Checking In: Hotel Valley Ho – Scottsdale, Arizona

Warning: This is a very image heavy post, but I just can’t help myself.

Last month we had the pleasure of staying at Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was the first stop on our three week long road trip to Florida and boy oh boy was it a good way to start off the trip.

Hotel Valley Ho Scottsdale AZ (1).jpgHotel Valley Ho has a very interesting history, so let me lay some on you real quick.

Designed by Edward L. Varney (a student of Frank Lloyd Wright), Valley Ho opened its doors in 1956 and was an impressive example of what we now know as mid-century modern architecture and design. Upon opening it quickly gained popularity with numerous celebrities and trendsetters of the time. Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood even celebrated their wedding reception at the hotel in 1957.Unfortunately, during the 70s the hotel was bought and was stripped of its design and fell into disrepair until it finally closed in 2001. Plans to demolish the structure were considered until architecture and history enthusiasts rallied to save it. Thanks to those efforts it’s now a registered historic landmark.

Hotel Valley Ho Scottsdale AZ (3)In 2002, the hotel was bought by Westroc Hotels & Resorts and underwent renovations by Allen+Philp, an architecture and interior design group from Phoenix. In 1958, Edward L. Varney proposed building a tower above the lobby, but it never came to fruition, until 2002  when it was built under Westroc’s owenership. The years long renovations were a success and stayed true to the spirit of the original style and era, and thus the Valley Ho we know today opened in 2005 on December 20th, exactly 49 years after its grand opening.

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The lobby immediately feels like a time warp with its glass walls, cast and poured concrete details, and natural stone walls. All perfect examples of mid-century desert style. Hotel Valley Ho Scottsdale AZ (6).jpg

Retro style furnishings, including large curved sectionals, shag carpet, and woven textiles surround a space-age fireplace.

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The high glass walls flood the room with light and give you a sense of being within the desert landscape.

This is a great place to grab drink by the bar, or just hang out and mingle with other guests if you want to escape your room for a bit. Rumor has it that sometimes late at night Jimmy Durante would play the piano in the lounge for the other sleepless guests.

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We had the pleasure of staying in a King Tower Suite for the night. Scottsdale's Hotel Valley Ho King Suite (3).jpg

The suite is definitely impressive and features a living space, adjacent bedroom, expansive bathroom equipped with a washer and dryer, a large patio over looking the pool, and a fully stocked kitchen. It’s decked out with mid-century modern furniture and plenty of modern conveniences.Scottsdale's Hotel Valley Ho King Suite (1)Scottsdale's Hotel Valley Ho King Suite (2)Scottsdale's Hotel Valley Ho King Suite (4)Scottsdale's Hotel Valley Ho King Suite (5)Scottsdale's Hotel Valley Ho King Suite (6)Scottsdale's Hotel Valley Ho King Suite (9)

The bedroom area has a comfortable king sized bed, chaise lounge, and a light fixture that gets honorable mention because I need it in my life ASAP.

Scottsdale's Hotel Valley Ho King Suite (10)Scottsdale's Hotel Valley Ho King Suite (12)Did I mention the hotel is also extremely dog friendly? Well it is! Pandora definitely enjoyed it.Scottsdale's Hotel Valley Ho King Suite (11)

The expansive bathroom is a little on the dim side, but is equipped with a walk in closet, laundry, double sinks, and an amaaaazing shower. Scottsdale's Hotel Valley Ho King Suite (7)Scottsdale's Hotel Valley Ho King Suite (8)

The room overlooks the main pool area and has gorgeous views of the sunset which you can watch while lounging on the patio furniture.Scottsdale's Hotel Valley Ho King Suite (13)Scottsdale's Hotel Valley Ho King Suite (14)Outside, the lush property is nothing short of break taking. Hotel Valley Ho Scottsdale AZ (9).jpg

The property features two pools – The “OHasis” Pool, a relaxing lap pool.Hotel Valley Ho Scottsdale AZ (10)And the OH Pool – the more lively hot spot with private cabanas, a hot tub, cocktail bar, and live music.Hotel Valley Ho Scottsdale AZ (11)

Can we talk about all of this color?? Serious heart eyes.Hotel Valley Ho Scottsdale AZ (12)Hotel Valley Ho Scottsdale AZ (13)

