Thunderbird Motel: Family-owned comfort in Pocatello, ID

Family-owned, friendly and comfortable

The Thunderbird Motel in Pocatello, Idaho is a fine budget lodging stop between Point A and Point B. Our Point A was Philipsburg, Montana. Point B was Las Vegas, Nevada. Our evening start at 5 p.m. from Philipsburg found us driving into the parking lot of the Thunderbird by10:00.

Hay bales in Idaho

As we drove by fields where hay bales were neatly stacked into walls, we called the hotel to make a reservation. Orem, Utah, our second option, seemed too far.

The Thunderbird Motel was a perfect choice. Why end up exhausted on a road trip? Plus, to get a 10 year-old to put up with a road trip, the promise of a hotel pool helps. The Thunderbird delivered.

Unlike many hotel pools that close by 10 p.m., the Thunderbird’s closes at 11. Because the pool is the outdoor version, the combination of pool lights and darkness were a hit.

Like the pool’s rectangle of water that glimmers in the dark, except for the street lights and the lights in the motel’s parking lot, the Thunderbird’s sign is one fitting of a Western road trip. Its bright colors and design that represents the Native American art work of the area beckon travelers.

The sign that beckons in the night

This motel is a reminder of simpler times when a friendly face behind the lobby desk and a clean room for a restful night was plenty. We found it to be perfect.

Our room with two double beds was clean and comfortable, just what one wants for a quick stay. Also, because of the hotel’s  classic design of two floors with all of the rooms’ doors opening to the parking lot, we were able to park close to our room and quickly settle in before heading for a dip.

My husband did note this was one of the few rooms we’ve stayed in without a coffee pot in the room. The Thunderbird does serve complementary coffee in the morning. For that, head to the lobby.

Our breakfast was the drive through at McDonald’s less than a block away.

As we drove out of Pocatello, I thought that the Thunderbird Motel would be a fine place to return to if we ever decide to take time for a closer look into Pocatello’s offerings.

First, it gives you the sense that you are staying in a distinct location-not one that could be anywhere. Also, the hotel is within city limits and close to several attractions including Idaho State University. That’s almost across the street. As we packed the car, we could hear the university’s band practicing.

A second floor room

Room rates start at $41. The pool is open June-August. Rooms with refrigerators and microwaves have an additional charge. WiFi is free.

Call for a quote and a reservation. We held our room over the phone by giving our credit card number.

Thunderbird Motel
1415 S. 5th Ave.
Pocatello, ID 83201

Or book online at Priceline.

Photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein

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