This boutique mountain retreat is the perfect sanctuary for adventurous spirits.
The weight of the modern world has awakened a deep need for getaway destinations. If you’re ever in Flagstaff, Arizona, be sure to check out the High Country Motor Lodge. This hospitality gem is inspired by the mountain landscapes and the 1960s roadside culture, with references to contemporary architecture and vintage style. The concept was realized by John Grossman of ownership group Marc & Rose Hospitality and designers Alexa Nafisi and Daphne Shin of Adean Studios–both have mountain town roots, so creating the concept and design for this incredible property was an organic process.
“The most difficult aspect of any hospitality project is to feel authentic – both to the local community and to the surrounding environment. In a special place like Flagstaff, locals are the primary audience and if the experience feels good to them, then it will feel great to visiting tourists” explained John Grossman, Marc & Rose Hospitality.
For the hotel, the creators decided to keep the existing boxy, clean, and simple architecture of the original building. This mountain vernacular architecture blends perfectly with the nostalgic 1970s hippy vibe and the retro Route 66 character. The indoor space is deeply connected with the outdoor space for the immediate immersion of guests into the southwest mountains of Flagstaff. The interior stands out for its “considered design” which favors simplicity and functionality. There are some focal points like light fixtures but everything else was designed to be muted with common materials.
The natural gifts of the surrounding area are amplified with hot tubs and cold plunge baths that are built within tiny homes. For a more regenerative type of relaxation, the hotel offers Arizona’s first Nordic Spa experience. As many visitors belong to a passionate astrological community, the Arizona mountain night sky was bound to become a huge part of this Flagstaff vacation destination. The cosmic atmosphere is reinforced within the lobby design where the entrance is presented as a telescoping view to the bar lounge.
The crucial part of the hotel’s F&B concept was The General Store. From fine dining to casual leisure, this space acts as the activity anchor on the property. The actual store is a riff on a classic small-town general store where you would likely buy everything you need for a minimalistic nature-driven lifestyle: food, craft beer, farm equipment, or building hardware. The visitors can commemorate their experience with cool high-end merch or carefully picked locally-made pieces.
“The merchandise was a really fun layer to include like the staff uniforms – we used Carhartt overalls that are indicative of the mountaineer-style from the Grand Canyon – utilitarian and functional. It feels a bit unexpected in a high-end boutique hotel,” explained Alexa Nafisi, Founder of Adean Studios.
Marc & Rose is deeply passionate about supporting the local community to keep High Country Motor Lodge a genuine part of Flagstaff. And what better way to do that if not through music? This fall the HCML presents the first annual Flagstaff Fadeaway, a benefit music festival to support the Glen Canyon Instittue, which will appeal to local community and tourists alike. The country/psychedelic music-inspired event will occur September 29th-30th.
The High Country Motor Lodge, in short, is a truly welcoming, vibrant, and exciting place to visit. Grounded in the unique mountain landscape of Arizona, it’s the perfect getaway for adventurers and local characters. A very special shout-out goes to the team of Handwerk Art and Design – Fiona Sanipelli (who also happens to be the DesignSpec co-founder) and Gregor Bugel for art consulting on the property. Check out the High Country Motor Lodge fantastic website for more information.