We know that it can be time-consuming and difficult to find and choose historic Route 66 motels along the route. So we’ve done it for you, providing a list of our favourite historic Route 66 motels and hotels along the route with information and booking details for each one.
We focus on Motorcycle friendly historical lodging options that are well-rated and well-located. Many offer something unique or special for Route 66 travelers. 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'r have to stay on both but to make this trip really authentic we'd highly reccomend 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
El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, New Mexico
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 Presedential suite, not cause we are posh, simply becasue 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
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