The Aztec Hotel: Monrovia’s Route 66 Relic

Inspired by my recent visit to The Autry‘s Route 66: The Road and the Romance (exhibit runs through January 4, 2015), I headed out last week to view a local bit of this history. I’ve been by the Aztec Hotel in Monrovia countless times over the years. The architectural stylings of the old building intrigue, but it’s not in use and looking increasingly run down. So I snapped a few photos just in case its days are numbered. (Hopefully not. It was designated a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.)

Photo Credit: L1OTB

Aztec Hotel main entrance and fab neon sign. (Photo Credit: L1OTB)

The Aztec Hotel is quirky and a well-known example of Mayan Revival architecture, which was popular during the 1920’s and ’30’s. The style was inspired by the iconography of ancient Meso-American cultures.

Photo Credit: L1OTB

Photo Credit: L1OTB

The hotel opened in 1925 and was the first commissioned work in the U. S. by English architect, Robert Stacy-Judd. He styled the hotel’s facade, interiors, and furniture in ways that incorporated abstract patterns inspired by Mayan motifs with then-popular Art Deco.

Over the years, celebrities and ghosts alike have frequented the ornate Aztec. It was a fancy and well-known stop along the Mother Road. Today, the status of the tired-looking hotel seems unclear. Over a year ago there appeared to be a serious move to renovate rooms, re-open the old Elephant Bar restaurant, and keep fans engaged with a lively FB page. But that seems to have died down, and the property now sports an “in limbo” look to passersby. If any readers know more about plans for the old Aztec Hotel, please feel free to comment. An update would be great.

In the meantime, Monrovia’s Aztec Hotel is still quite photogenic . . . and I was happy to grab a few new snaps:

Aztec Hotel front entrance, facing Foothill Blvd.  (Photo Credit: L1OTB)

Aztec Hotel front entrance, facing Foothill Blvd. (Photo Credit: L1OTB)

Interior as seen through the front entrance door. (Photo Credit: L1OTB)

Interior as seen through the main entrance door glass. (Photo Credit: L1OTB)

Aztec's corner coffee shop. (Photo Credit L1OTB)

Aztec’s corner coffee shop. (Photo Credit L1OTB)

Photo Credit: L1OTB

Photo Credit: L1OTB

Leaded glass Aztec Coffee Shop panels. Gorgeous. (Photo Credit: L1OTB)

Leaded glass Aztec Coffee Shop panels. Gorgeous. (Photo Credit: L1OTB)

2 thoughts on “The Aztec Hotel: Monrovia’s Route 66 Relic

  1. Happy to report that work continues on the Aztec’s room renovations, but slowly. The manager who was running the social media is no longer on the project, so the only way to get a sense of the progress is to drop by when the work crews are on site, or to visit the guys in the barber shop, who see and know all. We miss this gem, which we stop at on our occasional Route 66 bus tour, and hope it re-opens soon!

    • Thanks for the update, Kim! The social media efforts were great (esp. the historical photos), and I was sad to see that come to an end. Thanks for the tip about talking to the Barber Shop guys . . . I have peered in the back courtyard and walked all around the building, but kinda felt like an intruder 😉 So glad to hear that renovations are still in progress. Yes, hope it re-opens soon – and that the city of Monrovia does what it can to hang on to this amazing bit of history!

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