Sunday, August 14, 2005

THE VINTAGE KITSCH OF THE AZTEC HOTEL


I recently took a day trip to Monrovia, California just to
visit the historic Aztec Hotel.

I met interesting residents and also discovered quirky murals and birds!

I write of birds, because the hotel lobby sports 3 or 4 cages of live birds, who are quite active when company is around. They all sport distinct personalities; one of the cockatoos will scream and cry if a visitor strolls away from the cage; and only settles down once she returns. What a sweetheart.

The birds' cages are kept in a darkened part of the Lobby however, and I wondered if the caged birds are being exposed to any sunlight and fresh air on a regular basis.

I write of birds, because the Aztec Ladies Room, located right off the Main Lobby, sported a mural of white birds. In a rather offbeat, but oddly fitting tribute, the hotel's owner was also memoralized amongst the birds, dressed in a romantic white toga. While chatting with Harold, one of the Aztec Hotel's residents, he told me that the husband of the owner is also painted on the walls of the men's room.

Restored and contemporary murals of Aztecian kitsch adorn the walls and hallways of the Hotel and do much to emphasize the themetic decor. Harold guided me to the Aztec Hotel's enormous patio, which was shabbily decorated with aging garden furniture. He pointed out the youthful artist of the Ladies Room and Meeting Room murals who was relaxing at a table with friends.


Although the patio is also undergoing restoration,
in the far corner there is a beautiful fountain
with painted images and live plantings and Aztechian flagstones adorned the patio floor.

The Aztec Hotel building also hosts a barbershop
and a bar. There's a craft shop in the building
with a separate entrance from the outside. In the past, that particular space used to belong to
the Aztec Coffee Shop.



Today, the only evidence of the Coffee Shop is a vintage stained
glass sign and a painted mural design pointing to the 'Toltec Coffee Shop'.

I spent the remainder of my visit to the Aztec Hotel tootling around taking photos, cracking jokes with the desk clerk John and the barber in the barbershop, who sports a stupendous white handlebar mustache and sticking my nose and camera into places where it doesn't belong.

If you are in the Southern California area, stop on by the Aztec Hotel, which is located at 311 West Foothill Blvd. in Monrovia, California.

Here's some more images from my trip to the Hotel below. I hope you enjoy them.






















An Aztecian frieze of wood points the way to the Men's Room.

















A peaceful scene in the Main Lobby.














A beautiful detail from a mural in the Meeting Room.









Kitzchy Aztecian paintings adorn a skylight.












An Aztecian mural and stained glass decorate a stairway.








A luscious red banquette resides in the Aztec Hotel Bar.















An ancient cubbyhole system is still being utilized for the residents' mail.











The Ladies Room off the Main Lobby area is ablaze with mirrors and light; each circa1930's era mirror is crowned with a flower garland.

2 Comments:

Blogger Muse said...

1st time here and enjoy the photo and explanations ; )
Thanks & Cheers!

3:47 AM  
Anonymous Canada Ski Trip said...

Wow - what a fun and interesting place! thanks fro guiding us through.

10:58 PM  

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