Highly Recommended Route 66 Motels - Part 1

Updated April 14, 2017

One of the most frequently asked questions on this website and it's associated Facebook page is "can you recommend some great Route 66 motels?"

Hopefully this post will go some way towards answering that question. I use the phrase "some way" because there are far more fantastic Route 66 motels than the mere 10 listed in this post. That is why this post is Part 1 in a series - so expect a second installment very soon!

What makes a motel "highly recommended"? Well, the criteria for making this list was simple:

  • Firstly, each motel had to have been recommended by one of our website's users. There have been many recommendations made to this website over the years by a large number of very happy travelers. If your favourite is not listed feel free to use the form provided to submit your own.
  • Secondly, the motel needed to have a sustained, and widely held, positive reputation among the Route 66 community. Each motel listed is part of the "authentic" Route 66 experience.

So here you go... Part 1 in a series of posts recommending great Route 66 motels - I hope you enjoy!

(The order of the 10 motels listed is based purely on the order in which they would appear if travelling east to west.)

1. CarlinVilla Motel, Carlinville, IL

CarlinVilla Motel, Carlinville

Spend a day cruising up one alignment of Route 66 and back down another to the CarlinVilla Motel.  Relax after your travels in their hot tub and pool, or just lounge in the comfortable lobby area. Located near the heart of historic Carlinville, the CarlinVilla makes for a good get away. Located in a quiet area it will give you a chance to relax and unwind.

For more info on the CarlinVilla Motel, click here.

2. Wagon Wheel Motel, Cuba, MO

Wagon Wheel Motel, Cuba

The Wagon Wheel Motel was originally built in 1934 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The motel has been restored in recent times and, as the oldest continuously operating motel on US 66, celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2016. Each of the individual rooms has been renovated with new plumbing, wiring, bedding and modern amenities, making for a clean, comfortable and attractive stop.

For more info on the Wagon Wheel Motel, click here.

3. Munger Moss Motel, Lebanon, MO

Munger Moss Motel, Lebanon

There are special themed rooms at the Munger Moss and if you're lucky there'll be one free on your visit. I've been fortunate enough to stay in the Route 66 Room which was adorned with images spanning the whole journey - fantastic! The Munger Moss’s iconic neon sign was restored in 2010 and is a shining example of the retro neon to be seen along Route 66.

For more info on the Munger Moss Motel, click here.

4. Flamingo Inn, Elk City, OK

Flamingo Inn, Elk City

The Flamingo Inn is a classic motel on Route 66 and has been nicely remodeled without ruining the all important "Route 66" feel. It is an inexpensive stay with plenty of charm and character. Each renovated room comes with a large flat-screen TV, good internet service, microwave, coffee machine and mini fridge. The owners are very welcoming and offer complimentary bottles of ice-cold water upon arrival.

For more info on the Flamingo Inn, click here.

5. The Big Texan Motel, Amarillo, TX

The Big Texan Motel, Amarillo

To discuss the Big Texan Motel without mentioning the adjoining restaurant would be to miss the big picture - the two go hand in hand as an all-round experience known as The Big Texan Steak Ranch. The motel itself is designed to look like a main street in a Wild West town, complete with shuttered windows and an actual area for the horses! The rooms are not huge but are clean and comfortable.

For more info on The Big Texan Motel, click here.

6. Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari, NM

Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari

The Blue Swallow is one of the most well-known and easily recognisable motels along Route 66, largely due to its wonderful neon sign. Built in 1939, the Blue Swallow perfectly encapsulates the classic route 66 feel. A particularly charming feature is that every room has its own adjoining garage.

The rooms themselves are retro but cosy, clean and well kept, and the showers are very powerful. The owners are clearly proud of their motel and, upon arrival, showed us to our room to check that everything was okay.

For more info on the Blue Swallow Motel, click here.

7. El Rancho Hotel and Motel, Gallup, NM

El Rancho Hotel and Motel, Gallup

The El Rancho Hotel and Motel was opened in 1937 as a base for movie productions by the brother of film director D.W. Griffith. It was the temporary home for many Hollywood movie stars including Ronald Reagan, Spencer Tracy, Kirk Douglas, Katharine Hepburn and John Wayne! The Hollywood history plays a large part in the charm and attraction of this hotel. It's an historic venue and the decor may seem dated to some, so don't expect a shiny, contemporary experience. This is a hotel/motel that revels in it's vintage status and the glamour of classic Hollywood.

For more info on the El Rancho Hotel and Motel, click here.

8. Wigwam Motel, Holbrook, AZ

Wigwam Motel, Holbrook

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook is one of only three surviving "Wigwam Villages" in the US and one of two situated on Route 66 (the other being in Rialto, CA). The term "iconic" can be overly used when discussing Route 66 but in this instance is wholly deserved. Each "room" is a huge concrete tee-pee and has a genuine vintage car parked outside.

For more info on the Wigwam Motel, click here.

9. The Downtowner Motel, Williams, AZ

The Downtowner Motel, Williams

The Downtowner Motel offers newly remodeled rooms that range in size from, single kings, double queens, and double queen suites. Conveniently located just an hour from the Grand Canyon, with access to the Grand Canyon Express Train, the Downtowner Motel provides easy access to a range of shops, bars and restaurants.

For more info on The Downtowner Motel, click here.

10. Route 66 Motel, Barstow, CA

Route 66 Motel, Barstow

The owners have done a wonderful job restoring the property and are keen Route 66 enthusiasts, being very helpful and welcoming. The exterior decor is vibrant and inviting while the interior is every bit as comfortable as you'd like. What is ideal about this motel in terms of it's location is that it's only a 150 mile drive from Las Vegas should you decide to take a side-trip to the strip.

For more info on the Route 66 Motel, click here.

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