How much do you know about the history of Hotel Valley Ho? It has been a Downtown Scottsdale landmark since it opened on December 20, 1956. Husband and wife Robert and Evelyn Foehl developed and managed the resort, living on site in a private apartment with a courtyard garden.
Architect Edward L. Varney was commissioned to design the hotel. He was extremely forward thinking, sub-structuring the main building to support a seven-story tower at a time when growth in Scottsdale was outwards rather than upwards. The design of the hotel became instantly distinctive, combining mid-century modern and Southwestern styles.
Guests enjoyed luxuries like rollaway sofa beds, black-and-white televisions with rabbit-ear antennas, and central air conditioning. Some rooms also had kitchenettes. A diving pool at the center of the property was the hub of activity, playing host to banquets, fashion shows, and afternoon cocktails.
Many of the Foehls’ Hollywood guests followed them to Scottsdale, having stayed at their resort in Southern California. Celebrities loved that the paparazzi wouldn’t follow them here. Notable guests included Bing Crosby, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
In 1973, Robert Foehl passed away. Hotel Valley Ho was acquired by Ramada and lost its luster over the years. In 2002, it went up for sale and was purchased by a local company that wanted to restore what it recognized as a true icon. Westroc Hospitality carefully planned the $80 million restoration and construction.
Hotel Valley Ho reopened on December 20, 2005. Additions included ZuZu, the OH Pool, and VH Spa for Vitality + Health. The seven-story Tower was completed in January 2008, in the spirit of Edward Varney’s original plans. Additional renovations have also been done in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the hotel’s reopening.
Alan Hess, architect and author of numerous mid-century modern texts, has called Hotel Valley Ho “one of the best-preserved mid-century hotels in the country.” To learn more about the hotel’s history and architecture, check out the 90-minute Magical History Tour.