Resort History

Relax, dine, and play at the legendary resort where U.S. presidents, Hollywood stars and dignitaries have stayed since the hotel's grand opening in 1929. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright protégé Charles McArthur, the hotel features Wright's signature influences throughout the property.

Join every U.S. President since Herbert Hoover and celebrities who enjoyed verdant grounds and masterful architecture influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright. The story begins with Phoenix brothers Charles and Warren McArthur, Jr. who commissioned his brother Albert, a Wright protégé, to design a 'Jewel of the Desert.' Influenced by Wright's textile blocks, Albert used 250,000 Biltmore Blocks molded from indigenous sand and water and sculpted by Southwest artist Emry Copton. Search for Biltmore Blocks and the hotel's original gold leaf ceilings in the lobby as well as in the Gold and Aztec Ballrooms. When the hotel opened, the gold leaf content was second only to the Taj Mahal. Admire Frank Lloyd Wright's Biltmore Sprite Statues and the architect's stained glass installation 'Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers.'

By 1930, an original investor, chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr., became sole proprietor after construction cost estimates had doubled from one million dollars. Wrigley, who owned Southern California's Catalina Island, built the Catalina Pool, a favorite of Marilyn Monroe. Irving Berlin penned many of his famed songs including "White Christmas" poolside at the hotel.

Under four decades of Wright family ownership, the hotel became the preferred playground for celebrities and dignitaries. Newlyweds Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and Clark Gable and Carole Lombard honeymooned at the resort. According to legend, Gable's lost wedding ring was recovered by a Biltmore employee. The family sold the property in 1973. As befitting the subsequent owner's commitment to the original design, the resort has been honored with the Urban Land Institute's 'Heritage Award of Excellence' for architectural integrity, landscaping and quality of service.

Take in the legacy of the resort with a refreshing a Happy Hour History tour lead by Arizona Biltmore's very own historians as they share highlights of this Arizona landmark's storied past since opening in 1929 involving the resort's architectural history, celebrities and U.S. Presidents. To sign up or request further information, please contact the Arizona Biltmore Concierge at 602-955-6600.