Albuquerque: Hotel Andaluz where past meets future

Albuquerque’s Hotel Andaluz is a bit of an oxymoron. The recently renovated hotel, built in 1939, mixes a glimpse into the past with 21st Century LEED gold standard systems, resulting in a vintage property with state-of-the-art green technology. This hotel was part of the beginning of a hotel dynasty. It was the fourth hotel built by a relatively unknown man named Conrad Hilton and the first one in his home state, New Mexico.

Hotel Andaluz

The stately lobbu at Hotel Andaluz photo Steve Collins

We stayed at La Posada de Albuquerque, the Andaluz’s predecessor, over 20 years ago. We loved the retro charm, but the hotel, redone in the mid-eighties and then placed on the National Register of Historic Places, was showing its age.  In early 2005, it was purchased by the Goodman Realty Group purchased the bankrupt hotel. Their careful renovation coupled green technology resulted in the Gold LEED certified hotel it is today.

Hotel Andaluz

Historic 1939 plaque greets hotel guests, photo/Steve Collins

As you enter Hotel Andaluz, read the marble plaque on the wall. It was put up when the Albuquerque Hilton opened in 1939. It takes you back to a bygone era when women wore evening dress, diamonds and opulent furs without a second thought, men opened doors and cigarettes dangled from a lot of lips. The hotel was built by famous hotelier, Conrad Hilton, a New Mexican native. Hilton’s name became synonymous with glamour.  He married Hollywood legend, Zsa Zsa Gabor, in 1942 and later became Elizabeth Taylor’s father-in-law.  A-list names including Jimmy Stewart, Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda and Spencer Tracey, were on the register of the Albuquerque Hilton.  Politicians such as Thomas Dewey, Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy stayed there. It was oh so   posh and then it fell on hard times.

Hotel Andaluz

Bath in the deco-influenced Zsa Zsa Penthouse Suite, photo/Steve Collins

Albuquerque resident and owner, Gary Goodman, oversaw a careful renovation of the hotel with green, environmentally responsible standards as a goal. It reopened as the Hotel Andaluz in 2009. The AAA Four Diamond hotel is the only full-service Gold LEED certified hotel in the U.S. The innovative property was named 2010 Lifestyle Hotel of the Year by the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association.

Today, many of the original lobby features remain. Moorish inspired arches, the original tile floors, the original mail boxes and mail drop, vintage brass elevator doors and more were retained. Some of the original murals dating to the hotels original opening also remain including the New Mexico Event Map by Ben Turner and The Hoop Dance by Lloyd Moylan. Two more of Moylan’s murals adorn the walls.

Hotel Andaluz

The Hoop Dance by artist Lloyd Moylan circa 1939 is in the lobby, photo/Steve Collins

Guest rooms offer a contemporary take on Art Deco with lots of green features such furniture made from sustainable bamboo or rubber wood, low-VOC carpets, paints and stains. Bath amenities are in refillable bottles. The state of the art heating system is activated automatically at check-in as are a few of the room’s energy efficient lights.  Motion detectors turn the systems off when the guests leave the room. The contemporary, luxurious baths, with eco-flush toilets, have a deco feel, taking you back to Hilton’s day. The hotel is loaded with sustainable features.

Hotel Andaluz

Our room at Hotel Andaluz, photo/Steve Collins

Even if you’re not staying at the Andaluz, put their restaurant, MÁS – Tapas y Vino on your Albuquerque dining must-dine list. MÁS recreates the flavors of Spain in a chic, contemporary dining room with open kitchen. Santa Fe chef, James Campbell Caruso, is at the kitchen’s helm offering the same stylish takes on Spanish cuisine that have wooed Santa Fe diners at La Boca and Taberna La Boca for years.

If you’re driving across the country on historic Route 66, coming to Albuquerque for the annual Balloon Fiesta , vacationing or on business and want to get out of the box hotels and stay in a place that combines history, sustainability and comfort, The Hotel Andaluz is a great choice.

Hotel Andaluz

Another mural depicting the Old West painted by Lloyd Moylan graces the lobby walls, photo/Steve Collins

Authors note: We were guests of the Hotel Andaluz. Their generous hospitality has not influenced this post in any way.



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3 Responses to “Albuquerque: Hotel Andaluz where past meets future”

  1. Billie Frank
    January 11, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    It was and the bathrooms are fab- not as opulent as the Zsa Zsa, of course, but sleek and deco and eco. BTW just read your Ode to the sopaipilla and loved it- wanted to leave a comment, but couldn’t figure out how. Get two New Mexicans together and they debate who’s got the best chile, posole, carne adovada… The answer always boils down to grandma!

  2. Vera Marie Badertscher
    January 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    The saddest thing is the huge amount of American Indian art that disappeared in this hotel over the years. Besides the murals that still exist, there were more that were painted over, we were told. And we learned that when the hotel was built, they commissioned work from students at the Santa Fe Indian School (surely including Quincy Tahoma) that was framed and hung in guest rooms. A person we interviewed said that in the 60’s they had talked to someone who worked there who said they art work was in the basement, but we couldn’t track it down from there. No doubt trashed.
    Vera Marie Badertscher recently posted..10 Best Travel Food ExperiencesMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      January 11, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

      I’m glad they saved what they did! If the framed pieces were in the basement when the hotel was last renovated, maybe they were saved. Have you talked with the current owners about it?

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