Highly Recommended Route 66 Motels - Part 1

Updated May 31, 2023
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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 the ten motels featured here barely scratch the surface, as Route 66 boasts a myriad of fantastic lodging options. Consider this humble offering as the inaugural chapter, with an eagerly anticipated second edition on the horizon!

Now, what defines a motel as "highly recommended," you might ask? Well, the criteria applied in curating this illustrious list is refreshingly uncomplicated:

  • 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!

(Please bear in mind that the order of the 10 motels listed below is based purely on the order in which they would appear if travelling east to west.)

1. CarlinVilla Motel, Carlinville, IL

CarlinVilla Motel, Carlinville

After hours of tireless Route 66 exploration, immerse yourself in the soothing waters of the CarlinVilla Motel's hot tub or take a refreshing dip in the pool. Alternatively, simply bask in the inviting ambiance of their cozy lobby area. Nestled near the very heart of historic Carlinville, this charming establishment serves as the perfect sanctuary for a well-deserved respite. Tucked away in a tranquil locale, it offers you the chance to unwind and rejuvenate your weary soul.

For more info on the CarlinVilla Motel, click here.

2. Wagon Wheel Motel, Cuba, MO

Wagon Wheel Motel, Cuba

Constructed back in 1934, The Wagon Wheel Motel holds a cherished place on the esteemed National Register of Historic Places. In recent years, this venerable establishment has undergone a meticulous restoration, allowing it to proudly celebrate its 80th anniversary in 2016 as the oldest continuously operating motel along the revered US 66 route. Step inside and you'll discover a delightful transformation, with each individual room tastefully renovated to feature new plumbing, wiring, bedding, and contemporary amenities. The result is an inviting haven - a harmonious blend of cleanliness, comfort, and visual allure - offering weary travelers an appealing respite along their journey.

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

3. Munger Moss Motel, Lebanon, MO

Munger Moss Motel, Lebanon

Within the charming confines of the Munger Moss, a treasure trove of delight awaits, particularly in the form of their enchanting themed rooms. If Lady Luck happens to cast her benevolent gaze upon you, you might find yourself blessed with the availability of one. On my own visit, I had the pleasure of residing in the illustrious Route 66 Room - an immersive experience adorned with captivating imagery that spanned the entire journey.

Moreover, the Munger Moss proudly boasts the restoration of its iconic neon sign in 2010 - a shining testament to the mesmerizing neon aesthetic of Route 66's heyday.

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 timeless gem nestled along Route 66. This classic motel has undergone a thoughtful renovation that tastefully preserves its cherished "Route 66" ambiance.

At the Flamingo Inn, affordability meets charm, and a touch of Route 66 nostalgia lingers in the air. It exudes an abundance of charm and character with each meticulously refurbished room boasting modern comforts, including a generous flat-screen TV, reliable internet service to keep you connected, and convenient amenities like a microwave, coffee machine, and mini fridge.

The owners of the Flamingo Inn extend a warm welcome to their guests, generously offering complimentary bottles of refreshingly icy water upon arrival. A small gesture that speaks volumes about their hospitality.

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. Embracing both entities is essential if you're to fully immerse yourself in the all-round experience.

True to its Wild West roots, the motel captures the essence of a bustling main street in a frontier town. Its facade boasts shuttered windows that evoke a sense of nostalgia, while even providing a dedicated space for horses - an undeniable touch of authenticity. Although the rooms may not be overly spacious, they are clean and offer comfort to weary travelers.

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

6. Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari, NM

Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari

The Blue Swallow stands as a prominent beacon among the countless motels dotting the renowned Route 66, owing much of its fame to the mesmerizing glow of its enchanting neon sign. Constructed in 1939, this establishment effortlessly embodies the quintessential essence of the beloved route. One delightful aspect that sets it apart is the inclusion of a personal adjoining garage for each room - an endearing touch indeed.

Inside, the rooms exude a delightful retro charm, offering a snug and well-maintained haven for weary travelers. Impeccably clean and thoughtfully adorned, they provide a cozy retreat along the journey.

Furthermore, it is evident that the owners take immense pride in their cherished motel. Upon our arrival, they graciously escorted us to our designated room, attentively ensuring that every detail met our satisfaction. Their genuine dedication to the Blue Swallow's success shines through, enhancing the overall experience for guests.

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

7. El Rancho Hotel and Motel, Gallup, NM

El Rancho Hotel and Motel, Gallup

In 1937, the El Rancho Hotel and Motel sprang to life under the auspices of the brother of esteemed film director D.W. Griffith. Originally intended as a haven for movie productions, this illustrious establishment became a temporary abode for a constellation of Hollywood's brightest stars. Ronald Reagan, Spencer Tracy, Kirk Douglas, Katharine Hepburn, and John Wayne all found solace within its walls! The allure and magnetism of this hotel are deeply intertwined with its rich Hollywood history.

As you step foot inside, it's essential to embrace the historical character. The décor may appear somewhat antiquated, and while you may not find the gleaming modernity of more recent establishments, you'll discover a unique retreat that pays homage to its illustrious past, allowing you to relish in the ambiance of a bygone era.

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

8. Wigwam Motel, Holbrook, AZ

Wigwam Motel, Holbrook

Nestled in Holbrook, the Wigwam Motel holds an esteemed position on the National Register of Historic Places. It proudly stands as one of the illustrious trio of "Wigwam Villages" that have withstood the test of time in the United States, and of the two that remain on Route 66 (the other being in Rialto, CA).

Now, the word "iconic", when it comes to Route 66, tends to be thrown around rather liberally. However, in the case of the Wigwam Motel, its claim to this title is entirely justified. Here, each "room" takes the form of an enormous concrete teepee, and as if that weren't enough, an authentic vintage car graces the exterior of every abode.

For more info on the Wigwam Motel, click here.

9. The Downtowner Motel, Williams, AZ

The Downtowner Motel, Williams

The location of the Downtowner Motel grants you effortless access to the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon, being just an hour away. For an extra touch of adventure you can even hop aboard the Grand Canyon Express Train, easily accessible from the premises.

And when it comes to satisfying your palate or indulging in some retail therapy, the Downtowner Motel is surrounded by an array of charming shops, vibrant bars, and delectable restaurants.

For more info on The Downtowner Motel, click here.

10. Route 66 Motel, Barstow, CA

Route 66 Motel, Barstow

The owners of the Route 66 Motel in Barstow have done a wonderful job restoring the property and are keen Route 66 enthusiasts, exuding a passion for the road through the warm welcome they give their guests.

The exterior exudes a lively charm, beckoning travelers with its vibrant decor, while the interior envelops guests in the utmost comfort. What is ideal about this motels 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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