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The Arizona Biltmore Ushers in Its Diamond Anniversary with a Yearlong Fete Worthy of its Most Glamorous Guests

Erika Thomas  | May 29, 2019 | Lifestyle


The iconic resort famous for its palm tree-inspired design, gold-leaf ceilings and exclusive list of guests is ushering in its 90th anniversary with a lineup of luxurious offerings throughout 2019—from spa and beauty treatments to outdoor excursions. Since its inception in 1929, the Arizona Biltmore has played host to Hollywood luminaries and heads of state. Here, we highlight why the “Jewel of the Desert” remains a favorite among the well-heeled nearly a century later. Rooms from $319, suites from $559, 2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix



The $2.25 million hotel launches Feb. 23, with a lavish soiree the media calls “the party of the decade in Arizona and beyond.” Teeming with high-profile guests, including Biltmore investor William Wrigley Jr., the event was intended to last one day, but turned into three.



William Wrigley Jr. acquires the Biltmore and commissions the installation of the Catalina Pool. Made of ceramic tile imported from Southern California’s Catalina Island, the pool is an instant social epicenter and a popular spot for parties, fashion shows and diving contests. A maillot-clad Marilyn Monroe, who was often seen lounging poolside during her frequent stays at the Biltmore, would declare it her “favorite place to sunbathe.”



Then-president of Screen Actors Guild, Ronald Reagan, and wife Nancy, honeymooned at the resort, staying in cottage L. Over the decades, every U.S. president from Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush would visit the Biltmore.



Marilyn Monroe begins her stint as a frequent guest. It is widely known that the bombshell preferred rooms 1220 and 1219, located in the hotel’s east wing.



By the 1980s, the resort was so extensive, bicycling waiters were added to the staff, delivering food and cocktails to guest cottages, pools and tennis courts.



The 22,000- square-foot Spa Biltmore launches. In addition to a day spa, it includes a full-service beauty salon and fitness center.



The secret space known as the “Mystery Room” opens to the public. During its heyday, the Prohibition era smoking room reserved only for men had a lot more than ashtrays. When tipped off about a police raid, patrons could stash their drinks and make themselves scarce in seconds by disappearing through secret passageways, which are still in existence today.



Celebrate in luxurious style with spa indulgences and events only available during the diamond anniversary year.

Marilyn Monroe Smooch Station, $40—This 15-minute service consists of a highlighting and contouring of the lips in the bombshell’s signature ruby-red color.

Diamond Anniversary Spa Indulgence Add-On, $60—Experience an application of the Diamond Face Mask while sipping a glass of chilled Champagne.

Tequila Sunrise Ritual—A weekly ceremonial toast every Saturday night in The Wright Bar celebrating the hotel’s history and its legacy as the birthplace of the original Tequila Sunrise, first introduced in the late 1930s/early 1940s.

Grand Canyon Centennial, from $175—A curated excursion commemorating two milestones—the Biltmore’s 90th anniversary and the Grand Canyon’s 100th.

Happy Hour History Tour, adults $25; children $12—A 45-minute exploration of the art, architecture and glamorous past of the Biltmore that includes two specialty cocktails.


Photography by: photo of ronald and nancy reagan Released by the Reagan Library U.S. National Archives - Public Domain | photo of marilyn monroe courtesy of getty images