The hotel also features delicious on-site dining at Zuzu. Cafe Zuzu at the Hotel Valley Ho (1)Here you’ll find seasonal American food and stylish mid-century design including a curved diner-style counter, stone walls, globe lights, and round booths.  Cafe Zuzu at the Hotel Valley Ho (3) Cafe Zuzu at the Hotel Valley Ho (4)We had dinner there and were not left disappointed. I wish I was able to take pictures, but it was dark and I didn’t want to be the annoying person photographing all of their food. Cafe Zuzu at the Hotel Valley Ho (2)We dined in a cozy booth and I can honestly tell you that everything we ordered was great, especially the drinks. Our server, MJ, was very helpful with his suggestions and helping us navigate the menu. We started off with the roasted tomato and goat cheese casserole and a round of their seasonal cocktails. For our meal, I had the seared salmon in a tomato broth and my husband had the short ribs that came with the most amazing green chile grits. I stole them. Delish.Cafe Zuzu at the Hotel Valley Ho (5)The next morning we ate breakfast on the patio at Zuzu before hitting the road and it hit the spotttt! We shared stuffed french toast (yessss), eggs, bacon, the works. They even brought out eggies and a water bowl for the dogs. Two thumbs way up.Cafe Zuzu at the Hotel Valley Ho (6)

Hotel Valley Ho Scottsdale AZ (4)I can’t get over what a great experience we had during our stay here. From check-in to check-out everything was exceptional. One night definitely wasn’t enough and I hope to go back again soon. If you’re planning a visit to the Scottsdale/Phoenix area, I highly recommend paying a visit to Hotel Valley Ho. Especially if you’re a fan of mid-century architecture and design. It’s well worth it!

Big thanks to Hotel Valley Ho for a wonderful stay.

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Checking In: A Technicolor Weekend at The Saguaro Palm Springs

