Four of the Coolest Retro Motels in Marfa, Texas

Where to stay in Marfa, Texas

Marfa, Texas, known for it’s incredible art and film scene, Big Bend National Park and the Marfa Mystery Lights. Did you know it’s also home to four incredible examples of vintage motels that have been reimagined into modern luxury boutique retreat? 

Marfa is a small town in Southwest Texas just outside of Big Bend National Park. For years it has attracted an artist community as a refuge from big city life. The dramatic landscape, slower pace of life and inclusive culture have provided respite for a growing, though still small, population. 

Marfa, a small desert city in west Texas, is known as an arts hub. The Chinati Foundation, founded by artist Donald Judd, displays huge indoor and outdoor installations on an old army base. The Ballroom Marfa arts center hosts exhibitions, concerts and the Marfa Myths cultural festival. Outside town is a viewing platform from which the mysterious orbs known as the “Marfa Lights” phenomenon can sometimes be seen.

In town you are likely to come across good vegan food, straw bale houses and funky bars filled with artsy kids clinking Shiner Bocks with famous painters and film directors. Their pearl-buttoned shirts and cowboy boots can make the place feel like a Western-themed outpost of Brooklyn. And for a town of only about 2,000 people, you can amuse yourself nightly with screenings, readings and, of course, gallery shows, like the one for sculptor Campbell Bosworth.

Planning your trip to Marfa, Texas? Here’s where to stay.

It was only a matter of time before the film festivals and eccentric art base caught up with tourism and hip and trendy hospitality and leisure scene would take center stage. 

Marfa is home to four of the coolest retro motels in the country. 

Thunderbird Hotel Marfa Texas

#1 – The Thunderbird Hotel

In mystic Marfa, down a gravelly desert road, under a neon sign, sits Thunderbird Hotel. A 24-room oasis with a quirky minimalism, it has interiors that are sparse but striking, with low platform beds covered in vivid Peruvian blankets. The oblong pool is encircled by a curtain of spindly ocotillo cactuses, jasmine climbs screens made from drill pipe used in Texas oil fields, and a massive slab of mesquite serves as a tabletop. A music and events space near the outdoor fire pit is perfect for smaller, catered parties.

A locally run hotel since 1959, Bob Harris of Lake Flato Architects reinvigorated the Thunderbird’s classic 50’s horseshoe shape and interior courtyard for its 2005 reopening. The renovation transformed the structure into a model of modern design and livability while maintaining the original hotel’s bygone feeling. The Thunderbird is everything is everything a small hotel should be, providing privacy, hospitality, and stylishness without pretension. With its pool and pale blue exterior reflecting the desert sky.

The Lincoln Marfa interior room

#2 – The Lincoln Marfa

The Lincoln Marfa is a lodging community in the heart of Marfa, Texas consisting of eclectic casitas amongst garden courtyards with native plants, water features, fire pits, and shady porches.

105 West Lincoln Street originally functioned as a stable yard for the Presidio County Courthouse in the 1890s. After a central residence was built in 1920, the surrounding structures were gradually converted into casitas. The property operated as apartments for almost a century, taking on numerous owners and remodels, and was ultimately abandoned in 2006. The property was re-discovered by Clark Childers and Adam Walton during a trip to Marfa in 2015 and was re-born as The Lincoln Marfa.

The Maverick Inn Alpine Texas

#3 – The Maverick Inn

The Maverick Inn touts itself as a Boutique Motel with individually furnished guest rooms appointed with luxury amenities and expected conveniences, including a daily hot coffee bar and WiFi. We are centrally located in the Big Bend Region. Whether you are a hiker, astronomer, art enthusiast, biker or just want to experience West Texas, you have arrived. Sul Ross State University is across the street and we are in reasonable distance from the beautiful Big Bend National Park, Big Bend Ranch State Park, the McDonald Observatory, the Fort Davis National Historic Site, Balmorea State Park, Chinati Foundation, and Marfa.

Explore and experience the true spirit of Far West Texas at The Maverick Inn, a Roadhouse for Wanders.

The 21 guest rooms and suites are beautifully decorated with Southwestern and Mexican allure. Rich colors are complimented by earth-tones which surround you with contemporary West Texas sophistication. Saltillo tile, hardwood, and Talavara surfaces provide the framework for comfortable areas within each guest room. The artwork has been carefully selected to compliment your surroundings. Adorning the walls of our guests rooms are tastefully framed prints by legendary photographer Edward S. Curtis, Mexican tapestries, pottery, furnishings and wears, creating a wonderful sense of the fusion of Americana, Mexican and Native American culture.


El Cosmico Marfa Texas

#4 – El Cosmico

El Cosmico is at the center of this exodus from a world of urgency, and flies its Mañana flag proudly. This is not to be understood as irreverence for timeliness and progress. We believe in those things too. But life gets busy. The way you thought things would go just aren’t the way they end up. Maybe the pack rats have chewed the phone lines. Best intentions are waylaid. But it seems like sometimes the only way to make something really amazing is through a steady balance of kicking the dirt around and napping. This is what we do.

The Cosmic Kasita is a limited-edition collaboration between El Cosmico and the award-winning micro-home builder Kasita. Liz Lambert, hotelier and Bunkhouse founder, and Dr. Jeff Wilson, Founder of Kasita, have joined forces to design and build the biggest little space in Texas. On the surface, interior, and exterior, the Bunkhouse design team has curated the highest quality materials and carefully chosen colors and lighting to embody the spirit of El Cosmico, but with more walls. Behind the walls, it’s one of the most solid and precision engineered homes on the planet.

Time to plan your Marfa vacation

Are you ready for your adventure in Marfa, Texas? A stay at one of these unique renovated motel properties will make a great home base for the Marfa lights, hiking in Big Bend and the Marfa Film Festival. 

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