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To Plan A Trip

February 2024
1min read

For more on Culture Quest and its schedule of events, either call 800-234-6032 or visit www.culturequestscottsdale.com . General information on Scottsdale is available at www.experiencescottsdale.com. Hotels in the area have come a long way from tourist accommodations like the Graves Guest Ranch, described by one early visitor as “a series of cabins located around a large open field.…shaded by ash and tamarack trees [with] canvas flaps that opened to allow better cooling.” These days the luxury propertiesstrive to outdo one another in the amenities they offer. However lavish the swimming pools, man-made sandy beaches, or casitas (private apartments), some ofthese places still make a point of holding on to the past.

For instance, the Hyatt at Gainey Ranch, where I stayed, has forged
a close relationship with the Native American population. At its shop
selling Hopi arts and crafts, some of the profits go to a Hopi children’s
charity. And its Native American and Environmental Learning Center,
located off the main lobby, is a marvel. It is equipped with a reference
library, computer stations, cultural interpreters, and exhibits that aim
to explain the philosophical underpinnings of the Hopi communities
in the area. Remarking on how popular this has become with hotel
guests, one of the Hyatt executives said, “We’re not packaging culture,we’re not trivializing anyone’s way of life. This is here as long as the Hopipeople want it to be here.”

One of Scottsdale’s first resorts, the Camelback Inn, is named for
the spectacularly sculptural mountain that rises
virtually in its back yard.
The inn opened in 1936,
and although its original
75 rooms have grown to
453, at its heart it retains
aspects of those early days.
One senses this especially in the cozy and modestly scaled adobe main
building that dates from Camelback’s beginnings.

Its Phoenix counterpart, the Arizona Biltmore, has been known
from its 1929 opening as “The Jewel of the Desert.” The hotel was
designed by an apprentice to Wright who early on invited his professor to consult on thejob. But the extent of Wright’s contribution
remains murky. Clearly there are clues—the central building’s lowslungproportions, its decorative elements, the materials that went
into it—which all speak of Wright. After a 1973 fire that destroyed
the furnishings, the Biltmore’s new owners hired the Frank Lloyd
Wright Foundation to replace the chairs, fabrics, lamps, even menus,
using 1920s designs found in the Taliesin archives. This has cast the
hotel’s dining room, lobby, and ballroom more in the style of Wright than ever before.

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