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We Stayed at a Route 66 Classic: Best Western Rail Haven Motor Court

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Jessica Merritt
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Jessica Merritt

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A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little ca...
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Michael Y. Park

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Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. He’s traveled through Afghanistan disguised as a Hazara Shi’ite, slept with polar bears on the Canadian tundra, picnicked with the king and que...
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My family spent a few nights at Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven, a historic motor court on Route 66, in March 2024. Staying on the route was an absolute must as we visited Springfield, Missouri, the birthplace of Route 66, and this delightful slice of Americana delivered exactly what I’d hoped for.

It was such a joy to stay at this charming, storied property that’s been so well cared for — and the price was fantastic, too.

Here’s what it was like staying in an old Route 66 motel and what we liked about it, from the nostalgia to its low cost, well-maintained facilities, great location, and surprisingly capable breakfast.

Booking Best Western Rail Haven

Besides the Route 66 history, I was impressed by the price of the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven. Our nightly room rate was $88 per night — only $605 with taxes and fees for a 6-night stay. That included a free breakfast for 5, which saved us money each day.

Though the cost was low, I still earned well on rewards. I booked with my Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which earns 3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel, so I earned 1,815 points for my spending.

Signs in the lobby advertised a status match opportunity with Best Western Rewards, so I used my Hilton Honors Diamond status and got upgraded to Diamond Select, Best Western’s highest rewards tier. Under Best Western’s status match rules, I’ll keep that tier level until March 31, 2026.

With my new Diamond Select status, I’ll get a 50% points bonus for qualifying nights, early check-in, and late checkout till then. Between the base and bonus points, I earned 7,920 Best Western Rewards points for this stay.

Best Western Rail Haven rewards
Points earning with Best Western and new Diamond Select status. Image Credit: Best Western

Best Western also had a stay 2 nights get a free night promotion, so I earned a free night with this stay, too. I’m using that voucher for a night at a Best Western in California that would have been more than $200. With that $200 savings, my $600 stay was more like $400! What a bargain.

Location of Best Western Rail Haven

The hotel’s location along historic Route 66 was a major draw for our family road trip. An iconic symbol of the great American road trip, Springfield is officially recognized as the birthplace of Route 66 as it’s where the road was named.

Stretching from Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive to the Santa Monica Pier, Route 66 was advertised as the fastest, most scenic way to traverse America. In its ’40s to ’60s heyday, the popular road trip route was a path to freedom and adventure for families and leisure travelers. Numerous diners, gas stations, motels, and roadside attractions emerged to serve travelers along the way.

Though many Route 66 stops fell into disrepair following the construction of the Interstate Highway System and subsequent decrease in Route 66 traffic, well-preserved gems like Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven remain as nostalgic stops along this legendary highway.

At the corner of Glenstone Avenue and East St. Louis Street (historic Route 66), Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven is less than 3 miles from downtown Springfield and close to everything. We were always only about 15 minutes or less from anywhere we wanted to go.

It was less than a mile away from another Route 66 destination on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places: the Route 66 Steak ‘n Shake, famous for steakburgers, chili, and shakes.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield location Steak and Shake
Just a mile down Route 66 from the hotel was the Route 66 Steak ‘n Shake.

Route 66 Theming

A major draw of this motel is its location on historic Route 66. The property, which dates back to 1938, is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It’s the oldest Best Western still operating and has served travelers for decades — even hosting Elvis for a night in 1956.

Numerous Route 66 signs and nostalgia nodded to the property’s history as a pit stop along America’s most legendary highway.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield Route 66 sign
One of the lit Route 66 signs on the property.

Vintage cars were everywhere on this old property, even a huge Lincoln parked under the large covered patio near the pool.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield patio with car
Patio dining with a classic car.

We all enjoyed checking out the old cars and stepping into the phone booth, which had a working phone that called the front desk.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield old car and phone booth
One of the classic cars on display at the motel.

It was also fun to check out the numerous old neon signs. This huge Best Western sign was mounted near the vending machines.

Best Western Rail Haven old Best Western Sign
The old Best Western sign was saved and is on display.

My favorite was the Rail Haven Motel sign. It’s a replica of a classic neon sign that was removed in 1994 when the hotel was rebranded.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield Route 66 sign
A replica neon sign for the Rail Haven Motel.

Even the lobby building had vintage gas pumps out front under the drive-through awning. Fittingly, back in the ’30s, this building was a gas station on an apple orchard, which later expanded into a motor court with cottages and garages for travelers along Route 66.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield gas pumps
Vintage gas pumps outside of the lobby.

