by Gwilym Owen
November 30, 2002
John Wayne himself stayed here often during his many visits to Lone Pine shooting Westerns, and there is actually a small shrine paying homage to him on the ground floor in the common area behind the reception. Even as early as the 20’s Hollywood was looking for movie locations with varied terrain and Owens Valley seemed to fit the bill nicely with snow-capped Sierras, the hauntingly unique Alabama Hills, as well as deserts, mountain lakes and streams all in such a small locality. Obviously when the film crews came on location, they needed lodging and Walter Dow, a Lone Pine resident, realised that building a hotel would be perfect to capture this market – hence the Dow Villa Hotel with its magnificent view of Mt. Whitney and the Sierras.
During its heyday, the Dow Villa Hotel played host to countless Hollywood producers, directors and stars including such luminaries as John Wayne, William Boyd, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Pat Buttrum, Stewart Granger, Errol Flynn, Robert Mitchum and Clayton Moore.
The motel section of the establishment appears to have well appointed and modern guestrooms including dataports for your laptop – the deluxe rooms even have whirlpool tubs in which to rest those weary limbs after a long day in the driving seat.
For food, PJ’s a decent 24hr American Style diner is next door to the motel and there are several other choices along the main street. The deluxe rooms also come equipped with a microwave as well as the usual coffee making and fridge facilities, so you can also do some self catering if you wanted to.
The motel is centrally located on the main road in Lone Pine and offers easy access to the local attractions of Mt Whitney, Death Valley, The Alabama Hills and Owens Valley. It is AAA 3-star rated, though hotel is not rated due to its historic background.
From journal Lone Pine - Land of the Western