The Howard Johnson Anaheim, just across from Disneyland, has gone back to the retro future (Great Scott!). It has done this with its new House of the Retro Future suite. The Monsanto House of the Future inspires this new suite at the Howard Johnson that once was found at a certain theme park nearby from 1957-1967.
On Wednesday, July 27, 20202, Howard Johnson held a special grand opening event for media and special guests. DAPS MAGIC was there to capture this historical moment that was inspired by a historic house from the past that was supposed to portray the future. The event included a ribbon cutting, a historic look at the Monsanto House of the Future courtesy of Charles Phoenix, and a tour of this fantastic suite.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was hosted by Charles Phoenix. Jonathan Whitehead, General Manager of Howard Johnson, was on hand to cut the ribbon. They were joined by the artist SHAG and also a retro lady astronaut for this special moment.
The presentation that followed the ribbon-cutting ceremony was a look at the inspiration behind Howard Johnson’s House of the Retro Future. This didn’t just focus solely on the Monsanto House of the Future, but also on the other icons of the retro era that helped set the table for what would be experienced in the new suite upstairs. This very entertaining presentation included many slides that Charles Phoenix had collected and then digitized from the era. This included photos of old motels from back in the day, Tomorrowland, and the Monsanto House of the Future itself. Many of these are nearly impossible to find and are treasures in themselves.
Following the presentation, groups were led upstairs to tour the House of the Retro Future Suite. Balloons decorated the entrance and brought a festive spirit to the tour. However, one cannot know what they are about to experience just by looking at photos, videos, or a website. The door opened and walking in was a completely immersive experience as it blasted the groups to the past… almost literally. The retro space lady was in the room, General Manager of Howard Johnson Jonathan Whitehead was in the room, and so was SHAG. All were dressed quite appropriately for the time that was being recreated. However, that wasn’t all. The suite itself is a complete experience.
The suite brings to life the mid-century modern era. Walking around the suite one can find decorations, furniture, lights, and hardware that hearken back to an earlier and simpler era. Some of these features are recreations and others are original. The seating is by Modernica and Herman Miller. The decorative panels (that are awesome!) are by Modular Arts. The lighting that fits in so wonderfully was done by Restoration Hardware.
A beautiful piece of art by the artist SHAG hangs above the couch, and guests who stay in the suite receive a print of it. Not far away, there is a recreation of a peacock piece that was once found in the original Monsanto House of the Future. Artist Sam Carter recreated this marvelous work. On one of the shelves, there is a model of the original Monsanto House of the Future as well.
While the suite is a tribute to the retro future it is recreating, it also embraces the actual future. There are modern features throughout the room to make a stay as comfortable as possible. This includes multiple Amazon Alexa devices powered by Volara which gives the room voice-activated lighting along with thermostat controls by Inncom/Honeywell. Even the bathroom area is retro but modern.
Perhaps the best feature in the suite is the vintage-style record player with albums appropriate for the era and vibe. This makes the whole suite and was definitely a highlight. It not only added incredible music that has that vinyl feel that instantly speaks retro, but it also adds even more authenticity to the rest of the room. There is also a digital playlist available as well called the Howard Johnson Jet Set.
The combination of all of these elements in the House of the Retro Future is an experience that feels like a blast from the past with the convenience and comfort of the present.
Staying at the House of the Retro Suite is an experience in itself. The experience is a two night-stay that currently is offered for stays on Tuesday/Wednesday nights or Friday/Saturday nights. The price for the stay is $1,957 (the year the original Monsanto House of the Future opened). The price includes the suite, tax, parking, and also a matted “Suite of the Future” illustration by the artist SHAG. This is the recreation of the piece seen above the couch in the main living room of the suite. More details can be found at hojoanaheim.com.