Thursday, January 27, 2005

Melissa Galt visits the Arizona Biltmore

If he were still alive, Frank Lloyd Wright probably would be pleased with how the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa looks today.

That's what the famous architect's great-granddaughter thinks, anyway. Melissa Galt, an Atlanta lifestyle designer and freelance writer, spent the weekend at the Phoenix resort, whose design was influenced by Wright."I've always thought the property was underrated . . . (and) not getting its share of PR and press," said Galt, who was making her first visit to the Biltmore in 20 years to research stories she plans to write about the resort's food, architecture and setting.

She is hoping to educate Southeastern readers who associate the Biltmore with George W. Vanderbilt's 250-room Biltmore Estate in the mountains of Asheville, N.C.

Galt, 43, praised the Arizona Biltmore's building, landscaping, food and service. But she said her great-grandfather probably would take exception to the art in the lobby."It just goes head to head with the architecture; the architecture is the art in this building," Galt said.

She remembers hearing stories about Wright as she grew up, but "until he popped up in my design textbooks, I didn't know he was that important." Wright died in 1959 and Galt was born in 1961.

While she appreciates Wright's "brilliant" architecture, she doesn't shy away from commenting on his faults."He was a serious womanizer," she said. "On a personal level, he was very challenging

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