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.
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.
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. Conrad Hilton’s name became synonymous with glamour. He married Hollywood legend, Zsa Zsa Gabor, in 1942. Later he 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.
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.
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.
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.
Authors note: We were guests of the Hotel Andaluz. Their generous hospitality has not influenced this post in any way.