Hotel Valley Ho: Scottsdale Mid-Century Modern Icon

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Historically Hip Hotel Valley Ho

When Hotel Valley Ho first opened in 1956, Scottsdale was gaining its reputation as a winter destination and people were flocking to the new downtown resort. The hotel filled up so fast it didn’t have a chance for a grand opening! It was Scottsdale’s first year-round resort and the finest, and it quickly became a hideaway for Hollywood celebrities like Bing Crosby, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh and sports figures like Ted Williams. Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood had their wedding reception there to escape the madness of L.A.

Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner with Valley Ho developer/owner Robert Foehl and his wife. Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho
Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner with Valley Ho developer/owner Robert Foehl and his wife. Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho

After an $80 million restoration, the hotel reopened in 2005 under new ownership, retaining its classic mid-century modern design, still one of the country’s best examples of that style. Later, in 2008 a seven-story Tower wing was added.

When I enter the lobby, I have a Déjà vu moment. All the colors and elements I grew up with in the 50s and 60s are there: the clean lines; gentle curves; metal, glass and Lucite materials; earthy orange, yellow gold and cocoa colors, even Wasabi green!

Mid-century design in the lobby. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Mid-century design in the lobby. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Remember those hooded fireplaces?

Fireplace lobby of Hotel Valley Ho. Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho
Fireplace lobby of Hotel Valley Ho. Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho

Rooms at Hotel Valley Ho

The retro-chic hotel has 241 guest rooms in a variety of configurations. The newer Tower features 50 guest rooms and suites. We are fortunate to stay in a Tower suite. It’s over the top in mid-century style. Every piece of decor is thoughtfully curated for the era.

Bedroom of the Tower Suite. Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho
Bedroom of the Tower Suite. Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho

The large living room features a big swivel TV on a low cabinet that separates it from the bedroom (left corner). The living room opens to a nice sized terrace.

Living room of the Tower Suite. Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho
Living room of the Tower Suite. Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho

The bathroom off the bedroom has a pole shelf (remember those?), vanity mirror and two sinks plus a separate white tile shower. There’s also a large closet with shelves, a safe and iron/ironing board. And there’s even a washer and dryer.

Bathroom in the Tower Suite. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Bathroom in the Tower Suite. Photo by Claudia Carbone

The kitchen is dazzling! Sleek lines splashed in yellow gold.

The Tower Suite kitchen. Photo by Claudia Carbone
The Tower Suite kitchen. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Dining at Hotel Valley Ho

The restaurant ZuZu is named after a grandmother whose recipes have been handed down through generations. It’s a warm, inviting space that spills out onto the terrace where fires glow in metal vessels for evening ambiance. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. The globally inspired dinner menu is divided into small plates, salads, entrees and sides. The dessert menu has more throwback choices, so we share a Classic Chocolate Shake. It was hard to resist the Baked Alaska and German Chocolate Cake, though, and the flood of memories they bring!

The wrap-around bar of Zuzu’s Lounge is a cool classic. Craft cocktails, wine and beer are served along with burgers, sandwiches and small plates.

Valley Ho Lounge. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Valley Ho Lounge. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Pools and Spa at Hotel Valley Ho

The hotel has two pools. If you like a happening pool scene, you’ll love the OH Pool with its poolside dining and bar, live entertainment and hot tubs. I prefer lounging around the smaller and quieter OHasis lap pool amid palm trees and the soothing sound of the water fountain.

OHasis Pool. Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho
OHasis Pool. Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho

VH Spa features eight treatments rooms offering a wide range of body therapies and facials, including nail services while you lie on the massage table. You can order food and drink on the lovely outdoor deck before or after your treatment. There’s also a fitness center, yoga and Pilates classes; and, for a hearty outdoor workout, guided hikes up nearby Camelback Mountain, the iconic mountain of Scottsdale.

Entrance to the spa. Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho
Entrance to the spa. Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho

Other Amenities at Hotel Valley Ho

The hotel has both indoor and outdoor meeting and event space for large crowds or small groups, including the Sky Line Rooftop on top of the Tower with fantastic views. WiFi is free throughout the hotel. There’s child care, laundry, valet parking for $18/night and free street parking on 69th St. Pets stay free, and there’s no resort fee! Be sure to check out the vintage photos and hotel history on the 2nd floor.

Things To Do Near Hotel Valley Ho

We love that we can walk from the hotel to the best places in Scottsdale or hop on the free trolley that stops just steps away. We also see lots of ride-sharing bikes along the way. Nearby is Old Town Scottsdale with its fabulous art galleries, shops, restaurants and Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, one of the best museums I’ve seen with exhibits of Western and Native American art and artifacts. Also in Old Town is Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. The 5th Avenue arts district and Scottsdale Fashion Square are worth visiting as are Scottsdale Waterfront where many fun events are held.

Hotel Valley Ho, 6850 East Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251; 480-376-2600; hotelvalleyho.com.

Claudia Carbone is an award-winning travel writer based in Denver. Read about other hotels she’s visited in Sleepin’ Around