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Arizona Biltmore

Phoenix, Arizona

By Roger Cox, Editor

Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix, Arizona
Courtesy Arizona Biltmore

When the Arizona Biltmore opened in 1929, it was immediately dubbed "the Jewel of the Desert" for its Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture. Constructed of ornamental concrete blocks and capped by a copper roof, this landmark four-story hotel looks like no other on the planet. Inside, gold leaf covers the ceiling of a cool, cavernous lobby accented by stained glass murals, colorful tapestries, and distinctive furnishings.

Great properties never rest on their laurels so it isn't surprising that the Biltmore would undertake a thorough refurbishment of its accommodations for the celebration of its 85th birthday last year. Still, as I checked into my room in a block called the Paradise Wing, I wasn't prepared for what I found. I expected the Mission-style furnishings I remember from my last visit; instead, I stepped into room with classic touches but an overall very contemporary, almost avant garde, style. It was light and cheerful, its color palette drawn from the desert.
There are hotel rooms that are mostly places to sleep, and hotel rooms where you could happily spend the day, and this might have been one of the latter if the resort didn't have so many other diversions. One was right out my window: the Paradise Pool—three pool, actually—with its kid-friendly 82-foot waterslide. Behind the slide stands the 22,000-square-foot Spa, a fitness center, and half a dozen tennis courts. Add two 18-hole golf courses, another handful of pools, a putting course, three restaurants—plus High Tea in the hotel lobby—retail shops, and a speakeasy (password required), and you have no shortage of ways to spend your time.

Tennis Features

Pro Shop: 602-381-7684
Email:

Head pro Lon Mlnarik grew up in Phoenix, trained with legendary coach Butch Waltz, and later played for Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, acquiring a 138 mph serve along the way. He originally came to the Biltmore as a designated hitter when a guest needed strong competition, then later joined the staff. He runs a daily clinic, gives private lessons, and handles the tennis portion of a large multi-sport summer camp for kids. He credits Waltz for teaching him to teach. "He could just sit there and break down your strokes," he remembers. "He'd have me doing these snappy drills. I picked up my knickknacks (little tips) from him," an approach, he says, that makes him very technical. When guests need matches, he taps the local membership, some of whom he's know for a very long time since as a kid he lived nearby and often played on these courts. Courts & Fees. There are six cushioned hard courts, all with lights and arrayed side by side with fences between in a line extending out from the patio adjoining the fitness center. The facility lacks a pro shop, as such—tennis operates out of the tiny recreation office, which has tennis balls, while clothing can be purchased in the shop at the nearby spa. Mlnarik does take racquets for restringing.

Ratings

(4 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
3-Ball Rating Tennis Staff
5-Ball Rating Instruction
4-Ball Rating
Game Matching
2-Ball Rating Tennis Complex
4-Ball Rating
Cuisine
4-Ball Rating Lodging
4-Ball Rating Spa & Fitness
3½-Ball Rating
Dollar Value
4-Ball Rating Other Recreation
5-Ball Rating Setting
3½-Ball Rating
Kids' Programs
4-Ball Rating Romance
4-Ball Rating Solo Travelers
4-Ball Rating

Ratings

(4 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
3-Ball Rating Instruction
4-Ball Rating Tennis Complex
4-Ball Rating Cuisine
4-Ball Rating Dollar Value
4-Ball Rating Setting
3½-Ball Rating Romance
4-Ball Rating Kids' Programs
4-Ball Rating
Tennis Staff
5-Ball Rating Game Matching
2-Ball Rating Lodging
4-Ball Rating Spa & Fitness
3½-Ball Rating Other Recreation
5-Ball Rating Solo Travelers
4-Ball Rating

Other Recreation

Golf Courses. The two courses, Adobe and Links, are characterized by rolling fairways. Adobe is the more spaciously laid out of the two, while the well-bunkered greens of Links demand precision and careful shot selection

Spa and Fitness Center. A quiet oasis just off the Paradise pool, the spa has adopted a policy of using products that are pure, organic, and eco-friendly for treatments variously intended to revive, restore, and cleanse. Next door is fitness center and studio offering opportunities to workout along with classes in yoga, Pilates, body sculpting, and more.

And ... Hiking trails take off into the adjacent Phoenix Mountain Preserve. Bikes are available for rent at the recreation desk. Or try your hand at lawn chess or croquet.

Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix, Arizona
Courtesy Arizona Biltmore

Lodging

There are several different rooms types as well as cottages, one- and two-bedroom villas, and the newest lodging, The Ocatilla, a hotel within a hotel, where guests enjoy access to a club lounge, private concierge, and their own pool

Restaurants

The signature dining is Wright's At the Biltmore, an elegant space in a greenhouse-like enclosure, where the nightly cuisine focuses on local ingredients, including some from the Biltmore's own garden. For something more casual, there is Frank and Albert's for breakfast, lunch, and Sonoran influenced dinners complemented by craft beers. Finally, the poolside Cabana Club Restaurant offers sandwiches and salads.

See Also

For comparison's sake, also take a look at:

Rates and Reservations

Visit the website for current rates

Arizona Biltmore
2400 E. Missouri Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85016
602-955-6600
Toll-free: 855-689-2878
Web Link: Arizona Biltmore


Travel Essentials

Seasons. Year-round, though most comfortable from October to May.

Travel Instructions. The nearest major gateway is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), 11 miles to the south.

General Tourist Information. Visit the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau website or contact them toll-free at 877-CALLPHX or email visitors@visitphoenix.com.

©2017 Roger Cox


Copperwynd Text+Graphic
Stunning Views and Tennis Bliss in the McDowell Mountains at CopperWynd Resort & Club, Arizona. Enjoy luxury accommodations, gourmet dining, world-class tennis instruction and more at this scenic Sonoran Desert mountain resort. Fall Tennis Package specials for singles, couples and teams starting at $376. For information and reservations, call 480 333 1842 or visit experiencecdt.com/scottsdale-tennis-camps



Ratings

(4 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
3-Ball Rating Instruction
4-Ball Rating Tennis Complex
4-Ball Rating Cuisine
4-Ball Rating Dollar Value
4-Ball Rating Setting
3½-Ball Rating Romance
4-Ball Rating Kids' Programs
4-Ball Rating
Tennis Staff
5-Ball Rating Game Matching
2-Ball Rating Lodging
4-Ball Rating Spa & Fitness
3½-Ball Rating Other Recreation
5-Ball Rating Solo Travelers
4-Ball Rating


Your Call

Here's what others have had to say about Arizona Biltmore.

  • 4-Ball Rating ""—T.T., Adv. Int., August 2016
  • 4-Ball Rating ""—L.S., Adv., July 2012
  • 3½-Ball Rating "Resort itself is great, grounds are beautiful. Remember seeing 7 courts, all the same surface (that stuff they used to use at the Aussie open...felt good on the knees but really slowed the ball up). Took a lesson from Lon(the head pro), and in a little over an hour, he keyed in on two quirks, and gave me fixes. Excellent instruction.
    Match finding was non existent. clinics were on the weekend, thus didn't get to participate. had ball machines and other rentals on site. was no problem getting a court. if you like tennis and want a great place to stay, this is it, but if you want a full blown tennis resort...not so much."
    —B.H., Adv. Int., October 2010
  • 3-Ball Rating "I was there for a business conference, went to the sports center, they had no game matching actively going on, but they did have instructors and a ball machine and lit courts. I hit on the machine ($45/hr) and found a person to play with the following day on my own. Courts were nice, the instructors were friendly, but not much of a program."—P.H., Adv. Int., December 2009

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©2017 Roger Cox