La Posada was designed by architect Mary Colter in conjunction with the Fred Harvey Company along Route 66 in Winslow, Arizona. The trains stopped right in front of the hotel. As fate would have it, the hotel never really took off because it was finished just as the Great Depression set in. It was closed in 1959 after auctioning off many of the furnishings and the Santa Fe Railway corporate offices moved in. The building remaining in peril for several decades before it was bought and restored. It is now reopened to guests and I had the pleasure of staying there recently.
REASONS TO VISIT
1. You feel like you are stepping back in time, not in a "this is so old-fashioned" sort of way, but more nostalgic, like we've really missed out on a golden age of travel and accommodations.
2. The architecture is fantastic, the fantasy of the architect that this hotel was a grand home added onto as the family fortune grew over generations and the build of the hotel reflect that - different materials in the many connected rooms on the floor, ceiling, and walls. Not how I would have designed it, but it wasn't my fantasy.
3. The gardens - When I say gardens, it may conjure up a very refined and manicured space, the landscape around the hotel is wild and the gardens are lush and overgrown spaces that help cement this hotel into the earth.
4. When you feel a little nostalgic for the golden age of travel and accommodations, it also helps that the trains run by several times a day - giving you a little glimpse into what it must have been like to travel cross-country in a train-car instead of being felt-up and herded onto an airplane.
5. The food is excellent, the art is interesting, the hotel rates are inexpensive.
6. They allow pets - I saw so many cute furry friends.
THINGS TO DO
1. I suggest eating all three meals at the hotel restaurant, The Turquoise Room. Sure it may sound indulgent, but its all very good and unless you are planning on becoming an artist in residence, you probably won't be back soon and need to get your fill. If you like to cook be sure to buy the cookbook in the restaurant because you can't find it anywhere else. Oh, I should mention that the restaurant was rated #2 best hotel restaurant in the US by Conde Nast Traveler.
2. Get a glass of wine or a martini, sit back and watch the sun set as the trains ramble by.
3. Get a cup of coffee and sit in the cool morning air under the elm trees- they are huge and humbling.
4. Watch the video in the "transportation room/library". It will provide much more insight and appreciation for the hotel and the grounds.
5. Get a little sad that workmen happily crushed antique tiles, arches, and drilled into hand-painted ceilings in the 1960s. (This might just be me. If you want to know why check out here.)
6. Sit in the ballroom by the fire (in fall & winter) and read a book. Since we went in August, I didn't get to do this, but I want to.
La Posada has such a serene and penetrating atmosphere, it is quite difficult to describe. You need to experience it to know. But you can read reviews online by all the happy travellers and I hope you'll consider a visit. I'm already planning my next visit.
And yes, if you were wondering, I did stand on a corner in Winslow, AZ.
If you've been before, tell me what you thought! Did you love it like I did?