Jewel of the Desert Distinct history and architecture make
the Biltmore Resort an icon in Arizona
diANA MiREL IS With a rich history and one-of-a-kind artistry, gold-leaf ceiling in the lobby that still remains
A CONTRIBUTING the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa in Phoenix the second largest gold-leafed ceiling in the
WRITER TO JPM.
SEND qUESTIONS offers guests more than golf courses and pools. world, second to the Taj Mahal.
REGARDING THIS The resort is, in fact, a tribute to Frank Lloyd “The ceiling is comprised of 36,000 square
Wright, one of America’s most illustrious archi- feet of individual four-inch squares that were
AT MnasO@ireM. tects. Every inch of the 80-year-old resort show- hand-applied by artisans on scaffolding,” said
OrG. cases Wright’s influence. Thorn.
Wright’s student, Albert Chase McArthur, Management staff at the resort have main-
built and designed the Arizona Biltmore in tained the ceiling over the years. After a fire in
1929. The Arizona Biltmore was McArthur’s the 1970s, the original ceiling artist was brought
first hotel project, and the property still remains in to train people in restoration and preserva-
the only existing hotel in the world with a tion of a gold-leaf ceiling.
Part art MuseuM
icOnic architecture Along with its architectural beauty, the his-
Referred to early on as the “Jewel of the Desert,” toric artwork scattered throughout the resort
the Arizona Biltmore’s design complements transforms the property into an art museum of
its awe-inspiring desert surroundings. Wright sorts. The “Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers”
advocated “organic architecture,” a concept that stained-glass window by Wright sits promi-
dictates all parts of a design should relate to nently in the lobby welcoming guests.
the whole. He applied this concept by adopting Throughout the resort’s gardens sit the
indigenous materials and influences to make his Biltmore Sprites, some of the most eminent
structures become part of the landscape rather pieces on the grounds. These slender statues of
than dominate it. ethereal spirits are often referred to as the “lost
McArthur applied Wright’s organic vision to children of Frank Lloyd Wright.” They were
the resort by constructing each building of the conceived in 1914 by sculptor Alfonso Iannelli
resort with Biltmore Blocks—pre-cast blocks for a project Wright was working on in Chicago.
made from desert sand. There are 34 different In 1985, six