Saturday, February 2, 2013

Photo Essay: The Aztec Hotel's Mayan Legacy



The Aztec Hotel is one of those landmarks of Route 66 that is worth the drive just to see it. And somehow, it has managed to avoid demolition - a fate that has befallen many of the Mother Road's other attractions.



Built in 1925, it is an excellent example of Mayan Revival architecture - but, afraid that tourists wouldn't understand what "Mayan" meant, its architect (Robert Stacy-Judd) named it the Aztec Hotel, which of course is a totally different thing.



Today, the facade remains preserved (partially thanks to landmark designation and placement on the National Register of Historic Places), and the Brass Elephant has hosted a number of rowdy late night revelers in its recent incarnation as a biker bar.



The Aztec is under new ownership and management, and so although you can't reserve a room there just yet...



...we were lucky enough to take a peek inside and gawk at the amazing, ornate decor...



...including tremendous Incan-inspired lighting fixtures...







...grand floor tiles...





...ceiling murals...



...and a bar which is receiving a brand new granite top.



The modern kitchen looks ready for cooking...



...and all the doorways and entryways look inviting.



Mayan symbolism, lettering and iconography surround the lobby...



...leading upstairs...



...to the comparatively simple halls of rooms.







Geometric shapes recall the pyramids...



...and Mayan reliefs remain in rooms once occupied by a dentist...





...while stained glass windows still mark the coffee shop which was most recently occupied by sporting enthusiasts.



Plenty of modern facilities could be converted into a cafe...



...perhaps a gift shop...



...or an office...



...but as of today, the Aztec Hotel's fate is very much undecided.



It once thrived, as a stop along Route 66, and as a nearby accommodation to the Santa Anita Racetrack.



Here's to its imminent comeback! I hope we're here to see it. The Mayans themselves didn't think we would be.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: Frank Lloyd Wright Ennis House, Exterior
Photo Essay: Frank Lloyd Wright Ennis House, Interior
Hollyhock House (photo blog)
Upon the Disappointing Lack of a Mayan Apocalypse

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