We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“A Sleek Oasis”
Review of Thunderbird Hotel

We can't find prices for this hotel
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this hotel, but we can search other options in Marfa
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Thunderbird Hotel
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Marfa
Reviewed 7 October 2008

We loved the Thunderbird - a sleek oasis in the middle of West Texas. Especially appreciative of how pet friendly it is.
Our favorite part? The bathrooms are minimal and hip. Great water pressure, and everything was spotless.

Stayed: August 2005
1  Thank kelsita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
Reviews (168)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language

144 - 150 of 168 reviews

Reviewed 13 July 2008

Having stayed at the similarly designed Hotel San Jose in Austin last year, we were looking forward to a couple nights at the Thunderbird. I don't understand the complaints about the aesthetics of the place. I think it's obvious from photos on the website what a typical Thunderbird room looks like: sleek and spare, with nary a square of carpet to be found. My issues with the Thunderbird stem from a lack of customer service and overall organization.

The hotel office closes at 9PM but on the night we checked in, we received a call saying they were closing an hour early. I didn't realize I had a the message until after we checked in and in retrospect, I now know why I felt so rushed during check-in. But anyway, we were able to check in before 8, which turned out to be fortuitous, because the lights in our original room didn't work. After a bit of back and forth, we were switched to an adjacent room.

I was under the impression that the hotel had WiFi throughout, which turned out not to be the case. My husband ran across the street to grab an ethernet cable but that didn't do anything. At 7:59 we called the front desk to ask for ethernet instructions (as specified in the room folio) but too late, they had already closed up for the night. Not sure why they weren't provided originally when we were given the cable. The internet situation was consistently frustrating throughout our stay. The next morning we were told that wireless only worked in the pool and outdoor sitting area and that the in room access was not working. The WiFi coverage was spotty at best, working maybe half of the time. We never did get access in our room and none of the employees seemed to have any sort of idea of what the problem was.

The room itself was fine, though we didn't get the same sense of comfort that we got from the San Jose. This might have been due to the number of bugs in the room. During our stay, I must have caught a dozen mosquitoes. The walls and ceiling were dotted with squished bugs and there were several tiny dead mosquitoes along the counter in the bathroom. There was also a swarm by the ice machine.

Upon reviewing my bill at checkout, I was surprised to see a resort fee and resort fee tax. The supplemental charge turned out to be a tip for the housekeepers. We had already left a tip in the room, so I went back to the room to get it back. I'm not sure I've ever stayed at a hotel that included a compulsory tip and then to be taxed on that tip is ridiculous! The Thunderbird should really mention it on their website.

We did enjoy the hotel lounge next to the office across the street. They showed Young Frankenstein in the outside patio one night and the bartender made a nice michelada.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank youthlarge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 May 2008

The well-traveled visitor to Marfa will immediately notice that the town suffers from a distinct lack of corporate comforts. This paucity of options makes eating difficult, but nowhere is it more problematic than in the realm of accommodations. In the absence of a Hampton Suites, Red Roof Inn, Motel 6, or any other beacon of class and comfort, you may find yourself, as I did, rolling the dice on a local outfit such as the Thunderbird.

Despite its exorbitant high price ($175+tax/night), the Thunderbird cuts corners everywhere it can. Observe, for example, the unpaved gravel parking lot. (Don't they realize that this is 2008?) Inside, the wall-to-wall carpet standard in any respectable motel is nowhere to be found. You will just have to make do with a concrete floor and an imitation animal skin rug. The furniture, what little the rooms contain, is sub-par and lacking in ornament. The bed is very low to the ground. This allows the sleeper to be aerodynamic, but it is otherwise rather pointless. The bathroom door is inadequately thick. Groans are only slightly muffled by its presence.

The hotel attempts to compensate for these glaring deficiencies with a few "amenities". There is a fine little swimming pool, but it is surrounded by unsightly cacti. (Swimming is free of charge; there is not a water slide.) For a nominal fee, the hotel loans out record players, LPs, and bicycles. This would almost be funny were it not so pitifully small town and anachronistic.

The real problem with the Thunderbird is its clientele. The people in the rooms neighboring yours are likely to suffer from mental disorders of one variety or another. Based on close observation of eyewear, I suspect some of them may be artists, free spirits. This will lead them to believe that it is acceptable to have loud and insipid conversations directly outside of your room at 4:30am, despite your respectful requests that they speak softly or relocate. The management, when you complain the following morning, may bribe you by returning $50. This would be some consolation if the hotel were not already so overpriced.

In conclusion, a Red Roof Inn should be built in Marfa. Could there also be a Kettle Restaurant? I hope so. Ideally, it will all be located within short walking distance of the Chinati Foundation.

