“ Address: Hwy 163 San Juan River / 310276 / Mexican Hat / UT 84531 „
San Juan Inn and Trading Post
We booked this motel before we left the UK direct with the hotel on line as we wanted to be near Monument Valley so that we could be on the road to see the sunrise over Monument Valley on our way on to Four Corners. We loved the name of the place where this motel wassituated, Mexican Hat, as it sounded so unusual for a town name.
THE MEXICAN'S HAT
We discovered once we got to the motel that the Mexican Hat was a rock formation not far out of town so of course we had to get back in the car and go and inspect this site. It was like a sombrero but it was one of those rock formations that look better from a distance and you did have to be looking at it from a certain direction but still worth a look we felt.
FINDING THE MOTEL
This motel was tucked away under a bridge and around a tight bend so at first we drove passed it without seeing it. Having realised this we turned around and from the other direction it was obvious. The motel is right on the shores or cliff edge of the San Juan River and so when in the restaurant you had a good view.
As I said we had booked in advance and we were travelling with my daughter and her partner and decided to share a room over night to save a bit of money. This was a room only motel which was unusual for the USA as most had breakfast included. They had our booking and gave me directions for getting to the room which was half way down a traditional motel style building with the cars parked in front of the rooms. This was a two story building but we were on the bottom floor so didn't have to carry our stuff up stairs which we were pleased about.
I can't say the welcome was effusive but they were polite and did the job. There was nothing extra here in the way of cookies or asking about where we were from or anything in the way of friendly chit chat like we had had in other places in the USA.
This was pretty basic. It had two double beds and one single bed so plenty of sleeping places but little room and storage but we were only there one night so not too bothered. There was a door and one window out towards the car park so there was limited light and once the curtains were shut for privacy the light had to go on. There was adequate light but not great for reading especially on the single bed and one side of each double which was annoying as we all like to read in bed.
The beds were okay and the bedding clean but all very ordinary. There was nothing about the room that showed that anyone had taken any interest in the decor or presentation. It was purely functional for sleeping in for one night.
This had a shower with a curtain which kept flapping onto us while showering , a basin and a toilet and it had no window so was reliant on the fan and light. It was okay, clean and basic and there was soap and shampoo too.
This place is on the middle of nowhere. We had spent the day travelling and driven through Monument Valley over some very interesting roads and so we wanted to eat in the motel restaurant. In fact we had chosen this place because it had a restaurant and we knew we would not want to drive to find somewhere to eat.
We hadn't booked as we thought staying in the place would mean that they might expect us to eat there as there was nowhere else nearby. This meant that when we went over we were asked if we had booked. It wasn't exactly busy but we said no and hoped they could find us a table. Needless to say they did and I think there were only a few others in the place and most of those were drinking at the bar.
We ordered beers and drinks. I believe my daughter and I chose Mexican cocktails as it was a Mexican restaurant. We chose our food from the menu and sat and enjoyed the ambiance in the place and the view over the river. It was a funny little place very country, lacking any fine dining pretense, a basic home style sort of room with local photos on the wall.
The food was perfectly fine, nothing special sort of Tex Mex food which was hot and tasty and did the trick and we enjoyed a drink or two after a long drive on dusty roads.
We wanted to pay cash for our meal and presented them with a $100 note to pay for the meal and drinks which had come to under $90. They refused to take the $100 which we thought was pretty rude considering the bill virtually took care of the entire note. They insisted on us paying with smaller notes which we had to scrape together between us leaving us no smaller notes at all for our coffee the next day. No tip left there and we would have left the $100 but we just scraped together what we had and that is what they got!
All in all we were not impressed with the attitude of any of the staff. No one made the effort to go that extra step for us and they had had our money for the room up front for well over a month.
BEYOND THE RESTAURANT AND ROOM
If you were unlucky enough to be staying longer then there were laundry facilities that guests could use. There was an exercise room but i have to admit we didn't find this but we didn't look too hard either. You could get down towards the river and there were hiking trails from the motel. We took a short walk down towards the river which was pretty impressive for its rocky cliff sides of red rock.
THE TRADING POST
After the restaurant we thought we might see if the shop offered any possibilities but sadly it had closed and didn't open till after we planned on leaving the next day.
Well this is not the sort of place where you book to come for a luxury stay. This is a purely functional sleeping and eating place but its proximity to monument Valley made it a perfect overnight stop for us.
There was nothing really bad, everything worked and was clean but it was lacking any comfort and attention to detail. It also lacked friendly helpful staff which did take the edge of for us.
However if you do want a reasonably priced stay near Monument valley I would say don't hesitate to book here unless you want luxury. If you do want luxury then you may find yourself having to drive quite some distance as it really is the middle of a desert and miles from anywhere.
It was about £100 for the four of us not including breakfast so far from the cheapest place we managed to find which did include breakfast for four of us but not too bad considering it is a long way from anywhere.
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