1 This is the exterior of the stunning Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, erected of Biltmore Blocks.
2 These pre-cast blocks were made on site from desert sand. They were poured into a mold that had a decorative geometric motif.
3 In all, more than 250,000 blocks were needed for the original construction and were churned out day and night by a skilled crew of workers, who alternated ten-hour shifts continually.
4 These blocks were cast in several dozen variations and were rotated throughout the resort to create diverse geometric patterns. The motif is thought to have been inspired by the freshly trimmed trunks of desert palm trees.
5 What do you think?
6 The main lobby of the Biltmore
7 The entire ceiling was covered with gold leaf, the great cost of which was justified by the explanation that it would never need painting!
8 The lighting was incorporated into the design with molded semi-opaque glass blocks inset to match the walls and supporting pillars of the lobby.
9 Another example of the lighting
10 More lighting examples and some Mission-style arm chairs - The molded block surfaces change remarkably throughout the day with the shifting light.
11 A closer look at a molded glass block
12 Wrought iron pieces, from andirons, like these, to dining room lamps and ash trays were all custom manufactured to order following patterns created by Albert McArthur and his brother, Warren.
13 A symbolic key from opening day on February 23, 1929
14 This magnificent backlit stained glass window in the hotel foyer is a Frank Lloyd Wright design, entitled Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers. The window was made in 1973 from his original 1927 colored pencil drawing.
15 A great ceiling fixture
16 Another wonderful stained glass fixture
17 More Native American-inspired artwork
18 The craftsman and mission-style decor is reflected in the carpeting and area rugs throughout the hotel.
19 There are many great pieces of furniture throughout the hotel.
20 The Aztec Lounge ceiling
21 The beautiful domed ceiling is covered with gold leaf. The 4-inch gold leaf squares were meticulously applied by hand.
22 More interior detail
23 This fabulous Hopi inspired mural, The Legend of Earth and Sun, by famed artist Maynard Dixon, hangs in the main dining room. It depicts Father Sun casting light and Mother Earth encouraging the growth of corn, the symbol of life.
24 Directly across from that mural is the 1949 Edith Hamlin companion tapestry 'The Turquoise Goddess and the Warrior Twins.' Edith Hamlin was Maynard Dixon's third wife and she won the commission to create it.
25 A map of the grounds
26 The exterior
27 It's said that the 32,500 pounds of copper applied to the roof, were intended to pay tribute to Arizona's mining industry.
28 More roof detail
29 This is an outdoor 'turret' which glows at night.
30 This is the hotel's oldest pool, the colorfully tiled Catalina pool.
31 This simple, rectangular pool is decorated with deep blue, green, and yellow high-glazed tiles made exclusively on Catalina Island, off the coast of Los Angeles.
32 This is Paradise Pool, an amazing art deco design. The pool was built in 1992 and includes three of the hotel's eight pools.
33 During the time that the Arizona Biltmore was being constructed, thousands of trees were planted, turning the grounds into a desert oasis seemingly overnight.
34 The grounds
35 More grounds
36 There is a very nice flow to this resort.
37 One of the charming cottages
38 This stunning copper and brass sculpture is called Wings of Phoenix, designed by Heloise Swaback.
39 Another cottage
40 I really like this cement fire pit.
41 The Paradise Garden with its rectangular shapes is breath-taking.
42 More of Paradise Garden
43 More of the resort with one of the Biltmore Sprites - statue reproductions of the original Sprites envisioned by Frank Lloyd Wright and sculpted by Alfonso Iannelli for the Chicago Midway Gardens, demolished in 1929.
44 Strolling around the Arizona Biltmore, it's easy to forget that you're really in a desert.
45 But, there it is!