Hotel Valley Ho stays fresh while paying homage to the hippest parts of its history

In the scurry that is Sunday morning at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona, Hubby and I, along with a group of eight or so other people, met with Ace Bailey of Ultimate Art & Cultural Tours to learn all there is to know about this Mid-Century Modern hotel with a Southwest twist.

The Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona. The concrete panels mentioned below can be seen lining the roofline of the porte-cochere along the entrance.

Built in 1956, the hotel was the first year-round resort in Scottsdale. It was lined all around with 350-pound concrete panels that have an “arrowhead” design set in them. The design marked the hotel as “Southwest” while keeping to the slick minimalism of Modern design. The hotel drew Hollywood’s elite to the Arizona desert with the lure of luxury and anonymity. Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood celebrated their wedding reception there. Jimmy Durante was a favorite guest who could often be found tickling the ivories at the purple piano in the lounge.

A column in the lobby has the arrowhead design in it. I don't know about you, but I see "V's" in it, for "Valley Ho," maybe?

Through the years, the hotel went through different phases of facelifts. Ramada acquired the hotel in the 1970s and tinkered with cosmetic changes. By the early 2000s, though, the hotel had seen better years and was up for demolition. In 2004, though, Westroc Hotels & Resorts took on the task of bringing the hotel back to life with a full restoration and update, inspired by the building’s cool history. It now embraces its hip past while setting trends for today. It boasts that it is “posh but never stuffy. Relaxed but far from dull.”

Below are pictures from our tour. I think you’ll agree that the hotel definitely clicks along to a familiar, fun-loving groove, inspired by its mid-century roots.

Old pictures of the original design can be found beside the concierge stand. Here is one of the original restaurant.

The lobby has a great expansiveness to it with the stone-clad wall extending outside, beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows. The fireplace is fantastic.

When the hotel underwent its most recent facelift, the developers went out of their way to reuse and recycle as much as they could. In fact, they managed to save 20,000 tons of waste from ever reaching the landfill by restoring the hotel instead of tearing it down. The fireplace in the lobby is one example as to how they did that. Instead of throwing out glass doors that had broken, they used them as a decorative feature in the fireplace. Today, the hotel has been classified as a “Green Hotel“, thanks to its environmentally friendly policies.

The environmentally friendly fireplace.

Seen here, the massive concrete "arrowhead" panels lining the hotel, and a Saucer Pendant Light first designed in 1952 by George Nelson, which is translucent plastic spray-coated onto a steel skeleton.

This is the bar/lounge area as it is today. I think they've done a great job of mixing the best of yesterday with what's cool today. I particularly love those "bubble" mirrors and those white lamps.

This curved wall leads from the lobby of the hotel to the lounge area. It is clad in shiny glass tiles. Layered on top of those is a hard-to-miss, funky design made of felt or some other soft fabric in blues and chartreuse.

A toast to cool: 1950s Fenders hang in the lobby area, behind the concierge desk.

Back in the day, connecting rooms didn’t exist, so the architect came up with the idea of using rotating screens on the patios and balconies so friends and families could visit one another in their PJs. The screens are still in use today, but perhaps as more of a novelty since there seems to be less concern about being seen in one’s pajamas these days.

Look closely to see the bars which hang from the ceiling and allow the screens to rotate.

From the roof of the hotel, circles of tables perfectly aligned for, what looks like a celebratory dinner.

A view of the pool from the rooftop. Notice the shape--a circle within another circle. It is meant to be the view one might see when looking down upon a martini glass with an olive sticking out of the side. The pool shape is not original to the hotel. It had to be completely redone when Westroc took it over because it was in disrepair.

The view of a pleasant balcony for one of the rooms which, I believe, is an executive suite.

Rates for a signature king started at $229 a night when I did a search on their website for a weekend stay. The hotel also has several packages available.

The hotel also offers several rooms to those traveling with pets, providing some special amenities for your furry loved one.

If the price of a night’s stay is too rich for your blood, perhaps visiting Cafe Zuzu for dinner would be more to your liking. While the service can sometimes be a little off, I can personally vouch for Chef Wiley’s American cuisine. They offer new twists on old favorites.

There is a spa on site, as well as a fitness centerMyTown365, another blogger based in the area, recently posted a picture and information of one of the yoga classes provided on the rooftop of the hotel. From the looks of it, it is a very popular class among guests and the community at large.

Finally, if you do nothing else at the hotel, I highly recommend taking the tour with Ace Bailey. The price is $19.56 (in honor of the year the hotel first opened) and the 90-minute tour not only provides access to places within the hotel not usually available to the general public, you also receive discounts to the VH Spa and Cafe Zuzu. For more information about how to sign up for the tour, click here.

Hotel Valley Ho is located within walking distance to Old Town Scottsdale at 6850 E. Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. To make reservations or for more information, go to their website or call 480-248-2000.