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Frank Lloyd Wright's Ageless Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix

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Frank Lloyd Wright's Ageless Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix

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While at the hotel front desk checking out we completed our usual vacation ritual: we mailed ourselves a postcard. Even if it is just a short visit, we do this to remind us of what an excellent time we had, because as we all know, the memories of a vacation often fade much quicker than the sunburn. In whatever time it takes, either a few days or weeks, for the ___ (fill in the blank with the appropriate country's postal system) to deliver our postcard to the doorsteps of our home, our vacation refresher arrives. We typically use a picturesque postcard of the one thing that will remind us most of where we've been and what we've enjoyed. We try to keep our message succinct, and in this case, it only needed to say nine necessary words, "Sweet dreams from The Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa."

By writing this on our postcard, it appeals to one of the most basic instincts that our unscientific minds are confident is genetic and originates from the early days when cave men roamed the earth. Of course, we're referring to the utmost in primal urges and is the lusting after the cocoa concoction of the gods commonly known as chocolate. It's a proven fact that there is no better way to make my wife weak in the knees than to hook her up with the rich creamy goodness of chocolate coupled with a good cabernet wine. In this case, at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, they made a point to put two delightful squares of Godiva chocolate on our pillows each night of our glorious stay. This obviously resulted in the sweet dreams that rounded out each day's jam-packed activities planned at The Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa.

Like chocolate, the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa has an equally rich and luxurious history. On February 23, 1929, Albert Chase McArthur, an architect, builder and former architectural student of Frank Lloyd Wright, and Frank Lloyd Wright, his consulting architect, christened this to be the jewel of the Arizona desert. With its 39 beautifully landscaped acres it quickly became Phoenix's premier destination resort.

During this project, Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian concrete block was used extensively. This was a concrete block that was poured on-site using local indigenous materials and was often poured into a mold that had a decorative geometric motif. Frank Lloyd Wright was once quoted as saying, "I believe in God, only I spell it nature." In the only remaining hotel he designed, this massive architectural creation is reminiscent of a Mayan temple and uses a repeated organic form of a crosshatch design inspired from the trunk of a desert palm tree as the main focal point. This design is known as "The Biltmore Block" and was created by southwest sculptor Emry Kopta.

Since Mr. Wright's greatest inspiration came from nature, and nature was readily available for all to enjoy, it only made sense that this now 74-year-old, very well maintained structure nestled in the foothills of Squaw Peak should remain a legacy for all to use and admire. Whether the guests were Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra or even today's movie stars, The Arizona Biltmore has been a haven for not only the rich and famous, but for all seeking a relaxing experience in one of the beautifully appointed 736 guestrooms.

The Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa also has the largest banquet and conference facilities in Arizona and has won many prestigious awards. With its numerous extensive renovations, this resort remains as a Four Star tribute to natural beauty melded with outstanding architecture. Many places claim to be influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural style, but this resort is the real thing that guests return to year after year.

Each building and guest room expresses Frank Lloyd Wright's attention to meshing the interior design with the exterior architecture in a harmonious fashion.

For example, the up lit second level elevation in the Mayan temple-like resort lobby draws your attention upward to the 376,000 shimmering 4" x 4" gold and copper leaves that were hand applied to the two-story 38,000 square foot ceiling as they reflect both natural and artificially created light. The backlit glass "Biltmore Blocks" throughout this huge space provides soft indirect lighting while perpetuating the geometric palm tree motif.

Often, these Biltmore Blocks, the signature of the Arizona Biltmore, are interchanged and rotated to create various geometric patterns throughout the entire resort. The warm earth tones of gold, green, taupe, yellow, rust and tan give a soothing calm to the numerous conversation seating areas, carpeting, rugs and wallpaper.

The desert colored high-backed chairs create what Frank Lloyd Wright would call, "a room within a room" and provide intimacy while still amid the hustle and bustle of the huge lobby. Sturdy copper tables in various shapes with glass or granite table tops anchor heavy woven fabric covered chairs, while low wide leather ottomans resting within niches soften the texture of the gray poured concrete block walls and create volume.

Wood craftsman and mission-style furnishings and textiles provide a sense of luxury while resting on carpeting and area rugs with repeating geometric shapes. Brightly colored blue, green, orange and red original geometric stained glass windows provide fun splashes of color.

As typical with many Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, horizontal glass windows are plentiful and allow natural light in and shadows to be created throughout different times of the day as the light plays with the natural pottery, candles, and sculptures. The varying textures of art glass doors obscure shapes and invite you to touch and experience the luxury of the space. The large wood planked floor helps to give an earthy, natural presence to the space. It is easy to explore, experience and be one with this interior design as it draws you in and helps you escape and be immune from all the troubles in the world as you faintly hear the ivories on the baby grand piano being tickled off in the distance.

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Don and Kim Tatera, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent' Read Jetsetters Magazine at www.jetsettersmagazine.com To book travel visit Jetstreams.com at www.jetstreams.com and for Beach Resorts visit Beach Booker at www.beachbooker.com


About the Author

Don and Kim Tatera, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent. Join the Travel Writers Network in the logo at www.jetsettersmagazine.com

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