So, we went to Idaho Falls. If you know anything about us, then you know we went to Idaho Falls because…well, it exists. That’s just what we do. And since we need a place to sleep – don’t even mention things like camping to us – we booked ourselves at Motel 6.
The lovely people at Motel 6 are a supporter of our “Fabric of America” tour. They covered our stay, and we’re writing about it in return. This journey would not be possible without them (and you). Read about their support right here.
In case you haven’t read about our tour: You can read about it here, read about sponsorships here, and support our project yourself right here.
We actually had a vague reason to visit Idaho Falls: My parents lived there 40 years ago for a year. Seriously, that was the reason to go. Because why not? That’s just what we do.
I was in Idaho Falls once upon a time, and I didn’t remember much about it. Ang had never been. The area is beautiful, it’s in the same country as our “Fabric of America” tour, my parents lived there long before I was born, and so we went.
The Motel 6 in Idaho Falls is located just off the interstate, but in the city and with easy access to all sorts of activities and routes to nearby sights. People often skip out on this area in favor of nearby Yellowstone National Park and the Jackson Hole area, which I suppose isn’t so good for Idaho Falls but is great for us as it wasn’t particularly slammed with people while we were there.
Plus, you get drives like this, which is what we drove through between Jackson, Wyoming, across the border, and Idaho Falls.
So, after a long drive through those drop-dead gorgeous areas as well as Yellowstone and the Tetons before it, we landed in Idaho Falls a bit later than we wanted to. Fortunately, Motel 6 was there for us.
And in case you didn’t read our previous post about their support of our project, we’re here to let you in on a little secret: Motel 6 is renovating all of their properties.
While they’ve been around for 50 years and are well-known across the country, no one is in denial that many properties became dated over the years. It was time for a refresh and renewal project, and Motel 6 has changed.
That’s the new lobby setup. Different than what you remember from the 80s, right?
Besides being greeted by wonderful staff – Hey, Jessica and Varvara! – we were thrilled to see the new rooms in person for the first time.
They were obviously designed by a European firm, and we have plenty of experience with hotel room setups like this from time across the pond.
We’ve heard from people that the room layout and styling is a bit strange; but really, it’s that the design is not what most U.S. travelers are used to seeing.
Rooms are minimalist – just like us, hey! – and left to be as spacious and functional as possible in a limited amount of space. Again, just like us!
We’ve also seen plenty of people complain about things like no bathtubs, no TVs with 1,000 channels, no free breakfast – you name it.
The thing is, Motel 6 is a value proposition. In a world of ever-increasing lodging prices, Motel 6 remains one of the most budget-friendly hotels you can find. So, as it is with most things in life, it’s all about what you get for the money.
And really, are you ever going to get more than this for such a great price? Most likely not.
So, people need to realize that they’re paying for an economy hotel and getting a clean room with crisp design and a good night’s sleep. That’s what it boils down to. And what the heck is wrong with that?
Plus, they have free coffee. Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but coffee is the most important everything and anything of the day. So there.
Also, there’s a pool. A nice pool. Bang!
We can tell you that we appreciate it. And what we appreciate even more is that there are two work spaces in the room. Do you have any idea how rare this is? I usually end up in a chair or on the bed since Ang always gets the desk as she needs more work space than I do.
And it is quite a pleasure to be able to set up my gear on an actual table or desk. With a chair.
The room we had was fitted with a microwave and refrigerator, which is important to us as full-time travelers. It also had a nice, new, comfortable queen bed.
We always prefer more pillows, but those are available on request and requests were granted.
The new bathrooms are pretty funky, with little space-age tubes to hold the towels.
And something that neither of us have ever seen before was a shower setup like this.
If you have x-ray vision and can see behind the curtain, you’ll notice that the shower head is on the outside edge of the stall, and the curtain closes around it. We cannot stress enough how brilliant this is.
It always ensures that the water is flowing away from the curtain – and therefore, away from the bathroom – keeping the floor dry. I mean, how many times have you found water all over the tile in a hotel bathroom? Or your own bathroom, for that matter? Genius.
Motel 6 is also on the eco tip now, reminding you that you don’t really need new towels or linens or even cleanings every day. Because really, you don’t.
After a really, really good night’s sleep, you can get your free coffee in the morning. And if you so choose, you can pop right across the parking lot and eat at O’Brady’s. It’s a typical family-style restaurant with quirky books at every table and standard fare in the same vein as Perkins, Denny’s, etc.
The only major fault at the hotel is the wi-fi. We obviously need it to work and play, and the connection was painfully slow. It’s not free either, at $2.99/day per device. That’s just brutal. There’s nothing wrong with charging for wi-fi at such an affordable hotel. However, it should be fast and flawless, and should extend to all devices.
If we had paid for every device we own, we would have paid that $2.99 fee a total of six times per day. With our ability to use Connectify and our Verizon Jetpack, we were able to overcome most of these shenanigans. Regardless, it’s a good lesson in why you should have alternative resources if you must have a reliable connection – no matter where you are.
Again, charging for the connection is not an issue. But, as full-time travelers, we’d highly suggest that the connection itself is fast and reliable, and that charges are on a per-room basis instead of a per-device basis.
Back to the city: While Idaho Falls is the commercial center of the area and not necessarily a destination on its own, it does have an amazingly kept-up downtown. It was completely empty when we visited on a Sunday – because the whole town is Mormon, or because it was so hot? We don’t know – but retains its old-school charm very well with historic buildings covering every inch of the area.
Also wonderful to visit are the namesake of the town, the falls here. They run over both artificial and natural rock dams in the middle of the city, and are quite a sight to behold.
If you plan on heading out during your stay in Idaho Falls, we highly recommend going north to Island Park, where you can get into all sorts of adventure sports on the water and in the mountains.
Same goes for the nearby city of West Yellowstone, or Jackson to the east.
Idaho Falls is really a great jumping-off point for the entire area, and we enjoyed staying at the newly renovated Motel 6 during our time here. We’re happy to have stayed here for a few days, and thank Motel 6 for giving us the opportunity to do so.
- Location: Just outside downtown, but with easy access to the city as well as surrounding attractions.
- Clientele: Great for families and business travelers alike.
- Technology: Terrible wi-fi on a charge-per-device basis.
- Beds: Excellent and new. No problems sleeping for us!
- Rooms: Spacious and clean. Could use a bit more lighting. No views.
- Amenities: Cable TV, wi-fi, telephone, desk with a bench and chair, end tables, refrigerator, microwave, coin laundry in building.
- Bathroom: Plenty of soaps and lotions, good shower power with plenty of hot water.
- Dining: None on-site. Free coffee in the morning and easily accessible restaurants. Grill on site as well.
- Staff: Fantastic. Very helpful with issues and recommendations.
- Cleanliness: Rooms are very clean. Property kept clean 24/7, inside and out.
- Distractions: Outdoor pool and grill.
- Attractions: Downtown Idaho Falls, Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Island Park, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole.
- Snacks & Such: Nothing of the sort. Next door to a gas station and convenience store, down the street from a grocery store, free coffee in the morning.
- Value: The lowest price you’ll get for a clean and reliable hotel in the area.
The Motel 6 in Idaho Falls, Idaho, is located here:
1448 W. Broadway St.
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
Tel: +1 (208) 522-0112
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Have you ever been to Idaho Falls, or stayed at this Motel 6? Any thoughts about Motel 6 overall? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!