Walk through the gate into the gardens of La Posada, continue up the walkway to the open doors welcoming every traveler, guest and curiosity seeker into this grand Spanish hacienda – the last great railroad hotel built by the Fred Harvey Company. Once you walk through the doors of La Posada you will never believe that culture only comes from Europe. Thanks to Allan Affeldt and Tina Mion; a creative husband and wife team with a passion for art, history and restoration, Mary Colter’s favorite architectural masterpiece continues to live and make a difference in the small town of Winslow, Arizona. Through Affeldt, Mion and their partners in the Winslow Arts Trust, the La Posada is being reestablished as one of the premier hotels and restaurant destinations in the Southwest.

Making its debut in 1930, Mary Colter designed this railroad hotel and many other fine hotels, restaurants and gift shops along the Santa Fe Railroad for the Fred Harvey Company. Colter’s other works include El Tovar Lodge at the south rim of the Grand Canyon and the adjacent Hopi House. Colter was a master at integrating her architectural pieces with the surrounding natural settings as well as paying homage to the culture of the native peoples in the area. Colter’s themes for La Posada was that of a Spanish Hacienda where she brought the outdoors in. Wherever a guest may be in the hotel and its gardens, lawn and trees can be seen through open windows and doorways. It is literally a few steps from any place in the hotel to one of the many gardens on the property including the named sunken garden, potager garden, quince garden, rose garden, and cottonwood grove. Many of the plants have identifying markers for those who enjoy playing amateur botanist. When not enjoying one of the gardens, take some time and play a game of croquet on the south lawn or sit awhile in the rocking chairs overlooking the train tracks and watch the trains roll through or view a beautiful sunset.

Entrance To Sunken Gardens at La Posada

We were attracted to La Posada for a number of reasons. First was location to the Little Painted Desert, the Painted Desert, Meteor Crater and the Petrified Forest National Park.  Second, we were looking for an exceptional experience to complete our 3 weeks in the Southwest. Throughout the trip we stayed with generous friends, but mostly in budget hotels. The budget hotel experience served its purpose mainly that of location, functionality and price including a 6 night stay in a nice Howard Johnson’s in Flagstaff for only $42 a night which included a continental breakfast.

Towards the end of our vacation we wanted to splurge a little and were looking for a place to settle for a few days for refreshment, relaxation and meditation upon our long talked about Southwest adventure but also one that would not break the bank. Third, the highly praised Turquoise Room restaurant inside La Posada was the final draw to this oasis in the desert. Nestled inside the hotel, and operated by Chef John R. Sharpe and his wife Patricia, is the exceptional Turquoise Room that the exclusive Condé Nast Traveler Magazine picked as the 2nd best hotel restaurant in the United States. (Look for a separate post coming soon on The Turquoise Room)

La Posada prides itself as not only a magnificent hacienda style hotel in its own right, but it also serves as a museum of local history, fine contemporary art, gourmet local and organic cuisine and a well appointed gift shop. Above all, what stood out to both Alan and I, having traveled considerably in the Southwest at this point were the prices. From the lodging, restaurant, gift shop and more we were struck at how reasonable the prices were compared to other locales for the quality we were receiving. Being in the La Posada is like staying in a mansion and the owners have made it feel as though it is somewhat like your own house you are residing in. The room rates run from $109 to $169 per night. Comparatively, the Best Western in Sedona was priced around $250 per night (Really, for a Best Western? Yep.) so La Posada is a bargain.

Allan Affeldt, Tina Mion and the Winslow Art Trust have many plans for continuing and expanding the La Posada revival and the little town of Winslow, Arizona on famous Route 66. Whether you stay as a guest at La Posada, come for a day tour of the last great historical railroad hotel in these parts, enjoy the architecture of Mary Colter, study the local history, take in the fine art and sculptures, or dine in the elegant yet comfortable Turquoise Room restaurant you are partnering with Winslow Arts Trust in the revival of La Posada and Winslow.

Winslow, AZ is a small town you could easily miss when passing through Northern Arizona, but if you miss La Posada on your way through, you have missed one of the last great architectural and historical railroad treasures the Southwest has to offer.

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One Response to “La Posada Hotel, An Oasis In The Arizona Desert”

  1. Steve Johnson says:

    Looks like a really nice place…and the price was right too. Sounds like you guys are having a great time. Be safe on the way home to boring ol’ Palm Bay.

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