Spacious Suites near Famous Astronomical Observatory
In 1930, Pluto was discovered at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Flagstaff’s elevation and clear night skies made it the perfect location for the now-famous astronomical observatory, which was selected by TIME magazine as one of the World’s Most Important Places in 2011. Space research continues there today, and the site is open to the public for guided daytime tours. A few miles east of Lowell Observatory, you’ll find Sonesta ES Suites Flagstaff, a group of upscale, condo-like buildings set on an expansive green lawn.
The hotel was built to accommodate travelers who needed a home base after taking day trips to the Grand Canyon and nearby national parks. The space is designed to feel like home, too: there’s free laundry onsite and a lavish complimentary breakfast buffet each morning. In the 520-square-foot studio queen room, you’ll find a fully equipped kitchen featuring a stovetop, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Windows look out over Coconino National Forest and the golf course at the Continental Country Club, where you can head to play a few rounds in the year-round Arizona warmth. All rooms have living and dining rooms decorated with leather chairs and soft couches.
Flagstaff, Arizona: Route 66 History and Outdoor Adventures
Immortalized in Nat King Cole’s song “Route 66,” the northern Arizona city of Flagstaff was once a popular pit stop for those driving along the 2,000-mile highway that crisscrossed America. Its perpetually sunny skies and warm weather continue to draw travelers today, even though Route 66 was bypassed by other highways in 1985. It’s also just a two-hour drive from the Grand Canyon, the monumental canyon that’s one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
The city’s natural beauty is a major attraction, as well—there are more than 50 miles of trails for cyclists, hikers, and joggers, and more than 650 acres of city parks. About 20 miles north of downtown, you’ll find the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, a cinder-cone volcano that last erupted about 900 years ago. Here, you can hike the trails of a landscape shaped by lava flows and scout for the elk, bobcats, and golden eagles that live in the surrounding ponderosa pine forests.