Historic Scottsdale Hotels

by T.L. Chancellor

Scottsdale has been a part of the southwestern Arizona landscape for more than 100 years, and early in its history it became a popular destination for the wealthy. Several hotels and resorts popped up in those early days, and as the area has grown, the properties have evolved to serve guests without losing their historical charm.

Hotel Valley Ho

When it opened in 1956, the Hotel Valley Ho quickly became a destination for Hollywood celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. After an extensive renovation in 2007, the hotel now blends 1950s-inspired furniture with modern features such as plasma televisions; it also offers personal shoppers. The Tower, added as part of the renovation, is a high-rise next to the original hotel building that features one- and two-bedroom suites with full kitchens. Locals and guests alike enjoy a drink at the the OH Pool Bar or a meal at Café Zuzu, which features classic American dishes, and Trader Vic’s, which serves dishes with a Polynesian twist, such as passion-fruit-glazed chicken.

The Hermosa Inn

The Hermosa Inn started as a guest ranch. In the 1930s, Alonzo “Lon” Megargee built Casa Hermosa outside Phoenix and started renting out rooms in the large southwestern-style home. Megargee sold it in 1941, and even though the new owners wanted to use it as their home, the reputation that Megargee built convinced them to keep it open. Casa Hermosa nearly closed its doors for good in the 1980s after financial problems and a large fire in Megargee’s original building. Fred and Jennifer Unger bought it in 1992 and restored it into the Hermosa Inn, a boutique-style hotel with 34 guest rooms and free-standing suites. The restaurant, LON’s at the Hermosa, is located in an authentic hacienda. The Hermosa also has space for meetings and weddings.

Camelback Inn

Jack Stewart founded the Camelback Inn in 1936, and it immediately became a destination for wealthy travelers and celebrities, including future first lady Mamie Eisenhower, actor Jimmy Stewart and actress Bette Davis. These days, luminaries such as Oprah Winfrey and actor Tom Selleck have stayed there. Marriott bought the hotel in 1967 and made it its first full-service resort. The resort eventually earned five stars from Forbes Travel Guide. Along with several room types, the Camelback has a 36-hole golf course, a large spa with cabanas, a fitness center and the Arizona Ballroom, which has 20,000 square feet of conference space.

The Canyon Suites at the Phoenician

The Canyon Suites at the Phoenician opened only in 2010, but the property has served travelers in Scottsdale since the 1920s. The son of painter Jessie Benton Evans started the Jokake Inn in 1926 in an adobe house. Cosmetics czar Elizabeth Arden bought it in 1946 and turned it into the Maine Chance Spa, a destination for celebrities and the social elite. Starwood Hotels and Resorts bought the spa in 2007 and turned it into the Canyon Suites, a resort that offers tennis, a wellness center and spa, a pool, a hot tub and a cactus garden with native and foreign flora.

About the Author

T.L Chancellor has more than 12 years of newspaper reporting and editing experience. She has written extensively about education, business and city government. She has also worked at a public relations firm, focusing on environmental issues with clients.