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April 15, 2013

Hi ho Hotel Valley Ho!

Porte Cochere Daytime

If you’re going to be anywhere near Arizona, you must soak in the midcentury charm of the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale. This is the place to recharge your love of all things modern and well designed. The pool, spa and swinging lounge beckon to those on vacation, while the comfortable rooms with large work area and plentiful outlets make the business traveler feel at home … or at work … maybe a bit of both.

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Built in 1956, the Hotel Valley Ho is one of the few midcentury hotels still standing in Scottsdale. It rose from the desert just five years after Scottsdale was incorporated as a city and it still has the optimistic spirit of a young city of 2,000 residents on the verge of a boom.

Lobby
Archival photo of the Hotel Valley Ho lobby.

Evelyn Foehl, who managed the hotel with her husband Robert, built the Valley Ho reputation on her belief that “to be a successful hostess in the resort hotel business, the important thing is to make your guest feel he is wanted.” I’m assuming she meant her female guests as well.

Entry
The entrance to the hotel, with its steel framed door floating in a wall of glass.

Architect Edward L. Varney designed the Valley Ho, and smartly included room for future growth by adding a sub-structure that could support a seven-story tower. At a time when the one-square-mile Scottsdale had ample space to spread outward, the thought that expanding upward might be important some day was brilliant indeed. This minimalism-loving architect hid the electrical wires in tunnels, eliminating the need for unsightly utility poles, and included central air conditioning, making the Valley Ho the first year-round hotel in Scottsdale.

Loft Suite Bedroom
A loft suite in the Tower.

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One aspect of the design Varney did not approve of was the arrowhead-motif concrete panels that line the property and give the Valley Ho its Flintstones-meets-Jetsons vibe. Too decorative and ornate for the architect’s taste, the panels were nevertheless installed and remain in place today.

Executive Suite Bath
Executive suite with circular bathtub.

For two decades, the hotel thrived as a Hollywood hideaway, but after being acquired by Ramada in 1973, the Valley Ho lost its unique charm. Mirrors covered the concrete columns and the open airy interiors were transformed into dark conference halls. Fortunately, MSR Properties purchased the hotel in 2002 and fully restored the Valley Ho to its midcentury splendor. Exactly 49 years after its original opening, the Hotel Valley Ho reopened in 2005, and in January 2008, the seven-story tower that Varney had wisely planned for, was completed.

Studio Guest Room
Studio guest room with plenty of counter space for working, lots of electrical outlets, Primary Pouf seating, and a very cool rolling table that should be standard equipment in every hotel room.

OH Pool Bar
OH Pool bar at the Hotel Valley Ho.

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I arrived at the Hotel Valley Ho as a rainbow stretched across the early evening sky. A hospitible touch, indeed.

 

Comments

I stayed at "The Ho" last year on a trip to Scottsdale. Wonderful and lovely. I was transported into Mad Men! The design is amazing, love the colors and the bathtubs in the rooms are just spectacular.

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