When you first pull up to the Wigwam Motel what strikes you immediately is just how picture-perfect it looks. I've wanted to stay at the Wigwam Motel for years. When my husband and I first started working on Roadtrippers this was one of the very first places we added to the site. It's just so thoroughly American and such an iconic part of Route 66. So, last week I finally went. And it was awesome. Here are 9 reasons why you'll fall in love with the Wigwam Motel too.
1. It's a Motel...that's also a Wigwam. You can sleep in a Wigwam!
Yes, I know it seems kitschy, and it is, and I won't apologize for loving it. Spending the night in Wigwam Village #7 just feels cool.
2. Motel owner Kumar Patel is a rare breed of awesome.
I had the great pleasure of hanging out with Kumar on my most recent trip down Route 66. I spent the night in one of the Wigwams with my 9-month-old son, Bruce, and then got to tour some amazing places, like the World's First McDonald's, Carey's Fine Automobiles, and we had a fantastic breakfast at D.J. Coffee Shop. Kumar lives and breathes Route 66. He does an exceptional job in promoting it as a travel destination and has gone to great length to encourage its preservation. America's lucky to have such a passionate business owner who works so tirelessly at promoting the road that helped define us as a country, and that continues to serve as a living time capsule of yesteryear.
3. The kids will LOVE it!
Not only does spending the night in a Wigwam afford major bragging rights to the kids, there's also a pretty rad pool to cool off that's surrounded by...you guessed it, nineteen 30-foot tall teepees!
4. Location, location, location!!!
If you started your Route 66 road trip from Chicago, the Wigwam Motel is conveniently located right as you enter the last stretch of your trip in California. There's plenty of cool places to hit up in the California stretch of Route 66. Definitely hit up the World's First McDonald's while you're in the neighborhood.
5. It's a timeless historical icon with quite the past...
Built in 1949, the California Wigwam Motel is technically within the city limits of San Bernardino (though it has a Rialto postal address). It was the last of the Wigwam Motels that were built. Frank Redford, the brains behind this retro motel, was "heavily influenced by native Indian culture." Today there are only 3 Wigwam Motels left, and only two are located along Route 66. The other one is in Redford's homestate of Kentucky.
6. Everything a weary traveler could need in a motel.
Each individual wigwam has refrigerator, bathroom with a shower, cozy bed, A/C and there's also a BBQ area and pool.
7. A little something for everyone...
From car enthusiasts to foreign travelers, from families to history buffs and travelers of all generations find something special about visiting the Wigwam Motel.
8. A bucket list-worthy roadside motel in every sense of the word.
The motel oozes the kitschy, cult ideal of the Mother Road's finest roadside attractions. It immediately transports you to a bygone era of drive-in movies, all-day breakfast at aluminum diners and going on dates at the local soda shop.
9. It's like right out of a movie!
When John Lassiter was scouting locations for his now-classic Disney Pixar film, Cars, he was immediately struck by just how classic the Route 66 Wigwam Motels were. Other Route 66 places that made a cameo include the Tower Conoco & U-Drop Inn, Blue Swallow Motel, Rt. 66 Roy's Motel Cafe & Gas Station and this gas station in Galena, KS: 4 Women On the Route.
Bottom Line: This is THE place to stay on Route 66. Ask for Kumar, and take him out for a beer. He's a fantastic bloke.
Be sure to visit the Wigwam Motel on Facebook and Instagram for some hardcore Route 66 wanderlusting. Have you had a magical Route 66 experience at the Wigwam Motel? We would love to hear about it. Share you and your family's most heartwarming memories with us in the comments below!