El Rancho Hotel, Gallup, New Mexico
El Rancho Hotel, Gallup, New Mexico | Photo Credit: Wikipedia - Richie Diesterheft

The historic El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, New Mexico, has seen its fair share of famous guests over the years. Built in 1937 by R.E. “Griff” Griffith as a base for film productions, it became a popular haunt for Hollywood stars shooting movies in the area.

With its rustic yet charming plantation-style architecture, the rambling three-story hotel provided a unique Southwestern retreat. The grand lobby boasts a walk-in fireplace made of brick and stone, surrounded by log staircases leading to the second-floor rooms. The hotel’s neon slogan, “Charm of Yesterday, Convenience of Tomorrow,” glows over the entrance.

Located on the famous Route 66 highway, El Rancho hosted scores of Golden Age movie stars like Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, John Wayne, Lucille Ball, and more. Many films also used the hotel as a headquarters during production. It became the temporary home away from home for these shiny celebrities looking to escape bustling Hollywood.

Lobby at the El Rancho Hotel, Gallup, New Mexico
Lobby at the El Rancho Hotel, Gallup, New Mexico | Photo Credit: Wikipedia – Reinhard Schaffner

Though business declined after the opening of Interstate 40, the Ortega family purchased El Rancho at auction in the late 20th century. They lovingly restored the property to its former glory. Today, it stands proud on the Trails of the Ancients Scenic Byway, ready to share its storied past with modern travelers. The ghostly echoes of old Hollywood still roam the halls, recalling the hotel’s glamorous heyday.

The El Rancho Hotel is located at 1000 E. Highway 66 in Gallup, New Mexico.

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