Route 66 Motels & Hotels: Where to Stay along Route 66
I have travelled route 66 many times and i have stayed in so many hotels along the route, some good, some bad and some really bad. when deciding where to stay along the route, the most expensive doesnt alwys mean the best. searching on the hotel websites can also be confusing as prices can vary greatly depending on when you are searching.
I know that it can be time-consuming and difficult to find and choose historic Route 66 motels along the route. I've done it for you, providing a list of my favourite historic Route 66 motels and hotels along the route with information and booking details for each one.
I focus on Motorcycle friendly historical lodging options that are well-rated and well-located. Many offer something unique or special for Route 66 travellers. These properties stretch from Chicago to Santa Monica and range from budget motels to luxury hotels. We include both the most popular and iconic vintage motels as well as lesser-known historic accommodation options along Route 66. This way you can choose the properties that best suit your trip, style, and budget.
So let’s get on with finding you the best places to stay for your Route 66 road trip!
Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino, CA
This Wigwam Motel is the second of the wigwam village motels along Route 66. Second one being the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona, Of course you don't have to stay on both but to make this trip really authentic I’d highly recommend an overnight stay in one of them.
This motel was also designed by architect Frank Redford and was the final wigwam village motel built from his blueprints. It was built in 1949 and opened for business in 1950.
The Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino has 19 cone-shaped concrete wigwams set within a large lot with green grounds, palm trees, and an outdoor swimming pool. There is a sign welcoming travelers to the motel and asking them: “Have you slept in a Teepee lately?”
Each wigwam is bigger than you would think from the outside and each contains a bedroom and bathroom with all the regular amenities, including a mini-fridge, TV, and air-conditioning/heating unit. The Wigwam Motel also offers an outdoor swimming pool, gift shop, outdoor picnic area, free parking, and 24-hour office. There is a sign welcoming travelers and asking them: “Have you slept in a Teepee lately?”
The motel doesn’t offer any meals but there is free coffee and tea available in the office each morning. There are places to eat within walking distance of the motel. It is about a 10-minute drive away from the first McDonald’s location which is now a museum.
Note that the motel sits right on the edge between Rialto and San Bernardino, so you may see the location as noted within Rialto or San Bernardino. It is the same place.
The California Wigwam Motel is very popular, so we recommend booking in advance to guarantee a room on the date you want to stay. Address: 2728 West Foothill Boulevard, San Bernardino, CA 92376 Parking: Free on-site guest parking
Grand Canyon Railway Motel
The modern Grand Canyon Railway Hotel was designed to resemble the historic Fray Marcos Hotel and Williams Depot structures that stand nearby. Grand Canyon Railway Hotel guests are welcomed by a luxurious lobby kept cozy during the wintertime with a roaring fireplace. Reproductions of sculptures by Frederic Remington and original oil paintings by artist Kenny McKenna adorn the hotel’s large lobby. Today’s Grand Canyon Railway Hotel offers guests the choice of 297 rooms, Value-priced rooms, Standard rooms, Deluxe rooms, 2-room Suites, and the unique Rail Baron Suite. All rooms feature two queen beds, a coffee maker, and full bathroom with bathtub and shower. Suites have a bedroom with two queen beds and a separate living area with a pullout sofa. The living area has a microwave, refrigerator, wet bar and coffee maker. Two suites and eight standard rooms are accessible to those with limited mobility.
Additionally, the hotel offers:
A spacious meeting room available for wedding receptions, seminars and other functions.
A large courtyard with barbecue and wet bar that can be reserved for daytime events by large groups.
A game room for children.
An enclosed crescent-shaped pool (approximately 50′ long by 20′ wide) and hot tub featuring a large glass wall with a southern exposure allowing plenty of light to fill the pool area. The large doors also can be opened during warm weather.
An exercise room adjacent to the pool area, which includes a multi-station weight machine and 11 pieces of cardiovascular equipment including treadmills, an elliptical step machine, an elliptical climbing machine and recumbent bikes. The room also features a mirrored wall, a ballet bar and a television.
All rooms at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel were upgraded with a triple-sheeting bedding system. The upgraded bedding components consisted of box spring skirting, bed scarf, synthetic down blanket and additional pillows. These developments have resulted in a clean look away from traditional bedspreads. Other major hotel upgrades included carpet replacement and wood accent refinishing throughout. Additionally, Furniture in the hotel lobby now features custom leather furniture and accessories with deep wood accents. The lobby’s classic Victorian accent chairs were also refinished to match the rest of the décor. Dining Options Spenser’s Pub, located adjacent to the hotel lobby, serves beer, wine and mixed drinks as well as appetizers and meals. The centrepiece of Spenser’s Pub is an antique bar that was hand crafted in the 19th century. Grand Canyon Railway’s Fred Harvey Restaurant is located across from the hotel. The restaurant has a wide selection of buffet items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Fray Marcos History Quality lodging for its passengers was an important part of the Santa Fe Railway system during the late 19th century and early 20th century. A string of hotels and restaurants run by the Fred Harvey Company opened up along Santa Fe rail lines during this time. The hotels and restaurants were known as Harvey Houses, and they became famous for their quality food and service. The Fray Marcos Hotel in Williams was one such Harvey House and was named after Spanish missionary Marcos de Niza, who explored the Southwest in the early 16th century. The Fred Harvey Company often named its hotels after early explorers. The hotel and adjoining depot opened to the public in 1908. The historic hotel still stands on the Grand Canyon Railway campus in Williams, but is no longer used for lodging guests. Parts of the original structure are home to the Grand Canyon Railway ticket counter, a gift shop and company offices. The newer Grand Canyon Railway Hotel was built to resemble the historic Fray Marcos. Both Williams Depot and the Fray Marcos Hotel are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic depot is still open to the public. Area Attractions Downtown Williams, Ariz. and historic Route 66 are located within easy walking distance of the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Much of downtown Williams was built after 1901, the year a catastrophic fire swept through the town. Today, the quaint old buildings house a variety of restaurants, bars and one-of-a-kind shops.
