In1931, The U.S. officially opened Route 66 which ran from Chicago to Santa Monica, California. The route became so popular that many businesses popped up to cater to travelers with Gas, food, and lodging. There was so much competition for the traveler’s dollar that businesses had to come up with a gimmick to lures the cars off the highway. The Aztec Hotel certainly was eye-catching. While it was called the Aztec Hotel it was actually a misnomer as the design of the building was clearly Mayan. The Hotel with replete with Mayan, Aztec, and Native American murals, and wall design was a big draw when it first opened, The architect who created the building was aware of this but thought the name “The Mayan Hotel” would be too obscure. Originally built in 1925 the business developed a reputation for being a wild place. Back during prohibition, there was a persistent rumor that the basement was a speakeasy.
Throughout its run, The Aztec Hotel was sporadically successful, (the property went in and out of bankruptcy several times. But always had a small loyal number of patrons. Some are supposed to haunt the hotel from the afterlife. The Hotel came out of Bankruptcy most recently as in 2012. The new owners have refurbished the Hotel and the very popular cocktail lounge “The Mayan Lounge’ located in the lobby to look much like it did when it opened nearly a century ago.
While the Hotel is not currently open for overnight accommodations. There are tours available. The Hotel is popular with ghost hunters as it is rumored to be haunted. The Mayan Bar and lounge are open and very popular with locals.