We'd last visited El Rancho about 6 years ago and have dreamt of returning ever since. Since we often travel with dogs we always choose pet-friendly accommodations. El Rancho allows pets, and no additional pet-fees are charged, though you must mention this when booking, as specific rooms are set aside for those traveling with dogs. Overall, the hotel is priced very reasonably. Our nice big room was about $100 per night, including the tax.
This historic property is the heart of Gallup, a local landmark decorated with lore and the Hollywood film stars who encamped there during the midcentury hey-day of western films. The hotel makes for a great headquarters for touring other interesting sites in this very scenic area, such as the Zuni Pueblo, about 35 miles southwest. El Rancho is a bit east from downtown--about a mile or two.
Gallup midweek is not very bustling (downtown was nearly vacant), and most of the pedestrians are panhandlers (though not very aggressive ones). The hotel has a security guard stationed at the parking lot, but the hotel property never seemed unsafe. The entrance, lobby, parking lot and grounds were always busy with hotel guests . On the night we were there a local family was hosting a festive multi-generational party in the adjoining "Andalusian Room" banquet hall to celebrate a 16th birthday. Staying at El Rancho made us feel like a part of the community, because this place is the real deal. My most favorite aspect is the spacious lobby, a vestige of a former era. Hotels don’t include such fantastic public spaces any more. Lots of comfy seats and tables. Its upper deck of cozy stuffed chairs and access to an outdoor porch overlooking Rt. 66 is a wonderful feature. The framed photos of Hollywood stars, and 1940s-60s memories of the property, past employees and events are fascinating.
Our room, named for famed 1940s pin-up gal Betty Grable, was large by modern hotel/motel standards. The mattress was great, the water pressure excellent, and the air-conditioning super chilly. The bathtub was vintage-style large, but otherwise the bathroom was small and awkwardly shaped. The housekeeping and maintenance staff do a fantastic job. The front desk clerks were also friendly and helpful. The swimming pool tucked out back is a perfect place to relax on a summer night. The restaurant serves good food and the serving staff are super, though the menu is somewhat limited. We enjoyed a dinner and a breakfast there.
On weekend summer nights a group of Native-American dancers perform a variety of tribal dances on the patio at 5:30pm--featuring traditional dances of southwestern tribes as well as other tribes from the Great Plains. Amazing, athletic and totally captivating.
On suggestion of my in-laws who stayed there a couple of years back, we requested and were allowed a sneak peak at the "Ronald Reagan" suite on the 1st floor. Wowie zowie! The bathroom, brilliantly tiled in Moorish motif, was HUGE! The closet was also colossal.
The slogan of El Rancho is "Charm of Yesterday/ Convenience of Tomorrow". Funny 'cause the "tomorrow" they were talking about when the sign was made has already long come and gone-- but also not untrue, since they are decked out in flat-screen TVs in the rooms and Wi-fi access is available in the lobby. Well worth an overnight stay if you’re traveling Rt. 66. El Rancho is an all-time favorite.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The El Rancho Hotel is the embodiment of America’s Old West. According to author Russell A. Olsen, “As you enter the historic El Rancho through the stately front entry, you immediately realize this was and still is a special place….During its heyday, the El Rancho Hotel was one of the premier hotels in the entire Southwest and became the place for the Hollywood set to stay when filming in the area. The El Rancho Hotel was one of the premier hotels in the entire Southwest and became the place for the Hollywood set to stay when filming in the area. – Author Russell A. Olsen During its glory years, the El Rancho was the definition of luxury and included many amenities that were lacking in other typical tourist hotels of the day. For 50 years, the El Rancho Hotel greeted guests along Route 66 with class and dignity…Luckily for us, this one-of-a-kind hotel once again greets guests with open arms and enjoys the renewed worldwide interest in Route 66 and its landmarks.” ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- El Rancho Hotel And Motel
- El Rancho Hotel Gallup
- El Rancho Gallup