When hitting the road, travelers often lean toward clean, largely generic accommodations offering with peace, quiet and wi-fi.
But for those seeking something out of the ordinary — perhaps a place once familiar to inmates, or a suite carved over eons by nature — Arizona has the l-odd-ging you’ve been looking for.
Here are some of the quirkiest accommodations in the state:
OK Street Jail Inn
About the hotel: This former iron-bar hotel in Bisbee has been converted into an actual inn. Conveniently located near the foot of Brewery Gulch (and explaining the popularity of its drunk tank back in the day), this narrow, two-story stone structure is perfect for those looking to lock down a little romance.
Coolest feature: Some of the original jail bars remain in place, including the heavy iron door at the top of the stairs. They remind of earlier times when there was no well-appointed kitchen, comfy bed or cable TV, just grumpy armed men. Then again, it was a lot less expensive to spend the night at the turn of the 20th century when it was a hoosegow.
Don’t miss: A drink at the Room 4, Arizona’s smallest bar. Belly up to one of the four stools at the tiny watering hole inside the Silver King Hotel. If it’s full (it only takes six people), take a seat in the lobby and wait a bit. Patrons are pretty good at giving up their spot to let someone else experience the bar.
Nearby activities: The OK Street Jail is in the heart of Bisbee and within walking distance numerous restaurants, bars and boutiques.
Details: 518-755-3562, www.okstreetjailhouse.com.
About the hotel: More than a half-century ago, Americans on the move often stopped at this iconic motel along Route 66 in Holbrook. Today, people stop by for one of two reasons: nostalgia, or the insistence of their children who want to stay at that motel from Pixar’s “Cars.” Yes, the Cozy Cone Motel in the animated movie looks remarkably the Wigwam, which features 15 concrete tepees arranged in a U-shape.
Coolest feature: You’re sleeping in a cone, its circular floor plan and slanting walls a bit disconcerting at first, but then rather comforting. Want to annoy your misbehaving kids? Tell them to go stand in the corner.
Don’t miss: The collection of petrified wood amassed by the Wigwam’s owners over the years. Some of the best pieces are displayed in the lobby.
Nearby activities: The southern entrance of Petrified Forest National Park is 19 miles away. Trails thread among fallen trees millions of years old, their trunks turned to stone. (Disney’s new Star Wars land is set in a city of towering petrified trees, which may or may not affect visitation of the real thing.)
Details: 928-524-3048, www.galerie-kokopelli.com/wigwam.
Hotel Monte Vista
About the hotel: From the Phantom Bellboy to the Baby in the Basement, this Flagstaff hotel teems with transparent freeloaders. But the afterlife of the party is in Room 305, where a woman has been seen staring out from a rocking chair. Some guests have reported that the chair rocks despite being unoccupied; others say they’ve heard someone knocking from inside the (seemingly) empty closet.
Coolest feature: Knowing that while in Room 305, you’re never alone. Or so it would seem. Not a believer? Well, there’s cable TV, then.
Don’t miss: A drink in the cocktail lounge, home of a successful bootlegging operation during Prohibition. Perhaps you’ll get a cheery though disembodied “Good morning” from the ghost of the bank robber said to have bled to death while enjoying a celebratory cocktail for a job not-so-well done.
Nearby activities: While downtown Flagstaff teems with activity, head south of the railroad tracks for a restaurant-and-retail path less traveled. Start the day with delectable made-from-scratch pastries at Tourist Home Café. After several hours of wandering, drop in for a local brew at Historic Brewing Barrel + Bottle House.
The caboose at Canyon Motel and RV Park
About the hotel: Imagine being on a train that’s been delayed and you don’t care because there’s plenty to do right outside. That’s what it’s like staying at this property in Williams, which offers several rail cars long retired from active service. The roomy Pullman cars from the 1950s are divided into three suites; the two cabooses are suites unto themselves. (Note to Millennials: Cabooses once rode at the end of freight trains, providing quarters for the crew and excitement for kids who waved as they passed. The bar for entertainment was much lower back then.)
Coolest feature: You’re in a train! These cars once traversed a growing America, logging thousands of miles every year. They were equipped with all the latest tech of the day, including high-def windows and wireless radios. Now they have high-def TVs and a wireless network.
Don’t miss: The haunting of Caboose #2. Guests have reported lights flicking on and off, inexplicable sounds and what is believed to be the ghost of a conductor waving a lantern in the middle of the night.
Nearby activities:Downtown Williams is just 5 minutes away. The shops and restaurants reflect the town’s split personality. Some businesses are themed for the railroads that built Williams, while others celebrate its spot along historic Route 66. The smart ones embrace both.
Rates: $111-$140 for railway car suite, $206 for caboose.
Details: 800-482-3955, thecanyonmotel.com.
Grand Canyon Caverns
About the hotel: When a young woodcutter stumbled into a hole in 1927, he quickly discovered it was much more than a pit. After determining that the cave had no gold, he found another way to mine it – through tourism. That spirit thrives at Grand Canyon Caverns in Peach Springs, home to Arizona’s deepest, darkest hotel room. Those who take the elevator 220 feet below the surface see a hotel room mounted on a wooden platform, complete with bed, bathroom and TV (no broadcast or cable, but plenty of DVD movies).
Coolest feature: The stonework looks as good as any Disney Imagineer could craft, and for good reason: It’s real. The chamber is 200 by 400 feet with a ceiling 70 feet high. Doesn’t get more spacious than that. And in a cave, no one can hear you scream (with delight), unless a tour group happens by.
Don’t miss: Exploring the caverns with the lights off. Once the last tour exits, the place is yours. Grab the provided flashlights and head out. Be sure to stick to the trails because if you get lost and become the target of a search party, you’ll go viral and not in a good way (“Visitors lost in hotel suite”).
Nearby activities: If you’re lucky enough to have hiking permits to see the Havasupai waterfalls, you’re less than an hour away from the trailhead. But if you thought the Grand Canyon Caverns were close to Grand Canyon National Park, here’s some bad news: The South Rim is more than two hours away.
Details: 928-422-3223, gccaverns.com.