Teepees, trailers, and tents, oh my! Last summer, my friend Lauren and I traveled down to Marfa for a little “momcation” in the West Texas desert town and we stayed one night at the super-Instagrammable El Cosmico … Hotel? Motel? Campground? What is El Cosmico exactly? Ok, after looking at the website, the El Cosmico describes itself as a bohemian, nomadic hotel and campground. I’d probably describe it more as an expensive night spent glamping in a trailer, albeit a very cute Instagrammable trailer, which is set up in a kitschy, very hipster aesthetic, but it’s still just a trailer. So here is my El Cosmico Review which includes some tips and tricks and what you need to know before you go!
El Cosmico Review | Marfa, Texas
When I first visited Marfa in 2014, El Cosmico had opened the year prior, but I didn’t even know about it. It didn’t show up when I researched places to stay in Marfa and it hadn’t become Insta-famous yet. So when Lauren and I visited last year, I knew I wanted to stay at least one night. We only stayed the one night because if I’m going on vacation, I want the hotel stay to be just as nice as my bed and bathroom at home. If I’m going camping, that’s one thing, I know what I’ve signed up for, but if I’m on vacation then I want my vacation to be relaxing.
And I can’t really describe El Cosmico as relaxing. It’s fun! It’s a unique experience! I definitely recommend it, but it’s glamping, and for me, it was only good for one night. Then I was more than happy to move over to the Hotel Saint George. But, don’t get me wrong. Again, I totally recommend staying at the El Cosmico, but maybe only for the experience and the Instagram photos. I know, I know, I live for the ‘gram!
What to Know Before You Go
There are some truly terrible reviews about El Cosmico over on yelp. Most complain that it’s an overpriced glamping experience, and while I can’t disagree with that, I wouldn’t give El Cosmico a one-star review because of it. I really like the place! It’s unique! It’s cute! It’s fun! I mean, c’mon, Beyonce stayed here! I can see how it could be an awesome place to stay a few nights with friends – hang out in the hammocks, have some Lone Star beers around the campfire at night, etc. It would be an awesome spot for a Bachelorette Weekend for a group of girls from Austin, Texas! Just as long as you know before you go that you’re paying a premium price for a glamping-level experience.
Out at El Cosmico, plan to disconnect from your tech! There are no TVs, no computers, not even wifi in the trailers or teepees! If you need wifi, you can walk up to the hotel office. There’s also a general lack of power outlets because you’re staying a teepee, a tent, or a trailer!
Again, I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I honestly never use a hotel TV. I prefer hotels that have radios or record players in the rooms. But if you’re addicted to your phone, it’s just good to know before you go so you can plan accordingly.
Outdoor Showers, Communal Bathrooms, Communal Kitchen:
We stayed in a trailer, so we had an indoor toilet. Although, being one month pregnant at the time of our stay, my smell was very heightened and the bathroom smelled like piss. It smelled like a dirty urinal! I had to use it with the door open. Lauren (not pregnant) couldn’t smell it and she was lucky. Our toilet also sprayed water at you when you flushed it. I think it was clean water. I hoped it was clean water. I’m not really sure where this falls within the definition of glamorous camping. I guess just having an indoor toilet is glamorous.
The showers for most (maybe all but one?) of the trailers are outdoor. Tucked behind a canvas. And I believe the bathrooms and showers for the teepees and tents are all communal. Bring your shower flip flops! Also, you may need to bring your own shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc., although I think they supply a small bottle of Dr. Bronner’s.
And while our trailer had a little kitchen area, I did come across a communal kitchen for the tents and teepees to use, however, it is not located right next to them … so if you want to keep your wine or beer chilled, be prepared to walk.
Book in Advance:
If you want to stay in a trailer, I would recommend booking in advance. There are only a handful of trailers and you may or may not be able to get the size/accommodations you need last minute.
I think we booked about a month out, although we did stay during an off-peak time during the hot summer months. I asked Lauren if she asked for the same trailer that Bey stayed in (the Imperial) and I’m surprised she didn’t immediately call them back and make the request.
Again, it’s kitsch, it’s hipster, it’s Instagram. Stay for the aesthetic, not for comfort
The Gift Shop is Unnecessarily Expensive:
I love a gift shop! Museum gift shop, hotel gift shop, theme park gift shop! Yes! But this one? Unnecessarily expensive. I can understand having some expensive items, but $60 for a shirt is too much.
BYO Food and Drink:
If you’re planning to have a night “in” then plan ahead of time to have your own food and drinks. Stop by The Get Go market and pick up some Lone Stars or a bottle of wine to drink by a fire while star gazing.
Again, I really enjoyed my one night stay at the El Cosmico! I would totally stay there again! I just think that having the right kind of expectations or mind frame can affect whether you like staying there or not.
And if you’re planning a trip to Marfa, be sure to check out some of my other Marfa posts: