The Arizona Biltmore, the historic Phoenix resort that had hosted every U.S. president since Herbert Hoover until Barack Obama broke the streak, has been sold for $403.4 million.
The 740-room resort near 24th Street and Missouri Avenue was sold to New York-based Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, according to public real estate records.
The deal closed Friday.
Blackstone, the largest private real estate equity firm in the world, also owns the Motel 6 chain, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hotel tower and part of Hilton Hotels & Resorts. In Arizona, its hotel holdings include JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in northeast Phoenix, the largest resort and second-largest hotel in the state, with 950 rooms.
The Biltmore opened in 1929 and initially was a winter-only retreat because of a lack of air conditioning.
Friday’s sale is the biggest individual resort sale in Phoenix since The Phoenician was sold to Host Hotels & Resorts for $400 million in 2015.
The last time the Biltmore changed hands was in 2013, when it was transferred to the Singapore government through bankruptcy court. KSL Resorts paid $335 million for the Biltmore in 2000.
A spokeswoman for the Biltmore said in a statement it will be business as usual at the resort and that it will remain a Hilton hotel. The Biltmore is part of Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria collection, a lineup of landmark hotels around the world.
The Biltmore was designed by Albert Chase McArthur, a former student of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright was a consulting architect on the project. The resort was constructed with “Biltmore Block,” pre-cast blocks made on site from desert sand and created in 34 different geometric patterns inspired by the trunk of a palm tree, according to the resort’s historians.
The resort trades heavily on its history and was hoping Obama would continue its streak of presidential overnight visits. Obama instead stayed at Omni Montelucia in Paradise Valley and Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak in Phoenix.
Irving Berlin wrote “White Christmas” at the resort, and Ronald and Nancy Reagan honeymooned there.
In Phoenix, the centrally located Biltmore is a hot spot for community and business luncheons and events and a family favorite for staycations in the summer. The resort’s bread and butter the rest of the year: sun-seeking tourists and conventioneers from across the globe.