La Posada Hotel & Harvey House, Winslow Arizona - NO CC
As with my other Harvey House, the El Tovar Hotel in Grand Canyon NP, the history, design, and story of this building is longer than I imagine many of you would be interested in hearing, so I won't FORCE you to read it! Still, Harvey Houses like the La Posada always have interesting lives, so I would encourage you to read this!
In the late 1920s, the Fred Harvey company was still the preeminent name in lodging for railway passengers in the Southwest, and their Harvey Houses and the Harvey Girls who staffed them had started to become iconic of travel in the region. Tours offered by Fred Harvey were one of the easiest ways for tourists of the day to get to the various points of interest in the area, and northern Arizona had myriad sites that people were interested in visiting. Meteor Crater, Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, and various Native American villages were all within a day's travel of Winslow, AZ. The problem was, there was no Fred Harvey co. hotel offering these services in Winslow, or indeed anywhere in the 220 miles between the El Navajo hotel in Gallup, New Mexico and the beginning of the spur line to Grand Canyon National Park and the various hotels the railroad ran, in Williams, Arizona. (I cover the history of that part of the Fred Harvey Co. under the history tag in my El Tovar Hotel lot). Winslow DID serve as the division headquarters of the railway, and a small Harvey House existed on the south side of the tracks, but it was little more than a railside lunchroom, and nowhere near the level of service patrons were coming to expect. It came as little surprise then, when the company decided that a newer, more comfortable establishment needed to be built.
Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter had become one of the Fred Harvey company's most prolific architects and designers, so it was no surprise that the company turned again to her when they needed a design for this new hotel. As with many of the buildings she designed, before much of the actual architectural design was done, Colter created a fictional history for the building, to guide her designs and help ensure that the story people would have in their heads would make sense. In the case of La Posada, she chose to imagine the family home of a wealthy Spanish family, that had served as the main building for a massive ranch. Over the generations, the house would have been expanded, with children and grandchildren adding wings and gardens as the family grew more prosperous. Thus, the idea for a sprawling, Spanish/Old Mexico home-turned-hotel was born, starting the path towards the creation of one of the most notable Spanish Colonial Revival buildings in the Southwest.
As design for the building progressed, a low, stucco-clad building began to take shape. Low tiled roofs and shaded patio areas helped bring in more of a Spanish feel, while at the same time staying practical for a hot, dry, Southwestern climate. The hotel was designed to service railway passengers, so on the south side of the building, sweeping lawns led up to an arched entryway, flanked by cool verandas and shaded by towering trees. The north side, which today serves as the main entrance, was originally designed as the rear of the hotel, so it appears as an inner courtyard rather than a grand entry. Still, all sides of the building were surrounded by gardens, courtyards, lawns, orchards, and patios, creating a welcoming environment no matter which side of the hotel one approached from. While Colter was never one to skimp on design, the La Posada hotel is by far the greatest example of her design extending beyond the building itself, to encompass the surrounding grounds and gardens as well.
Gardens on the west of the hotel (didn't fit on the lot I uploaded, sadly) were designed to continue the idea of a ranch home, with native vegetables being farmed on-site, and open lawns that provided guests with green space that was a bit more removed from the noise of the railroad tracks just to the south. On the far western end of the property, a low stucco wall sits, marking the distinction between the "home" and the thousands of acres of ranch that such a property would have controlled. Between the west and central wings of the hotel sits a sunken garden, surrounded by lush flowerbeds and adobe walls, with an outdoor seating area surrounding a low fountain made out of a single massive piece of petrified wood (I could find NO way to make this fountain work in-game, feel free to replace the small fountain with whatever you think fits the space best). The larger courtyard garden that now serves as the main approach to the hotel has a variety of spaces, each with a different theme. By far the most notable is the "Potager Garden," divided into several smaller beds, with the plants changing year-to-year, sometimes low flowers, sometimes towering stalks of maize.
The interior was no less inviting, using Colter's typical eclectic blend of local and world-traveled items. Many of these items, like the building itself, were designed to seem as though their history was much longer than it actually was- in fact, when the hotel opened, much of the furniture was unused, despite looking decades or centuries old. Several wide-open lobby areas provided ample space for guests to escape the desert heat and stretch out after a day on the train, or relax after an afternoon of visiting the local sights. The ballroom in particular was an impressive space, ornamented with turquoise accents and reclaimed art from Mexican churches, designed to feel like the "great hall" of the fictional Spanish family that Colter created as former owners of the building.
