For fans of timeless, mid-century modern architecture, Palm Springs often comes to mind. It has an abundance of buildings from the late 1950s and 1960s that feature sleek lines, symmetry and a reliance of geometric shapes. It might come as a surprise to some that Scottsdale, Arizona, also has some MCM gems, too, including the gorgeously revitalized Hotel Valley Ho.
It was built in 1956 using designs from Edward Varney, well known for his minimalistic style. Soon, it became a hideaway for the Hollywood set who loved the privacy it provided, far away from the lenses of the paparazzi. Celebrities like Bing Crosby, Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis would come to stay and play.
In 1973, Ramada acquired the property and it lost some of its appeal. After it went up for sale in 2002, Westroc Hospitality bought it and promised to revitalize the Valley Ho for a new generation. In 2005, it reopened a modern, yet retro, cool that made everyone happy by respecting the hotel’s past. Accolades followed including being named “one of he best-preserved, mid-century hotels in the country” by author/architect Arthur Hess.
While its historical past shines through all over the property, it is also loaded with modern amenities, from the VH Spa to on-site dining at ZuZu. And unlike some properties in the area, there’s no resort fee. The room rate includes basic Internet access, fitness centre and VH Spa lounge and sauna access, plus nice perks like bottled water at the hotel entrance.
The rooms reflect the rest of the property’s cool chic style with modern décor, Arizona-themed artwork, floor-to-ceiling glass and an uncluttered aesthetic. I stayed in a 500 sq. ft. studio room featuring an oversized soaker tub in the middle of the room. Even those who aren’t bath devotees will be tempted. The suite also has a private balcony or patio, perfect for soaking up the sun under those clear Scottsdale skies.
It also wins points for having a desk that actually makes for an efficient workspace. I also appreciated the fact the room had a safe big enough to stash away a laptop computer and other valuables. And I can’t help it, but I do love a big television set. One of the best things about traveling for me is being able to watch TV in bed. Something I don’t do at home ever! The 49 inch flat screen set was divine for catching up on all my fave HBO shows. (I adore you, John Oliver!)
I did manage to tear myself away from the TV in order to hang out poolside. There’s always a scene happening morning, noon and night, but it never got overly crowded. You literally never have to leave the OH Pool. It has poolside dining or table seating, a steady flow of cocktail specials, two hot tubs, private cabanas and live entertainment during high season. When being part of the scene isn’t your scene, you can head to the Ohasis Pool, which is much more chill and serene. Do your laps in the pool or plant yourself in a lounge chair and listen to the gentle rustling of the palm trees.
I didn’t have a chance to dine on-site, but I certainly made use of the lobby bar, which I’d seriously love to replicate at my house. It’s so freaking stylish. I could really imagine the glammed up movie stars walking through it back in the 1960s. It’s a great place to people watch and to sip a few cocktails. The bar highlights classic libations and I really fell hard for its Moscow Mule, served in the traditional copper mugs.
And there’s most good news for guests. Celebrations for its 60th birthday are ongoing, so the hotel is offering special deals throughout 2017, including 10 percent off your room, $10 in hotel bucks nightly, evening amenities and room upgrades for $10 (subject to availability).
If you’re someone who appreciates history in modern times, the Hotel Valley Ho is a terrific choice. It’s close enough to downtown Scottsdale and its great array of restaurants, bars and boutiques that you can just walk there. Plus it’s a great hub to hit some other notable sights a short drive away, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, Desert Botanical Garden and Musical Instrument Museum, a hidden gem that is well worth checking out.
Michele stayed as a guest of Hotel Valley Ho and Experience Scottsdale. As always, her thoughts and opinions are her own. Photos courtesy of Michele Sponagle and Hotel Valley Ho.