Frank Lloyd Wright has surely influenced a great deal of
structural design in the world, but the only existing hotel in the
world that can make that claim is the
Arizona Biltmore. Designed by
Albert Chase McArthur, a Harvard graduate who had studied under Frank Lloyd
Wright in Chicago from 1907 - 1909, the hotel was was crowned "The Jewel of
the Desert". It has been an Arizona landmark since its opening on Feb.
Wright always had a penchant for using indigenous materials in his projects.
Pre-cast concrete "Biltmore Blocks" that were designed by McArthur and
molded on-site were the "Wright stuff" used in the construction of the
Biltmore Hotel. And much like the Frank Lloyd Wright designs that
always included some sort of geometric pattern incorporated throughout a
project, the Biltmore Blocks feature a pattern too; it is said to represent
the refraction of light... rather perfect and definitely "Wrightian" for the
surrounding environs. In fact, Wright spent four months in 1928 doing
on-site consulting relating to the masonry unit "Textile Block"
construction, similar to a unit block design he had used on several
buildings in Los Angeles six years earlier.
Wright's style are the balcony and geometric massing of the lobby.
Other notable features include the largest gold-leaf ceiling in the world
(in the lobby) and a roof constructed of an incredible 32,500 pounds of
A Phoenix based development firm purchased the resort in
1992 and began a $50 million project, completed in January of 1996 that
completely renovated the building. The resulting makeover salutes
Wright with guest rooms and suites that feature desert colors, mission-style
furnishings and 1930's style lamps.
Attracting celebrities and dignitaries from around the
world -- Irving Berlin supposedly penned "White Christmas" while
sitting beside the original swimming pool -- the Arizona Biltmore Resort &
Spa has raised the bar to a new height when it comes to elegance and style;
it has been apparent that the new owners have been committed to preserving
the architectural integrity of the Wright-influenced design. Perhaps
proper homage was finally paid when, in July, 2003, the Frank Lloyd Wright
Ballroom was opened at what is now the largest resort in Arizona.
Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
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