Many of our fellow road warriors out there may already know that the original Route 66 through New Mexico used to be a longer, different route than the Route 66 that runs through the Land of Enchantment today. Before 1937, “Old Route 66” as it’s known today used to wind its way through Las Vegas, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque before continuing its present route to Gallup, New Mexico and further west through Arizona and into California.
It was during this time that the Duncan Hines approved El Rey Court was built in 1936 along Old Route 66 with 12 modern Pueblo style cabins, solid adobe walls and amenities that included steam heat, tiled shower baths and adjacent garages. (Some of the cabins even came with kitchenettes.) Surely, owners Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd P. Davis must have thought they the perfect location for weary travelers to rest their head along the Old Mother Road. However, as the old saying goes, “things aren’t always what they seem” and things were about to change for the Davises.
Back in the early part of the 20th century, there was a group of businessmen and officials known as the “Santa Fe Ring” who had close ties to the Republican Party. After being elected to a two-year run as governor in 1924, Democrat Arthur Thomas Hannett lost his bid for re-election and blamed the Republicans in Santa Fe for his defeat. The then lame duck Hannett would use the rest of his term plotting vengeance. One of the first things he did was push a 69-mile cutoff that would bypass Santa Fe altogether by going directly from Albuquerque to Santa Rosa. Designated as Route 6, the road would eventually become part of the Route 66 realignment in 1937. This meant that the El Ray Court was bypassed, too.
However, the Davises didn’t let that stop them and it seems that the El Ray Court would be nevertheless successful. In fact, by the 1950s, the El Ray was expanded when rooms were added to the motor court by converting the garages into rooms. They even added a swimming pool at this time as well.
Terrel White purchased what was, by 1973, the 38-room El Rey Court. White replaced all the gas and sewer pipes and even preserved through the 1973 Oil Crisis that caused many other mid-century mom and pop motels to shutter their doors. More and more rooms were added in 1977, 1980, and 1983 and by 1993 the motel even included a newly-built 10 room Spanish Colonial courtyard. The next year they added 21 more rooms and name change to the El Ray Inn was part of changes in the 1990s.
Today the iconic 86- room adobe roadside motor court has changed its name back to the El Rey Court and current owning partners, Jeff Burns, Matt Comfort, and Jay and Alison Carroll have re-imagined and renovated its five-acre campus to include walkways, gardens, a sauna, and much, much more.
Inside, each of the adobe rooms have been completely re-imagined with no two rooms being alike, well, except for the amenities which include free WiFi; access to the on-grounds pool, hot tub, and fireplace; Tivoli in-room Bluetooth sound systems; and DirectTV in all rooms. Oh, and for an extra fee, Fido is welcome to stay the night, too!
You’ll also find the local indoor-outdoor watering hole Le Reina on-site that not only features delicious wood-fired pizzas made by Tender Fire Kitchen Thursdays through Saturdays, but also other special nights including live music on Wednesdays and Sundays and Queer Night every Monday.
The next time you’re road tripping through New Mexico and you’re looking for an authentic retro roadside experience with all the modern amenities today’s roadtrippers have come to expect, make it a night at Santa Fe’s iconic El Rey Court. For more information or to make a reservation, check out the El Rey Court’s website. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at +1 505-982-1931.
With today being the official beginning of summer, that also means it’s the beginning of road trip season, so whether its Route 66 or I-95, don’t forget to make a Stuckey’s stop part of your road trip or family vacation itinerary. Stop in or shop online at stuckey.com for all of your favorite road trip snacks including Stuckey’s Pecan Pralines, Pecan Divinity, Hunkey Dorey, Sea Salt Pecans, and of course, America’s favorite road trip treat – the Stuckey’s Pecan Log Roll.
(Incidentally, you can still get all of this pecany goodness along with a saltwater taffy, a Stuckey’s coffee mug, and a 12” plush squirrel in the Stuckey’s “Welcome Spring” Gift Box. Sure, Memorial Day Weekend may mark the official beginning of summer but there’s still time to order your “Welcome Spring” Gift Box from Stuckey’s before your next summer road trip.)
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!
Whether your next road trip is by car or by rail, it’s not really a road trip without taking Stuckey’s along. From our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls to our mouthwatering Hunkey Dorey, Stuckey’s has all the road trips snacks you’ll need to get you where you’re going.
For all of the pecany good treats and cool merch you’ll need for your next big road adventure, browse our online store now!
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!