Where Old-Hollywood Charm Meets the 21st Century
by Becky Sue Epstein
Hotel Valley Ho Review
Following a seven-year restoration, Hotel Valley Ho has found its way home, so to speak. Although the former celebrity-magnet "motor hotel" has been updated to meet the needs of 21st-century guests, it retains its midcentury-modern Western appeal.
When it originally opened in December 1956, the hotel quickly established a reputation for attracting vacationing Hollywood stars. Photographs in the halls document Rat Pack-era holiday goers, who included Tony Curtis, Bing Crosby, Zsa Zsa Gabor and a young couple who held their wedding reception in the hotel ballroom: Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood.
Today, the hotel has been expanded from 99 to 230 rooms, which are located in original and new two-story wings, as well as one tower that is partially condo-ized. Every room has floor-to-ceiling glass on one wall, plus a terrace or patio. Fun, bold, '50s-inspired colors accent exteriors as well as interiors: sandstone, desert green, orange and turquoise. Rooms feature local art on the walls and come with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, refrigerator/mini-bars and roll-out desks that double as dining tables for 24-hour in-room dining.
Along with the 420-square-foot Signature King and Signature Double rooms, there are Studio Kings that feature Philippe Starck tubs — not in the bathroom but in the 500-square-foot room itself. Cabana Kings face the pool and Tower Rooms can be configured into suites. Tower Loft Suites create a home-away-from-home atmosphere with kitchens, livings rooms and separate bedrooms. For those eco-savvy travelers, the organic, biodegradable Red Flower bath amenities come in recycled containers and feature the hotel's signature "Icelandic Moonflower" scent.
On-site VH Spa offers services that can be mixed and matched from what is creatively called a "spa tapas" menu. As for the steam room and gym, using them does not requiring paying a pesky resort fee. Better yet, you can grab a free apple for a healthy snack. Or if you've really worked up an appetite, you can head to ZuZu, the ground floor café/restaurant with attached bar area. The casual, retro atmosphere pairs nicely with the southwestern-style dishes. Indoor and outdoor dining options are available throughout the day, and nearby, the OH Pool Bar serves drinks and food, as well.
High season at the hotel runs from October through April, when Scottsdale's mild desert climate attracts PGA golfers and their followers. As well, Native American and Southwestern art collectors and weekenders from near and far can be found gathered at the pool. Located only a few blocks from the city's Old Town, the hotel hosts Arizona Cocktail Week on Presidents' Day Weekend in February, with events held at the separate function building on the premises and throughout Scottsdale and Phoenix.
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