You would think after our summer road trip we’d want to take a little break from hotel life for awhile, right? Oh, no. Not us. We almost immediately got the urge for another adventure so we headed out to our beloved Palm Springs. Palm Springs Oh, Palm Springs. How I love your style. If you know me, you know I have a love for all things vintage, and Palm Springs is the best place to catch the vintage vibe. Whenever I look for a hotel I always look for three things: great design, great dining, and pet-friendliness. But when it comes to Palm Springs, a great POOL is a must. Summer temps soar into the 100’s so there is no point to being outside unless there is a pool and drinks. This time we stayed at The Saguaro Palm Springs – a Joie de Vivre hotel. It was my first time staying here but I’ve had it on my mind for awhile, and it has everything on my list of requirements. The Saguaro Palm Springs The Saguaro Palm Springs It was originally built in 1965 and had former lives as a Ramada and a Holiday Inn, but it’s never been as cute as this! The Saguaro opened in early 2012 and has taken on a new life in vibrant technicolor. The Saguaro Palm Springs   The rainbow colored palette is the work of Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat, of New York-based Stamberg Aferiat Architecture. Each hue is inspired by indigenous flowers of the Colorado Desert and carried throughout the property. The Saguaro Palm Springs Saguaro Palm Springs The Saguaro Palm Springs And the color continues inside where it’s met with handcrafted Mexican furniture. An interesting contrast that makes sense when you consider the southwestern inspiration. I loved the use of cacti and vintage brownie cameras as decor, further bringing the desert and vintage elements together. It works. The Saguaro Palm Springs The Saguaro Palm Springs The front desk stands out with its bold orange and yellow floral walls. The front desk staff was very helpful and accommodating to us. Great first impression. We were directed to our room on the color coded map and were happy to find self parking was ample and a breeze. The Saguaro Palm Springs Hotel The Saguaro Palm Springs Hotel   Our king suite was spacious, and of course, colorful! The rooms are minimally decorated with only a few coffee table books and retro photography on the wall. The living area had a comfortable pull out sofa, little dining area, dresser, flat screen TV, and a walk out balcony. Oh and a refrigerator to store your drinks and stuff. Very convenient. The Saguaro Palm Springs   The bathroom was ORANGE, spacious, and had a good shower. I hate when showers just have that weird, stupid mist that sprays at you and you can’t rinse your hair well, so you have to stick it under the bath faucet…sorry I’m ranting. This shower had none of that! It was delightful. The toiletries by Lather smelled gooooood. Lavender Lime lotion, bamboo lemongrass body wash, yuzu bergamot conditioner, and mint thyme shampoo. I was about to be like “heyyyy, can I have like 27 of each to take home?”, but then I just figured I should just buy them like a regular person. The Saguaro Palm Springs toiletries by Lather The bathroom has everything you need. My only “meh” is that the tile didn’t do it for me, aesthetically speaking. Hopefully it’s just left over from the Holiday Inn days. Anyway, enough about tile. LOOK ROBES! Hooded ones. The Saguaro Palm Springs The bedroom portion had a work desk, a table, and another wall-mounted TV. And a bed. Duh. Oh man, that bed was super comfy. I hadn’t slept that well in days. The Saguaro Palm SpringsA lot of people are picky about room noise, but the room was quiet to me (except when the DJ was pumping jams on Saturday afternoon). It might be because I live in an apartment building on one of the busiest streets in Los Angeles, but I honestly didn’t notice any noise coming from other rooms. Bonus points for having lamps with electrical outlets on the base. I hate having to find a place to plug my phone and laptop in. Extra bonus points for the washable slipcovers on the sofas. That’s a good idea considering the dog friendly policy. The Saguaro Palm Springs is very dog friendly.WAIT. Let me talk about their super friendly dog policy real quick. No pet fee and they don’t stick you in the crappy rooms. They even included bowls and cute dog things. The Saguaro Palm Springs is super dog friendlyMango and Pandie loved watching people at the pool and their hair colors fit right in. The Saguaro Palm SpringsNow for the pool. The pool is important. If you don’t have a pool in Palm Springs, what is even the point? The Saguaro has one of the best and it’s open until midnight. There are two hot tubs, if you feel the need to soak. The Saguaro Palm SpringsThere is also a pool bar that has light snacks and drinks. Helllooooo. But wait, that reminds me. The middle portion of the pool goes to 9ft deep. Normally, I’m excited if any pool goes to even 6 ft deep, but in this case it’s kind of a funny problem. Every weekend they host a pool party (12pm-6pm) with a DJ and the drinks are flowing. Everyone ends up crowding into the shallow areas because they can’t stand and party it up while trying to keep their head above water in the deep end. Just make sure you snag a pool floaty if you can’t snag a spot in the shallow end. Oh, and one more minor observation: while it’s cool they have a DJ (because what pool is a party without one), they really need a better playlist. I enjoy the occasional ironic 90’s jam as much as anyone, but there really needs to be a better mix if they want to attract the crowd I think they do. The Saguaro Palm Springs Pool PartyThe property also has a spa, bocci ball court, and daily yoga that I can appreciate but did not partake in. The Saguaro Palm Springs The Saguaro Palm SpringsAnd FREE BIKE RENTALS! The Saguaro Palm PringsJvee got stung by a bee and it was 106 degrees so we had to cut it short (typical luck), but taking these for a ride around the neighborhood is a blast. Rentals are for two hours at a time. The Saguaro Palm SpringsThere are two restaurants at the hotel, Tinto and El Jefe by Iron Chef Jose Garces. Tinto was closed during our stay but we had dinner at El Jefe where our server was very sweet and attentive. We ordered the vegetarian queso fundido as our appetizer. I had the fish tacos and loved them. Some of the best cabbage on a fish taco I’ve ever had. Jvee had the carne asada tacos because they were out of the cabrito that he had his heart set on. He enjoyed them. I liked the taco presentation. Very cute. However, I wish the food came out in the right order. My tacos came out, then the queso appetizer, then Jvee’s carne asada tacos. But it all tasted good in the end. You better get THE MARGARITAS. These aren’t watered down chain restaurant margs. I caught a little buzz off of one and the flavor was tops. I recommend the charred pineapple, even though I kind of wished it came with a charred pineapple garnish. Tacos from El Jefe Palm Springs Everywhere you look there’s color and it makes you happy! The Saguaro Palm SpringsAnd the views! The Saguaro Palm SpringsMaybe it’s the colors. Maybe it’s the tequila. I don’t know, but I’m definitely going back. I highly recommend you take a little visit to The Saguaro, too. And don’t forget to dress the part. Palm Springs StyleBye until next time. Vintage luggage