Hotel Valley Ho, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright-trained architect Edward Varney, opened to much fanfare in 1956. At the time, it was one of the most innovative hotels anywhere. The hotel cost $1.5 million to build (about $13 million in today’s dollars) and even had air conditioning (the first for a Scottsdale hotel) so it could remain open year-round. The Valley Ho was so popular that it was expanded in 1958 to include two additional wings.
During those early years, Valley Ho was a playground for Hollywood’s brightest stars. Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood held their 1957 wedding reception here. Frequent guests included Bette Davis, Roy Rogers, Bing Crosby, Frankie Avalon, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, Janet Leigh, Cary Grant and Joe DiMaggio. As the hotel grew more popular, Varney suggested the owners build a tower that would rise from the lobby, but it was never constructed.
The hotel was purchased by Ramada in 1973, which signaled the beginning of the end for the hip hotel. Ramada covered up and destroyed much of the mid-century designs, considering them outdated. By 2001, the old hotel was run down and a bit of an eye-sore when it closed that year. There was talk of destroying the old hotel, but Westroc Hotels & Resorts built it in 2002 and embarked on an amazing remodel. After an $80 million renovation, the Hotel Valley Ho reopened—with the 7-story Tower above the lobby as Varney always imagined—in December 2005.
The AAA Four-Diamond hotel today has been remodeled and restored with the proper respect to the classic mid-century architecture. The hotel has fun decor, two pools, tropical landscaping, great food, a relaxing spa and a fun nightlife and weekend pool scene. I was recently a guest of Hotel Valley Ho, where I enjoyed one of the two beautiful loft suites in the Tower, some great meals and a relaxing afternoon at the spa.
Hotel Valley Ho is located in Old Town Scottsdale, just off Indian School Road and about a mile from Scottsdale Fashion Square and the intersection of Scottsdale and Camelback roads. It’s easy to reach the hotel from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which is about 8 miles away. Whenever I pull up to Hotel Valley Ho, I always feel welcome and the valet service is fast. The guys are polite and on this visit, they had notified the front desk of my arrival in the less than 60 seconds it took me to walk from my car to the front desk.
The lobby is open and welcoming. The desk is tucked to one side and opens into a vast lobby that includes seating around a fireplace, the bar, the restaurant and a wall of sliding glass doors that stay open during the cooler months.
I was only staying one night, so I didn’t have a lot of bags and was in a hurry to get ready for my spa treatment, so I thanked the front desk clerk and hurried up to my room. I was directed to the Tower and the clerk ensured me I would love my room. I had stayed in a standard room back in 2009 and they are fun, modern, tastefully decorated, but I had heard about the suites. I was excited when he told me I had a great room and I was thrilled that I might get one of the fun rooms with a tub in the middle.
When I arrived at my room, I was blown away. This was way better than a tub in the middle of the room. The Tower contains the hotel’s signature rooms and suites, so I already knew it was a treat, but I wasn’t expecting the Tower Loft Suite. Hotel Valley Ho has two of the loft suites, each a modern two-story suite with a dramatic floating staircase. Upstairs is a full kitchen with Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer, Dacor oven, cooktop and refrigerator; high-gloss kitchen cabinets with service for eight; full bathroom; modern seating area with a 50″ flat screen HDTV and comfy furniture.
The best feature of the upstairs—and duplicated downstairs—is the wall of floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors leading to a private balcony. Heading downstairs (and I think I was saying “Wow” aloud as I walked), I discovered a gorgeous king bed, a large desk, second door to the hallway, a Bosch washer and dryer, a 32″ flat-screen HDTV and a luxurious terrazzo tile bathroom with large walk-in shower and an oversized air tub (so much better than the traditional jetted whirlpools). Really, I was ready to move in and stay. What more did I need?
I discovered that there are two of the loft suites, one on the east and one on the west side of the Tower. This is definitely my dream room. But there’s even more. For anyone who stays in one of the Tower rooms (there are standard guest rooms in the Tower as well as suites, two loft suites and a penthouse suite), the Tower concierge is there to make your visit spectacular. You can use the services of a personal shopper to stock your kitchen or for other items you might need, have a private chef prepare meals in your private kitchen, book a guided tour of the area, or have the concierge help you reserve a luxury car, set up tee times at area golf courses or schedule you for other excursions.
If you choose to stay in one of the non-Tower rooms, you’re still in for a treat and have several choices. The basic rooms also have a full glass wall that opens onto a balcony or patio. There are pool view rooms overlooking either of the two pools, Cabana rooms with double-size patios overlooking the OH Pool, Terrace Suites with 800 square foot patios and executive suites with 1200 square foot wrap-around balconies.
Services and Amenities
Hotel Valley Ho has an amazing array of amenities, from two gorgeous pools to ZuZu Restaurant, VH Spa, and more. I’ll cover the restaurant and spa below. The two gorgeous pools are definitely highlights at the hotel. OH Pool Bar + Cabanas is where you’ll find all the action. The OH Pool Bar has misters, plenty of shade, jacuzzis, firepit, and there are live DJs many weekends throughout the year. You can check the Hotel Valley Ho website to get the latest information on pool events.
If you want a quiet place to reflect, the second pool that opened recently, OHasis Pool, is a secluded escape with serene water features.
The hotel also has a 24-hour fitness center across from the spa. There are separate men’s and women’s locker rooms in the spa as well as steam rooms. The fitness center and steam rooms are available to all guests at no charge. Every hotel room has free basic WiFi and premium WiFi is available for an additional charge. The hotel is pet friendly and there is a business center off the lobby.
