Hotel Westward Ho (1928-1980)
The Hotel Westward Ho held the title of tallest building in Arizona for over 30 years until the completion of the Meridian Bank Tower in 1960. The hotel received many celebrities and presidents/presidential candidates and was used for a number of films. It officially opened its doors on December 15, 1928. In May 1975, it was announced that the facility would no longer operate as a hotel and would become a retirement residence, which it is to this day.
Backstory and Context
In May 1975, management announced that the facility would no longer operate as a hotel and would become a retirement residence. It was again sold in December 1977 with plans of using federal funding to turn Westward Ho into a home for seniors. Renovations began mid-1980 and the first residents began moving in the following year.
The building was thoroughly remodeled between 2003 and 2004 to improve the living conditions of the residents and restore the building's historical facade. At an estimated cost of $9 million, window-mounted air conditioners were removed and a new centralized air-conditioning unit was installed. Additionally, approximately 450 exterior windows were replaced with replicas of the originals, the exterior was power washed, stucco was repaired, and the building was repainted to match its original beige color. Upgrades to the automatic fire sprinkler and fire alarm systems were also made.
Hotel Westward Ho in the movies:
The Westward Ho has been erroneously labeled as being part of the Phoenix skyline as seen in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 thriller, Psycho. However, the 1998 remake of the same film does feature the hotel. In the 1972 film Pocket Money, actor Paul Newman throws a television set off the 4th story balcony of a hotel room in the J wing of the hotel. Lee Marvin and Strother Martin can also be seen inside the same room. Other areas of the hotel used in the film included the lobby, patio, J Wing stairs and walkways, and the hotel barbershop. In the film, the hotel was supposed to be located in Mexico. In the 1956 film Bus Stop, starring Marilyn Monroe, the parade scenes were filmed on Central Ave in front of the hotel entrance.
Some presidents and presidential candidates who have visited include:
- Vice President Richard Nixon had breakfast at the Westward prior to giving a speech in the Thunderbird Room October 15, 1960. (See link below)
- Then actor Ronald Reagan was a guest speaker for the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce in the Thunderbird Room on May 30, 1961.
- President John F. Kennedy stopped by the Westward Ho for dinner in honor of Senator Carl Hayden on November 17, 1961. ( See link below)
- Senator Ted Kennedy campaigned for Presidential candidate John Kerry at the Westward Ho on the afternoon of January 30, 2004.