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In a desert landscape ripe with taupe and tan, Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Ariz., will catch just about anyone’s eye.
Built in 1956, the property leans right into that era’s beloved aesthetic: brilliant colors, geometric shapes, and textural elements that make you want to reach out and touch something. When my family and I checked in at 2 a.m., bone-tired, we still spent 20 minutes perusing the decor in our suite. The taxi-cab yellow cabinetry lit up the spacious kitchen. The floor-to-ceiling mini mirrors with sculptural white rims captivated the kids. And my husband joyously flopped on the curved sectional in the lounge area and claimed it for football viewing the next morning.
This marked the start of our first true road trip as a family of four. Our accommodations were heaven-sent after a seven-hour drive from Los Angeles to Scottsdale. The king tower suite is already spacious at 900 square feet. But for those traveling in a pack, it’s wise to connect the suite to the adjacent signature guestroom. This combined layout meant that our oldest daughter, Olivia, was practically a princess with her own giant bed and bathroom. And the spacious walk-in closet on the suite side became the baby’s nook; the rollaway crib fit right inside and provided a distraction-free sleep space.
Of course, we spent plenty of time out and about, too. The communal areas of the hotel, both indoors and out in the glorious desert sun, further lure guests into a mid-mod dreamland.
My favorite view, though mostly unused during the COVID-19 pandemic, was the lobby lounge. A cone-shaped chimney hood hovers above a gas fire pit here, with cushy chairs and couches surrounding it. And off of this space are two other must-visit amenities of Hotel Valley Ho: the OH pool and Zuzu, the property’s all-day on-site restaurant.
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The OH pool scene rivals that of your favorite Palm Springs pool in California, as it should; these hallowed grounds drew similar folks back in the day, including singer Bing Crosby and actress Zsa Zsa Gabor. Teal loungers and umbrellas flank the pool, with couches and day beds sprinkled here and there. Cabanas stand farther back. Olivia and I enjoyed many hours right here, splashing across the pool and jumping in and out of the hot tub. It was easy to social distance, and guests gave each other ample space. The poolside bar offered slushie drinks and easy eats. Chips and guacamole held us over until our next meal at Zuzu.
Half indoors and half patio, Zuzu hosted us for three meals in one day, and that speaks to its food and service. We ordered breakfast to go so we could dine in our suite’s kitchen; brought burgers to the pool for lunch; and were thoroughly impressed by the menu and table service at dinner. My rock shrimp and pesto fettucine entree was bested only by what followed: the cast iron “brookie,” a beast of a hot-skillet sundae made of a brownie and peanut butter cookie topped with salted caramel gelato, bruleed banana and toffee pieces. It’s a dessert you don’t easily forget — and maybe one worth driving seven hours for.
If exploring the surrounding region is part of your plan, Hotel Valley Ho offers easy access to some of Scottsdale’s more popular offerings. Guests are just one mile away from the Old Town Scottsdale district and the beloved Fashion Square Mall; a 10-minute drive from the Desert Botanical Garden and Phoenix Zoo; and about 10 minutes from the short-yet-steep trails of Camelback Mountain.
I ventured a bit farther to the architectural wonder Taliesen West instead. The winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright and the site on which he trained many apprentices, the complex is best explored via a docent-led tour. I ambled in Wright’s personal sitting room, with its angular plywood chairs and sweeping desert views, and marveled at how much he and his students built by hand over the years. Any Wright appreciator will want to see how he melded nature, style and comfort here.
Then it was back to Hotel Valley Ho for modern comforts — like poolside truffle fries.
The DetailsHotel Valley Howww.hotelvalleyho.com