Feelin’ Groovy at the Retro Inn in Cortez, Colorado

Feelin’ Groovy at the Retro Inn in Cortez, Colorado

Our family reunion took us to the Four Corners region. There we met my in-laws and my sister-in-law and her family. This was the first trip to the Southwestern U.S. for many in the family. We left the accommodations plans to my sister-in-law who decided on the Retro Inn in Cortez, Colorado, a short drive to Mesa Verde National Park.

I must admit that at first I was reluctant to stay at the Retro Inn. It’s kitschy. I’m not really into kitsch. I didn’t think I would enjoy the homage to the 50s, 60s, and 70s. As I researched the motel online, I was more certain that I would not enjoy the stay, but we booked the rooms anyway.

I was pleasantly surprised. The Retro Inn provided an enjoyable ambiance hearkening to a time gone by. It’s a time that was simpler in many ways. It also was a time when people shared in community, and we certainly got that feel during our stay. From the benches lined outside the rooms to the commons area complete with barbecue grills and lawn chess, I felt a sense of community.

Retro Inn - Motel Rooms
Motel rooms at the Retro Inn, with benches set up outside the rooms.

I enjoyed watching people sitting on the benches and enjoying a summer thunderstorm. We enjoyed the quad-like motel structure, where you could see your neighbor’s car pulling in rather than listening to a hotel door slam in a more modern structure. I must admit that I enjoyed the vintage phone booth with a rotary phone and the travel trailer fitted with memorabilia from the 50s and 60s.

The Rooms at The Retro Inn

Each room at the Retro Inn gets a calendar year room number. We stayed in room 1972, bedecked with orange walls and pictures of Clint Eastwood in his spaghetti western heyday. My mother-in-law and father-in-law stayed in room 1974, with purple walls and framed pictures of 70s comedies like “Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Welcome Back, Kotter.”

During check in we received keys to our room. Yes, keys on key rings. Not a key card, but vintage keys.

Retro Inn - Room 1972
Room 1972 at the Retro Inn

The room, while pedestrian, had plenty of space. We even requested a roll away bed so that our son and daughter could sleep in separate beds. There was plenty of room for us to get around once the roll away bed was set up.

Our room and bathroom were very clean, and it was obvious that the cleaning staff went to great effort to keep it clean. The bathroom tub was pristine, leaving no concerns or worry about bathing in the tub. The bathroom also had heated lamps — a nice touch.

Retro Inn - Clint Eastwood room
Our room decorated with Clint Eastwood fair from his spaghetti western and Dirty Harry days.

The room came with a good-sized travel refrigerator and separate freezer. We often pack snacks and fruit during our road trips and use the fridge for leftover food and freezer to re-freeze our ice packs. Most hotels have a small freezer space that is not very large or convenient. So, I appreciated the size of this refrigerator/freezer.

The room also had ironing board and iron, ample dresser space and cable television. It adequately met the needs of a family of four.

The Courtyard at The Retro Inn

The Retro Inn has a nice courtyard area with lawn, swing, seating and barbecue grills.

Retro Inn Courtyard Swing
Our daughter relaxes at the courtyard swing

The lawn also has a large chessboard that the kids enjoyed playing with (if they only knew how to play chess). The front desk provides volleyball or badminton equipment upon request. A net is set up for play. Our kids enjoyed all of the extracurricular activities available.

Retro Inn Chess Board
Our kids take sides for a round of chess.

Of course, one of the more enjoyable features of the courtyard is the travel trailer/camper retrofitted for the 1950s and 1960s. The camper is decked out with drapes and decorations meant to transport you back to a bygone era. Our kids were amazed by the small bedroom area and wondered how people slept in such confined quarters. It’s nothing like the monstrous-sized motor homes they see today. The kids even got to see an old-school Chinese Checkers board which peaked their curiosity. We’re ready for our next family game night.

Retro Inn Camper Travel Trailer
Views from the Retro Camper.

We love Elvis Presley. So does the Retro Inn. Next to the travel trailer the King sits on a bench and you can sit next to him for a fun picture.

