Time Stops at Retro Inn at Mesa Verde

Time may stop for no one, but time stops at Retro Inn at Mesa Verde in Colorado. The independently owned motel in Cortez, Colorado is indeed, a step back in time. If you like neon, nostalgia and no resort fees, this Cortez motel is your stop in Mesa Verde country. 

Time stops at Retro Inn at Mesa Verde. The retro neon sign lights up in front of blue and white vintage trailer, parked on the grass in Cortez, Colorado.

Located off Highway 160 in southwestern Colorado, the Cortez motel is 10 miles from Mesa Verde National Park and close to the Cortez Cultural Center. An easy drive from Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and Hoovenweep National Monument, Retro Inn at Mesa Verde is clean, cute and full of kitsch. 

Inside the blue and white vintage trailer is a colorful kitchen filled with vintage kitchen utensils, a retro stovetop and sink. Route 66 motel themed curtains hang in the retro trailer.

You’ll know what I mean when you spot Elvis Presley. The life-sized Elvis is seated on a bench next to the retro trailer parked in front of the Retro Inn. Guests are able to walk into the vintage blue and white trailer parked outside the Cortez motel. Time has indeed stopped in this part of town. 

Cortez motel features themed-rooms. My room included 2 double beds with white bedding to compliment the bright yellow and lime green painted walls.

Motel rooms range from double room, queen room and king room choices. During my visit Retro Inn Mesa Verde was under renovation with the addition of two additional suites. Great Gatsby and Woodstock-themed rooms will join the 1960’s and 70’s themed rooms. 

All rooms include air conditioning, complimentary WiFi, a full bath and cable television. Unlike expensive Las Vegas resort hotels, there are no resort fees here. Like in the good old days, there is no charge for parking. In fact, you’ll be able to safely park your car right in front of your motel room.

Breakfast is included at Retro Inn at Mesa Verde. The bright orange breakfast bar holds breakfast burritos, tamales and yogurt in the mini fridge, in addition to pastries and cereals.

Value for dollar at Retro Inn at Mesa Verde

You’ll get more for your money in this part of southwestern Colorado. By that, I mean that breakfast is included with your stay at the inn. This little inn aims to please. Breakfast includes the expected bagels, pastries and cold cereal. I was surprised to find breakfast burritos and tamales in the mini fridge, next to the yogurts. I grabbed some granola bars and an apple for my outdoor adventure that morning. I was going horseback riding in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and I wanted to bring snacks for me and my horse. 

Black and white flooring, along with brightly colored bench seat tables greet guests at Retro Inn at Mesa Verde.

I wasn’t expecting to hear foreign accents at this Cortez motel. In the breakfast room that morning I was picking up German words here and there. I guess that I should not have been surprised, as Mesa Verde National Park attracts international travelers. The German husband and wife that I spoke with were very happy with their hotel selection. They agreed with me that the rooms were clean and the staff friendly. I like it when international visitors are happy with their USA holidays. 

Giant game of chess is set out by Retro Inn at Mesa Verde.

Outdoor activities at Cortez motel

My visit to Mesa Verde Country took place in September, a perfect time to visit southwest Colorado. The Retro Inn offers outdoor games such as ping pong and a larger-than-life chess set. If you bring your own food, motel guests are able to use the outdoor gas grills for their meals. 

The grassy lawn area is also a welcome sight for those traveling with their pets. Some rooms are dog-friendly, with a nominal additional nightly fee. You’ll need to keep your dog on a leash outside the Cortez motel. 

Room rates at Retro Inn at Mesa Verde average $86 – $129, depending on the time of year, not including tax. You can go to Expedia or Hotels.com to compare rates and make a reservation there if you find a better deal.

Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown spent two nights at Retro Inn at Mesa Verde while on assignment in Mesa Verde Country. As always, all opinions are her own. All photos by Nancy Brown. 


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