The Strawberry Inn

Central
lodging, hotels, strawberry, arizona, the strawberry inn

By Noah Austin | Photograph by Paul Markow

Carson Eilers says he’d talked himself out of buying the building that became the Strawberry Inn, figuring it was too dilapidated to turn into a viable business. But then he showed it to his wife, Amber. “She fell in love with it,” he says, laughing, “and it’s kind of hard to turn that ship around.”

The Scottsdale couple completely renovated the property, which dates to the 1970s and originally was an office building. People who drive through Strawberry on State Route 87 know it for the windmill out front, which once held a small coffee shop. That windmill has become a popular background for photos, and the inn is drawing visitors from the Phoenix area and beyond.

The eight rooms vary in décor, but each has stylish tile floors, shiplap walls, reliable Wi-Fi and a comfortable king or queen bed. On the ground floor, most rooms include a futon, and two of the rooms connect to accommodate larger parties. The rooms on the second floor share a deck with delightful views of Mogollon Rim Country.

Off the property, there’s plenty to do — especially in the summer, when Strawberry is much cooler than the Phoenix area despite being less than two hours away. Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is a short drive south, and the road to the Fossil Springs Trailhead is just up the highway. There’s other hiking in the area, too, and afterward, trekkers can cool off on the patio at That Brewery in Pine before getting a quiet night’s sleep at the inn. 

Facebook and Instagram have driven the inn’s popularity: Amber says social media has accounted for more than half of the bookings. “We even have people from other states fly in to stay here, which is remarkable to me,” Carson says. And many first-time visitors have become regulars. “We want it to be a place where people come again and again,” Amber says, noting that some visitors photograph their kids in front of the windmill year after year to document their growth.

It’s become a popular place for engagements, too. “I think we’re 5 for 5 now on people saying yes to wedding proposals,” Amber says. Apparently, it’s hard to say no when it comes to the Strawberry Inn. But its owners found that out already.

The Strawberry Inn is located at 5073 State Route 87 in Strawberry. For more information, call 928-202-7790 or visit www.thestrawberryinn.com.