After having stayed a few nights in each, I decided that the town of Williams, Arizona is so upscale compared to Kingman, AZ, that it’s almost like a different world. Where everyone in Kingman seemed to hate their jobs and took it out on the customers, here in Williams I received nothing but decent customer service, i.e., at least they were trying to be nice to you while screwing up their jobs. Where in Kingman you’d be hard pressed to find a decent meal, Williams has more than a few chef driven restaurants. Both cities serve the SAME tourism group (both are on 66, both are gateways to different parts of the Grand Canyon, and Kingman is also an access point to Hoover dam) but each has completely different attention to details and attitudes towards their customers. Therefore, for a restful vacation, choose Williams.
I have a theory as to why this is so …Kingman is down in the desert where its hot and dry and that makes people cranky… while Williams sits at a higher elevation and they’re surrounded by trees. While williams, like a lot of the Route 66 cities, puts a great deal of effort into celebrating its history in that regard, unlike Kingman and some of the other cities in Arizona, there’s something a lot more classy about how they opt to go about it…
This historic gas-station, rather than demolished has been converted into gift shop, and the contents of the shop weren’t just the usual low-cost mugs and magnets (although some of that was there too) but rather it also had goods aimed at much more affluent clientele; some of it even appeared to be from local artists, and it included things like potted cactuses in cute western style pots. After a quick investigation of the store, I headed to my hotel.
I stayed two night here, spending the full day on a train ride to and from the Grand Canyon (totally worth the extra expense, see the post, and allows you to spend about 3 hours exploring the Canyon, which is enough to see the sites and have a meal).
Rather than stay at the train station’s hotel that was built in replacement for the town’s Harvey House (there’s really nothing in this new building of the old grandeur; the original building is still there, but now it’s their gift shop & offices), I opted instead to stay at the Howard Johnson that is only one block away from there (and two blocks from Williams’ downtown area). I was really happy to discover that the WiFi at the hotel was quite reasonable… 4 Mbps download and about 1 upload… which almost made me wish I’d booked for an extra day to spend blogging about my day at the grand Canyon before heading on. That said, it was fast enough that I was able to upload video to YouTube at a decent rate… and rather than picking up WiFi that’s coming through walls from somewhere else in the building, like at most big chain hotels, this place had a server in each room! At this hotel your wifi is your wifi, that speed isn’t shared. That said, all was not perfect. The chain that should have been on the interior of the door in order to lock hotel staff out while I was in, was broken … AND there was no card of the sort you hang on the door to tell the staff not to clean the room in your absence.
The night I arrived I walked around the downtown a little (my right pinky toe had been sprained when I fell off a bed back in Los Angeles, and I’d not gone to a clinic to have it seen to, so walking was a bit painful). For dinner I opted for the Red Raven Restaurant which had VERY good reviews on Yelp, and was suggested for the best option if what you did NOT want was a steak dinner. NONE of the steak places in this town served Bison (the low fat & tastier option) along with Beef, so I was very sad. For dinner I had Salmon Cilantro (Char broiled salmon fillet topped with a cilantro pesto. Served on a bed of Southwest mashed potatoes with grilled asparagus, and for my soup I opted for the Tomato Gazpacho (cold) $22. Both of these were as good as they looked. I forget exactly what the desert was, but it was deeply chocolate and a little bit of heaven in my mouth
After I walked around the downtown some more. The place is LOADED with really high-end shops selling Native American Jewelry, art, clothes, etc. NOTHING in this town is cheap, but the quality is all very high end.
After dinner I headed back to my hotel to rest up for the next day. The Train I was going to be taking required I be at the station at 8:30 am, while I normally wake up at around 10. (For dinner of the day after the train ride, I opted for McD’s all day breakfast menu, and an Egg McMuffin — I love those things). The day AFTER the train ride, I checked out the town a little bit more while heading east to my next stay.
Got a love it, instead of having wooden Indians (which are offensive) they have wooden white people and bears… which the woman working inside told me represented the animal spirits of the tribespeople… like I said, classy
I admit, I didn’t come here to eat while I was in town because they didn’t have a single thing on the menu that I could eat and keep my diet … Everything was either beef or something fried… that said, EVERYONE of my friends who has been to Williams told me that if you do want a steak this is the place to go… one friend even said it was the best steak she’d ever had in her entire life.
66 as it runs through downtown Williams is a one way street, so if you can see their sign from the vantage the lower picture, you are in fact driving the wrong way. (Got to love their sense of humor)