Bored with rectangular hotel rooms? Seeking to pursue your side interests on the road? Arizona offers several fanciful places to bed down, from vintage trailers to teepee-shaped rooms. Most are great fun for families, or for adults who refuse to grow up.
For Fans of Happy Days
At The Shady Dell, a historic (opened 1927) RV park in Bisbee, you can bring your own trailer or rent a vintage aluminum model – including a 1949 Airstream and a 1950 Spartanette – to sleep in. All come equipped with reproduction vintage radios, among other retro touches. Also on the premises: Dot's Diner, restored to its 1957 Art Deco splendor and serving fine never-out-of-style diner fare.
For Choo Choo Charlies and Charlenes
You can bunk in two 1929 Santa Fe Railway cabooses, each of them suite-size, at Canyon Motel & Railroad RV Park in Williams, or bed down in the 1950s classic Grand Canyon Railcar with three separate rooms. Caboose room bonus (or not): Several guests have claimed that the cars are haunted, with some spotting a ghostly conductor.
In Tucson, Karrels' Double K Ranch Bed and Breakfast Homestay is chock-a-block with railroad memorabilia. Bring your own train and run it on the 1,000 feet of track in the backyard or play with the Karrels’ model trains. There’s also a (ghost-free) restored caboose to sleep in.
For Boys of Summer Buffs
Built in 1961 as a spring training camp and relaxation facility for the San Francisco Giants, Francisco Grande Hotel & Golf Resort includes among its baseball-related features a bat-shaped pool, a ball-shaped Jacuzzi and the 18-hole golf course where Willie Mays teed off. It recently underwent a multimillion-dollar revamp, and is fit to host today’s far more pampered teams.
For the Kitsch Crazy
Not only can you sleep in a teepee on old Route 66 at the Wigwam Village Motel in Holbrook, but each of these pointed-ceiling lodgings is fronted by a beautifully restored classic car. Opened in 1950, the motel closed in 1974 when Route 66 was bypassed, but was reopened in 1988 by members of the family who built it originally.
For Perpetual Students
The School House Inn B&B in Bisbee, built as the Garfield School in 1918, capitalizes on its golden rule days with such themes as the Principal’s Office Suite and the Art Room; the original school blueprints are displayed in the doorway.
Rooms at the Noftsger Hill Inn in Globe, opened as a school in 1907, highlight the town’s mining, not educational, past – but they all offer chalkboards for guest comments. No screeching, please.
For the Feather-Brained
Several lodgings in avian-friendly southeast Arizona cater to birding enthusiasts, but Casa de San Pedro in Hereford is really top-flight. Among the highlights: bird- identification software installed on the computer in the common room, birding tours and courses (for an extra fee) and proximity to several prime bird-rich conservation areas.
Jerome might have been wicked when it was a copper mining boomtown, but its sinners had great healthcare. The United Verde Hospital, opened in 1927 and formerly Arizona’s best-equipped hospital, is now the Jerome Grand Hotel. The rooms are no longer institutional, but the upscale restaurant is named The Asylum. The mansion built nearby for the hospital’s head physician is now The Surgeon’s House, a bed and breakfast. Today, as then, it has all the mod cons and caters to important people – the inn’s guests.