Even though we weren’t staying there, when we played damsel in distress and went in to ask for help, Rob, the guy behind the desk (and, as it turned out, the owner of the hotel), couldn’t have been more helpful in our hour of need. He strapped on his gloves and Alaska-proof coat, came outside in the snow for a looksie at our car, decided that the battery was flat, and jump-started it from his own truck.
Then, so that we could make it to Sedona without it dying on us again, he let us use his own bathroom before packing us on our way with the offer of a spare Blackberry charger, seeing as ours was about to run out of juice.
He genuinely couldn’t have been lovelier – especially seeing as we weren’t his guests, we were just a rando foreigner in a ghetto 1996 Toyota – so we decided we would definitely owed him a stay on the way back (also we were too scared to make the journey in one go again). And so, two days later, we pulled back up at the Downtowner.
Obviously because we liked Rob long time after what he’d done for us, we were hoping that his motel was going to be a goodie, but we were slightly worried because it’s a Rodeway Inn. But we were very nicely surprised by what we found.
La famille Rob own the Downtowner and The Lodge on Route 66, opposite (the two are bisected by Route 66), and they take places 1 and two for hotels in Williams on TripAdvisor. Check in is at the Lodge, which has slightly larger (though less funky – we checked them out the next day) rooms.
We were checked in by a friendly lady, who later turned out to be Rob’s wife. She upgraded us to a king room, because she said the heating had been on in it for longer. She also checked whether we’d prefer to be in the Lodge on Route 66, which was busier that night, given that we were on our own, which we appreciated. We said we were fine in the Downtowner.
Our previous experience of Williams had been the Grand Canyon Hotel (nice idea, good history, but unbearably thin walls). Our previous experience of motels has, by and large been pretty gruesome. But the only thing motelly about this room was the size (there wasn’t much room for manoeuvre around the bed and the furniture, the air con unit (noisy), the layout of the bathroom sink (in the open, at the end of the bedroom) and the towels (we prefer a higher thread count).
Everything else was what we’d expect from a slick hotel. The bed was four poster, incredibly comfy and with meltingly silky sheets and even a throw on top. The TV was a flatscreen and huge. The sink area was marble. There was a funky mirror and random paintings on the wall. There were leather seats, for goodness sake.
Toiletries were above motel standard and not as chi-chi as hotel loot. We forget the brand, but they smelled a lot nicer than you’d expect (fruit flavors) and the soap was a proper chunky little bar, not one of the ones that breaks in your hand the first time you use it, as you normally get in hotels.
You also get a bedtime sweetie – not sure whether there’s a turndown service or not, because we arrived late.
Theoretically, there’s free WiFi. In practice, we couldn’t get it to work in our room, but we picked up a signal from the café behind so used that instead. We did, however, pick it up fine from reception. And when we mentioned it to Mrs Robert, she immediately ran over to restart the router. It didn’t make any difference to our computer, but we appreciated her trying, and we were happy with leeching off the neighbor’s WiFi in the meantime.
What We Liked:
The décor – homely but chic. Much nicer than our room at Caesars Palace we recently stayed in for our sister website, VegasChatter (although that’s not saying much). And the service – the whole car rescue thing aside, everyone was charming – we overheard Rob’s wife giving detailed info about the train that goes to the Grand Canyon for about 10 minutes on the phone to potential guests before they’d even booked.
Although, back to the car rescue – Rob gave it the once over again before we left, ascertained the battery was lacking in water, and spent a good 15 minutes topping it up. Again, above and beyond the call of duty.
What We Didn’t Like:
A few minor quibbles, as mentioned above – the air con/heating system was one of the noisy motelly ones, the towels could have been a bit bigger and fluffier, and a perfectly functioning internet connection would have been cool. Also, breakfast isn’t the best we’ve ever had – fruit, yogurts, instant oatmeal, cereal, pre-packed muffins etc - but then remember, this is a motel. It’s only because the rooms fool you into thinking you’re staying at a hotel that you’re surprised.
We paid $45 for one person, which we thought was fantastic value, but, be warned, rates soar in the summer (right now they’re going for $70). Williams is less than an hour away from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and way nicer than Flagstaff. It’s touristy, but charming with it. So for a Canyon break, this is ideal.