Ho Sweet Ho

These days, it seems like half of Arizona is on its way to pseudo-Tuscan McMansionville. It's too bad, really, since mid-century modern architecture is found in exactly two places on earth: Palm Springs, California, and the Phoenix area.

One local diamond in the rough, the Hotel Valley Ho, was barely saved from becoming yet another boring high-rise condo development. Built in 1956 and reopened in 2005 following an $80 million renovation, the hotel is an architectural marvel that has retained its mid-century charms.

Ace Bailey, president of Ultimate Arts Cultural Tours, says the renovation of the Valley Ho prevented more than 20,000 tons of debris from going into landfills. "The Valley Ho was the anchor for downtown Scottsdale in its early days," he says. It was an anchor for beautiful people, too, since it was the “must do” resort for well-heeled socialites and Hollywood elites such as Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe, and Humphrey Bogart.

Celebrate the Ho’s place in the pantheon of modernist design during the Hotel Valley Ho Architectural Tour. Admission — which includes coupons toward hotel restaurants and spa — costs $19.56 (reflecting the year the hotel was built).

Tuesdays, Saturdays, 10 a.m. Starts: Oct. 24. Continues through Dec. 29, 2009