Scottsdale—the self-proclaimed "most Western town in the West"—is fast becoming more urban than cowboy. Anchoring a revival of its historic, gallery-rich downtown: the legendary Hotel Valley Ho, newly saddled up for the 21st century after a four-year, $80 million restoration by the team behind nearby Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain. Built in 1956 by a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright, the former two-story motor lodge has had the cast-concrete relief panels on its aerodynamic exterior buffed up in hopes of returning it to its Hollywood heyday, when newlyweds Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner slept here. The retro-chic guest rooms now have sliding glass walls, terraces overlooking Camelback Mountain, and oversized circular tubs. Hot chef Charles Wiley has reinvented 1950's comfort food (tuna casserole, anyone?) at Café ZuZu, and by summer, an old-school Trader Vic's will be dishing out pupu platters along with mai tais. For the morning after, you can join the golf obsessives who flock to Scottsdale, or go sybaritic with belly dancing and hammam treatments in the hotel's VH Spa. Hotel Valley Ho, 6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale; 480/248-2000; www.hotelvalleyho.com; doubles from $289.
Hotel Valley Ho
In 2004, Westroc Hotels & Resorts saved this old motor inn from the wrecking ball, and today the vibe is Rat Pack for the 21st century. The owners preserved the 1956 architecture (designed by Edward L. Varney, a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright, and hailed as an example of mid-century-meets-western-style architecture), but updated the place with warm salmons and browns and sparkling tile to create a contemporary feel. (Some rooms even have Philippe Starck-designed bathtubs.) The hotel’s restaurant, ZuZu, serves its take on comfort food; the burger with warm blue cheese fondue and homemade potato chips hits the mark. Hang poolside with some piped-in Sinatra and the bar’s superb Cosmo, or take a historic walking tour of the property (arranged by the hotel). Plus, the spa offers everything from traditional massages to belly dancing classes.
Tip: A block or so away, at the tip of the property, is the Scottsdale Trader Vic’s, another totally revamped and repackaged old favorite. (In this case, in a new location; the original closed more than a decade ago, and the hotel opened its own franchise.) Sip a vintage-style Polynesian drink and a nibble at a pu pu platter (updated as Cosmo Tidbits for Two). Now everything here is polished—even the rattan.
Room to Book: The two-bedroom tower suites. Each features 1950’s-designed chairs, stainless-steel hardware, and a fully equipped kitchen, plus a balcony overlooking Camelback Mountain or the hotel pool.