  • Stayed: May 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank DekeFoster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2008

This Place was priced sky high, $180.00 for one night, concrete floors, terible bed. Truly a rip off for anyone with traveling experience. We were on a 1500 mile motorcycle tour and did not have a choice of hotels as the Paisano was booked up.
do yourself a huge favor, and book the Paisano rather than the Thunderbird.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1  Thank RKGSpring_Texas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 April 2008

If you like sleek, modern, contemporary-minimalist hotel rooms, you will like the Thunderbird. However, if you're in West Texas and think that you're going to be met by a local yokel with down-home Texas charm, ehhhh, you may not find it here. While the staff later warmed up to me, I have to say I was a little disappointed from the customer-service standpoint when I checked in. Read: slight attitude.

That said, after my stay was up a couple of days later, upon checkout I found the staff to be a bit warmer. The bar is small and rather dim and hard to read a book in (if you're traveling solo like me and wanted to have something to read with your drink). I did not take advantage of the pool due to the time of year, but I found the facility to be very clean, I LOVED the sheets on the bed, and I enjoyed the stark design. Was it worth the $275/night? I think about $100 less would have been more appropriate, but the Thunderbird has carved out its own little niche in Marfa hotels, and I suppose that is how they manage to demand that price point.

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1  Thank NomadGrrrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2008

I was lured to Marfa by the hype that has been building for years. The movie industry and the art movement spurred by the Judd Foundation have made the town a "must see" for some people. Some friends recommended that I stay at the Thunderbird during my visit.
I checked in with my dog since I had heard that the Thunderbird was pet friendly. What the desk clerk failed to tell me was that in addition to the $135 charge for my room, there was also a $50 charge for my pet. Not a deposit, but a flat $50 fee. When my trip was over and I returned home to review my credit card bills, I was shocked to find out that my one night stay at the Thunderbird totalled $217.00. That was a room for one with taxes, fees, etc. No phone calls or "extras". I emailed the manager to register my complaint about the costs, but I received no response.
I have certainly paid that much and more for hotel rooms in my travels around north America, but the fact of the matter is that the "Thunderbird Hotel" is really an old 1960's motel with some fancy lighting and cowboy chic furnishings. When I was there in March, the concrete floor was cold and the heating system which was operated by a puzzling remote control, never did much to warm up the room.
And though this is not a complaint about the lodging, I found it very difficult to find restaurants open, and was unable to find any place for coffee and breakfast at 8:00 in the morning.
My advice if you are going to Marfa. Stay at the beautiful "El Paisano" hotel. It's no more expensive, and the atmosphere is much better. I also recommend that if you are going, be prepared for a low level of services and dining options.

  • Stayed: March 2008, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3  Thank eltexano
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2007

I stayed at the Thunderbird for two nights. It was a fine hotel, although I found the furnishings a bit cold and modern for my taste. Comfort comes with a slighly more traditional decor, I found, though it was visually veryput together. The concrete floor is cold underfoot and I felt sorry for the animal whose pelt was on it, but if you love mid-century design, you will dig it, and it goes nicely with donald judd's boxes, which was the theme of my visit. I was disappointed that I could not use the pool the one day I had to use it b/c it was being treated with chemicals, which the desk clerk was none too friendly about communicating. I had two very friendly clerks and one attutudinal one, so not too bad based on previous reviews. the toiletries and towels were very nice, the ac worked well, the lavender bush outside my door scented my entry divinely, and the bed was okay, although there is a point to box springs, as I found out. The tv remote was missing (replaced when I asked) and computer connection only worked right outside the office. Not bad, but I'll try the Paisano next time.

    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
5  Thank sevenoak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Marfa
0.4 mi away
Hotel Saint George
Hotel Saint George
#1 of 4 in Marfa
263 reviews
22.8 mi away
The Maverick Inn
The Maverick Inn
#3 of 13 in Alpine
415 reviews
19.9 mi away
Quarter Circle 7 Hotel
Quarter Circle 7 Hotel
#5 of 13 in Alpine
64 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
22.0 mi away
Holland Hotel
Holland Hotel
#1 of 13 in Alpine
498 reviews
20.1 mi away
Hampton Inn Alpine
Hampton Inn Alpine
#2 of 13 in Alpine
557 reviews
23.4 mi away
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alpine Southeast
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Thunderbird Hotel? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Thunderbird Hotel

Address: 600 West San Antonio, Marfa, TX 79843
Region: United States > Texas > Marfa
Amenities:
Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Marfa
Price Range: £60 - £80 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 24
Also Known As:
Thunderbird Hotel Marfa, Texas

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing