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Thunderbird Motel, Marfa, Texas 
$$$$

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Marfa , Texas
Tel: 432 729 1984
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Unlike most Marfa establishments, the Thunderbird has no movie posters on the walls from Giant, the western saga famously filmed in this small West Texas town in 1955. Instead, walls are hung with works by artists in residence at the Chinati Foundation, a modern-art museum established by the innovative installation artist Donald Judd, who called Marfa home. Liz Lambert, who turned an old motor court named the San Jose into Austin's must-stay hotel, has brought her quirky minimalism west, transforming the 46-year-old Thunderbird into a 24-room oasis. Interiors are sparse but striking, with low platform beds covered in vivid Peruvian blankets. The oblong pool is encircled by a curtain of spindly ocotillo cactuses, jasmine climbs screens made from drill pipe used in Texas oil fields, and a massive slab of mesquite serves as a tabletop in front of the outdoor fire pit. Later this year, a restaurant and bar will open, as well as another 16 rooms.—2005 Hot List

When to go: October 8 and 9, when the Chinati Foundation hosts its Open House, a free art and music festival.

Which room to book: Corner rooms are more spacious and boast flat-screen TVs

Amenities: Pool, Wheelchair-accessible

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