Phoenix-Area Spa to Rise from Ashes

Times Staff Writer

Vanderbilt, Cabot and Rockefeller were just a few of the famous names on the register of the Castle Hot Springs Resort when it was closed after a fire 11 years ago. Now plans are being made to rebuild the retreat.

The 165-acre vacation spot, with several hot springs, has been described as Arizona’s first luxury resort. It opened in 1896 in the foothills of the Bradshaw Mountains, about 50 miles northwest of Phoenix.

Since then, it is said to have even attracted Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. After fire destroyed the main building, though, the resort was deeded to the Arizona State University Foundation, which used it as a conference center.

Now it’s been sold for $3,060,000 to two Milwaukee developers who plan a March ground breaking on a $10.5-million project. The developers are brothers Charles and Steven Trainer, who first visited the place as toddlers with their grandfather, the late Robert A. Uihlein, an officer and major stockholder in the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co.


Steven Trainer, 39, is developing a 55-story office building in Seattle with the Wright Runstead Co., and Charles, 42, is a principal, with a couple of friends, in TMB Development of Milwaukee.

He restored several old buildings in Milwaukee, including the Uihlein mansion, which he turned into condominiums. (Here’s one idea for re-using some of those big old houses in Southern California.)

There are only six bungalows--built in the ‘20s and ‘30s--to refurbish at Castle Hot Springs, but the Trainers plan to build a total of 55 and a structure with a restaurant, bar and activity center. Prices for the units are $185,000-$295,000, and 19 already have been sold.

But not to worry: If you don’t buy into the restored retreat, you can still rent there. Even when purchased, bungalows will be available for vacationers. The Trainers expect buyers to sign a management agreement, enabling the resort to be run like a hotel with such amenities as golf, tennis, maid and food services, and a health spa.


In the resort’s early years, guests built their own places, stayed rent free, then deeded them to the hotel.


Attorney David Rudich has sold his house in Benedict Canyon--the one he says once belonged to actress Carole Lombard--and bought a home farther up the street that was actress Brenda Vaccaro’s. Rudich had been asking $1.3 million and sold to pop singer Belinda Carlisle (she was with the Go-Go’s) and her husband, singer Morgan Mason.

Vaccaro still lives in Benedict Canyon and is doing a film, “Heart of Midnight,” but gave her husband, Guy Hector, a hand a few months ago when he opened his boutique at 1025 Montana Ave. in Santa Monica.

“I don’t help him there anymore,” she told me the other day. “I answered the phones at first, but now I just come by sometimes and bring him lunch. He’s quite good with the women by himself.” She laughed.

Hector, a former model in Paris, offers clothing that Vaccaro says is “ladylike but sexy” along with sweaters and leather pants that can be worn by men or women.


Actor Michael Caine and his wife, Shakira, have sold their Beverly Hills mansion, built in the ‘50s by Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton for her son Lance Reventlow.


The Caines moved, over several months, to a major country estate outside London, where they also have a town house.

Their Beverly Hills house has four bedrooms, five baths and a pool in the living room. It also has a view of downtown and the ocean.

Alvarez, Hyland & Young had the $2.95-million listing and represented the buyer.


Doesn’t seem that long ago that those shapely Bunnies were serving drinks at The Playboy Club in Century City’s ABC Entertainment Center, but it’s been 18 months since the club closed.

Now operators of the Mustache Cafe on Melrose Avenue plan to take over the old Playboy space--all 16,400 square feet of it--and will open Tuesday as the “Twenty Twenty Club,” with dinners and disco entertainment.

Doug Stuman of the Beverly Hills office of L. J. Hooker International negotiated the lease, valued at about $1 million.



From our readers . . .

Mary Ann Chalker says it isn’t true that the last time theater seats were named by Los Angeles arts patrons was in 1965. “The L.A. Theatre Center has been selling seats with names on them at $1,000 a shot since April,” she said, “and so far, we’ve raised $186,000.” She’s president of the group.

The planned Dance Gallery, which is raising funds by naming seats at $1,000 or $2,500 a pop, is still looking for a major donor to name the complex. All it will take to have your name on the building is a phone call to Eloise Helwig at 213/617-1555 . . . and $5 million. The $20-million Dance Gallery is expected to be under construction on Bunker Hill in the spring.

Developer Chris Hemmeter’s Westin Kauai isn’t for anyone on a budget, but its carriage rides are $30 a carriage, not $30 a person, says Judy Potter-Gordon, L. A.-based sales manager for the Westin Maui as well as the Westin Kauai. She also notes that the ride, known as “the carriage-house tour,” is 1 1/2 hours long, and each carriage can take four people.

Still more on Pola Negri . . . David S. Aikenhead writes: “Recognizing the interest of the public in Pola Negri’s work and residences now that she recently passed away, I thought I should bring to your attention that her first major residence, as a screen star, was at 1820 N. Harvard Blvd. in Hollywood.”

The Spanish Colonial mansion is still there, but it’s now part of an apartment complex with five units and four more in two other buildings at the rear of the site.

Aikenhead and his wife, Kathy, bought the property a year ago and found that all nine tenants had framed photos of the actress on their walls.

“Interestingly,” he writes, “the main house has a grand staircase measuring some 8 feet in width. . . . When the property was converted to apartments nearly 50 years ago, a dividing wall was built right down the center of that staircase.” Two apartments share the stairs.