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  • Writer's pictureGrant Guy

El Rancho Hotel

The El Rancho Hotel, circa 1937 is a rustic chapter of Hollywood’s history, sitting in Gallup New Mexico.


Originally built by R.E. Griffith, brother of director D.W. Griffith, the El Rancho provided an oasis of glamorous accommodation for many Hollywood Stars shooting in the nearby area. Dozens of famous stars stayed at The El Rancho, including Betty Grable, Betty Hutton, Doris Day, Errol Flynn, Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart, and the list goes on.


Film crews and stars basing themselves at the El Rancho included those working on 1948’s “Streets of Laredo”, 1951’s “Ace in the Hole”, 1957’s “Fort Massacre”, and 1964’s “The Hallelujah Trail”.


Each room in the main building is labelled with the name of the star who stayed there, and the mezzanine above the expansive lobby is covered in vintage movie star photos and memorabilia. Most rooms are decorated ye olde wild west style - -wagon wheel bed head anyone? giddy up!


The main lobby gives a log cabin vibe on a grand scale, with huge fireplace, and twin staircases made of split logs.


There’s an Indian Store off the lobby, and also a restaurant - and the best part of our experience there was the souvenir coaster under our drinks - enough said.


From the outside the El Rancho screams plantation chic, looking like something from “Gone with the Wind”, with one glorious exception - the stunning collection of signage. Oh, be still my beating heart. One screams Hotel El Rancho in glorious neon, while another glowingly proclaims “charm of yesteryear — convenience of Tomorrow."


The El Rancho is on The National Register of Historic Places, and the New Mexico Register of Cultural Properties.


The hotel is at its most stunning at night - at the very least a drive by at dusk is highly recommended - and if you can stay the night, you’ll enjoy a historic, kooky and unique experience. We loved it.


New Mexico # 1 -last visited October 2023

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