My stay at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona was a nice surprise. I was expecting austere and pricey, and what I got was elegant, comfortable and friendly. The picturesque setting mimics the art deco design of Frank Lloyd Wright with a stunning natural backdrop of Camelback Mountain and Squaw Peak and there’s plenty to do or not do on the property and the surrounding areas.
The property treats visitors to an assortment of pools with a variance of atmospheres to anyone’s liking. My favorites were the Catalina Pool for quiet relaxation and the Paradise Pool that has a beautifully adorned slide, hopping bar and a lively atmosphere for singles and famillies alike.
The Arizona Biltmore Golf Course skirts the hotel and a short walk down the from the Biltmore’s front entrance you’ll find the Wrigley Mansion (of Wrigley chewing gum family fame) that is open to the public and a very interesting glance into the past. For running or strolling there are paths along the canal that transects the property. I would suggest a walk or run in the early morning as a way to stretch your legs and take in the stunning desert scenery and informative flora and fauna signs flanking the canal. Make sure to wear a hat and bring plenty of water, as the temperature may sneak up on you and morning coolness can turn to searing heat in the blink of an eye.
The Arizona Biltmore is an ideal weekend get-away for couples or a girls or guys weekend. If you you’re seeking the type of vacation where you don’t want to do lots of planning, there’s little need to leave the premises. The staff was accommodating and conscientious – particularly at the Spa. The Arizona Biltmore Spa is on the pricier side, but the deep tissue massage I experienced was highly professional. My massage therapist had thirty years of know-how under her belt and was a wealth of information when it came to fixing my sore, overworked muscles. She was so good I had no problem hiking Piestewa Peak the next morning.
Ocatilla at the Arizona Biltmore
If you want to step up the luxury a notch higher, stay at Ocatilla, a resort within the Arizona Biltmore resort that has its own club room with drinks and food served buffet style throughout the day and a personal concierge. These rooms currently run from $169 – $170 per night (keeping in mind this is off-season).
If you wish to stay in the general accommodations on the property, a classic King room starts at $119 per night and you can get a Villa Suite for $399 per night. A perk is this is a dog-friendly hotel, and arrangements can be made to bring along your furry family member.
Frank & Albert’s is nothing short of creative. The chefs claim they aim at comfort food, but what I would add to that notion is they also have their own particular flair. Take on the comfort with caution, as your waistband may give you discomfort if you manage to stuff the huge portions all down at once. A must-do is trying whatever signature drink that strikes your fancy – the lavender and lemon martini was delicious. This is not a quiet, hear-glasses-clinking type of place – it’s boisterous without being obnoxious, and the music coming from the Paradise Pool area has a strong presence in the background.
Wrightsis elegant, but not stuffy with a menu comprised of seasonal offerings in combination with a non-intimidating European influence. Diners can enjoy a quiet table for two or the low-key setting is ideal for a small social gathering. I would recommend checking out their Sunday brunch, where you have the opportunity experience a well-varied array of small plates that change on a weekly basis.
The Arizona Biltmore has a series of musical events taking place through its Hollywood & Vine series of performances that will continue to September 1, 2012. I had the opportunity to catch the Night Under the Stars show which featured a combination of performers from Dancing with the Stars, American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.
The level of talent was jaw-dropping and it cleverly included quite a bit of audience participation and is a treat for reality junkies. Clint Black is scheduled for July 4th and the Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band will be capping off the Hollywood & Vine Series over the Labor Day weekend. The venue itself is small, so the seating is intimate and allows for the audience to have a great vantage point no matter where you’re seated.
One of the latest activities added to the Arizona Biltmore line up is the Wine Studio art class. I had the opportunity to re-create Van Gogh’s Starry Night, while sipping wine and munching on an excellent selection of cheeses. I’m not an art talent, but the process was fun.
The professional art instructors were informative, encouraging and provide all you need to create your own “masterpiece”. The class is not for children and it’s suggested you be at least 13 years old to participate (and, of course, no wine unless you’re 21).
For more ideas for things to do while staying at the Arizona Biltmore, click here.