New Life For Route 66 Motels

John Steinbeck dubbed Route 66 The Mother Road, a road that was and is today the lifeblood of Williams, Arizona. Unlike most of historic Route 66 communities, Williams has preserved the heritage of The Mother Road and the historic motor hotels are experiencing a renaissance as new owners take over, in many cases run down properties, and re-energize them with unique furnishings and a fresh exterior. The business district with vintage shops and restaurants line old Route 66 and the entire town is very walk able with motels and shops along about ten blocks of historically preserved architecture.

When Rob Samsky first considered rehabilitating a vintage Route 66 motel he knew he had a big project ahead, the building was on the slate for condemnation by the city. Rob says “It was a labor of love and hard work for over a year with a whole lot of family and local community resources going into the rebirth of our motel. The pine wood that we used for the exterior treatment was cut from the forest right here and milled by a local sawmill. We combined many of the original rooms to create suites to make a very comfortable lodging experience.” The Lodge on Route 66 has the exterior character of the small vintage Route 66 motor hotels but the owners redefined the standard of luxury in all nine standard rooms and nine suites with wood and travertine flooring, top of the line pillow top mattresses with luxurious cotton linens, and solid wood furniture. Complimentary breakfast is served in the covered exterior cabana which is central to the motor court.

The Samsky family took on another significant renovation project to bring the motel across The Mother Road, the Downtowner, back to life. In this project the rooms have an upscale “downtown” feel with flat screen TV’s, granite & slate appointments and two of the 16 rooms have whirlpool tubs. The essence of the original Mother Road architecture has been preserved an, of course, a quieter and tamer Route 66 is right out the front door.

The Wild West Junction is a unique development that connects visitors to an era gone by that is the true Wild West heritage of territorial Arizona. Owners, Mike DuCharme and Jay Redfeather, dress the part of the vintage west as do all the employees at the Junction. The original motel has been totally reconfigured and is now one of the most unique tourist facilities in America. Staying in one of the six one-of-a-kind guestrooms in the Drover’s Hotel is like being invited to stay in someone’s museum. Each room portrays a theme from the Old West. A highlight of the Bordello single-queen room is a mural on one wall depicting an upscale brothel from the late 1800s. The rich décor of the room is worthy of the Madame of the establishment. The China Camp, with its two comfy Queen beds and Chinese motif, was decorated with the Chinese in mind who were such an integral part of the building of the West. If you like Westerns, then the Movie Memorabilia single-queen room is the perfect place to slumber, with movie posters on the walls, one of the ten original hats worn by Clint Eastwood in “Pale Rider”, as well as the “Quigley” gun, and a portrait of Tom Sellick over the bed. The Hacienda is a two-room suite, with fireplace, wet bar, Jacuzzi tub, and two private patios.

To recognize the heritage of the Chinese laborers who built the railway that comes through Williams, the Junction owners created Hop Sings Chinese Restaurant. The building is new but, like the rest of the Junction, it looks like it has been standing since the heyday of the era of the wild west. Dining is on two floors with four outdoor patios and an upstairs bar with a terrific view of the sunsets, mountains, and the Ponderosa Pine forest that surrounds Williams. With the Typhoon Saloon Restaurant & Bar within footsteps of the Drover’s Hotel, as well as the Territorial Museum, the Courtyard where most days cowboys hang out (and most nights there is live entertainment), the Wild West Junction is a great place to relive the Old West and stay right on The Mother Road, Route 66.

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