The Hotel Valley Ho A Mid-Century Trendy Hot Spot in Scottsdale Arizona

Construction of the Valley Ho Hotel

Robert Foehl and his wife Evelyn, both hoteliers, had worked at the famous Biltmore Hotel in the Los Angeles area and had established friendships with the Hollywood stars of the early 1950s. When they moved to Arizona, they purchased the Hotel San Marcos in Chandler, and began planning to build a new hotel in Scottsdale. The new hotel would be built around a pool and would have air conditioning that would allow the hotel to be open during the summer season. They hired architect Edward Varney, who had studied with Frank Lloyd Wright to create a modern design. The original design included a tower which wasn't built at that time, but the hotel, a restaurant, a lounge and a night club were completed.

The construction materials included masonry bricks, cast and poured concrete, and large panels of glass which connected guests to the environment outside. V shapes, repeated in the cast concrete forms resembled upside down arrow heads which added Western appeal. A porte-cochere over the entrance seemed to "flow" into the high ceiling of the lobby. While today, codes require a certain number of parking spaces, at the time, a parking lot where guests could park right outside their room was unusual. Interior decor included frosted glass, Formica counter tops and minimalist furniture. The cost of construction was 1.5 million.

The hotel was named Valley Ho. Several explanations have been given for the name. Ho was said to be an ancient Native American word for "you are welcome here", or the word Ho was chosen to connect it to the successful Westward Ho hotel downtown Phoenix. Some say that Valley was chosen because of the proximity of the new hotel to Paradise Valley. This may be true, but Paradise Valley was largely undeveloped at the time. Some say it was named for the Salt River Valley, which was what the metro Phoenix area was called before being called The Valley of the Sun. Any of the connections for the name, or none of them might be correct.

The grand opening of the Valley Ho was December 20th, 1956.

Valley Ho Hotel Scottsdale Arizona Shortly After Construction

Valley Ho Porte-cochere shortly after construction
Valley Ho Porte-cochere shortly after construction | Source

Famous Guests and a Decline

The Foehl's Hollywood connections held and the Hollywood crowd began coming. The most notable stars Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner had their wedding reception at the Valley Ho in 1957. Jimmie Durante surprised the other guests late one night by playing the piano for them.

When Robert Foehl died in 1973, the Valley Ho was sold to the Ramada chain. Soon the decor was updated and changed. The hotel continued to be used for conferences, trade shows and business meetings until 2001, when the hotel was closed. It sat vacant and boarded when no buyers came forward. Demolition seemed like the best use for the valuable Scottsdale land. Soon a campaign was begun to have the property declared a historic site for its contributions to the history of Scottsdale. Partners Scott Lyon and Bill Nassikas of Westroc Hotels bought the Valley Ho and hired the Scottsdale firm, Allen and Philip, to renovate the hotel and to construct the tower that had originally been planned. The name was changed to Hotel Valley Ho and the grand opening took place on December 20th, 2005 exactly 49 years after the original opening.

Hotel Valley Ho Tower Added in 2005

Hotel Valley Ho tower and outdoor seating for ZuZu's restaurant.
Hotel Valley Ho tower and outdoor seating for ZuZu's restaurant. | Source

Mid Century Modern is Retro-Chic

Today the Hotel Valley Ho offers studio guest rooms, pool view (cabana) rooms, tower suites, and executive suites. The words used most often by guests to describe the hotel are swanky, fun, funky, excellent, high end, retro hip, cool, chic, luxe, trendy and an urban resort. Zu Zu's restaurant is a treat and offers comfort foods of the 1950s and 60s with a modern twist. The lounge area is truly a step back in time. While the hotel is located just two blocks from fine dining and trendy shops, the solid rock and concrete construction and mature landscaping give the property a sense of quiet while being surrounded by the city. During the winter season, rooms are at a premium rate (as high as $400 plus), but during fall and summer rates rooms are offered at reduced prices (less than $200). Guest reviews from several popular booking sites most often rate their stay as 4.5 to 5 stars.

Zu Zu Restaurant

Zu Zu's offers comfort foods with a modern twist.  Yes there is a pie case!
Zu Zu's offers comfort foods with a modern twist. Yes there is a pie case! | Source

Lobby Mid-Century Furniture and Decor

The big "ball" hanging light fixtures and Mid-Century modern furniture, rock walls, expanses of glass and a funky fireplace are typical of the 1950s.
The big "ball" hanging light fixtures and Mid-Century modern furniture, rock walls, expanses of glass and a funky fireplace are typical of the 1950s. | Source

Location of Hotel Valley Ho

A marker6850 E. Main Street Scottsdale Arizona -
6850 East Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
[get directions]

Close to wonderful restaurants and shops.

A Cabana Poolside Room Valley Ho

Cabana rooms surround the two pools at the Hotel Valley Ho. Note the sculpted concrete details that resemble arrow heads.
Cabana rooms surround the two pools at the Hotel Valley Ho. Note the sculpted concrete details that resemble arrow heads. | Source

What are you willing to Pay?

Historical hotels are more costly to maintain. Are you willing to pay more to keep these great old hotels in business?

  • Yes
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  • It depends on how unique the hotel is.
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Decorative Local Rocks and Concrete Details

Under the Mid-Century "arrows" local rocks sparkle with bits of mica and turquoise.
Under the Mid-Century "arrows" local rocks sparkle with bits of mica and turquoise. | Source

Glamorous Hotel Valley Ho Lounge

The lounge is located just a few steps from both Zu Zu restaurant and the lobby.
The lounge is located just a few steps from both Zu Zu restaurant and the lobby. | Source

Beautiful Lush Landscaping

Mature landscaping adds charm and blocks out city traffic noise.
Mature landscaping adds charm and blocks out city traffic noise. | Source

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7 comments

annart profile image

annart 21 months ago from SW England

Interesting place and history. It looks very retro but then I suppose it is! I like it.

Thanks for the introduction to this fascinating place with well-known guests.

Ann


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Thank you for this nice piece as I have stayed there a few times and am glad to see it still is going strong.


mactavers profile image

mactavers 21 months ago Author

Thanks for the comments. I have never stayed there, but have eaten there and walked around admiring the hotel many times since 2005.


tlcs profile image

tlcs 21 months ago from Hampshire, UK

Very interesting history, well written.


mactavers profile image

mactavers 21 months ago Author

Thank you. I'm a lifelong AZ resident with a real interest in keeping our historical buildings around.


Chantelle Porter profile image

Chantelle Porter 14 months ago from Chicago

I would love to stay at this hotel some day. Great article.


mactavers profile image

mactavers 14 months ago Author

Thanks. If you like the article, you would LOVE the hotel.

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