marfa: hotel thunderbird


This was my first night ever sleeping in Texas. As soon as we crossed the state border, we headed straight for Marfa. Its minimalist art culture tempted us to shoo away generalizations that the Lone Star State was only full of rodeos and steakhouses – this was an opportunity to experience instead a community of connections and creativity.

hotel name & website: Thunderbird 

who: Me and three friends of the soul

why: Because we wanted to see what Marfa was all about

when: January 2015 

stay: The road to the Thunderbird Hotel (while driving in darkness) is both eery and calm – I don’t imagine it’s very different during daylight hours though. When we arrived to the hotel, all we see (again, in darkness) is a nearby building with a tall retro sign that says “Thunderbird Restaurant,” and we couldn’t tell if it was still up and running. We were greeted by a note on the office door that warmly said “We didn’t forget about you! Here are your keys - breakfast is served in the morning by the vinyl library”. The modern minimalist interior, travel-sized Malin + Goetze products, and the dim lighting of our room made me feel the comforts of the city, but the simplicity still reflected the nature outside. Breakfast had almond milk as an option, and there was a Nina Simone record that I could play while we ate and drafted ideas for the day.  

location: Known for its iconic Prada store installation, Marfa needs little introduction – it is a destination that attracts many in the contemporary art world. At first glance, it looks like a ghost city: abandoned buildings, desolate farmland, and a few horses and goats to snapchat to your friends back home. Quickly it becomes apparent that many of those buildings are not abandoned at all, in fact they are home to some of the most renowned art collections, design stores, book shops, and cozy hip cafes. There is magic behind those closed doors, and visitors have to take the initiative to open them and explore. After all, nothing is as it appears in Marfa – a place where people go to get away for the weekend, to write their book, or just to settle down and find like-minded adrift souls.

rooms: 24

pool/gym/beach status: Cozy retro outdoor pool, open even in January (but no swimmers in sight)

food situation (mini bar, breakfast, restaurant): A simple breakfast is served in the guest lounge of the motel, and for lunch, behind the former “Thunderbird Restaurant” there is a brand new place called Fatlyle’s run by a young crowd who will kindly deliver your food to you if you want to opt out of their available outdoor seating and instead eat in the warm guest lounge across the road.

bar: n/a

data (wifi?): Yup

vibes: A retro version of SoHo in the 1950s, in the middle of nowhere. artsy and quiet. retrofuturism.

kiddie agreeable: Not quite; unless they can entertain themselves. 

specialty: After a 6-hour drive through desolate desert, walking into the minimalist white space of the room definitely made us feel happy to find the comforts of modern/Manhattan life.

price scale: Higher priced than the surrounding area, but for what its worth, totally affordable.

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