This has to be our favourite hotel in New Mexico, and to make sure you get the dates you want, these guys take bookings over a year in advance, just drop them an email with your required dates and they will take care of your booking. We always stay in the Presidential suite, not cause we are posh, simply because it's only an extra £20.00.
The El Rancho Hotel opened in Gallup along Route 66 in 1937 and has become a Route 66 landmark. The hotel is especially known for its beautiful two-story main lobby. The hotel was built in the “Rustic Style” to resemble a large Western ranch house or hunting lodge, and is decorated with a western theme and has a lot of Native American art and artifacts. A neon sign out front over the entrance says below the hotel name: “Charm of Yesterday…Convenience of Tomorrow”.
Of the many Route 66 hotel and motels along the route, this one is probably the most connected to Hollywood. It was built for R.E. Griffith, the brother of D.W. Griffith, a famous film director of the silent film era and one of the founders of United Artists. Because of this connection, the hotel was often used as a place to stay for movie production crews, particularly those shooting Westerns in New Mexico or Arizona.
Many famous film stars stayed at the hotel over the years including John Wayne, Lucille Ball, Doris Day, Kirk Douglas, Joan Crawford, Humphrey Bogart, and Katherine Hepburn. There are photos on display of all the famous people who stayed at the hotel.
The hotel as it expanded over the years has become a bit of a rambling building. There is the main central 3-story building that was the original building with the main lobby and early guest rooms. But then newer sections spur off of this with more guest rooms, dining rooms, and bars.
At one point, there was a distinction between the El Rancho Hotel and the El Rancho Motel but now it seems all rooms are being listed together. But the El Rancho Motel rooms, which now appear to be called The Ranch House, are ones you can park directly in front of and enter from the outside without going through the lobby, and are located just adjacent to the main building. All rooms offer the same main amenities.
The hotel offers guests a 24-hour front desk, an on-site bar and lounge, an on-site restaurant, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, an outdoor picnic area, and hotel laundry services. The hotel also has a store selling authentic Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni crafts, jewelry, and artwork.
Meals, including breakfast, are available on-site at the hotel restaurant. But there are also other places to eat located within walking distance of the hotel. The hotel is also well located for exploring Gallup with all attractions within a short driving distance. Address: 1000 E. Highway 66, Gallup, NM 87301 Parking: Free parking available on-site
?Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico
You can't get much more Route66 than The Blue Swallow Motel, one of the most popular and well-known of the historic Route 66 motels along the route. Its fame comes from its longevity, its owners, and its picturesque neon sign.
The Blue Swallow Motel was built in 1939 by Carpenter W.A. Huggins as an L-shaped 10-room motor court with a cafe. It was then called the Blue Swallow Court and Cafe. Huggins and his wife ran in in the 1940s and then it was sold to Ted Jones who expanded it. Then in the 1950’s Lillian Redman and her husband bought the motor court.
Lillian Redman and her husband would update the motel, change its name to Blue Swallow Motel, and add the neon sign. Lillian became well-known to many regular Route 66 travelers and was known for her generosity, for putting customers first, and for her support of Route 66. She would run the Blue Swallow Motel from 1958 to 1998, seeing it survive well past the building of the interstate and the official end of Route 66. Today, you’ll still find a copy of a benediction she wrote and used to give out to guests in each room.
The Blue Swallow Motel offers 12 rooms decorated in a retro 1940s and 1950s style and each room includes both vintage and modern pieces. The neon sign installed by the Redmans has been repaired and is still working and lit up each evening.
The motel offers free parking, morning coffee and breakfast snacks in the office, a small gift shop in the office, and an outdoor seating area for guests. Some rooms still feature the original garages next to the rooms. The motel also has family games, books, and toys you can borrow from the office.
This is a lovely classic motel, and it is very popular with Route 66 fans. So if you want to stay here, we recommend booking well in advance to guarantee a room. My family and I recently stayed in the Family Suite and really enjoyed our stay and played a couple of games of cornhole (a popular lawn game of the Midwest) after dinner.
The Blue Swallow offers hot drinks (coffee, tea, or hot chocolate) and some breakfast snacks in the morning. If you are wanting a full breakfast, we can recommend nearby Kix on 66. For other meals, you are a short walk or drive from other places to eat. Address: 815 East Route 66 Blvd, Tucumcari, NM 88401 Parking: Free parking is available on-site
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