Frank Lloyd Wright Sites

The Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona (1929)

A Collaboration

Frank Lloyd Wright has surely influenced a great deal of designs in the world, and one of the few hotels 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. 23, 1929.

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Biltmore entrance

Biltmore Blocks

Wright always had a preference 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. 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 region. 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.

Typical of Wright’s style are the balcony and geometric massing of the lobby. In addition, 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 copper!

A Phoenix-based development firm purchased the resort in 1992. They then 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.

Hollywood Guests

The hotel was successful at attracting celebrities and dignitaries from around the world. It is said that 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 is apparent that the new owners are 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.

Note: In 1973 there was a fire in the Arizona Biltmore. Wright’s saguaro cactus graphic was selected from the Frank Lloyd Wright Archive to be rendered in stained glass in the reconstructed foyer.

 

Stay the Night

The Arizona Biltmore is centrally located if you are thinking of exploring some of the Wright-designed buildings in the Phoenix Metro area. Check availability and rates at the Arizona Biltmore. 

Additional Places to Stay in Phoenix

The nearby Lykes House, built in 1959, is available for overnight rentals on VRBO.

Location

Resources, Links & Products

Arizona Biltmore: Jewel Of The Desert by James A. Crutchfield (Amazon book)

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