Casa Azul Guest House

Casa Azul Guest House & Pottery Retreat

Head off the beaten path to Villa Grove, a tiny San Luis Valley artists’ hamlet known for its national-forest-hugged hiking trails, rugged mountain views and a homey overnight pottery retreat called Casa Azul Guest House.

A stay at the Southwestern-styled and -tiled guest house means makers at heart can work with an expert potter, Alan Yarmark, on their very own masterpieces. Yarmark, whose Always Azul pottery style showcases bright and shiny glazes, has produced functional pottery in Colorado for decades. He sells his wares, like stoneware pottery mugs and vases, in the shop that he runs with his wife and partner Diane.

The store, the studio and the accommodations are all housed in a rosy-hued, earthen adobe structure that drips in flowers come summertime. Book your Pottery Retreat by the room or reserve the entire guest house for all the conveniences of home — plus access to the Always Azul working pottery studio where guests spend their days coiling clay, working at the wheel and glazing.

What makes it special?

From the furnishings to the umber-tiled floor to the traditional adobe exterior, the Casa Azul Guest House feels like something you’d find hidden away on a side street in Santa Fe. Colorful decorative tiles line bathroom walls and mirrors; rough-hewn logs, adorned with spotlight-style lighting, stretch across the ceiling above guests’ heads; and sunlight fills the space in an ethereal sort of way the resident houseplants love. This here is a one-of-a-kind space.

The most “Colorado” thing about this place

We’re going with all the nearby natural beauty surrounding Casa Azul’s hometown of Villa Grove. You’ll find wondrous natural gems — like the massive Sangre de Cristo Mountains that snake grandly through the region and the thickly treed landscape of the San Isabel National Forest.

Casa Azul Guest House
Casa Azul Guest House
Casa Azul Guest House

Most unexpected amenity

Sushi lovers, rejoice! We hear that with a lil’ advance notice you can book a private sushi dinner made on-site by a real sushi chef.

Top sensory encounter you’ll experience

It’s digging your hands in all that gorgeous clay, feeling it change shape with the flick of your finger and being patient with the process — knowing you can’t force things and just living in the moment.

Our favorite traveler review

“Stayed one night in this fantastic B&B. It has three bedrooms all beautifully furnished with complete kitchen facilities in a large, spacious area. We had a good-size queen bedroom with its own private bathroom that is a work of art of on its own. We were the only ones staying and had the whole place to ourselves, sat on the balcony in the evening with no one around in town; it actually felt like we had the whole town to ourselves. … Mary, who works in the pottery shop, was very helpful and accommodating to our needs. Highly recommend this place if one likes peace and quiet and beautiful decor. Will surely go back to stay here.” — Panda1939, Tripadvisor

Things to see & do nearby

While your newly formed pottery projects bake, head out for heat of a different kind by visiting the area’s two natural hot-springs soaking spots — Valley View and Joyful Journey Hot Springs, both in Moffat. Another must is Mosca’s Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, where you can slide down spectacular sand dunes (the tallest dune is 750 feet tall; please don’t slide down that one) before hiking to another hidden gem — Zapata Falls.

Find more ways to explore the Mystic San Luis Valley with this five-day itinerary.


Photos courtesy of Always Azul