For those seeking Western-style adventure, there are dude ranches, many of which are luxurious lodgings with horseback riding. Across the range, all are likely to offer private bathrooms and clean, comfortable rooms. Las Vegas hotels are noted for their themes and size and have widely varying prices, depending on occupation and whether you wish to stay mid-week or on weekends. Across the rest of the region prices also tend to vary according to the season.
Chain Hotels and Motels
For the most part, you can count on efficient service, moderate prices, and comfortable (if bland) surroundings at a chain hotel. The most popular chains include Holiday Inn, Comfort Inn, Best Western, Ramada Inns, Econolodge, and Super 8.
Particularly good values are suite hotels, such as Country Inn and Suites and Embassy Suites, which offer living rooms and kitchenettes for little more than the cost of a basic hotel room. Chain hotels also offer central reservation systems that can help you find a room at peak times.
Motels provide rooms that are usually accessible from the parking area. They are often the only option in remote areas, and can vary from nostalgic Route 66 places to such bargain lodgings as Motel 6.
Western Hotels and Dude Ranches
If you’ve ever wanted to indulge your “Old West” fantasies there are plenty of historic hotels in which to do so. Between 1880 and 1920, Western towns gained prestige through the quality and grandeur of their hotels, and many built during this time boast extravagantly ornate decor. Today, many of these places have been carefully restored and offer great settings for a vacation. Durango’s Strater Hotel, for example, with its antique-furnished rooms, is both a historic hotel and a museum.
Dude ranches offer visitors the chance to experience western life. They first appeared in the 1920s – the name “dude” is a colloquialism meaning “a city-dweller unfamiliar with life on the range.” Choices range from relaxing vacations that include leisurely horseback rides to working ranches where you participate in such activities as cattle roundups. Meals, accommodations, and horses are usually included in the price. Arizona and Colorado have Dude Ranch Associationsto help you find the perfect western vacation.
Hotel Classifications
The Tourist industry throughout the Southwest is recognized for its quality lodgings. A guideline to travelers is the diamond rating system of the American and Canadian Automobile Associations. Every accommodation, from the one-diamond motel to the five-diamond resort hotel, is rated for service, cleanliness, and the facilities offered.
Luxury Hotels
In the southwest, hotels come in every shape and size, including historic showplaces, such as Grand Canyon’s El Tovar, originally built to impress East Coast investors and prove that the Southwest was an exciting tourist destination. Today, some of the most lavish hotels in the US are located in the region, from the extravagant, themed mega-resorts of Las Vegas to the Wigwam Resort in Phoenix with its three championship 18-hole golf courses, tennis courts, and gourmet dining. The area around Phoenix and southern Arizona is famous for both its luxury health and golf resorts. Small, independently owned “boutique” hotels offer luxurious facilities combined with an intimate atmosphere and attentive service. There are also many hotels aimed specifically at corporate travelers, offering weekly rates and computer and fax outlets in the rooms, although these services are now available in a range of hotels.