Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Jul 31st, 2014

Escape from LA to the Historic Elegance of La Posada

La Posada 1

All photos by Jack Burke

Take the train, drive a car – however you get to the astonishing La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona, is up to you. Just get out of LA and go. Winslow was once a bustling railroad town, and Amtrak still stops on the way to Chicago outside the hotel’s back door. But today the town is a sleepy enclave on the cusp of becoming an artistic hub in the Arizona desert, the site of small galleries and shops, and “Standin’ on the Corner Park” which commemorates the Jackson Browne/Eagles song “Take It Easy.” Yes, you could also take a flatbed Ford to Winslow, and arrive in perfect style.

But it’s all about the destination here, not the way you arrive or the town itself. La Posada is a wildly gorgeous hotel, with a fascinating history. The hotel began as a wealthy hacienda, re-imagined by renowned architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter as one of the last of the Harvey House hotels, which served railroad passengers. The hotel opened to great fanfare and terrible timing in Depression Era 1930, and closed in 1959. The railroad took over, gutted it into office space, eventually abandoning it to ruin.

Fortunately, owners Allan Affeldt and Tina Mion fell in love with the place in 1997 and have been recreating an elegant and just-about-perfect 53 room hotel, replete with art galleries, sculptures, murals, and gardens. And oh yes, trains rolling picturesquely down the tracks outside the hotel’s back lawn.

Never fear, it was built with care, and you won’t be awakened by the rattling of the locomotives. But you can sit out on a bench and both stare and train gaze simultaneously. Or you can choose to stroll through the hotel and make note of antique furnishings, a sunken garden, serene fountains, and the La Posada Madonna, a brilliant contemporary sculpture designed by artists Verne and Christy Lucero.

Of course, you may not want to leave your room. Each room is different, filled with antiques, tile and tin mirrors, heavy wood desks or tables, blissful, handcrafted beds. The Southwestern style is artistic and unique, there is nothing here that hasn’t been chosen with love.

And speaking of love, can you tell that just like the owners, I’m passionately in love with this place? How many hotels offer an enormous great room, stocked with games, reading material, and fine art? How many have a hay bale maze in the back garden? Spiral staircases? Fine metal sculptures of horses and camels?

And how many feature a world class restaurant, a destination in and of itself. The Turquoise Room Restaurant, helmed by Chef John Sharpe, offers organically sourced, cutting edge cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Start your dining experience with a fabulous frozen margarita and then enjoy a three course meal that you’ll be talking about until your next visit. From the Maytag Blue Cheese Salad to the fragrant Hazelnut Brownie with Coffee Ice Cream, meals here are meant to be lingered over. Beneath the warm glow of hand-painted stained glass panels, enjoy brilliant entree selections that include the James Beard award winner, The Wild-Wild Platter featuring quail and wild boar, and the uniquely delightful vegetarian Killer Vegetable Platter that includes an amazing wild mushroom corn custard and a mild chili stuffed with three cheeses among its taste sensations. Don’t miss the signature soups, heirloom tomato salad, or fresh salmon, either.

The hotel’s 53 rooms are each furnished individually, but all feature hand-built southwestern furniture, wrought iron, heavy wood, and antiques. Many have patios, balconies, and views of gardens or trains. Reasonable rates encourage long stays, allowing plenty of time to explore the art work, history, views, and large gift shop filled with handcrafted treasures including stunning jewelry and kachinas. New plans are afoot to expand the property with a museum, orchard, sculpture garden, and even a vineyard. It’s a perfect jumping off spot to explore nearby Native American ruins, the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert National Parks, and the 550 foot deep Meteor Crater just outside of town. No standing on the corner for you!

For more information on the La Posada Hotel, please visit http://www.laposada.org.

La Posada 2

LA Posada food 2
La Posada food 1

About the Author

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Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and produced screen and television writer. New books include the romantic suspense of Executive Impulse (Crimson); more romance and mystery with Between the Sheets (Entangled), co-written with Linda Marr; and the mystery thriller Marathon (Five Star/Cenage). Her previous titles include the award winning romantic suspense of The Model Man and Five O’Clock Shadow (Kensington); the literary fiction of Dreamtown (FictionWorks), and the erotic novella Rodeo Man (as Nikki Alton) in The Cowboy anthology (Aphrodisia).

In film, her work spans a variety of genres from supernatural thriller to romantic drama, family, teen, and comedy with an emphasis on independent film. A member of the Writer’s Guild of America, she’s written on staff for ABC-TV’s Port Charles; written, produced, and directed reality programming and documentaries for TLC, Lifetime, PBS, and HGTV, as well as numerous television commercials and corporate videos.

She’s also written hundreds of articles on travel, love, the arts, writing, tech, food, parenting, and more.

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Escape from LA to the Historic Elegance of La Posada