Jokake Inn History
Early in the 1900’s, a small frame house stood at the base of Camelback Mountain. Through the eyes of a passing artist, it was envisioned as an elegant abode. The painter, Jessie Benton Evans, purchased the property, including 40 acres of surrounding desert, and began renovating the house to suit her taste. Ms. Evans gave 12 acres to her son and daughter-in-law, who built a unique adobe house on the land in 1926, expanding it over the years to accommodate visitors for tea, and eventually, overnight guests.
The house was given its name by a young Hopi Indian boy who saw the structure and called it “Jokake,” which means “mud house.” Today, Jokake Inn stands just inside the grounds of The Phoenician as a symbol of the hospitality of the old Southwest.
The Phoenician: An Historical Perspective
In 1985, Charles Keating had a vision to build a multi-million dollar, Five Diamond resort that would display the elegance and sophistication of Europe, standing out as a sparkling gem in the Sonoran Desert. Keating purchased the land at the base of Camelback Mountain, as it was the most recognizable location in the Valley, providing dramatic views of the city skyline. To build his special palace, no expense was spared and no detail was overlooked.
It was not Keating’s intent to make The Phoenician indigenous to its environment. Instead, his goal was to create a luxury property, incorporating only the finest materials to make The Phoenician a true work of art. For example, white marble was imported from Carrera, Italy, for the lobby; the ceiling was etched in 24-karat gold, and 11 rare Steinway pianos, which grace the hallways, the presidential suites and The Thirsty Camel Lounge, were purchased. In addition, workers from the Island Kingdom of Tonga were hired to create the lush tropical landscape that complements the resort’s Sonoran backdrop.
Regardless of Keating’s original intent to be anything but “indigenous,” The Phoenician naturally is, due to its landmark 250-acre location, name and mythical bird logo that mirrors the city of Phoenix. For their authentic desert surroundings and lush scenery, both Jokake Inn and The Phoenician have hosted numerous film and television productions. Perhaps one of the best known is the movie “Raising Arizona,” starring Nicholas Cage, which featured Jokake Inn. The Phoenician has also been the subject of such programs as “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” and “Luxury Getaways” on the Travel Channel.
The Oasis Pool Complex was thoughtfully designed with various tiers for individual enjoyment, and includes relaxing “piano pools,” children’s pools (with 165-foot water slide) and the famed “Mother-of-Pearl” serenity pool. The genuine Mother-of-Pearl tiles, imported from Italy at a cost of more than $1 million, were painstakingly placed to create a glistening, iridescent sanctuary – much like the inside of a sea shell. Dark blue tiles on the rim are hand-colored and specifically designed for the area. To date, The Mother-of-Pearl pool at The Phoenician is the most expensive pool in the state of Arizona.
In October 1996, the golf course was expanded from 18 to 27 holes. In addition, The Canyon Suites building was completed. The facility sits on the northwest side of the resort property, which was previously home to the Elizabeth Arden Maine Chance Day Spa.
In Spring 2007 following a $5.5 million renovation, The Canyon Suites debuted as Arizona’s only boutique resort within a resort. The 60-room hotel offers a variety of exclusive services, including a private edgeless pool and a chauffeur-driven Mercedes.