We stayed in #19 at the Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino on 12/30/2011. This was our 2nd Wigwam - we stayed at the one in Holbrook AZ last year. The rate was very reasonable - around between $70 and $80 a night.
So, we "slept in a wigwam" - actually a concrete poured structure just big enough for 2 beds, with a little restroom/shower off to the side. As a wigwam, it's surprisingly roomy, but as motels go, it's sort of cramped, and a tall guy like me has to be careful, or you bump your head a lot. But the novelty of it, especially if you are on a Route 66 pilgrimage, makes up for that. There is a pool (which we did not use on our December stay) and Cable TV to provide diversion if you're sticking around.
The beds were OK; not the most comfortable and somewhat small, but clean enough. Bathroom standards have clearly changed since the 50's; the absence of a shelf to put out shaving kits etc. was awkward, and none of us even tried to use the shower, since it was so much smaller than even the standard setup we're used to. Unfortunately, the architectural form of the wigwam pre-empts expanding the bathrooms at all, so you just have to put on your nostalgia hat and be glad you're not really living in the 50's anymore.
Comparing Holbrook and San Bernardino: If you are going to stay in only one "wigwam" in your life, we recommend Holbrook, mainly since it's close to the Petrified Forest National Park and many other natural things to see. It also has cool 50's cars left around as decorative props for photos. It has a larger office for checking in, with a gift shop and a Southwestern museum attached. But, we don't recall a pool, and actually the rooms in Holbrook were less comfortable than the rooms in San Bernardino. And, Holbrook is further away if you live in California. So, if you're doing a Route 66 journey, we really recommend you stay in both and see for yourself.
For all those reviews that described the neighborhood as dire or dangerous, well, we don't know what they're talking about. Rialto is not Beverly Hills, for sure, and there is some level of economic distress in the Inland Empire in general, but we saw nothing that made us feel one bit uneasy driving around in our Lexus. We suspect the fact that the neighborhood seems predominantly Latino (there is a "llantera" across the street) may have colored the impressions of some reviewers. We saw nothing to worry about. Check out Foothill Blvd. on Google Street View and see for yourself.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Historic Route 66! One of the few remaining classic motels. This family-fun roadside attraction was built in 1949 and has undergone a renovation phase. The motel offers a complete guest room in a peculiar fashion of actual wigwam units. The motel comprises of all the standard hotel amenities ! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Wigwam Hotel San Bernardino
- Wigwam Motel San Bernardino