Arizona Biltmore’s Mystery Room Returns to Speakeasy, Man-Cave Glory
If you've ever wandered the legendary Arizona Biltmore Resort, you've likely stumbled upon a photo of the "Mystery Room," though never the room itself as the location has long been — you guessed it — a mystery. That's all about to change; last week we were among the first to learn that this mysterious room will soon be revealed and restored to a version of its former self as a speakeasy lounge.
Back in the day, the cozy club masqueraded as a "Men's Smoking Room" requiring a secret password for entry and accessible only through a secret passage that started behind the resort and traveled up a hidden staircase from the kitchen. In many ways it was a true man cave, where gentlemen could kick back to smoke cigars and pipes, swap news about the stock market and sip on bootleg setups of gin and juice.
A clever fuzz buster was in place, too, with a spotlight that was officially known to guide guests at night, and unofficially used to search the desert for police raids. Whenever a raid approached, the spotlight would shine through the Mystery Room's stained glass roof, signaling guests to return to their rooms and the booze to be tucked back into the room's hidden bookshelf.
We got a sneak peek of the storied room last week and were amazed at the seemingly unaltered vibe — the Mystery Room felt as stout and solid as we imagine it might have been circa 1929, when the Frank-Lloyd-Wright-inspired hotel opened in the midst of Prohibition. A little dusty and cave-like, but untouched and with all the Albert McCarthur/Frank Lloyd Wright architectural trappings. Not really a big room, it's the extra tall ceiling that blew us away with its tiered chimney, striking stained glass, famed Biltmore Blocks and original gold leaf finish.
Other ideas are still being tossed around on how exactly the room will be used, though, from what we gather, the Speakeasy lounge concept will be a keeper. Its opening sometime this summer is already a force in motion.
The lowest rate at the Biltmore is currently $299 for a classic room. You can also score a free room during your birthday month.
[Photo: Waldorf Astoria Hotels, Nina Kokotas Hahn for HotelChatter]