Deranged Mind

September 18, 2007

Memorable Motels

Filed under: Arizona,California,travel,Utah — The Deranged One @ 1:10 am

The Mrs. turned me onto this place – one of her coworkers is looking into a vacation there next year. It’s called the Ice Hotel and it’s located in JukkasjÀrvi, Sweden. So I took a whirl around their website. Pretty nice place, but looks a tad chilly. I love to travel, but the Arctic Circle in winter isn’t my first choice. From their website:

Are the bedrooms at below zero temperature?
Absolutely! Around -5 degrees Celsius is the indoor temperature in ICEHOTEL. If outdoor temperature falls below -30, then it may be -8 inside, but not colder!

It got me to thinking about some of the other notable places I’ve stayed. Notable doesn’t necessarily mean nice. First on the list would be La Posada in Winslow, AZ.

La Posada is the gem of Winslow. Winslow itself has certainly seen better times. I-40 bypassed the town and from outward appearances, the old downtown along Route 66 is slowing dying. Rather sad. However La Posada is one of the nicest places I’ve stayed. It was originally a Mary Coulter hotel built for the Santa Fe railroad and no expense was spared. Even though the front of the hotel faces the railroad tracks a short distance away, the massive walls block out the passing trains. The place is simply incredible. It was only operated for 27 years as a hotel until 1957 when it was closed and used as offices by the railroad. In 1994, it was in danger of being demolished when the current owners bought it and began restoration. I first stopped in shortly after it opened in 1998ish. Staying at La Posada is indescribable.

Imperial 400, Needles, CA. Nothing too special about this place – I stopped for the night after hiking for several days in the mountains outside of Lukeville, AZ. I’m sure I looked like a crazed nomad when I walked through the door. Must be why they wanted me to pay cash. But for $17, I couldn’t complain. I expected vermin to run from under the bed when I opened the door, but much to my surprise, it was one of the cleanest rooms I’ve stayed in. A bit worn, but spotless. Alas, the motel is for sale and I suspect it will turn into yet another McMotel along our vast Interstate system.

Silver Queen, Kingman, AZ. I stayed here for several days after my clutch went out in my truck as I crossed the Mojave Desert. Not sure if I was there on an off week or what, but the place was less than desirable (see I told you notable didn’t mean nice.) I was solicited in the parking lot and the next morning was awoken by the police beating down the door next to me. I moved to a nearby McMotel following the early morning wake up call.

Cliff Dwellers Lodge, Marble Canyon, AZ. I’ll stray here a bit off of I-40 and old Route 66. Stopped here on a long day of driving from Taos, NM to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 1997. At the time, I understood that it was closing for some remodeling. Looking at their website, it’s apparently been updated since the rooms now sport satellite television. When I stayed there, the rooms didn’t have phones, much less TV’s. The kids didn’t like it, but I was pretty happy about the lack of modernity. In any event, the scenery is amazing here.

The San Juan Inn & Trading Post, Mexican Hat, UT. We’ve stayed here several times over the years. This place consists of a motel, store, and restaurant/bar built on a bluff perched (literally) above the San Juan River. The rooms are clean, the scenery is incredible, but in recent years, the service has begun to slide and it’s not what it used to be. But, you’re at the center of the “Southwest” – Monument Valley, Cedar Mesa, Grande Gulch, etc are all nearby. And the Moki Dugway isn’t to be missed. It’s a dirt road to the top of Cedar Mesa and Muley Point. Muley Point affords views to last a lifetime.

Walker River Lodge, Bridgeport, CA. A beautiful place – half the rooms have decks that allow you to walk about 50′ to the Walker River. We stay here whenever we go to Bodie. Very relaxing place, great staff and the Hays Street Cafe is across the street and has the best breakfasts you’ll ever eat.

And though I’m sure I’m forgetting some, these are some of the most memorable. And they’ll always beat the franchises along the interstates where the sterile (not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to lodging) rooms don’t vary from place to place.

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