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“A "must" if you're into the Old West!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of El Rancho Hotel & Motel

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El Rancho Hotel & Motel
2.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1000 East Hwy 66, Gallup, NM 87301   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 27 hotels in Gallup
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“A "must" if you're into the Old West!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012

On a roadtrip in the southwest, my sister and I stayed at the El Rancho. As a fan of all the old westerns, I was drawn by its history of famous stars who stayed there in its prime. We stayed in the hotel part, and were grateful that there was elevator access to our second floor room (just ask at the front desk). Two females on a long trip don't travel light! We stayed in the Mae West room. The room was ample size, clean, but rather dark. The outlets were few and old - I would have been afraid to plug too much of anything in. There aren't hair dryers or irons in the rooms, but they have them at the front desk if you ask. Yes, the bathroom was small, but was workable. I read comments about the sounds of the trains. I heard them, too, but I found that to be a charming part of the experience. We ate both dinner and breakfast at the hotel's restaurant (didn't realize that much of Gallup closes early on a Saturday). The wait staff was very friendly and, quite frankly, I thought we got a lot of food for the price. The lobby was a step-back in time, in the most complimentary way. It's lovely, rustically charming, and historic. What a thrill to walk around and see the photos of the stars who had spent time there. I noticed a number of people just sitting there and enjoying the ambiance. I don't think the El Rancho is for everyone, but if you are up for an adventure and a slice of history, it's worth at least one visit.

Room Tip: There is an elevator available in the hotel, but not visible from the lobby. Ask at the front desk.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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315 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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United Kingdom
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2012

We just had to stay at El Rancho in Gallup. It's the thing to do, isn't it? It stands right beside the railway track in all its glory, a thowback to the golden age of Hollywood. It's a long time since the Hollywood greats stayed at El Rancho and it's very tired. The rooms are tiny and by anybody's standards, the bathrooms positively miniscule. But you just have to stay there and bounce around all night on the trampoline-like beds, listening to that lonesome whistle of the goods trains which never stop. There is something so nostalgic about it that you just have to do it once.
Mind you, try not to be there on a Sunday because there is nothing to do. Gallup is closed all day until Monday morning which is when we did what we had gone to Gallup to do, hit Richardson's Trading Post. Now that is a real treat.
Having stayed once in El Rancho, I have no desire ever to go back there.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Arlington Heights, Illinois
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2012

Sure, it's a bit faded now, and still living off its fabled past, but this is the real thing. The guest rooms are on the small side, the plumbing is outdated and the painted brick hallways a trifle drab, but that doesn't detract from the atmosphere. If you're thinking of driving Rte 66, or just happen to be passing through, go ahead and stay in the best place that Gallup has to offer.

The main lobby alone is worth a visit, with its two storey log construction, hanging rugs and hundreds of original autographed film star photos lining the walls.

El Rancho may not have the creature comforts of a Comfort Inn, but it's an original, and there arn't too many like this left.

Room Tip: We were in the last room on the second floor, all the way down to the end on the right, with an outs...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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South Hadley, Massachusetts, United States
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2012

I really wanted to like El Rancho, but $90 got me a *tiny* room. No coffee (you can get it at the front desk) and wifi only in the lobby or dining room, a skinny shower stall (no tub), and no counter space in the bathroom at all so you had better be a monk with only a toothbrush or you are going to do a dance with your toiletry bag on the seat of the commode or going back and forth to get your stuff off the bed. If you get a $90 room and are with someone else, let's just say you had better love that person and have no personal space issues because you are going to be on top of each other all night. No fighting!

The lobby is something to behold, full of steer horns and an elk and mule deer head, an ancient cigarette machine and shoe-shine stand. It *is* fun to look at all the autographed pictures of golden-era Hollywood stars on the walls. Each room is named after a star: I stayed in the Ida Lupino Room.

I didn't hate it but it is not a great value. If you are doing the Route, it probably won't be your favorite place to stay either.

Advice: If you do decide to stay at El Rancho, avoid the restaurant because 1) it is overpriced; 2) vegetarian-hostile, and 3) there are LOTS of better places up and down the strip to eat: Earl's is a classic, Virgie's for Mexican, Eagle Cafe for coffee shop. These are places with great histories of their own right and are absolutely hopping with locals, which is always a great sign. You can get better and more food and feel really cared for.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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utrecht
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2012

Yes. The outside looks good so does the lobby and the two staircases and the photo gallery. But that's it. The rooms are very small but got one night that's not the biggest problem. Our Room was exactly above the airco engine of the entire building and the airco on the to had two possibilities on or of and on was really cold. The restaurant was 'kitch' service unpersonal good soso. We had breakfast somewhere else at Earls that was good

  • Stayed September 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Turlock, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012

El Rancho is a blast from the past. Everything about this old hotel tells a story. It has been the home for numerous Movie Stars while filming in the area including Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Ronald Reagan, John Wayne, Errol Flynn, Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart and many more. In addition to Movie Stars, numerous Political Figures have stayed at the El Rancho including two Presidents: President Eisenhower and President Reagan. Every room at the El Rancho is named after a movie star who stayed here(The days of Cowboy and Indian movies-many were filmed in this area). R.E. Griffith's Hotel El Rancho was built in 1937 as a haven for Hollywood's famous. His well-known brother, D.W. Griffith (director of such classics as "Birth of a Nation"), encouraged using El Rancho as a base for crews and stars on location because of its access to western landscapes and the rustic elegance of the hotel.

Photographs of film stars, Route 66 memorabilia, a hand carved log banister framing the wide stairs to the second floor and artifacts preserved from the days El Rancho first opened. El Rancho was linked to Hollywood and the movie industry from 1940 through 1964. Armand Ortega's restored Hotel El Rancho continues to operate by the sixth generation Ortega family, famous the finest in Indian handmade jewelry. The hotel store offers very fine jewelry, woven baskets, high prized pottery and fine Native Indian art.

I give El Rancho Five-stars because of the history it has preserved, a unique time in history that no longer exists today. The amenities are adequate, the food is middle of the road and the service is good. The rooms are clean. It is a pleasure to stay at the El Rancho. For those wanting to relive the 'old days' or to become acquainted for the first with the Route 66 nostalgia and the 'Cowboys and Indians' movie fame, this then becomes a Five-star hotel in my opinion.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Santa Fe
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012

Everyone should visit El Rancho Hotel once. Don't be afraid that you'll miss it when you get off the interstate in Gallup: it's right on the corner and has plenty of neon signage. The lobby is a scream. I must say, though, if this is where the movie stars used to stay while filming Westerns, these were movie stars who were not spoiled by luxury. We had the Ida Lupino Room (all the rooms are named for stars from back in the day). It was small, the bathroom tiny.

I must mention the lovely night desk clerk, Sean, who helped us when the reservation we'd made through Hotels.com didn't show up on their computer, and also did us a real solid by letting us know that we'd left the door to our car wide open! Thank you, Sean!

Breakfast is not included and is not exactly a bargain. However, the restaurant is nice, and the huevos rancheros were fabulous. Both the green and red chile sauces were delicious.

If comfort is your top priority, stay elsewhere in Gallup and come for breakfast. But do come.

Room Tip: Book through the hotel itself rather than using a travel site. They are very helpful, will give good...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about El Rancho Hotel & Motel

Address: 1000 East Hwy 66, Gallup, NM 87301
Location: United States > New Mexico > Gallup
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 27 hotels in Gallup
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2 star — El Rancho Hotel & Motel 2*
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
El Rancho Hotel And Motel
El Rancho Hotel Gallup
El Rancho Gallup

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