The La Posada Hotel, in Winslow, Arizona, is very popular among baby boomer travelers as it gives them a luxurious and nostalgic step back in time.
America’s Roaring 20s was a time of opulence in the hotel industry, and Northern Arizona’s La Posada Hotel thankfully remains as a glowing testament to the era of railroads, the Harvey Girls, and in its heyday was a favorite destination of the Hollywood jet set.
Former guests include the likes of Charles Lindbergh, Gene Autry, Howard Hughes, Jane Russell, John Wayne, Dorothy Lamour, James Cagney, Clark Gable, and a long list of presidents and foreign dignitaries.
Fred Harvey, known as the man who “civilized the west”, was legendary for developing grand luxurious hotels and restaurants along the Santa Fe Railroad. Ultimately building an empire that spanned the continent.
“In the 1920s, Harvey decided to build a major hotel in the center of northern Arizona. “La Posada”—the Resting Place—was to be the finest in the Southwest. Construction costs alone exceeded $1 million in 1929. Total budget with grounds and furnishings was rumored at $2 million (about $40 million in today’s dollars). They chose Winslow, then (as now) the Arizona headquarters for the Santa Fe Railway. Winslow was ideally situated for a resort hotel since everything to see and do in northern Arizona is a comfortable day’s drive. They asked renowned architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter to design the new hotel.
Colter worked for the Fred Harvey Company from 1905 until her retirement in the 1950s. Although famous for her magnificent buildings at the Grand Canyon, she considered La Posada her masterpiece. Here she was able to design or select everything from the structures to the landscape, furniture, maids’ costumes, and dinner china. Many people consider this the most important and most beautiful building in the Southwest.” (via La Posada website)
In the early 1990s, the hotel was slated to be demolished. However, a caring group of folks stepped in to save the hotel, and after a $12 million refurbishment, the hotel again stands in all of its former glory.
We arrived at the La Posada Hotel after a long day of driving as we explored the nearby Petrified Forest National Park, the world-famous Painted Desert, and greatly enjoyed the views offered by Flagstaff’s snow-capped San Francisco peaks in the distance.
From the moment we walked in the front door, we were taken back by the newness of everything, yet we felt as though we had just stepped back in time a hundred years.
Here we are exploring the hotels museum area…
The La Posada’s hotel rooms are very attractively priced, yet offer the luxury traveler all of the expected amenities.
We enjoyed a night in room 126, named the Tom Ford Room, after the American fashion designer and film director.
Our room featured a king sized custom bed, a 44 inch LCD TV, a hand-painted bureau, and a hand-painted talavera sink and jacuzzi tub. Plus, we also enjoyed comfortable living space with a couch, desk, and two comfy chairs. Very nice!
Besides a fabulous place to spend a night or two in Northern Arizona, dining in the renowned Turquoise Room is also an absolute must. The restaurant is owned by the James Beard nominated chef, John Sharpe.
Everything is baked and cooked from scratch, and offers a fabulous taste of southwestern cuisine. You can read about our dining experience here.
Listen, if you’re making a trip down Arizona’s stretch of Route 66, headed for the Grand Canyon, or simply exploring Northern Arizona, do yourself a favor and spend some time at the La Posada Hotel. There isn’t much in Northern Arizona that will give you this kind of luxury experience. Plus, its a hoot walking around in all of this history.
Photography by David A. Porter.
Disclosure: our wonderful experience was provided by the kind folks at the Las Posada Hotel. Thanks!
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