Route 66 #1

Route 66 #1
Route 66 Museum

Friday, August 23, 2013

Great Stays: #2 La Posada - Winslow, AZ

If you follow this blog you know I talk about Winslow, AZ a lot. I'm not from there, and I don't even know anybody from there either. But, Winslow makes an impression on you especially as a Route 66 traveler. There is a lot going on
in this little town that not only touches on Route 66 but a lot of other areas in history. See my previous article "Winslow, Arizona - Transportation Hub of the Western U.S." about some of that history. 

The La Posada Hotel is a former Harvey House in Winslow that has had several different lives in the past. It's current life is as a resort and luxury hotel, that also functions as a meeting place for many Winslow events. But the hotel was originally built as a Harvey House under the design and direction of famed architect Mary Colter.

Mary Colter was a legend in Southwestern architecture, and a favorite architect of the Fred Harvey Company. Colter was in tune with the Southwestern  landscape and culture and was able to design hotels that captured that spirit. Stucco, bare timbers, Navajo rugs, as well as Hopi and Mexican decor all tastefully placed where the signatures of her hotels. The La Posada was a true showpiece of her telents when it was competed in 1929. 

The La Posada was open as a hotel and dining room to accommodate cross country Santa Fe Railway travelers. These travelers would either stay for meal service while the train underwent watering and/or refueling, or would choose to stay at the La Posada as a resort with The Painted Desert, Petrified Forrest, and Navajo and Hopi lands nearby. 

The La Posada would remain a jewel in the crown of the Fred Harvey Company, and Santa Fe's crown. The Hotel would attract a wide range of travelers including a huge list of celebrity's, many of which also have rooms named after them in the hotel, some of the rooms are those they actually stayed in.

The hotel would see hard times as the Stock Market Crash of 1929, and Great Depression would start after its opening. The Hotel would stay open until 1957, when it was fully purchased by Santa Fe to become the headquarters of there sub district. Santa Fe needing the space for offices would sell most of the La Posada's art and furniture, keeping only a few of the old hotel rooms in place to serve as VIP quarters, and a dormitory for on call train crew. With its merger with Burlington Northern imminent Santa Fe would move their HQ elsewhere in Winslow in 1994. The building would sit vacant until 1997 when its was finally taken over by its new owners and sent on the path to restoration. 

Today the La Posada is fully restored and worth a visit, and if you can a stay. The dinning room called the "Turquoise Room" serves phonominal food, and is named after the top notch dining service that Santa Fe use to offer in special dining cars. With a gourmet menu that serves a lot of unique options, that are based on gourmet Southwestern, original faire served by the Harvey House, and other original options. All served with fresh ingredients from many local growers. 

The hotel itself is fully restored with beautiful grounds, lobby, artistically decorated corridors, and meeting rooms in essence the hotel is a beautiful Southwestern resort, as Mary Colter originally designed it. The hotel rooms are beautifully decorated, and immerse you in both the Southwest, and the mind of Mary Colter. The La Posada prides itself on the fact that no two rooms are alike. 

The rooms are as romantic as they are breathtaking, and come in standard, deluxe, whirlpool, and balcony room. You can look the photos up online at La Posada's website. Like most really great stays, accommodations will cost you a little more then usual ranging from $119 to $169 a night depending on the type of room.

For families there are rooms with two beds available, and Winslow is a family friendly town. A stay here would be great for kids, especially those who like trains since many BNSF trains travel through here. The Painted Desert and Petrified Forrest National Parks are also nearby, as is the very cool Old Trails Museum. 

Overall the La Posada is a great stay and worth a visit to. If you can't stay the night try to stop by the Turquoise Room for a meal and to stroll around the hotel and its  grounds.  

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