One of the most iconic things about America is United States Route 66, or just Route 66. From songs to stories, the former 2,451 mile highway had an important role in American history and pop culture that eventually spread out to many places around the world. Although Route 66 is no longer a highway; it remains a National Scenic Byway that people still travel on today. Obviously, over the last eighty-nine years, a lot of things have changed over the whole of the entire Route 66, but in San Bernardino, time has appeared to stand still at the Wigwam Motel.
The Wigwam was built in 1949 by Frank Redford, who by all accounts, was heavily influenced by Native American culture - which is obvious to anyone who can see the distinctive shape of the individual wigwams on the property. In 2008, it was purchased and renovated by Kumar Patel; and is still an operating motel to this day. I'll talk more about Kumar below, but for travelers looking for interesting pieces of Route 66 history; unique locations in California; or just unique places in general, the Wigwam is a great place to check out for a one of a kind retro experience.
Directions: The Wigwam Motel is located at 2728 West Foothill Boulevard, San Bernardino, California, 92410.
Review: While I don't usually review hotels or motels, as I am usually in a tent, the unique nature of the Wigwam has inspired me to pen a few words as part of my listed duties of exploring strange spots. In short, while the Wigwam is a great place to visit as a historic part of Route 66, it is also a great place to stay. This last weekend, my fiance and I stayed there on our way to go bungee jumping. Even though we had read a few reviews; we had no idea what to expect. When we arrived, we met Kumar - the motel owner - who was beyond personable and friendly. Even though he was the resident Route 66 expert, he was patient with our questions about the motel and the area - and even had a few comments about bungee jumping. After we were checked in, he also came by to ensure that everything was to our satisfaction - which we thought was a nice touch.
In terms of the room, each room is its own separate Wigwam - which to me is awesome. Each room comes equipped with modern amenities - flat screen TV and refrigerator as well, and our room was spotless and comfortable. It was awesome to stay in - and was a great experience to stay in a modern day renovated relic from the past, if that makes sense. In terms of the property, we arrived late and didn't have the full amount of time to take advantage of the Wigwam Motel's facilities as a whole, but saw that they had a great pool, well kept grounds; and a number of old classic cars on the property. Should I ever need to stay in San Bernardino again, you can rest assured that I will be back at the Wigwam Motel.