Our journey with this motel all started with a wrong turn.
When leaving Big Bend National Park in February 2018, the driver (not mentioning names) missed the turn to Fort Stockton out of Marathon. An hour later we ended up in Sanderson, and a bit confused. After checking the iPhone for a re-route we ended up on some of the most beautiful desert roads leading up to Ozona.
A couple of months later we were craving another trip to west Texas. In the past we had always spent our first night in Fort Stockton, but the hotel prices were tracking with the oil business in the area. It was then we remembered our accidental detour through Sanderson. After looking online, we found a motel in Sanderson and booked it. Our first evening back in west Texas we got to discover Sanderson, and we loved it!
The next morning we headed off to Big Bend and spent a few days in the park. Our last night in the park we were hanging out at our back country campsite when another camper pulled up. Turns out, when we were reserving our site at the beginning of our stay, the park ranger made an error in our reservation. So we had to relinquish our campsite... but that's ok, we headed back to Sanderson!
We spent the night in Sanderson and as we were leaving the Stripes Gas Station the next morning, we noticed a 'For Sale' sign in front of the Desert Air Motel. We chuckled about the possibility of owning a motel in west Texas. When we stopped chuckling, we decided to call the number listed. One thing led to another…
For more about our story, read our blog posts that go into more detail. Link
We plan on preserving the charm of Desert Air Motel, but we also want to make changes that will increase the guest experience here. We have found some pieces of the past, like the orginal blue door paint, which we plan to keep. Other pieces of the past we will leave in the past, like the fragmented pink and peach paint in the breezeway.
We plan on creating more spaces for guests to enjoy outside, after all it’s the scenary and the weather that makes the desert beautiful. We have already added a shaded arbor with swings and seating. Now we wait for the plants to establish their roots and flourish. We also opened up a breezeway between the office and the rooms that connects to the back yard. This project has had a transforming feel for the grounds as it improves the flow and openess of the walkways. We have big plans for the back yard where the bus is situated - guest seating, food trailer, etc. But this will be a little bit into the future.
As owners in a solar business, energy efficiency and sustainability are always a priority. We have installed solar panels on the east wing of the motel and plan to install additional arrays in the future. We will also be upgrading the windows and air-conditioning units to conserve energy, but this may be a year or so away.
We have replaced all of the carpet in the rooms with tile to make them more comforable and appealing. While vintage is cool—sometimes old is just old, and the carpets were old. The majority of the rooms have been repainted and have new accenting art work.
Our journey with the Desert Air Motel is being documented on our blog with posts on Facebook and Instagram as well. Join us and let us know what you think of the progress. Click here to see some of the blog posts on the improvements.
The Desert Air Motel was built in 1960. There is no way around the vintage feel of cinder block walls and pink bathroom tiles. We admire the sturdy construction of days gone by that has allowed the motel to withstand desert conditions for over 60 years. Clearly we are smitten with the orignal Desert Air vintage sign and will repaint the current sign back to its original design. We are the proud fifth owners of the motel, and have been researching its history and previous owners. Here is a blog article we wrote on the motel’s history: Click Here.