Vintage Vibe at Egyptian Motor Hotel in Phoenix

If you’re a fan of mid-century kitsch, you’ll likely appreciate a short stay at the refurbished Egyptian Motor Hotel on artsy Grand Avenue about a mile from the Phoenix downtown core. Built in 1952 by an entrepreneur who was fascinated with Egyptian culture, the budget property changed hands and names for a while before falling into disrepair. But a renovation has restored the motel to its glory days — and then some. 

Vintage sign with neon palm tree at the Egyptian Motor Hotel in Phoenix.

The original neon sign with a life-sized palm tree welcomes guests to the motel’s two-story buildings that house 48 guest rooms. Each room has a semi-private patio with side drapes and a small seating area that opens to a massive outdoor entertainment venue with a live-music stage, full bar, outdoor games, and seating for 250.

Also available for overnights is a funky Airstream trailer set up next to an outdoor lounging area with a small inground wading pool. The 18-inch-deep pool isn’t for swimming but perfect for cooling off in the toasty Phoenix summer months. 

I spent the night at this reimagined property in early April 2023 and was entertained and comfortable during my short stay. Here’s the scoop:

Retro Rooms at Egyptian Motor Hotel

King bed guest room at Egyptian Motor Hotel with retro decor.

Colorful, irreverent guest rooms are a nod to the property’s past. I was particularly amused by the retro full-sized red refrigerator and mint green dinette chairs at a formica-covered metal table. Other fun stuff: a red Playmate cooler that serves as an ice bucket; a Magic 8 Ball; a space-age, sphere-shaped corner chair; and Southwest-style fleece shawls that are ideal to borrow on cool nights for sitting at the outdoor bar. 

My king-bed room on the second floor had a tiny, but perfectly sufficient, bathroom with grey, black, and white tile and mint green shelving. “Stacked single” rooms have a set of bunk beds. All rooms have Marshall Bluetooth speakers, convenient USB plugins, a hair dryer, large plastic tumblers, a water pitcher with filter, and a small microwave. Coffeemakers are not included in the rooms.

Egyptian Live Entertainment Venue

Outdoor bar with barstools and picnic tables in sand, surrounded by palm trees and blue sky.

The motel’s upbeat outdoor entertainment venue regularly hosts concerts, drag and comedy shows, DJ nights, and other performances by mostly local folks. Check the online schedule to see what’s happening during your intended visit — the events run the gamut.

The cocktail bar is open for happy hour daily (earlier on the weekends), with bar seating and picnic tables in the sand. Communal outdoor games include foosball, corn hole, and a giant Jenga. Surrounding the entertainment venue are colorful Instagrammable spots, including wall murals by local artists.

Modern Mexican Food at Chilte

Crystal glass with lime and beer with brown beer bottle.

Chilte began in a pop-up tent at area farmers’ markets, becoming so popular in recent years, the hot spot for modern Mexican food warranted a brick-and-mortar location. The restaurant is now found in a corner spot of the Egyptian Motor Hotel. It was packed on the Friday night I stayed there, and I was lucky to snag a table early in the evening. The vibe is quirky and casual with floor-to-ceiling windows that allow bright sunlight to enter the small space. (I needed my shades indoors as the sun set in early spring.) 

The menu features creative cocktails, a decent wine list, and local and Mexican brews. I loved pouring my cold beer into a fancy crystal stemmed glass. The menu changes seasonally. Currently, I don’t see the delicious entree I’d ordered: handmade pineapple pasta with spicy chorizo bolognese and fresh ricotta. (If it’s back on the menu when you visit, don’t hesitate to order this big plate.) Typically available are cleverly prepared tacos, quesadillas, and burritos. 

In the morning, the restaurant serves locally roasted coffee and locally made pastries. Another firsthand suggestion: If a homemade frosted lavender pop-tart (aka “fruit pocket”) is in the case of baked goods, be sure to snag one!

Bottom Line 

Egyptian Motor Hotel is a Best Western property and a member of its BW Signature Collection. I’d recommend Egyptian Motor Hotel if your travels bring you to Phoenix for a short stay, for example, if you’re road-tripping through the U.S. Southwest or in town for an event, including a show at Egyptian Live. 

Don’t book a room here if you need a totally silent sleeping environment; that likely won’t happen with the entertainment venue right outside your door (though the motel provides earplugs). If you go, don’t miss an evening meal and morning pastries at Chilte. Book a dinner reservation — it’s a popular spot!

Note: The property doesn’t have an elevator, so if you’d like to avoid lugging suitcases up a couple of flights of stairs, ask for a ground-level room.

Rates at the Egyptian Motor Hotel vary seasonally. Standard rooms with king-size beds start at about $119 in the summer months and $149 in the winter. Book early at the Best Western site for cheaper non-refundable rates. Up to two dogs per room are allowed for a $50 fee per stay. You can also go to or to compare rates for this property.

Review and photos by travel writer Kara Williams. She was hosted at Egyptian Motor Hotel for purposes of review. As always, all opinions are her own. 

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