Ruben Hernandez

Nostalgic love

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The Hotel Valley Ho near Old Town Scottsdale is a reminder of the nostalgic 50’s when Hollywood celebrities and oh-so-good-looking couples such as Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood held a private wedding reception here in 1957, and Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis camped out in this hidden paradise for several weeks to avoid pesky paparazzi.

In 2004, Westroc Hotels & Resorts decided to save the relic of this faded hotspot for movie star types by pumping $80 million into renovating the buildings and adjacent restaurants.

Reopened in 2006, the hotel kept its original mid-century modern décor designed by Edward L. Varney, a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright, but the owners updated the place and re-introduced Scottsdale’s flashiest new urban resort that has become the playground of urbanite hipsters.

The Valley Ho is a fabulous place for glamorous trysts or romantic getaways. The possibilities are so good here that the locals – both men and women – pay to attend weekend pool parties.

I felt as I’d been transported back in time as I registered amid the spacious glass, metal and stone of the registration desk area. A painting of bright stripes dominated the space. Turquoise, red, lime green and orange chairs surrounded a gleaming fireplace.

Everywhere I looked I spotted well-spa-ed young women and men. They teemed in the bar, patios and especially around the chaise lounges and cabanas surrounding the pools. Everybody was drinking cocktails and seemed to be having a great time.

“Will you be needing two keys?” asked the woman checking me in.

I smiled ruefully. My usual “Funpanion” Kelly was out of town this weekend, visiting her relatives back East. “One will do,” I replied.

Not that I would lack for things to do. Hotel amenities include the courtyard pool, poolside Jacuzzis, poolside cabanas, 24-hour fitness studio, private yoga studio, eight spa treatment rooms, spa retail boutique, Cafe ZuZu, ZuZu Lounge, a pool bar, and the kitschy Polynesian-themed Trader Vic’s. It’s just that I would have to do whatever I decided to do by myself.

As I lugged my bags to my room, I passed through the pool area where the oh-so-chic and buff were either coupled up or trying to hook up. Romance was abundantly in the air.

Once in my room I took in the retro mod redesign and furnishings, most in bright colors. All rooms feature private balconies or terraces, oversized tubs and separate showers, feather-top beds, down comforters, high-speed Internet access, 32- or 42-inch HD flat-screen TVs, minibars, in-room coffee/espresso, and bathrobes. There were two bathrobes, which made me miss my Funpanion even more.

After showering and dressing, I went to Trader Vic’s for dinner. The Valley Ho acquired the franchise after the original Trader Vic’s closed. This reborn Vic’s features décor with a desert flair and landscaped patio. This night there was a tight jazz band entertaining guests.

I sat at the crowded bar to have a pre-dinner drink. People were wedged in, but one pretty blonde caught my eye by winking at me. I raised my drink in her honor. She smiled at me. Just then a well muscled, tanned man returned to her side. She slipped her hand in his. I smiled and raised my glass again.

Oh well, no amorous adventure tonight, I thought. Just a good dinner and get to sleep early. Old Town Scottsdale, art galleries and nightclubs were within walking distance, so I was going to need all the rest I could get. Still, it was nice to think of what may have happened – but never will.

If you go:
Hotel Valley Ho
6850 E. Main Street, Scottsdale 85251
(480) 248-2000

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