Retro Inn Elvis Bench
The King and I (and my daughter) at the Retro Inn.

Finally, next to the Inn’s office is an phone booth (!), yes, a phone booth with a working rotary phone. Just dial 8 for an outside line and you can make a call — old-school style — to friends.

Retro Inn Phone Booth
A phone booth with an old-style rotary dial phone


Retro Inn serves a complimentary breakfast in a — you guessed it — retro-fitted dining area. Memorabilia representing everything from TV Guides to Marilyn Monroe to Route 66 adorn the walls. The breakfast options were adequate with plenty of yogurts, fruits, muffins, bagels, and pancakes, juices and coffees from which to choose.

Other amenities include:

  • Free WiFi
  • Free Parking
  • Special diet meals (upon request)
  • Pets allowed upon request.

Things We Liked

The service at the Retro Inn was top notch. My sister-in-law and her family were late checking in due to mudslides on their trip. The staff was professional and helpful in providing options for her late check in (the office closes at 10 p.m.).

Our room was almost soundproof. We were concerned that we would hear a lot of noise from the adjoining rooms or from the parking lot. The motel was full during our stay. Aside from some plumbing noises, we did not hear a peep. We never heard our neighbors talking, and we hope they did not hear us as we settled our kids in for the night.

One Thing We Wish the Retro Inn Had

While we enjoyed all of the outdoor and extracurricular activities at the Retro Inn, we still wished there was a pool. After a long day of travel our family enjoys a quick dip in a swimming pool.


I admit it. I was charmed by the kitsch of the Retro Inn. It may not have been my first choice of accommodation, but it was a pleasant, enjoyable place to stay. And, the Retro Inn is an affordably priced motel for those budget-conscience travelers. The next time we visit Mesa Verde National Park or the Four Corners Region, we would surely book another stay at the Retro Inn.

Ready to book a stay at Retro Inn? Book through our link here. Find the Best Deals at hotels.com!

Disclaimer: Our family was in no way compensated for our stay or our review of the Retro Inn in Cortez, Colorado. All opinions expressed are our own. This post may contain affiliate links. Clicking on the links may provide Family Well Traveled a small compensation at no additional cost to you.

What do you think? Would you stay at the Retro Inn? What other kitschy, quirky places have you stayed? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or recommendation below.

You Might Also Enjoy:

Things to do and see at Mesa Verde National Park.

Another great National Park in Colorado is Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Retro Inn Cortez, Colorado Pin

19 thoughts on “Feelin’ Groovy at the Retro Inn in Cortez, Colorado”

  • I learned once before – never let someone else pick out your accommodation. 🙂 The Retro Inn is certainly kitsch but love the idea of the rooms each being allocated and designed to a certain year. Looks like a fun place to stay if you are passing through on a good ol’ Americana road trip. Thanks for sharing.

  • I think it’s quite fun: For the adults it might be a sentimental journey, for the kids it must be like travelling to a very strange planet…albeit there is WiFi 😉

  • So important to choose the best accomodation and you went perfectly right place. Looks so wonderful & pleasent stay. Thanks for sharing !

  • What a cool, funky accommodation and perfect for a family! Though not sure I could relax in bed with a photo of either Dirty Harry or a scowling Clint Eastwood from his spaghetti westerns over my head. 😉

  • This is absolutely adorable! I love the bright colors of the doors and room walls, and I like that the rooms are dedicated to different years, that’s clever. Do they rent out the trailer too or is that just for show?

  • What an awesome, quirky place to stay! I am still in disbelief that I drove right through here a few weeks ago and didn’t stay here! I think we ended up in the Econolodge, or something equally lame! I hope we pass through Cortez again soon, so we can hang out at the Retro Inn!

  • Sounds and looks like it was such a fun place to stay with family, definitely different from most of the places I am used to see but I like it a lot. They definitely get brownie points from me with them for her late check option. I am a fan of the colours too as they just make me feel happy. Thanks for all the detaals

  • It looks like it could be from Pulp Fiction which is one of my favourite movies. Would be really cool if they had the dinner where they have the jive contest too!

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