Phoenix Weather

40°C

Local time Phoenix

Currency

US$

Phoenix History

It isn’t obviously apparent, but the history of Phoenix is rather lengthy. First through the door were the Hohokams, a Native American people who settled the arid landscape 25,000 years ago.

They built a large network of canals, designed to help with irrigation and allow for the planting of crops. But their success did not last, with the Hohokams eventually forced out by both floods and drought by 1450.

In their place came the O'odham and Sobaipuri peoples, although thanks to their nomadic lifestyle, it would be another three centuries before another permanent settlement sprang up.

This came courtesy of a prospector called Swilling who explored the area and set up home at the foot of the White Tank Mountains in 1867. Incorporated as a city in 1881, it swiftly grew and, by the turn of the 20th century, boasted rail links and its own newspaper.

Growing rapidly in the early years of the 20th century, Phoenix became a popular destination for tuberculosis sufferers thanks to the hot, dry climate that provided the only cure for the disease the period had to offer. It also became capital of Arizona in 1912 and it got its own airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor, in 1929.

Although WWI passed it by, WWII proved the making of the city, with Phoenix responsible for the manufacture and distribution of weapons and other military supplies. It also housed a prisoner-of-war camp which saw an escape attempt towards the end of the war when a group of prisoners broke out and attempted to flee to Mexico via the Salt River - not realising it had been dry for decades.

In the post-war years, Phoenix boomed – largely as a result of the veterans stationed there during the conflict and who returned in their droves once it was over. It also developed a reputation for prowess in the tech industry, attracting Motorola among any others, and built on that by branching out into tourism. Today, it is the sixth largest city in the US and still one of the most popular with tourists and retirees alike.

Did you know?
• In 1997, a mysterious light formation appeared over the city. These “Phoenix Lights” UFO sightings became an American pop-culture phenomenon.
• Architect Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Phoenix in 1867.
• The first use of rubberised asphalt was in Phoenix in 1960.

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The Saguaro Scottsdale

Vibrant colours, handcrafted Mexican furniture and two outdoor pools help give this trendy hotel in Oldtown Scottsdale the va-va-voom factor.
Recently renovated, the hotel boasts 194 guest rooms, each furnished with a pillow-top mattress and 42-inch flat screen TV. Outside, a tropical garden sits between two outdoor pools and a margarita bar, stocking more than 100 varieties of tequila.

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

This luxurious desert retreat's backdrop is in the dramatic McDowell Mountains, and has pools, fountains, falls and lagoons in its own grounds. A plaza and courtyard have a Mexican village style. Rooms are spacious, with a southwest theme and either a patio or balcony. Casitas include butlers. Amenities include a free kids’ club, golf concierge for its famous golf course, five restaurants, five pools, water slides and an indoor/outdoor lounge with live entertainment.

Four Seasons at Troon North

Everything you expect from a luxurious Four Seasons resort. The lobby is a living gallery of desert art. Accented with a desert motif, the spacious rooms include a fireplace and a balcony, often with picture perfect views. Marble bathrooms have deep soaking tubs. Accommodation is in casitas, small villas. Excellent cuisine is accompanied by sweeping desert views at Acacia, a contemporary steakhouse, and the southwest-flavoured Crescent Moon. Amenities include a spa and fitness centre, and two lounges.

The Phoenician

With US$25 million worth of art (there is a self-guided tour), this hotel is opulent. The grounds have a large cactus garden, nine pools (some shaped like grand pianos) and a golf course. The hotel's restaurants range from epicurean, with a wine list of 4,500, to an ice-cream parlour and tea court. Airy rooms feature Berber carpeting, Irish linens, as well as rich and oversized Italian marble bathrooms. Not to be missed is its plush spa with a complete treatment menu, and the unusual addition of Tarot card readings.

Orange Tree Golf Resort

This hotel complex, on one of Scottsdale's popular golf courses, offers plenty of luxury for the discerning guest with a slightly less discerning budget. The décor is newly renovated and modern, and has 160 suites, all with a balcony or patio. The facilities include fitness and sports centre, swimming pool and golfing lessons. The poolside bar serves lunch and the golf restaurant is an alternative destination for dinner.

Arizona Biltmore Resort

Since 1929, this has been the place for celebrities, dignitaries and presidents. Spread over 16 hectares (40 acres), structures are interspersed with gardens, nine pools (the Catalina was Marilyn Monroe's favourite) and Irving Berlin wrote White Christmas here. The grounds include: tennis courts, lawn chess, croquet and two championship golf courses. Guests will find earthy-toned, spacious accommodation, large marble bathrooms and excellent service. Light meals are available at a café in the hotel's plaza.