Celebrity at the Valley Ho

Mid-Century Hollywood Glamour

When the Hotel Valley Ho opened in 1956, it quickly became a playground for Hollywood refugees. James Cagney, Rudy Vallee, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Marilyn Monroe all relaxed under its roof. Like many local resorts, the Valley Ho can boast the debonair Clark Gable once roamed its halls. Tony Curtis and wife Janet Leigh made it their temporary home while they were filming on location. Jimmy Durante got a kick out of singing and playing at the lounge’s grand piano.

Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner chose Scottsdale for their 1957 nuptials to avoid the drama of a Hollywood wedding. Their ceremony was at the nearby Scottsdale Methodist Church, where City Marshal Henry Cooper and his deputies patrolled the church to deter any wedding crashers hoping to sneak a peek. Stars loved to sneak away from the bustle of Hollywood and soak in the Scottsdale sun.

The Valley Ho also attracted another type of celebrity: the athlete. Resorts like the Valley Ho catered to athletes and fans alike, especially during the bustling spring training season. Ted Williams, Bob Feller, and Leo Durocher all called the hotel home, along with teammates from the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, New York Giants and Chicago Cubs.

Owners and operators Robert and Evelyn Foehl were used to catering to the rich and famous. The hoteliers previously operated a hotel in Southern California, and many of their loyal clientele followed them into the desert. Guests paid $7.50 a night for their room, but the real luxury was at the diving pool, which sometimes featured fashion shows and banquets. The hotel also offered luxuries such as rollaway sofa beds, rabbit-ear television sets, central air conditioning, and kitchenettes. It was the ideal midcentury getaway for the jet-setting crowd.

Audio

Icing on the Cake The Hotel Valley Ho was a favorite spot for Hollywood icons, and was the site of Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner's wedding reception in 1957; narrated by Amy Long. Source: Papago Salado Association/Story Tour Creator: Amy Long; recorded at Scottsdale Channel 11. Date: 2012

Images

Screen Icons Wed
Screen Icons Wed Movie stars Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner held their wedding reception at the Hotel Valley Ho in December 1957, following their wedding at the Scottsdale Methodist Church. Hotel founder Robert Lawrence Foehl and his wife Evelyn are pictured here with the newlyweds. Source: SCOT-HIS-2012-0825a; Scottsdale Public Library Date: 1957
Bobby Foehl Opens the Valley Ho
Bobby Foehl Opens the Valley Ho Robert "Bobby" Foehl and a partner built the Hotel Valley Ho in 1956. After Robert Foehl died in 1973, Ramada Inn acquired the Valley Ho and combined it with Ramada across the street to create a convention hotel. Source: SCOT-HIS-2009-1191; Scottsdale Historical Society, Scottsdale Public Library. Date: 1956
Westward Ho at Midcentury
Westward Ho at Midcentury Hotel Valley Ho was developed as the sister of the Westward Ho Hotel, revealing the changing face of tourism in the Valley. Westward Ho was built in downtown Phoenix in 1928 and its design reflected the grand hotels of the era. With its Thunderbird Ballroom and big band sounds--such as Red Nichols and the Five Pennies--the Westward Ho embodies pre-World War II glamour in Phoenix. Source: RG 99 Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records; SG 12 Historical Photographs; Print: FH2-1Q18; PhD567; Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, History and Archives Division. Date: 1950

Location

Metadata

Michelle Bickert and Amy Long, “Celebrity at the Valley Ho,” Salt River Stories, accessed May 23, 2024, https://saltriverstories.org/items/show/9.