Friday, June 9, 2017

La Posada Hotel

"Well, I'm a standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona
Such a fine sight to see
It's a girl, my Lord, in a flat-bed Ford
Slowin' down to take a look at me"

Take it Easy by the Eagles

My wife an I are on on two-week Grand Circle tour of the National Parks in Arizona and Utah. We started in the Grand Canyon and will proceed to Petrified Forest, Canyonlands, Arches, Bryce and Zion. We have passed through the Painted Desert and will pass through Monument Valley. Other points of interest include Flagstaff, Sedona and Jerome, AZ, Moab, UT and Las Vegas, NV. But today, we are in Winslow, AZ and I just can't seem to get that Eagles song out of my head. 

But this blog post is about history and storytelling and brand differentiation. You see, I am writing this from my room at the La Posada Hotel in Winslow, AZ. I am staying in one of the last great railroad hotels in America. Built in 1930, it is a Fred Harvey Hotel built by the Santa Fe Railroad. Upon arriving at the hotel, we were handed a 28-page hotel guide that tells the story of the hotel's history and its restoration. The hotel features a film that does the same. The hotel's restaurant is award-winning with unique and retro menu items and rivals top restaurants in big cities. The hotel's current owner, Tina Mion, is an accomplished artist. Her artwork can be edgy and includes political commentary, parody and the topic of death and dying. A lot of it is quite funny. The hotel features a gallery of her work and giclees of that work can be purchased in an expansive hotel gift store.  

This hotel is adjacent to active Amtrak train tracks and is elaborately but tastefully decorated in a Southwestern style. The rooms are large and feature heavy wooden doors with unusual hardware, hand painted furniture, shelves full of books, Navaho rugs, huge Mexican tin framed mirrors and many other unique touches. 

One hallway in the hotel features photographs of many of the famous people who have stayed at the hotel including movie stars, US presidents and foreign dignitaries. Each room is named after a celebrity who has stayed in the hotel. We are staying in the Gene Autry room. 

The hotel is filled with artifacts, curiosities, historical plaques, edifying filmstrips and other items of interest that could consume hours of one's time. Of all the hotels at which I have stayed so far in my life (and I have stayed at thousands of them), this is the most unusual. It transports me back to a different place and a different time. 

My point is not to promote this hotel, but to highlight a brand that is substantially different within its category. This is based on many factors, but hotel design, history and storytelling are chief among them. If you need to stay or eat somewhere within 100 miles of this hotel, this is the hotel you should choose. The experience it delivers is that different. Every brand should aspire to this level of differentiation.

No comments:

Post a Comment