Phoenix might not be the oldest desert city in the country, but there’s still a shimmer of nostalgia lurking around the remnants of old Route 66 hotspots and hangouts. Luckily, the recent roadside inn revival — plus a wave of hoteliers resurrecting old motels — have transformed a bevy of these historic hotels. Such is the case with the newly (re)opened Egyptian Motor Hotel. Established in 1958, the historic motor hotel has been completely reimagined, with plenty of quirky nods to its past.
Since kicking off the renovations three years ago, the current owners have performed a thorough renovation. Out front, the vintage sign has been restored to its original glory and proclaims the four things available: Food. Booze. Shows. Rooms. For vintage motel lovers taken with LA spots like Hotel Ziggy, the Egyptian offers the same spirit but with a different desert on the horizon. Here’s what makes this motor hotel stand out from the pack.
One of the best restaurants in the country is hiding in the hotel lobby
A world-class restaurant in its own right, Chilte is the food-and-beverage anchor for this hotel, and cuisine from co-owners Lawrence Smith and Aseret Arroyo is worthy of a visit even if you’re not staying here. Arroyo, who grew up in Sinaloa, brings that influence to the table, but the couple plays off highbrow and lowbrow combinations, and each other, with truly inventive dishes like a mole flight with bone marrow, optional lamb lollipops and fresh tortillas, and huitlacoche pasta with green chili cream and Chilean prawns. Still hungry? Grab a chorizo and queso fresco empanada topped with cabbage slaw and a smoky peanut chili sauce, or a slice of savory elote cheesecake with homemade salsa matcha. This is some of the best food in the entire city, so make sure to drop by if you’re in town.
Egyptian Live is an outdoor performance area, game space, bar and general hangout all in one
While it’s true that the Sonoran Desert boasts a legendary amount of dry heat in the summer, the property has already taken measures to outfit their massive outdoor hangout space with relief: There’s an 18-inch splash pool for cooling off on extra-hot days — not quite a full pool, but great for splashing and dipping — and plans for the imminent arrival of misters on the main patio. So what can you do on the main patio? Just about anything your heart desires. A massive outdoor bar serves the whole area, directly across from an outdoor stage that’s already booking up with local acts on the weekends. This is a 250-seat entertainment area — making it a suitable spot to host an album release party, or an underplay for big artists with a day off during tour. If lawn games are more your speed, there’s options like foosball and party-sized Jenga, plus picnic tables to just sit and talk.
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Kitschy rooms have unique amenities like full-size fridges, throwback decor and even personal ponchos
Kitsch works best when it’s turned all the way up, and these rooms go to eleven. Even the amenities in the room are throwback, with a shiny retro microwave and a matching red cooler (adorned with an “ice ice baby” sticker), a vintage diner table topped with a Marshall amp Bluetooth speaker, a Magic 8 Ball, an egg chair, and even a reusable water pitcher with big plastic picnic cups. There are personal ponchos in each room instead of robes, a full-sized fridge in case you want to bring your own six-packs, and rugs and murals that continue the rock ‘n’ roll vibe. Aside from 48 rooms in the motor inn structure, there’s an Airstream on site, decked out with the same throwback decor, for those who want to be in the thick of the party, or just like the feel of a trailer.
A chill outdoor bar that’s open until midnight every night and 2 a.m. on the weekends
Even if you’re not staying on-site — you should, if you have the option — the food and beverage programming here is enough of a draw to get locals and other visitors in the door. That above-mentioned outdoor bar is also open to the public, and makes for a great, casual late-night hang or a place to grab a post-concert nightcap. If Brock is bartending, ask him to make you a “Brock ‘n Roll,” aka a raspberry mezcal margarita, which has already become a house special of sorts. In the mood for a novelty shot? He’ll pour up an Uncrustable — Ram’s Point peanut butter whiskey, chambord and Disaronno with a big slick of peanut butter on the rim of the shot glass. Yes, it’s an alcoholic PB&J shot — lean in! You’re at a motor hotel in Phoenix — this is what you came for.
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