favorite spaces series: arizona biltmore

I recently visited Paradise Valley, Arizona for a beautiful wedding of dear friends. We rented a house through one of those homeaway-type sites and had an unbelievably fun weekend. Perfect weather, gorgeous ceremony and parties, palm trees, golf courses, pools, you get the picture. Just ideal (keep in mind, snowing in NYC at the time.) When the celebrations wound down, Sunday was fairly free and decidedly Frank Lloyd Wright Day, with a cool visit to Taliesin West (very interesting, though felt like the people working there drank some suspect kool-aid.) Nonetheless the structure and grounds were pretty amazing to see in person. Also, learning more about his genius architecture and worldwide influence (and oddly not his incredibly egomaniacal personality) makes the creepy worship aspect of the tour worth standing. I'd recommend the trip if you find yourself out there. After a long day in the sun, a group of us decided to end the trip with a final drink at the Arizona Biltmore, another Wright design. This is where I fell in love. Having been surrounded by beautiful desert in perfect weather for four days it took a lot to wow me at this point, but my goodness, the Biltmore is stunning. We pulled in at twilight to the following site below.

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and proceeded to enter this enchanting space. Having learned earlier at Taliesin West about Wright's use of unexpected, often inexpensive materials and ability to make them stand out, I was still surprised by the incredible cinder block carved pattern.

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One thing I love is mixing high and low: combining something inexpensive with an heirloom or high-end custom finish can be quite chic and elevate both elements. Yes, the walls were cinder block, but the ceiling was complimented brilliantly in a gorgeous gold leaf. Though the lobby was fantastic, the real home run on striking the perfect southwestern, relaxed, luxurious + dreamy hotel mood for me was the grounds behind the hotel, where we all sat and had one of the most relaxing moments of the weekend. I actually considered finding out if any rooms were open that night and changing my flight, but NYC duty called. Here's to next time, when I will undoubtedly be staying at the Biltmore!

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original lobby

original lobby