BEST WHALE WATCHING - 2005
Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa
In casino terms, a whale is a big fish with money to burn: a Shamu-size gambler who can afford the fickle fortunes of wagering, while staying in a posh money pit and enjoying all the amenities due someone of his or her stature. If we think of PHX as a Vegas-style casino, then the best "whale" watching is at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, where true players chill in old-school environs wrought by Frank Lloyd Wright disciple Albert Chase McArthur. McArthur eventually hired Wright on to the project, too, and the style echoes the principles of America's most illustrious architect. This "Jewel of the Desert," as it's been called, has more than 700 guest accommodations, nearly 80 of which are one- or two-bedroom villas. In addition, there are seven tennis courts, an 18-hole putting green, eight pools, and so on. The "whales" who've reportedly beached here have included such luminaries as Clark Gable, Harry Cohn, Irving Berlin, Marlon Brando, both Clintons, both Reagans, and U2. Now if they could only fit a real orca into one of the Biltmore's ce-ment ponds, then we'd really be impressed.