR Architects, has 15 stories and stands at 200 feet and six inches. Talking Stick Resort is independently owned and operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC).