A BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK AT
WHAT IT TOOK TO BUILD A DREAM
When Steve and Connie Segner made the commitment to fulfill their dream to build El Portal, a one-of-a-kind upscale luxury inn opening in June, 2003 in Sedona, Arizona, they were not willing to compromise.
They wanted a 1900 Spanish hacienda that would be completely authentic and true to the original style, down to the doorknobs.
Where in the world, literally, would they find 100-year-old doorknobs, antique heater grills and registers, period lighting fixtures, leaded glass inserts, handmade art tiles, organic peeled Juniper logs, 200-year-old wood beams and the finest old world master masons, iron work artisans and woodwork craftsmen?
As Steve Segner explained, ?I wanted to build something different, an exceptional luxury inn, a hacienda where strangers are welcomed like family, a retreat where they can enjoy the serene, ageless spirit of Sedona in historic yet luxurious surroundings.?
The first step, and one of the most important, was to choose the property site. The Segners found what they consider the perfect location and one of Sedonas most historic sites.
Adjacent to Tlaquepaque, an upscale collection of art galleries, gift shops and fine restaurants, was the vacant property of the original ranger station and the actual homestead of the first apple orchard in Sedona. It is within walking distance of beautiful Oak Creek, one of the areas most visited locales.
Renowned architectural firm Design Group Architects of Sedona created El Portals authentic adobe design which required utilizing craftsmen who make every mud brick by hand.
Builder Monty Wilson has made a concentrated effort to use natural products of the earth in the construction process. The result is an inn that provides visitors a feeling of oneness with nature, peace and tranquility.
To furnish the inn, the Segners have used their own impressive, valuable 20-year collection of original Arts and Crafts, Art Deco, Art Nouveau and southwestern antiques, including original works by Frank Lloyd Wright, Warren Hile and Stickley.
But there were many other elements that had to be searched out to complete El Portal.
Steve and Connie were up to the challenge. They called, wrote, emailed, surfed the Web and networked with everyone possible. And they were successful.
They located companies such as Manchester Sash and Door which has hundreds of old hardware pieces and doorknobs dating back to the 1870s.
Historic lighting fixtures for exteriors of the building were found on E-bay. Steve, an accomplished restorer, reconditioned them himself.
Interior lamps for the main room and suites are Rembrandt, Tiffany and Handel originals.
Vernacular LA Furnishings was the source for some unique period pieces.
Metal smiths were found in Los Angeles; stained glass dating back to 1903 was located in Scotland.
After an extensive search, landscape designers that specialize in historic plants were engaged to create the look of ages-old gardens.
Since turn-of-the-century buildings were built over a span of five to ten years, Design Group Architects and Monty Wilson created a structure that provides a sense of having been built in stages.
As an example, the first two rooms at the entrance to El Portal feature rock work from Utah and peeled Juniper logs, while the main part of the building utilizes native stone and entirely different wood working which would have occurred during a multi-year period of construction.
Unlike a hotel, each of El Portals 12 suites is architecturally different and is furnished in its own unique style. Just as in a private residence, each room layout is different. Bathrooms are spacious with interesting features such as claw foot tubs and historic tiles.
Each suites amenities and furnishings are individual and special. Unlike the average hotel room, nothing is cookie cutter or institutional.
Some suites are entirely designed and built by woodworking artisan such as a 1930 Monterey-style suite.
Charming back porches compliment the suites and are furnished with period Adirondack chairs which the Segners have collected over many years.
Often the traditional hotel inns are charming but have some drawbacks that are not enjoyable for sophisticated travelers. El Portal caters to the visitor who appreciates the finest amenities and conveniences without sacrificing simplicity and a communion with nature.
Daily rates range from $225 to $495.
El Portal is located at 94 El Portal Lane, Sedona, Arizona. Please visit El Portals web site at www.innsedona.com or call 800.313.0017.