Hotel Magma

Central
Hotel Magma is located at 100 W. Main Street in Superior

By Noah Austin | Photograph by Paul Markow

When he’s not running Los Cedros USA, his Arabian horse training facility in Scottsdale, Miguel Sfeir likes to explore Arizona on his motorcycle. One of his favorite destinations is Salt River Canyon. Before one of his trips, a friend suggested he stop along the way in Superior, an old mining town with a population of about 3,000 along U.S. Route 60 east of the Phoenix area. That’s where he found the historic Hotel Magma. What was left of it, anyway.

“It was a mountain of rubble,” he says. Abandoned for decades, the hotel’s two main buildings, which date to the 1910s and ’20s, were decaying, and a connecting adobe building had collapsed. Sfeir decided to do some research on the property, hiring historians and examining old photos so he could know “exactly what this was and what it looked like in the past.” What followed was an eight-year process, culminating in a March 2019 reopening, to restore the historic hotel, which now welcomes overnight guests while looking much as it did during Superior’s glory days.

The Magma Mine — where extraction of copper, gold, silver and other minerals brought substantial wealth to Superior in the late 19th and early 20th centuries — spurred the construction of the hotel, which featured a restaurant and a second-floor sleeping porch. In later years, it housed a pharmacy, an insurance agency and a bus depot before falling into disrepair. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

Sfeir bought the Hotel Magma in 2010 and soon started the painstaking process of restoring the building while preserving its historic qualities. That included repairing the foundation, removing asbestos, and replacing the window and door frames, which were contaminated with lead-based paint. Private bathrooms, with tile floors, walk-in showers and soaking tubs, were added to each guest room. And the striking main staircase, which greets guests when they enter the lobby, was salvaged and repaired.

The 21 rooms feature queen beds with comfortable mattresses and luxurious linens, and the porch, no longer used for sleeping, offers views of downtown Superior and nearby mountains. Next to the lobby is the hotel’s restaurant, the Ladle; there’s also a tearoom and bar that can be rented for special events. And across Main Street is the Superior Barmacy, a bar and restaurant Sfeir opened in the town’s former drugstore.

With mining activity in the early stages of resuming, the town could be primed for a rebirth, and Sfeir is hoping to give more U.S. 60 travelers like him a reason to check out Superior — and join him in bringing its downtown back to life. “Everybody wants to see this town in action,” he says. “It’s a matter of pride. People talk a lot about the ‘small town of Superior,’ but I tell them they need to think bigger. I call it the magic town of Superior.”

Hotel Magma is located at 100 W. Main Street in Superior. For more information, call 520-686-3200 or visit hotelmagmasuperior.com.