The lobby looked a bit like a ’50s diner with a curved, metal-edged countertop and glass inserts. A rotary phone on the counter and numerous photos of the property at various ages further hinted at its history. In the back, the gift shop sold Rail Haven, Route 66, and Elvis memorabilia.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield lobby
Check-in was at the counter in an old gas station.

My kids became addicted to chewing gum on this visit, never missing an opportunity to pick up some “Elvis gum” at the front desk.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield lobby bubble gum
Bubble gum at the front desk.

There were a few themed rooms on the property, including the Elvis suite, where the King himself stayed. This room featured a car-themed bed, mirrored walls, a Jacuzzi, and Elvis imagery on the walls.

Best Western Rail Haven themed room Elvis
The Elvis suite at Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven. Image Credit: Best Western

We got to check out the Wild Bill room, which had wood paneling, copper ceiling tiles, and memorabilia dedicated to famed gunfighter “Wild Bill” Hickok, who had a shootout in Springfield’s town square.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield themed room Wild Bill bedroom
The Wild Bill room at Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven.

A copper soaking tub sat right next to a mural depicting the famous shootout.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield Wild Bill themed room
The copper soaking tub in the Wild Bill suite.

Room

This property is more than 85 years old, but it’s in great shape. I was impressed by how well-maintained all of the facilities were. The exteriors all looked freshly painted, with no signs of deterioration, and everything was remarkably clean.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield motel room doors
Fresh paint and clean exteriors throughout the property.

Our standard room was clean, cute, and color-coordinated — even the overhead light fixture matched the walls and curtains. The 2 double beds were nicely proportioned to the room, and it felt like we had plenty of space to get around, even with the small table near the window and door.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield room beds and table
Our standard room at Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven.

The room had good storage, with a large wardrobe, bench, and drawers. There was also a TV, microwave, and refrigerator, so we didn’t have to dine out for every meal.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield room storage
Storage in our standard room.

The most charming part of the room was the bathroom, with its pink-hued ’50s tile and curved window sash. The tile even had a soap dish cutout — you just don’t see those anymore.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield room bathroom sink
The vintage bathroom was very cute.

Though the tiles and fixtures appeared to be vintage, the maintenance wasn’t lacking, as I saw what looked like fairly fresh caulk in the bathtub and shower.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield room bathtub
Fresh caulk in the vintage bathroom.

The vanity space outside of the bathroom was a nice spot, with a wide counter and plenty of space for storage and getting ready.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield room bathroom vanity
Vanity space outside of the bathroom.

The motel looked just as good at night. It was very well-lit, not a burned-out lightbulb in sight.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield motel room doors
The motel was well-lit and felt very safe.

Food and Beverages

Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven had a small breakfast area in the lobby building.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield food and beverage breakfast
Part of the lobby breakfast nook.

With such a small space, I would’ve expected a continental breakfast with basic pastries and fruits, but we had hot eggs, sausage, biscuits, gravy, and even fresh hot waffles available each morning. It was not an extravagant breakfast, but it was better than I’d expected.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield food and beverage breakfast menu
A more extensive breakfast menu than I expected — including hot eggs, sausage, biscuits, gravy, and waffles.

Breakfast had a nice variety that was impressive for a small facility.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield food and beverage breakfast
We had our choice of hot menu items.

My kids were most impressed by the coffee machine, which also served hot chocolate at all hours.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield food and beverage breakfast drinks
We could get hot chocolate and coffee even when breakfast hours were done.

Breakfast seating was very small, but it maintained the Route 66 theme, with black-and-white checkered floors, barstools, and a bench upholstered in Route 66 fabric. And, of course, those old gas pumps right outside.

Best Western Rail Haven Springfield food and beverage breakfast seating
The small dining area.

Final Thoughts

Staying at this historic Route 66 property was a delight, and I’m glad we could be among the many travelers — Elvis included — who’ve enjoyed a night at the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven. The room and facilities were well maintained, the Route 66 theming and history were fun to explore, and the price was unbeatable. If you want to experience a classic Route 66 motor court in Springfield, this is a great choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

How old is the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven?

The property dates back to 1938, and it expanded during the ’50s heyday of Route 66 road trips.

How much does it cost to stay at Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven?

A standard room is generally $90 to $100 or about 20,000 points on most nights. Larger suites and themed rooms and themed rooms have higher nightly rates.

Is there free breakfast at Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven?

Yes, Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven offers free breakfast, with hot and cold options, coffee, and juice.

When is check-in and checkout at Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven?

Check-in is at 4 p.m., and checkout is at 11 a.m.

Jessica Merritt's image

About Jessica Merritt

A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little cash as possible.

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