Over the last few years I’ve been blessed to stay at some of the nicest hotels available. We’ve stayed in places like The Peninsula Shanghai, the Intercontinental Beverly Hills, the Grand Californian, the Grand Floridian and the Hong Kong Disneyland hotel. With that said, I’m not a hotel snob. I actually prefer handling my own luggage and parking my own car.
When we decided to visit Disney California Adventure as a family, we thought it appropriate to watch the movie Cars, so we could compare it to or Cars Land experience. While watching the movie, I thought it would be fun for my kids to experience sleeping in a Cozy Cone. Well, one can’t actually stay there, so a wigwam would have to suffice.
We began planning out our 2 week westward trek to California from South Carolina to coincide with spending time with friends along the route and sharing some vacation time with friends as well. Originally, I thought we might need to return to Williams, Arizona, which we visited briefly on our last extended car trip 3 years previous to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and such.
After searching the old interweb, Google is my friend, I found the Wigwam Motel in San Bernadino, California. I read reviews that the more recent owners are trying to completely refurbish the motel from it’s former unseemly image to again be a family stop along Route 66. So, I decided to book a night on the way out of Los Angeles. The cost for one night and two double beds is about $80 and they offer a quite cold pool.
The check-in procedure was very old-school. I had fill out a little card with personal info like address and type of vehicle, but they do accept Visa, I need to keep those Mickey points flowing.
The gentleman at the desk was friendly and he and I talked about Cars Land, Cozy Cones, chili cone queso and the like. The check-in area was filled with Route 66 souvenirs. We received our key cards and were assigned wigwam 18 in the village. There are 20 total wigwams from which to choose, some are king rooms, while others are double doubles.
We noticed that they wigwams had been repainted on the outside and inside, but felt they lacked native markings on the outsides that would have added to the experience. I told my daughter that each should randomly puff smoke into the sky, but they don’t. Can you tell I spend a lot of time at Disney Parks?
We opened the door to find a clean, simple room.
The headboards have the appearance of a wooden wagon wheel and the beds have a clasic western appeal. The newer paint was all one color: white. The room has one window air conditioner, which took about one hour to cool the room down from 95 degrees to a comfortable level. It has a modern wide screen television with a small refrigerator. The room is about 14 feet round.
The bathroom had a retro 1950’s look to it with shiny red and cream tiles that stand out against the stark white walls. They did provide us with 4 bath towels and two pool towels. The manager was apologetic that he couldn’t offer more pool towels, he said people steal the towels frequently, even though they are just plain colored towels. The look of the bathroom fit the 1950’s, but didn’t really add to the wigwam experience. More of the western theme would have fit better, but it gave us a nice 50’s kitsch.
The grounds were very well maintained with ample, thick green grass, some nice plants, a small, clean pool and even a fire pit for your Indian council meetings and fire dances.
In the rear appears to be the beginnings of a classic broken-down car area. My daughter was startled by the imitation legs under the car. I liked the old panel van and would refurbish it and place it in front of the motel to draw in more tourists.
There’s a small building in the rear that appears to be used for maintenance and cleaning. When the maids came the next day, they were pushing the towels around the small property in an old shopping cart. We thought that was funny and added to the roadside oddity appeal of the place.
The Wigwam Motel owners seem to appreciate the motel’s Route 66 heritage better than the previous owners, who let the place fall into total disrepair. I loved details on top of the lamps in front of each wigwam.
If you’re driving down the Mother Road or plan a Cozy Cone experience like we did, be sure to book on the internet for your 10% off. The Wigwam Motel was a nice thing to add to our memory book.