Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa
Phoenix’s grande dame was built in the 1920’s by disciples of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the place feels like someone transplanted it from, say, Pasadena. Unlike many Phoenix resorts, it’s understated and elegant—a sophisticated gray stone carved with Wright’s signature angles. Rooms are small and cozy and feature earth-tone furnishings. Choose afternoon tea in the lobby, or “high tini” (a martini tasting) in the lobby bar. Every Saturday, the chefs give a salsa demonstration (the dip, not the dance), complete with recipes and samples. And on some warm Friday and Saturday nights, the pool doubles as a movie theater, with a cinema-size screen behind the pool and inner-tube seats in the water. Explore eight pools and numerous nooks and crannies among the 39 acres, including the Catalina pool; Irving Berlin reportedly wrote “White Christmas” while afloat here.
Tip: The Biltmore Fashion Park, an outdoor mall with chains like Borders and Macy’s, is minutes away by car (the hotel runs an hourly shuttle); but there’s also on-site shopping, including the Pink Saguaro—one of two Lilly Pulitzer shops in town. Pink Paradise, the other, is at the Borgata of Scottsdale, a mall near downtown (6166 N. Scottsdale Road; 480/368-7465).
Room to Book: The resort revamped a series of cottages built in 1929 that were originally intended to house nannies and children. Ask for 5141 or 5142, which were once a combined suite where Ronald and Nancy Reagan honeymooned.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.