The Arizona Biltmore opened in Phoenix, Arizona in 1929, and it was immediately dubbed "the Jewel of the Desert" for its Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture. Constructed of ornamental concrete blocks and capped by a copper roof, this landmark four-story hotel looks like no other on the planet. Inside, gold leaf covers the ceiling of a cool, cavernous lobby accented by stained glass murals, colorful tapestries, and distinctive furnishings.
Great properties never rest on their laurels so it isn't surprising that the Biltmore would undertake a thorough refurbishment of its accommodations for the celebration of its 85th birthday last year. Still, as I checked into my room in a block called the Paradise Wing, I wasn't prepared for what I found. I expected the Mission-style furnishings I remember from my last visit; instead, I stepped into room with classic touches but an overall very contemporary, almost avant garde, style. It was light and cheerful, its color palette drawn from the desert.
There are hotel rooms that are mostly places to sleep, and hotel rooms where you could happily spend the day, and this might have been one of the latter if the resort didn't have so many other diversions. One was right out my window: the Paradise Pool—three pools, actually—with its kid-friendly 65-foot waterslide. Behind the slide stands the 22,000-square-foot Tierra Luna Spa, a fitness center, three Har-Tru tennis courts, and four pickleball courts. Add two 18-hole golf courses, another handful of pools, a putting course, seven dining outlets, retail shops, and a speakeasy (password required), and you have no shortage of ways to spend your time.
Pro Shop: 602-299-9529
Director of Racquet Sports Brendan Easterling runs the program consisting of three Har-Tru tennis courts and 4 hard pickleball courts. Easterling, raised in the UK and played at Wimbledon as a junior, has been with PBI for ten years working in the US, Europe, Hong Kong, Australia and Caribbean. The Biltmore offers clinics and round robins in both tennis and pickleball, as well as private lessons, open play and player matching. All courts are lit for nighttime use and are situated next to a state-of-the-art fitness center, Tierra Luna Spa and Sol Garden.
Spa & Fitness
Golf Courses. The two courses, Adobe and Links, are characterized by rolling fairways. Adobe is the more spaciously laid out of the two, while the well-bunkered greens of Links demand precision and careful shot selection.
Spa and Fitness Center. Tierra Luna Spa and its Sol Garden are adjacent to the tennis courts where they provide a quiet oasis just off the Paradise Pool. It has indoor and outdoor relaxation spaces, indoor and outdoor treatment rooms, a hot tub and cold plunge, a standalone salt room to aid with detoxification, and a well bar oasis. The fitness center next door offers a variety of classes, yoga, Pilates, and body sculpting among them.
And ... Hiking trails take off into the adjacent Phoenix Mountain Preserve. Bikes are available for rent at the recreation desk. Or try your hand at lawn games or croquet.
Signature evening dining is found at Renata's Hearth, which serves a modern take on Latin cuisine. For something more casual, explore McArthur's for breakfast, lunch, and dinners or the Wright bar for appetizers and cocktails. Cup & Cone serves desert confections, espresso creations, and house-made gelato. Anyone looking to dine al fresco can head to the Spire Bar or Saguaro and Paradise pools.
For comparison's sake, also take a look at:
2400 E. Missouri Ave.
Seasons. Year-round, though most comfortable from October to May.
Travel Instructions. The nearest major gateway is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), 11 miles to the south.