Elvis slept here. Places from around the world – from his old army base in Germany, to luxurious hotels in Hawaii – boast this claim, and use it to attract fans and tourists alike. But there is one location that is a bit unique, and that has been seemingly forgotten: The Trade Winds Motel in Clinton, Oklahoma.

The little town of Clinton, OK has a distinction that made it perfect for The King and his entourage: it is the approximate halfway point between Las Vegas and Memphis. During the late 1960s, Elvis wouldperform regularly in Vegas. He preferred to drive back to Graceland rather than fly, and The BestWestern Tradewinds Courtyard Inn was his preferred stop.

Elvis and his crew stayed here on four separate occasions, and Elvis himself would always book Room215, preferring the privacy of the corner suite. However, on his fourth stay, a maid happened to peek into the room while the door was opened. After seeing that Elvis was the guest, she went about informing everyone she could that The King was in town! A crowd quickly gathered and Elvis, though he disliked the breach in privacy, obliged them with autographs, and even played ball with some of the children who were there. This moment, however, would serve to be his last in Clinton. Elvis never stayed at the Tradewinds again.

Fit For a King

Fit For a King

Despite the incident, the owners of the hotel had hope that he would one day return. As a result, Room 215 was persevered as though he would. Over the years, the hotel often changed hands, but with the end of the era of Route 66, the hotel fell into decline. Clinton, OK, which had been put on the map by the famous highway, faded from the memory of tourists, but the room remained.

The motel, now simply called The Trade Winds Motel, not only still stands, but is still operational. Its clientele has changed dramatically. Rooms are as low as $20.00 a night, and most guests are long‐term residents, paying under $100.00 for a weekly stay. It is dirty, dated. Some rooms have had their doors removed, either by decay, or necessity – a result of the hot Oklahoma summers. There is garbage and empty beer cans strewn about the property. A woman wearing only a housecoat, her hair in curlers,
stumbles over to the laundry area. A man in old worn clothing wanders the parking lot, muttering to himself. Pulling into the parking area, no tourist would ever guess that this was once a location fit for The King.

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Wonder What Happened Here?

Ask the current owners to see the Elvis Room, and they will say “no.” They will not accept money to tour it, either. However, it can be rented for the entire night, for, the owner claimed, a steep rate: $80.00. Once the credit card payment is received, the woman behind the front desk becomes very friendly and helpful. “He [Elvis] would arrive on a Friday night around Midnight and sleep the night and most of the next day, ordering room service for himself and his band,” she gushed. The vanity, the bed, and most of
the furnishings in the room are original to when Elvis stayed. There are many things packed away safely in storage too, like the telephone that Elvis used. “We’ve had many thefts,” said the woman. “We even once caught someone trying to unscrew a light bulb, like it would be the same one since the 60s.”
Overzealous fans have even stolen the numbers from the door of the room. They have not been replaced.

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The King’s Throne!

Finally stepping inside the room is like stepping into a hot, musty time capsule. The king size bed is covered with a red faux satin duvet. The vanity remains, as does the black Naugahyde fainting couch. Heavy red curtains cover the large windows, basking the room in a sort of reddish surreal glow.

New modern touches have been introduced, like a 20” television with VCR, and a push button telephone. Hanging on the wall are framed CDs of Elvis music, and some tacky memorabilia clearly purchased from the internet.

It’s hard to recommend staying the entire night. The motel is very sketchy. We stayed for around 3 hours – much longer than we had anticipated ‐ taking photographs, sitting in every chair, seeing the room the way that Elvis had. When the sun started to fall, we left, satisfied with the experience. Elvis stayed here. Indeed! We had now, too. What a private and personal way to relive a moment in time with The King of Rock ‘n Roll himself!