The Wigwam Motel: Holbrook, Arizona

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Not far from the Painted Desert on Interstate 40, Holbrook, Arizona is home to the quintessential Route 66 motel experience. The Wigwam Motel gives travelers the rare opportunity to sleep in a teepee. Outside, parked amongst the minivans and SUV’s, you’ll find several vintage ’50s cars, that help add to the time-warp experience.

I only saw one billboard for the Wigwam Motel, which (traveling westbound through town) advised me to turn at the second light. I did, and I ended up in a residential area. I believe that billboard was put up before a traffic signal was added at one of the I-40 interchanges.  Try turning right at the 3rd light, following old US 66, and you’ll find it easily.

So why didn’t I stay in a wigwam?  That, in itself, is a rather frustrating story that might not interest you, but heck, this is my website so I can rant occasionally!

When I finally located the motel, it was on the left side of the road, meaning I had to make a left turn across traffic to pull in to the parking lot.  The road was clear, except for one car traveling towards me.  Thinking it was going to drive by, I stopped, with my turn signal on, and waited.  The oncoming car slowed down, and still I waited patiently.  Finally, the driver, now crawling along, turned the wheel and entered the parking lot.  With the road now clear, I pulled in right behind.  We both got out of our cars and headed to the front door, where another customer was waiting.  When the clerk opened the door, all three of us walked in.  The clerk looked over the selection of rooms, and announced that she had JUST TWO WIGWAMS LEFT!  The person whom I had slowed down for, and for whom I was kind enough not to pull in front of, took the final wigwam without ever missing a beat, without ever turning around to apologize.

I guess the moral of the story is: when a wigwam is at stake, drive aggressively!

In case you’re wondering, I stayed at the Days Inn, which is also located on Historic US  Rte. 66, albeit in a newer section of town, near the interstate.  The motel was top-notch and surprisingly full.

 

I’m happy to report that in 2006, I had a much more positive experience at the Wigwam Motel.  You can read about my night in a wigwam here.

While the Wigwam Motel is located among many of Holbrook’s older, run-down motels, the teepees themselves have been well cared for in recent years, and are clean and safe.  I didn’t want to make a reservation without seeing them first, but I think you can safely reserve a wigwam without concern.

Note: This trip was first published in 2005.

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