El Rancho – Home of the Movie Stars
A historic hotel along Route 66 once frequented by movie stars
Historic Route 66 is lined with quirky old hotels, nostalgic diners, gas stations, old neon signs and tourist attractions. Some are vacant and sad-looking. Others are still operational and playing up their connection to the road that was once the major route across the United States. The historic El Rancho Hotel along Route 66 in Gallup, New Mexico is still very much operational. During an overnight stay in Gallup at a different hotel, our hotel clerk directed us to El Rancho when we asked for restaurant recommendations. We discovered a unique and interesting place known as Home of the Movie Stars.
Entering the two-story lobby with its heavy beams, mounted trophy heads and Navajo rugs felt like stepping back in time.
El Rancho opened in December 1937. It was built by the brother of movie magnate D.W. Griffith. It was the headquarters for over 15 films made between 1940 and 1964, including Desert Song, Streets of Laredo, Rio Carnival and The Hallelujah Trail.
A circular staircase leads to a second level balcony gallery featuring autographed photographs of movies stars and Southwest art.
The restaurant decor resembles a Mexican cantina. It features both Mexican food and American standards. Each dish is named after a movie star. My steak was cooked perfectly. My husband enjoyed his tacos. The salsa was very hot.
I cannot say anything about the quality of the rooms. I did not see them. Each one is named after a star who stayed at the hotel. The gift store on the main floor has a great collection of Indian art and jewelry.
As you exit the hotel a sign wishing you Happy Trails says All Our Guests Are Stars.
Have you been to El Rancho Hotel in Gallup? have you visited another interesting and unusual hotel along Route 66?
I wish I would have made a pit-stop to see this when I did my cross country trip last year. The hotel looks very retro.
It is very retro.
We saw it and went inside. It felt to me that it was crowded with spirits. Besutifully decorated. I have totally regreted that we didn’t spend the night!!!!
I didn’t spent the night either and wonder what the rooms would feel like.
Hi Donna – What an interesting old Hotel. I’m a big fan of history and of old movies so this place would have been right up my alley. Would love to have gotten a peek at the inside of the hotel rooms. 🙂
It was fun to see all the signed star photographs. Brought back memories of old movies and TV shows.
I absolutely love the interior. It reminds me a bit of the interior at the La Fonda Plaza Hotel in Sante Fe. Then again, I love anything remotely tied to southwest decor.
I’m hoping to spend a couple of days in Santa Fe this spring, I’ll have to remember to check out the La Fonda Plaza Hotel.
This is so campy and cool! I’ll have to remember this if I get out that way. Just looking at all the pictures of the old time stars would be great fun!
It was fun to look at the photos.
I live right on Route 66 and never knew this was there! Funny how the things in your own backyard go unnoticed until someone comes to visit. Thanks for opening my eyes. Next time I go through Gallup, I’ll stop and have a look.
Sometimes it take someone “from away” to help us discover things near us.
Hi Donna, what a wonderful place to discover. I’ll bet you stop there on your return journey. You must have spent hours there just checking things out. I love those old time movies and stars.
It was fun to remember which movies and shows we’d seen.
Have to admit I had never even heard of El Rancho home of the movie stars. The whole concept is so American and that’s truly delightful in the sense that it really illustrates part of your culture.
It is very American and very fitting for Route 66.
I would like to visit this place, amongst many in America.
Thanks for sharing.
Would love to take a longer ride down Route 66. I’ve only seen a small piece of it in Albuquerque. The hotel looks great. Nice pix.
I’ve only driven small bits of Route 66 too – a bit in New Mexico, a bit in Arizona, and a bit in California. Even in that little bit, I saw many interesting “relics” of its past along the sides of the road.
Wow Donna..someday I hope to travel route 66 and I would be thrilled to stop at a place like El Rancho!
Nice post with great pictures. What an amazing hotel with a long history. Many who are fan of old movies will be visiting this place. I feel it is really a place worth sharing. Hotel seems amazing with lot of pictures. I am happy to know that El Rancho is home of the movie stars. The names of rooms after stars. WOW!
Thanks Anna. The old star pictures are great.
I’ve been to Gallup – too bad I didn’t know about El Rancho because it looks like just the kind of place I like to explore. I’ve made a note of it so maybe next time. Thanks!
You will have to stop in next time you’re through Gallup.
It is a gorgeous hotel. I am glad it did not get destroyed to make room for some shopping mall or a part of a motel chain. We loose to many of our traditions and historical sites.
There are a lot of abandoned hotels and restaurants along the old route 66. It is nice to see this one kept up.
Looks like a fun place to visit, Donna! I know my husband would enjoy it, as he’s a real nostalgia buff.