Southwest cool in Gallup, New Mexico

May 17, 2007

elrancho1.jpgelrancho2.jpgGallup, New Mexico is a key embarkation point for travelers interested in visiting the nearby Navajo Indian nation.

It’s also home to El Rancho Hotel, an old school hostelry with an Amerindian-meets-Hotel-California vibe that has served as an irresistible beacon to travelers on Route 66 since 1937, when the brother of film great D.W. Griffith first opened its doors.

The hotel’s debt to the old highway is honored in the shirts that front desk clerks like John Moore wear when they greet guests.

El Rancho’s two-story lobby elrancho3.jpgis filled with pictures of the many stars that have stayed here over the years (including Ronald Reagan, Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart) and chock-a-block with funky Spanish-Indian furniture, including one-of-a-kind chairs with arms and backs made from bull horns.

OK, so they’re probably not the chairs you’d want to relax in as you sat through a three-film Spider Man marathon. But they get top marks for Southwest cool.

Photos: James Kelleher/May 15-16 in Gallup, New Mexico

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