This Former Howard Johnson Is Now a Retro-Chic Boutique Hotel in Arizona

High Country Motor Lodge is right on Route 66 in Flagstaff

High Country Motor Lodge lawn

Courtesy of High Country Motor Lodge

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High Country Motor Lodge - Flagstaff Hotel

1000 W Rte 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA
Phone +1 866-928-4265

Grand Canyon visitors have a new accommodation this summer in Flagstaff, Arizona, right along Route 66 near the Grand Canyon, and it comes with some history. Previously a midcentury-era Howard Johnson motel, High Country Motor Lodge opened on May 19, 2022, after an extensive $13 million overhaul by Classic Hotels & Resorts, which operates eight other properties throughout Arizona and California.

"When we unearthed the opportunity to re-imagine a Howard Johnson in such an iconic location, we jumped at the chance to create an experience that mixes the best of our memories of yesteryear with the hospitality design and experience of today," said John Grossman, CEO of Classic Hotels & Resorts.

The resulting 123-room, design-forward hotel includes the addition of three private cottage suites and two junior suites, as well as public spaces like the restoration of the expansive outdoor pool with the addition of an oversized hot tub and two private saunas, a Nordic spa, and an indoor/outdoor bar and restaurant.

San Francisco-based Adean Studios, local architect firm Synthetic Design, and Charleston, South Carolina-based Stitch Design Co (SDCO Partners) crafted the hotel's branding. They played an essential role in the property's vision and programming. The designers were inspired by Flagstaff's natural beauty and Route 66's storied roadside culture, and it melds vintage style with rustic elements and astrological accents. Rustic woods, a dark color palette, and 1960s-esque fixtures and furnishings create a modern mountain lodge with vintage flair.

High Country Motor Lodge room

Courtesy of High Country Motor Lodge

All rooms feature natural wood flooring, plush pillow-top mattresses, midcentury lounging chairs, retro-style mini-refrigerators filled with locally sourced food and beverages, and enough space to accommodate extra gear for hiking, backpacking, and other outdoor pursuits. There are also three Cosmic Cottages, each with its own fire pit and outdoor seating area.

After a day of hiking or biking, guests can return to the hotel to take advantage of Arizona’s first Nordic spa experience, which uses a hot and cold hydrotherapy concept that includes private saunas, a plunge pool, cold showers, a hot tub, and an outdoor fire pit.

The hotel lobby is home to the General Store, offering things like grab and go provisions to take on a hike or excursion. There is also an indoor/outdoor lounge and restaurant with craft beer and cocktails, freshly cooked personal pizzas, and coffee and espresso drinks. There’s also a game room with shuffleboard, billiards, and board games. Outdoors, the property boasts the largest pool in Northern Arizona, adjacent to a giant communal lawn and deck with lounge chairs and fire pits.

Arts and culture are also a big part of the High Country Motor Lodge. The artwork throughout the hotel is specially curated and draws influence from historical figures and the outdoors. Featured in two prominent locations are large tapestry prints by artist and activist Katie Lee, fondly known as The Goddess of Glen Canyon.

High Country Motor Lodge casette tapes

Courtesy of High Country Motor Lodge

Programming at the hotel includes movie nights, live music, and stargazing. A weekly Shakedown Sunday features full-set replays of iconic concerts playing throughout the property on a rotating schedule. And in perhaps the most retro tribute of all, Classic Hotels & Resorts collaborated with the Numero Group to release a curated collection of analog mixtapes that, along with cassette players, can be found in each guest room (and for sale at the General Store).

Nightly rates start at $99. To book, visit the High Country Motor Lodge website.

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This Former Howard Johnson Is Now a Retro-Chic Boutique Hotel in Arizona