As mid-range hotel chain brands have become more similar to each other over the decades, it was refreshing to check into a Best Western in another country and find something unique. With lots of quirky touches throughout and a lobby like something out of a national park lodge, Best Western Creel was clearly not a typical chain hotel just off a highway exit. It was too good to last though: as of 2022 this is an independent hotel: The Lodge at Creel.
The Lodge at Creel is on the main street, first of all, not out on the edge of town. So you can walk around Creel or even rent a mountain bike to head out and see the local Copper Canyons rock formations. It’s close to the train line running between Chihuahua and Mochis, so this is a frequent overnight stop for people taking their time on the El Chepe Copper Canyons route through interesting landscapes.
The former mouthful of a name for this hotel when we stayed was Best Western Plus The Lodge at Creel, but they parted ways with that chain and this is now an independent property. They have a real spa too: I hung out with my adventure mates in a large hot tub and then moved to the sauna to sweat before heading out into the chilly air to my room. (Yes, this is Mexico, but a few days after we left in December it snowed.)
Some people in my group booked a massage in that part of the spa on an upper level. There’s a range of exercise equipment if you’re not getting enough of a workout hiking or biking in the countryside.
The first impression here is a good one, with big beams and a central stone fireplace fitting the wild west feel of this region. A chandelier made of deer antlers is near the reception desk.
Off the main lounge with sitting areas there’s a bar and pizza place on one side, then a full restaurant serving three meals on the other side of the fireplace. The bar space has two adjoining areas, with pizza baked in what is set up as a brewpub, stainless steel tanks along the wall. I’m not sure if that will still be the case in the future though considering the only beer they had on tap during my visit was a porter. Maybe the brewmaster went for a hike and never came back.
Food was authentic and good in the main restaurant at both dinner and breakfast. There are a few international items on the menu if you want to bypass the Mexican ones, but the latter are done right since this lodge gets as many domestic guests as foreign ones.
If you visit the hotel’s own website, you’ll often see advance booking promotions that include breakfast, which will get your day started off right.
The 37 rooms are in several different buildings constructed at different times, so browse around the options at the official site or Expedia before making a booking if you’re doing it on your own. The similarities to a rambling national park lodge continue, with some units taking on a cabin feel: they have an outdoor area with a porch swing.
Most have wood plank or exposed brick walls and some have bed frames made from whole logs. Heat comes via a non-wood fireplace you turn on that is welcome on a cold night. My room had a desk and chair by a window and the included WiFi worked well in that spot. Baths aren’t very spacious, but they’re functional and come with some toiletries. All have TVs and a coffee maker, plus room service is available. The Honeymoon rooms are the largest and have a Jacuzzi tub.
Are you taking the El Chepe train all the way to Sinaloa? Check out our rundown of all the best hotels in Mazatlan for all budget ranges.
Editor Tim Leffel was booked into The Lodge at Creel while on a tour with Chihuahua Tourism, working on a Copper Canyons adventure article for another publication. As always, all opinions are his own.