FROM A 109 YEAR OLD BOARDING HOUSE
TO A COZY BOUTIQUE HOTEL
Historic Hotel MAGMA
Canadian John M. McPherson built his namesake two story building from 1910-1912 in solid concrete. In 1923, the section made with local red brick was built. John Davey, who managed the local brick factory, supplied the red brick and did the contracting.
In 1916, the currently published Superior Sun weekly newspaper was first issued in the Magma Hotel. O. C. Hing leased and managed the hotel’s restaurant, The Magma Cafe, in 1918. In the early 1920s, the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company installed a phone booth inside the hotel where Superiorities could make long distance phone calls.
Throughout its history, the 13,000+ square foot Magma Hotel was used as a boarding house and hotel. It added a large screened-in seasonal sleeping porch for men in the 1920s. Seymour’s Drug Store was housed in the East Wing, which was later known as the Magma Pharmacy. It was replaced by Murphy’s Pharmacy circa 1950. At that time, O’Donnell & Hunt Insurance Agency opened. The hotel later offered offices to attorneys, realtors and housed a Greyhound bus depot.
In the beginning of its decline, there was a hair salon and rooms to rent on the ground floor. The once elegant lobby was used by the Superior Food Bank for storage and distribution center. La Esquina Restaurant operated in the East Wing.
In 1994, the Magma Hotel was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places. It was the site of scenes filmed in the crime-thriller, “U Turn” starring Sean Penn, Jennifer Lopez, Billy Bob Thornton, Nick Nolte, Jon Voight, Claire Dane and Joaquin Phoenix. It was featured in the movie, “Prophecy II,” a fantasy horror sequel to the 1995 classic, starring Christopher Walken, Russell Wong, Jennifer Beals, Brittany Murphy, and Eric Roberts in 1998.
The Magma Hotel was purchased in 2010 by the Los Cedros Superior, LLC. Conducted by Miguel A. Sfeir. Miguel, from Chile, who discovered Superior through his great friend and flight instructor, today, Captain Curtis Pierce. Curtis developing properties in town and that interested Miguel. After extensive research of town and Highway 60 plans, the hotel was bought, despite its disastrous interior. Because of its historic status, Miguel had to restore, not just renovate. Miguel’s first impression was that he wanted to research this 1912 building in Superior, AZ. In doing so, he fell in love with the structure and its possibilities. More than 300 photographs were taken of its dilapidated condition to verify if the Magma buildings could be restored, not just renovated, and respect its origins.
The hotel was in deplorable condition. The exterior was peeling, and the “yard” had overgrown desert weeds and volunteer saplings. The interior was worse, vandalized by transients. There were smashed toilets, broken sinks, peeling plaster, leaking ceilings, and scattered debris throughout. Luckily, the “Imperial Staircase” could still show its suffering magnificence.
The magnificence of an eye-catching main staircase, re-borne from a past loaded with history and stories…
Gently treated with total respect to its past, has come back from the old days to its new life….
From 1910 to 2019… what a journey.
It guides you through the two main sections of the hotel.
To the right is a dining room which can seat 40+ people at 9 tables with 3 ornate wood sideboards set for buffets.
The large glass windows overlook a slender garden in the rear.
Behind is a chef’s dream kitchen displaying modern stainless steel appliances.
Traversing the lobby, there are public restrooms across from the reception desk. A small cubicle denotes where the bus station once resided. Past the desk, in the east hallway, are the office, laundry, electrical room and one large sleeping suite. To the left are 6 bedrooms, each furnished with a metal framed queen bed, open shelved closet, a replica crown and dental shelf on the wall, chair railing, and a 2 way light/ceiling fan fixture for central or ambient lighting. All the rooms are painted in 3 color schemes, tone-on-tone of blue, cream (beige), and green. The enlarged bathroom is decorated in facsimile black and white tile, a beadboard vanity, mirror and sconces. The only 21st century outlier is the television for the convenience of modern roomers.
The enormous wooden staircase leads to two branches, the left one goes to 15 rooms on the second floor. The righthand stairs lead to the patio which connects the MacPherson concrete side and the Magma brick section. The patio offers relaxation, with metal ice cream tables and chairs and a BBQ, on warm summer evenings with a view of Superior. The tastefully screened area houses the massive AC units.
A door leads to an entry to 6 bedrooms, and an entrance to the “sleeping porch.” This wrap-around veranda, furnished with white rocking chairs, encourages mountain views of Apache Leap and Picket Post plus the historic streets of Main and Magma.
Down the chandeliered stairway is the flocked wallpapered Tea Room. This quiet place, with the sleeping rooms above, contains a tiny stage, with 5 low and 5 high-top tables. Note the ornate bar, an antique claimed from the movie set of “John Wick 2;” the copper ceiling manufactured with the original design; and the glass and iron chandeliers.
The lovely Magma Hotel has been restored to its 109 year old glamour, through trial and tribulation, by Miguel Sfeir. Superior is envisioning a bright future with the Magma Hotel as its centerpiece.
THE HOTEL MAGMA “THE QUIET PLACE”
This century old historical hotel complex is now ready for occupancy. It contains 21 very stylish bedrooms and features a beautifully landscaped courtyard, a welcoming lobby, an exquisite dining room, a cozy tea room and bar, roof-top patio, and a second floor veranda. And, of course, a magnificent imperial staircase in charge of welcoming guest and general public.
Your lovely experience will begin with a welcome from our well-trained, uniformed staff who will assist you with luggage and escort you to your old-style room.
“The Ladle,” named after a mining tool used to pour molten copper, is a fine dining experience for up to 40 patrons at nine tables with three ornate sideboards for buffets. The “copper” ceiling is a replica of the original with the identical pattern creating warmth and color for your culinary undertaking.
The flocked wallpapered Tea Room and Bar is a quiet, cozy space in which to conduct business or relax to the delicate background music. The ornate bar is an antique claimed from the movie set of “John Wick 2.” The glass and iron chandeliers provide ambient lighting for calm, peaceful repose.
The upstairs roof patio invites serene observation of historic Downtown Superior, especially on balmy summer evenings. The wrap-around veranda, furnished with white wooden rockers, displays mountain views of Apache Leap and Picket Post.
The Hotel Magma encourages expectations of warmth, repose and relaxation. It characterizes the ease of small town quaintness without any pressure. It permits you to relive a quieter moment in time, a boutique experience, a destination for relaxation.