One of my favorite amenities that most people might not be aware of is the hotel’s set of Green Initiatives. As part of its commitment to the environment, Hotel Valley Ho uses green-certified cleansers, linens are washed in hydrogen peroxide instead of strong bleaches, there are no herbicides or pesticides used in landscaping, kitchen cooking oil is recycled, much of the kitchen waste is used as compost for the chef’s garden, lighting is energy efficient and showers, faucets and toilets are low flow. In addition, the Red Flower amenities in the bathrooms are paraben free, organic and biodegradable.
Hotel Valley Ho’s restaurant, ZuZu, is located off the lobby. The fun retro style of the dining room and bar (and the amazingly soft leather banquettes) set a perfect scene for some great, new American food that combines comfort food with innovative techniques. I’ve had dinner a few times over the years at ZuZu and have never been disappointed. During this stay, I spent the afternoon at the spa and hated to leave my beautiful room for dinner. I wanted to take advantage of it as much as possible, so I ordered room service. Sometimes the food you get from hotel room service is sub-par, but that’s not the case at Hotel Valley Ho. The food they delivered to my room was beautifully presented and tasted just as good as what I have enjoyed in the restaurant. The braised beef short rib served over creamy grits is probably my favorite item on the menu.
I went downstairs the next morning for breakfast. All the rooms, both in the Tower and the regular rooms, have free in-room coffee and tea, so I was ready for the ZuZu drink special—the Ho-J made with orange juice and vanilla bean ice cream. I also had a delicious mushroom and cheese omelet and a big bowl of cheesy grits. A perfect start to my day. One of my favorite things about ZuZu is that, during the cooler months, the windows open completely, creating a real indoor-outdoor eating space that celebrates what’s so amazing about our Arizona weather.
ZuZu also has several on-going specials, including a Happy Hour Monday through Friday all year, a monthly chef’s table dinner and Wine Wednesdays. You can find out more about the restaurant here. You can also order lunch pool side.
The VH Spa might not be as large as some area spas, but the treatments are fabulous, the treatment rooms are comfortable and it’s a perfect way to relax and unwind. During my visit, I had two different treatments. I started with the LomiLomi Relaxation Massage and then finished my afternoon with the Advanced Facial.
The VH Spa is located above the lobby. There is a small but comfortable waiting area, separate men’s and women’s locker rooms, changing rooms and steam rooms. There are eight treatment rooms, including a couples’ suite. I love the massage tables at VH Spa. In fact, it was there several years ago that I first discovered my favorite sheets by Comphy that I now use on my own bed.
I’ve had dozens of spa treatments over the years, but this was my first LomiLomi massage. I usually prefer fairly deep massages, so I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the LomiLomi. It is a series of relaxing, long strokes that are designed to create absolute relaxation. It was an amazing treatment and I floated away into that lovely la-la land of massage ecstasy.
After my massage, I headed for my Advanced Facial. The Advanced Facial is a combination facial and mini peel. Although it’s safe for all skin types, it is suggested as an anti-aging treatment and the therapist suggested a series of 6 to 12 treatments. Following the treatment, she applied a SPF30 sunscreen and suggested that I stay out of the sun the remainder of the day. She explained every step, showed me the various products she used and answered all of my questions.
While the VH Spa offered some amazing specials for the summer months when I had the treatments, they also offer quarterly specials all year long and you can get savings on both the Advanced Facial and LomiLomi Relaxation massage every Wednesday and Thursday. In fact, those two treatments are almost 50% off as part of the Mid-Week Mojo savings (the 60-minute Advanced Facial is normally $125 but is only $60 on Wednesdays and Thursdays while the 90-minute LomiLomi Relaxation massage is normally $185 and only $90 on Wednesdays and Thursdays). Be sure to read about the current monthly/quarterly specials at VH Spa here.
Hotel Valley Ho is such a classic hotel. You can feel the history while you’re there. It really does offer something for everyone. The pool scene is fun with live music, DJs and is a fun party scene for the 20- and 30-somethings in Scottsdale. But there are so many other spaces that if you book a room on the quiet pool or in the tower, you can spend your days at the spa or the relaxing OHasis Pool and have a much more relaxing experience. The hotel is ideal for business travelers as well, with the business center, free Internet access, spacious rooms, and the close proximity to both the Phoenix Airport and downtown Scottsdale.
- 193 rooms and suites
- Free in-room WiFi
- Flat screen TV (multiple TVs in suites)
- Desk and chair
- Feather-top beds with luxurious linens
- In-room coffee
- 24-hour front desk
- 24-hour room service
- 24-hour fitness center
- Steam room
- Iron & ironing board
- Spa services available in spa or in room
- Free newspapers on request
- Cafe ZuZu and poolside food service
- Two pools, one with cabanas for rent
- Pets allowed
- Babysitting/childcare services
- Laundry/Dry Cleaning
- Valet Parking (for a charge)
- Business office
- Luxurious Red Flower bath amenities
Other amenities available for Tower suites and lofts:
- 32″ and 50″ flat screen HD TVs in loft suites
- Laptop-size safe
- High-gloss cabinets and full kitchens with service for eight
- 30″ cook top and oven
- Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer
- Washer and dryer by Bosch
- Twice daily housekeeping service
- Arrival amenity
- Private concierge
- Services of private chef/private shopper available for additional charge
Hotel Valley Ho
6850 E Main Street
Scottsdale AZ 85251