Despite wanting to give the appearance of a long and rich history, Mary Colter also wanted the La Posada to appear modern for its time, and this desire is reflected in some of the choices seen on the interior as well. For example, the long corridor connecting the west wing of guest rooms to the main part of the hotel was constructed out of exposed cinderblocks- at the time, cinderblock was a novel new building material, and far from the cheap construction that it seems today. Also of note is some of the artwork seen on the upper floors. While the downstairs was decorated with pieces that seemed perfectly suited to a desert hacienda, the upstairs galleries were lined with much more modern art. When the building first opened, this meant a variety of Art Deco pieces. Today, the gallery is still lined with modern works, simultaneously out of place and perfectly in line with the vision of this hotel.
The guest rooms themselves were also designed to continue the feel of a Spanish homestead, with no two rooms being alike, and each room decorated with the same care and attention to detail that was lavished on the rest of the hotel. The more luxurious rooms had balconies that commanded sweeping views over the gardens surrounding the hotel, and even the bathrooms, a room often ignored during the aesthetic part of the design process, are done in a fitting and elegant style, with southwestern tile designs prominent in many of them.
No Harvey House would be complete without a restaurant to serve hungry rail patrons, and the La Posada was no exception. The "Turquoise Room" sits just inside the main entryway as visitors approach from the railroad, providing easy access to a well-cooked meal to hotel guests and railway patrons alike. Like the rest of the hotel, the lunchroom displays fitting furnishings and art for a Spanish-inspired building, with mission-style tables and seating, and beautiful Navajo rugs displayed on the walls, along with stained-glass depictions of various Catholic saints that would have been fitting for a ranch home, like San Ysidro or Santa Barbara. The food itself is fitting as well, with a variety of local and southwestern dishes and drinks available on the menu.
The hotel opened in fanfare on May 15th, 1930- unfortunately just a few short months after the stock market crash of 1929 ushered in the beginning of the Great Depression. One Santa Fe railroad official sent a telegram to the hotel saying "Congratulations on the new building, La Posada. Hope income exceeds estimates as much as the building costs did." Still, although the depression certainly did hurt the tourism industry, La Posada was deemed a success for many years, and stood as the last of "the great railroad hotels."
For nearly three decades, La Posada served railroad passengers, before closing to guests in 1957. Upon hearing this news, Colter, now in her late 80s, is quoted as saying "There's such a thing as living too long." Still, the building was not demolished like so many of her other designs had been. For the next four decades, the hotel served as a railway office building. In 1993, the railway decided the building would no longer serve as their offices, and it seemed that this beautiful hotel might be condemned to the wrecking ball, the same tragic fate that befell so many other great Harvey Houses. In 1997 though, the hotel and grounds were purchased by Allan Affeldt and his wife Tina Mion, saving the building from destruction. Ms. Mion's art now adorns the walls of the upstairs gallery, and these two people and the company they own to manage the building are continually working to restore and improve different parts of the hotel. La Posada serves as a cultural center for Winslow, just as many of the other surviving Harvey Houses do for their communities, preserving a link to the history of the region, and standing now as an attraction in its own right, outshining even some of the place it was built to allow access to. More than any other building Mary Colter designed, the La Posada is a masterwork- a stunning example of myriad features and a living link to the days of rail travel and the "civilization" of the American Southwest.
There are a number of changes from the actual hotel that I had to make in order to make it fit on a Sim lot. Most obvious is the fact that the hotel itself is reduced in scale considerably. The east and west wings of the real building have central corridors with rooms on both sides, while I had to adapt them down into single rows of guest rooms, and unlike the actual hotel, the lot I've uploaded has no rooms above the ballroom- I decided that getting the ballroom to be more accurate was more important than adding yet another block of rooms to a hotel that already accommodates more Sims than any of the hotels that shipped with the game.
Also different is the lot itself- to get enough space in-game to include all the gardens and grounds, I would have to make THREE 5x6 lots (and I still might, depending on how much people like this one). As it is now though, there are no western gardens or lawns, and on the east side, the depot and the veranda covering the approach to it are much smaller and much closer to the hotel than they actually stand, as well as the employee area and solar power farm both being much reduced in size.
As to things that some of you may want to change:
-Somewhat obviously, there will not be any trains passing by on the "railroad tracks" that lay along the south (rear) side of the lot, unless someone feels so inspired as to make a mod allowing that. Still, it just looked wrong not to have train tracks, since this hotel was designed to cater to the railway! If you'd rather have the rear of the lot just open onto the desert though, the tracks are just low fencing over terrain paint, so they're easy enough to remove.
-The employee wing on the west (left) side of the lot is designed so that (hopefully) your Sims won't have reason to visit it, but with such a large lot, if you're noticing a significant lag, this is an area that can be completely emptied out without affecting the public areas of the hotel.
-I kind of gave up on trying to make Sims walk up to the entryway properly- it would require getting rid off all 3 gates to the potager garden. If you want your Sims to enter through the foyer like normal people, just block those three iron gates, making it so that the only access to the potager garden/terrace is through the gift shop.
