Historic hotels and motels on Route 66 are some of the most interesting places to stay while traveling down this iconic road.
From the beginning of Route 66 in Chicago to its end in Santa Monica, there are many historic hotels and motels along the way.
These places have been around for many years and have seen a lot of history. They are a part of Americana and offer a unique experience to visitors.
Whether you’re looking for a place to stay or just want to take a step back in time, these historic Route 66 hotels and motels are definitely worth checking out.
The Most Iconic Route 66 Motels & Hotels
1. Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven – Springfield, MO
Image Courtesy: Dreamstime/Mrcmos
Rail Haven Motel opened in Springfield, Missouri, in 1938. Springfield is considered the birthplace of the Mother Road and is home to many famous Route 66 attractions, so it is no wonder that one of the best historic Route 66 hotels is located in the city.
Though the classic motel has been renovated many times through the years, it still maintains the vintage charm that made it a popular place to stay in its heyday.
The L-shaped motel pays homage to its past with old-fashioned cars, retro gas pumps and classic neon signs on the property. But it also stays current by offering free high-speed internet, cable TV, free parking, and complimentary breakfast.
Many celebrities have stayed at Rail Haven through the years, but one of the most famous guests was up-and-coming musical artist Elvis Presley, who spent the night in 1956.
You can sleep in the very room he stayed in, which has been upgraded with a themed mural, memorabilia, and a pink Cadillac bed.
Now operated under the Best Western brand, the hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2010 and welcomes guests who want modern amenities and a touch of nostalgia.
Contributed by: Val Bromann I Silly America
2. Wigwam Motel – Holbrook, AZ
Image Courtesy: Dreamstime/Jai Mo
If you’re looking for a place with lots of Americana charm and history, the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona, should be on your Route 66 bucket list.
Constructed in 1950, the motel consists of 15 steel and concrete rooms that resemble tipis, the conical dwellings used primarily by the Plains Indians.
The buildings were actually brought to life by Chester E. Lewis, who drove by a similar tipi village in Cave City, Kentucky. He licensed the blueprints from the designer, who disliked the word “tipi” and, despite the inaccuracy, elected to call the construction “wigwams” instead.
The rooms all look to be largely untouched from their Route 66 heydays, with original handmade furniture. Perhaps that should be no surprise- the motel is officially included on the National Register of Historic Places.
The nostalgia doesn’t stop at the rooms- the parking lot is full of vintage automobiles, including the old Studebaker that was once driven by the property builder.
If kitschy Americana is your jam, Holbrook has plenty of that for you, with ‘50s diners and dinosaur statutes on seemingly every corner. The dinosaur statues are a nod to the nearby Petrified Forest National Park, the only national park in the nation to contain a portion of Historic Route 66.
Contributed by: Jessica Schmit I Uprooted Traveler
3. The Mayo Hotel – Tulsa, OK
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Located in the heart of Tulsa, the Mayo Hotel is one of the most iconic Route 66 Hotels and well worth a visit on your road trip.
You’ll find the hotel in the deco district, close to a wide variety of restaurants and shops, making it the perfect opportunity to spend a few nights in Tulsa.
There is a beautiful rooftop bar that boasts fantastic views over the town and is the ideal spot for a sunset drink. In recent years, the Mayo Hotel has become a wedding venue and is the perfect space for a special occasion celebration.
The Mayo opened in 1925 and had over 600 rooms at the time. Once the most luxurious hotel in the area, it attracted wealthy tourists, politicians and celebrities. It was also a popular evening venue for parties and celebrations.
The Mayo closed briefly in 1981 before opening again in 2009 after being restored and renovated.
There are now 100 rooms and 70 apartments available, most kept in the iconic art deco style the hotel was known for. Make sure to book early, as the hotel does sell out, and space may be limited.
Contributed by: Victoria I www.guideyourtravel.com
4. Red Garter Inn – Williams, AZ
Image Courtesy: Booking.com
Route 66 is not only a scenic route and an original US highway but also makes one of the best road trips to explore multiple cities throughout the country.
The Red Garter Inn is located right opposite the Grand Canyon Railway Station in Williams, Arizona—a place teeming with history. It’s the perfect hotel to stay in for those who want to experience sleeping in a brothel.
The inn was built back in 1897 by the German tailor August Tetzlaff, who’d hoped to profit from the silver and copper boom by the Grand Canyon. The lower level used to be a secret bar, while the upper floor housed the brothel, where eight cribs sat, and the girls used to hang out by the windows.
Over the years, the building changed ownership several times and underwent transformation until the 1940s, when Route 66 became an increasingly popular route, and it became casual housing for passing travelers.
John Holst, the latest and current owner, bought it in 1984 and remodeled the interiors to become a BBQ joint, then eventually a bakery and coffee shop. The Red Garter Inn is now a 4-room bed & breakfast upstairs, a bakery downstairs, and part of the National Register of Historic Places.
Contributed by: Bradley I Dream Big Travel Bar Blog
5. La Posada – Winslow, AZ
Image Courtesy: Dreamstime/Larry Gevert
In the 1920s, the hotel mogul Fred Harvey set out to build the finest hotel in the Southwest. He fulfilled his dream with La Posada in Winslow, AZ. In its heyday, the most well-known celebrities flocked to this Route 66 hotel: Albert Einstein, John Wayne, Clark Gable, and Bob Hope to name a few.
The grand hotel resembles a luxurious hacienda and is one of the more high-end places to stay on Route 66. You can tell by the landscaping at the front gate that this is a special place. The grounds are sprawling 12 acres with a cottonwood grove and well-manicured gardens of sustainable desert plants.
La Posada is steeped in history, and as you enter the building, you may mistake it for a museum. The halls are filled with artifacts and antiques that tell the story of this historic hotel. On the walls hang photos of the Harvey family and other memorabilia. In the restaurant, a china closet displays unique dishes and keepsakes.
Even if you can’t spend the night, visit the restaurant. The bread pudding is so good; they offer it for breakfast and dessert!
In addition to being on the famous Route 66, the hotel has its own Amtrak stop. As the stop was originally part of the Atchison, Topicahe and Santa Fe Railway, the railroad is also ingrained in the hotel’s history. Today, it’s on the Southwest Chief line that goes from Los Angeles to Chicago that runs twice a day.
Contributed by: Denise I Chef Denise