About the Hotel
Built in 1947 at the start of auto camping craze, to aid locals and tourists that chose to travel via roads in automotive rather than trains has had several glorious days of prosperity and fame.
Wigwam motel earned its name from the peculiar shape of its guest rooms. The tipi structure of each individual unit was mistakenly called wigwam, and since the motel is a collection of these tipi-shaped units, wigwam motels are often referred to as the wigwam village. Though the motel is physically located at San Bernardino has its address as 2728 East Foothill Boulevard, Rialto, California. The confusion of address occurred as this iconic motel is present at the boundary between San Bernardino and Rialto.
The infamous Disney movie ‘Cars’ drew inspiration from Wigwam motel to create ‘Cozy Cone Motel’ that had individual rooms shaped like a cone. That’s just another reason why this motel should be on everyone list of places to stay at. In spite of its fame and rich heritage, the wigwam motel still provides affordable rooms with topnotch facilities for anyone taking a walk down memory lane on route 66.
The wigwam village includes nineteen tipi structures made from wood framing, concrete, and stucco that are thirty foot tall with a base diameter of thirteen feet and is last of the seven wigwam villages built in the United States of America. The individual separations of each room provide privacy and customized experience for each stay. Each guest room consists of the main room and a bathroom that includes toilet, sink, and shower.
Frank A. Redford, an enthusiast in the collection of Native American artifacts designed these villages by adding tepee-structured motels around his museum-cum-shop that stored precious artifacts. The original design of these motels also included a symbol, swastika, which at the time was associated with good luck. Wigwam motel in Rialto/San Bernardino was not built with the intension of using it as a franchise, but as a personal guesthouse for Frank himself. Apart from the nineteen structures, a twentieth base is also present on-site as a sign of unfinished work.
During its glory years, Wigwam motels were fully functional in seven locations, namely, Alabama, California, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana and two in Kentucky. Currently, only three of them exist and two of those are present on U.S Route 66, specifically in Holbrook, Arizona and on the city boundary between San Bernardino and Rialto. The existing iconic Wigwam hotels have enticed their way into the National Register of Historic Places in the years 1988 (Wigwam motel at Cave City, Kentucky), 2002 (Holbrook, Arizona) and 2012 (Rialto/San Bernardino).
Renovations were made in 2005 after the effects of the great Depression and creation of Interstate highway to restore the best qualities and continue to be a favorite stop for historians, foreigners, preservationists, motorists and other travelers. The rich historic background of this motel sometimes makes it a destination for tourists. The reinvention of wigwam motel won the Cyrus Avery award for successfully maintaining the time-honored stature from 1947.
The nineteen guest rooms are arranged in double rows; the central structure is used as an office and lobby that is open twenty-four hours of a day. The aesthetics of the village are enhanced by its large grass grounds and palm trees, which are trimmed and well kept. A kidney shaped swimming pool and outdoor barbecue grill provides plenty of opportunities to socialize and make friends with the locals.s
All of the air-conditioned rooms at Wigwam motel come with a refrigerator and ironing facilities. Some rooms include beds with wagon-wheel headboards while others offer extra seating areas. The variety of guest rooms available is ideal to be tailored to the needs of customers based on the size of group and duration of stay. An extra bed can be added for a mere $10. Cable TV and free Wi-Fi is a modern touch added to these rooms but telephones were omitted to maintain the ruggedness of the past.
A swim at the large pool is an excellent way to start the day, followed by a long walk to San Bernardino History & Railroad Museum to learn about the history of railroads and model trains. A fine dining experience at Victoria gardens and an outdoor barbecue is a pleasant way to relax and refuel at Wigwam motel during a long journey through route 66.
The Wigwam motel has a stunning gift shop to take home a souvenir that brings back nostalgic memories of this unparalleled motel. The peace and quiet offered by Wigwam motel could invoke creativity and contemplation that might be much needed by writers, poets or authors with a writers block or just anyone looking to take a break from their busy and packed schedules.
The Wigwam motel itself houses relics and books about Route 66 and is available to anyone who likes to know the facts and figures. The vintage atmosphere is maintained throughout the guest rooms and encompasses the entire wigwam village. The absence of most modern technological advances gives both a sneak peek into how far science and technology have advanced along with the nostalgia of a simpler time.
Wigwam motel is surrounded by a San Bernadino County Museum, Pharaoh’s Lost Kingdom – amusement and water theme park, Original McDonals and Route 66 Museum, Victoria gardens for shopping and dining, San Bernardino County Fairgrounds, the California speedway and an event center named National orange show. The variety of activities and facilities that can be seen around makes wigwam motel a stellar place for all visitors with varying interests.
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How Wigwam motel stands out from the crowd:
- The Wigwam motel is animal-friendly motel so do not shy away from bringing your beloved pets along to cuddle, play and share this breathtaking experience with.
- Free Wi-Fi offered in all areas at the Wigwam motel helps to stay in touch with the modern world while enjoying a retro lifestyle. Wired Internet connection is also provided free of charge to each individual guest rooms.
- Free car parking is an added advantage that simply cannot be dismissed. Doing a cross-country tour on an RV? No worries regarding its safety at this fully secure and well-managed motel. Parking will be provided without any reservation.
- Another remarkable trait of the Wigwam motel is how economic the services are. All children under the age of five are allowed to stay for free. All children and adults may stay for free if only existing beds in rooms are being used. Additional beds or children cots maybe added based on availability. Zero booking fees and zero cancelation fees are applicable to Wigwam motel which makes it the ultimate stop on route 66 for a quick check-in and check-out for any unplanned or spontaneous trips.
- The twenty-four hour front desk houses pleasant staff that are well trained and fully equipped to handle any situations and answer all queries for visitors. Coffee and newspapers are available at the front desk every morning for those who fancy an old-fashioned start to their day.
- The snack bar contains a variety of local foods to give customers a taste of what they know and a taste of what they would experience on the continuation of their journey through route 66. Arrays of drinks are also available at the snack bar with a liquor store in close proximity for any specific requirements.
- Check-ins are made after 2 pm and checkouts before 11 am but the timings are negotiable based on customer convenience and pre-booked schedules. A prior notification should be provided in order to prepare for a later checkout.
- Taxi services are provided on request to any nearby locations or sightseeing spots. Charges are applicable based on distance and time but the service is reliable, safe and economic. The owners of Wigwam motel go out of their way to ensure that all demands are satisfied at a moments notice.
- All rooms are clean, neat and tidy. Air-conditioning, heating, and refrigeration are provided in all tipi structured guest rooms. Non-smokers rooms are also available on request for those that are highly sensitive to the smell of smoke. The swimming pool and barbecue facilities are accessible throughout the day.
Overall, The Wigwam motel is a sure sight to travelers looking to relive the past and hoping to unwind in the process. Relics of the forgotten glory of route 66 are present at every nook and corner of this historical preservation. Definitely an enjoyable and unique experience for the newer generations and old.