-Check-in is in the gift shop, as it is in the real hotel, however this is not a particularly prominent location. If you think that the hotel needs a more ornate check-in desk, there are several spaces in the lobby where one could easily be placed.
-The parking areas alongside the road should obviously extend all the way to the road, but the game doesn't seem to like carrying over things past the edge of the sidewalk. I'd suggest using moveobjects to just place asphalt tiles connecting them to the road.
As far as placement goes, Winslow is in a dry, high-desert environment, so I tried to make this lot work in a desert neighborhood. However, it would be equally at home in a dirt or lush neighborhood (probably not concrete though! ) Likewise, for realistic placement, this hotel is best placed in a mountain vacation hood, although a tropical hood would also fit with the design fairly well. In either case, I would suggest placing it on the edge of the neighborhood, so that train tracks can be placed behind it, making it so trains will at least pass by the hotel from neighborhood view!
As with many buildings designed by Mary Colter, the rooms in this hotel don't provide everything a Sim could want, thus encouraging them to leave their rooms and mingle with other guests in the public spaces of the hotel, or else to take advantage of the tours offered in the surrounding area.
Also, like many older hotels, many of the rooms are small by modern standards, so while the rooms are not outlandishly expensive by themselves, for more than two Sims, you will need more than just a single room, so vacation expenses can rise quickly.
Now to the technical aspects-
This is a huge lot, with more than $800,000 worth of build and buy mode items within its 5x6 footprint. This means that it'll almost certainly lag if you try to run it on a slower machine, but like all my other big lots, this lot was put together on an old, slow computer, and it worked, so it is playable, just slower. I've playtested this lot quite a bit as I was trying to fine-tune it, so I don't think you should run into any gameplay issues with it, but if you do, please let me know, and I'll do my best to address them!
Whether they arrive by train in the 1930s, or by taxi in the 2010s (yes, I know you can't do both in the game! ) I hope you and your Sims enjoy this hotel!
Lot Size: 5x6
Lot Price: $516 - $1511
Another real building, so I can only claim credit for adapting it to the Sims, not for designing anything. The building was designed by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter.
Thanks to the staff of the La Posada Hotel for their assistance with my reference photos during my visit.
Thanks to Arnold Berke for the detailed history of the La Posada I found in his book "Mary Colter- Architect of the Southwest," which helped immeasurably in my telling of the building's story.
Thanks to Virginia L. Grattan, for the information I found in her biography "Mary Colter- Builder Upon the Red Earth"
Thanks also to members of the MTS community who wrote tutorials on dummy levels- the roofline would be much more boring without them!
Tags: #no cc, #la posada, #hotel, #lodge, #colter, #mary colter, #winslow, #desert, #mountain, #spanish, #mexico, #hacienda, #train, #railway, #railroad, #fred harvey, #harvey house, #southwest, #arizona
Title: La Posada Hotel
Description: Price Range: $$$$ Designed in 1930 by Mary Jane Colter, this hotel is one of the last of the luxurious Harvey Houses that once served railroad passengers across the western United States.
|Open for Business|
|Kitchen & Bath|
|Mansion and Garden|
La Posada Hotel.zip
Size: 2.61 MB · Downloads: 857 · 5th Apr 2014
|2.61 MB||857||5th Apr 2014|
Key: - File was updated after upload was posted
1. Download: Click the download link to save the .rar or .zip file(s) to your computer.
2. Extract the zip, rar, or 7z file.
3. Install: Double-click on the .sims2pack file to install its contents to your game. The files will automatically be installed to the proper location(s).
- You may want to use the Sims2Pack Clean Installer Official Site. instead of the game's installer, which will let you install sims and pets which may otherwise give errors about needing expansion packs. It also lets you choose what included content to install. Do NOT use to get around this error with lots and houses as that can cause your game to crash when attempting to use that lot. Get here:
You might call me a CC-atheist. While I'll use every cheat code in the book, I won't use anything that Maxis didn't ship with the game in one fashion or another. Ergo, you can rest assured that all my lots are CC-free.
Some creators describe themselves as constantly juggling projects. I suppose I do that too, except I'm really really bad at juggling, so I just throw lots of projects as high as I can, and sometimes forget all about them until they come crashing down on my head!
I won't *exactly* do requests, but since I pivot from lot to lot constantly, if there's a place you hope to see from me, there's a good chance that I've already started it! I make no promises, but feel free to ask about lots you want to see- you might inspire me to finish something!
My lots are my own work- I put a lot of effort into them, so have fun with them, use them for storytelling or making Sim movies, but please don't reupload them, in whole or in part, anywhere, including here on MTS!
One day I will rule the world with an iron fist and all will kneel before me.