How We Created an Authentic Art & Crafts Style at El Portal

From the moment you enter El Portal, it’s clear that it is vastly different from any corporate hotel. From the windows framed in recycled 200-year-old wood to the Arts-and-Crafts-style furnishings found in each room, El Portal radiates a distinctive charm reminiscent of a bygone era. This unique vibe is no accident—it has been carefully cultivated over many years by owners Steve and Connie Segner. While most hotels are constantly remodeling and redecorating in an attempt to be trendier than the competition, Steve and Connie are always striving to make El Portal feel more authentic.

A passion for antiques

Since the early days of their relationship, Steve and Connie have enjoyed visiting antique shops and garage sales to search for one-of-a-kind items. When they lived in Southern California prior to moving to Sedona, they were particularly drawn to the Arts-and-Crafts and Spanish-revival furniture that they found in shops around Pasadena.

After decades of browsing antique shops, Steve and Connie realized that they had accumulated enough furniture, lighting fixtures, and works of art to fill a small hotel. This idea started to become a reality in 2003 when they decided to build El Portal on the small piece of land they owned near Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village. With a goal of replicating one of the classic inns that served as the centerpieces of communities across America in the late 1800s and early 1900s—but with a distinctively Southwestern style—Steve and Connie consulted their trusted friends at Design Group Architects to start bringing their vision to life.

The unique beauty of El Portal

In constructing El Portal, all work was performed by hand and eye—just as it would have been around the turn of the century. The building is an enchanting blend of history, style, and character. For instance, reclaimed Trestlewood® beams—which formed a trestle that carried rail traffic across Utah’s Great Salt Lake for the first half of the 20th century—have been incorporated throughout El Portal, bringing a sense of warmth and intrigue to each space. Other unique features of the inn’s architecture include the adobe bricks that form the walls, which were handmade in Tucson, hand-sculpted niches, and the corner fireplaces with river rock stone or stained-glass ceiling panels found in certain rooms.

When visiting El Portal for the first time, many guests assume that it was built decades earlier than 2003. We are proud that our careful design decisions have successfully captured the spirit of the Arts-and-Crafts era, while offering our guests all the modern comforts found at a luxury hotel. To experience the beauty and serenity of El Portal, call us at 800-313-0017 to book your stay!