Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New Hotel Opens Inside Monument Valley

~ On my next trip to the United States, I am heading south to see one of the greatest iconic American landscapes of all: Monument Valley.

The natural formations of Monument Valley, the ones we have seen countless westerns and TV commercials, stand so close that you feel like you can reach out and press your hand to them…the Mittens - left thumb, right thumb, and the third monolith Mitchell's Butte, rising to the right. There is an amazing panorama with colours so vivid that it looks like a Hollywood stage set. The landscape is painted with the colours that that you find in Navajo art and jewellery: a turquoise blue sky, white clouds, and a vast desert rich in reds sprinkled with green and jet black accents.

All this, and more, is said to be the view from a guestroom balcony at the newly opened VIEW Hotel in Monument Valley.This one-of-a-kind hotel is big news for tourists but even bigger news for the Navajo Nation. This is the first hotel ever built on Navajo Tribal Park land, in the very first Tribal Park ever established, and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the park.

Ray Russell, Director of Navajo Parks & Recreation, says "The VIEW Hotel is a groundbreaking event for the Navajo Nation. The location was selected because it is adjacent to the Park Visitors Centre which has served tourists for over 50 years. This project is our first step to utilize the tourism resources of the Navajo Nation in a manner similar to the US Department of Interior when they have partnered with the private sector to improve and provide visitor services in National Parks. The workforce constructing the hotel is over 90% Navajo Nation members. The hotel, restaurant and store will eventually provide jobs for over 100 people.”

Jobs in the Navajo are big news. The Navajo Nation (over 27,000 square miles, the size of West Virginia) has a staggering unemployment rate of nearly 50%. Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley says “Job creation on Tribal land means economic opportunity but also translates into cultural preservation. When family members can find employment close to their traditional homes they stay connected with their culture and their language. This fosters an environment where traditional ways of the Navajo people can be passed from generation to generation. The VIEW Hotel in Monument Valley will provide opportunity in a very needed region.”

The VIEW Hotel is 100% family owned and operated – Armanda Ortega of the Kiy`anníí (Towering House) Clan welcomes the opportunity to host guests from around the world in a place of beauty and spiritual importance to the Navajo people. “Our hotel is designed with respect for the sacred setting in which it is located – it has been designed to exist in harmony with this unique land. Every guestroom has a view directly facing the Mittens and the exterior of the hotel will be from a colour palate of the red earth that surrounds us.”

The hotel is an environmentally friendly design with a low contour that conforms to the mesa overlooking the valley. The VIEW goes beyond what have become standard eco-friendly building practices using low-flow water devices, extra insulation, windows with energy efficient values, and fluorescent lighting. There are operable windows in public spaces including the soaring two story lobby that allows for natural air flow for energy efficient cooling.

Every guest in the 90 room VIEW Hotel will have a private balcony that faces the famous panorama of the Mittens and the great desert expanse. You can actually see four states from The VIEW which is located adjacent to the Tribal Park Visitors Center in Arizona – the formations in Utah stand to your left, the Mittens are in Arizona directly in front of you, and the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado rise in the distance. The third floor Star View rooms combine the vista of the majestic formations with an unobstructed view of the stars above.

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