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Reviewed March 12, 2018

The rooms are rustic, simple and small but comfortable. It's like a cabin more than a room. The beds are good and it has in room coffee and TV. The property is very clean and quite with a great common area for relaxing by the outdoor fireplace. They also have wifi.
It's pricey for the area where choices are limited.
The staff is very friendly and helpful.

Room Tip: each room is half a duplex
  • Stayed: March 2018, travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Johnny B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 11, 2018

The Marathon RV park is a gravel parking lot. It offered full service, Wi-Fi and cable. Our wifi never connected in 5 days and cable connection was grainy due to a damaged connection. Management was told about this but did nothing. Seven trains between midnight and 4 am blasted their air horns right outside the campground across the street. Other nights a little less frequently. Needless to say, after 5 nights of interrupted sleep, we are groggy! There was one bathroom/shower each for men and women. However, the renovations on the motel side look nice...maybe it’s time to fix up the RV park!

Stayed: March 2018, travelled as a couple
Thank CalgaryAnn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 11, 2018 via mobile

The place is rustic, but rooms are clean and comfortable nevertheless
Given the remoteness of the location, you can’t expect all amenities of a large city motel

The motel offers accommodation in cottages; each cottage is divided in two rooms each with twin beds and shower/toilet
Rooms have AC/heating (quite important given the extreme temperatures), coffe maker and (small) TV (never turned on... there are more interesting things to do around). Would be nice to have a small fridge and microwave in each room, since eating opportunities are limited in town... otherwise you need to drive to Alpine (30 min away)

The room were clean and functional; no complain. Also quiet. Despite the place was fully booked, never heard any of the neighbors in the 5 days of my stay

Beware the train. The motel is separated by the railroad just by US90, each train passing will full blast the horn several time due to a couple of intersections crossing the line

There is also an area for tents and another for RVs

Staff is very friendly, all locals or people who selected Marathon as retirement location

The peculiarity of the place is to also specifically cater to astronomers and astrophotographers in their “sky park”
There are 3 large concrete pads with electrical outlets where you can setup your equipment for the nightly observation
The area is screened from occasional car headlights
Also there is limited night illumination in the hotel campground to avoid compromising night vision
WiFi covers the accommodation and sky park, but during my stay wasn’t properly working... was keeping disconnecting all my device every few mins

Bill, the resident astronomer, offer nightly “tour of the sky”, showing the motel and RV guests the beauty of the night sky through visual observation with the numerous telescope he has available (including a 24” Dobsonian)

Marathon itself lacks street lights or other source of light pollution, so the site is very dark (Bortle scale 1) and the motel is just outside the town

The altitude (4000+ feet) and the dry air, make this an ideal place for AP

Temperatures in December when I visited can be anything... from a comfortable 20C to freezing, with major excursions

The motel is conveniently placed about 40min drive from Big Bend Park north entrance. Astrophotography at night and hiking in the park all day. Slept like a baby. Simply blissful

If it was providing fridge and microwave and functioning WiFi, I would rate it a 5. But don’t expect swimming pool, pool bar, spa, in room dining, concierge service or minibar. Contextualize the rating in the rural remoteness of the place and West Texas culture

Stayed: December 2017, travelled as a couple
1  Thank BlueBoyTX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 17, 2017

I tent camped here one night in October on my way to Big Bend NP. It's a lovely photogenic property, but I'm not sure I'd stay again because of the problem they have with goathead weed...and, therefore, goathead thorns.

If you don't know what goathead thorns are, look them up. They are very painful if you step on them barefoot or in thin flip flops. I only found them AFTER setting up my tent and walking inside, finding that several were protruding through the floor of my tent. I tried to remove as many as possible from the area, but it was impossible to make much of a difference.

I chose not to inflate my sleeping pad and ended up sleeping on rocks in the only position I could find where I was not being attacked by these thorns. However, I move in my sleep and was painfully awoken numerous times throughout the night when I'd accidentally reposition an arm or leg on top of a thorn. When I left the next day, I pulled a total of about 40 from the soles of my shoes and spent quite a bit of time removing them from the floor of my tent.

It was the most uncomfortable tent camping night I've ever experienced. If I'd had other options at the time I made this discovery, I would have packed up and left.

If it weren't for the thorns, this would be an acceptable place to return to. It definitely has character and is photogenic. Although the woman I spoke to at check-in seemed somewhat annoyed by my presence, everyone else I encountered was friendly. This was a great place to view the night sky and I wish I'd been there on a night when a social activity or night viewing activity would be taking place. Actually, I got the impression from their website that there was some sort of organized sky watching on a nightly basis and expected to be able to join some sort of small night party, but this is not the case. I was the only person out after dark.

As mentioned in many other reviews, this property is located across the street from very active train tracks and you should be prepared for this if you plan to stay here.

Overall, it's a cute property with lots of potential and I see why it's liked, but it wasn't quite what I expected and the goathead weed thorns made for a very unpleasant night.

  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank michaela1k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed November 30, 2017

We stayed three nights before Thanksgiving 2017 and stayed in the apartment. I couldn't find any reviews on the apartment. It was wonderful, will we go back - YES. Stay at Marathon Motel-YES.

The apartment is upstairs and has everything you need: microwave, coffee maker, fridge, electric stove & oven works. Now you will need your own teflon pans if you like teflon (no stick pans). Wine glasses and bottle openers are there...yes important for the drinking folks. The heat works good in the living room, couldn't figure it out in bedroom. Sleeping: sofa bed, full size-ish bedroom bed, AND a rolling cot. Now, the mattress on the bed and sofa bed are worn and not comfortable BUT you are dog tired after hiking in Big Bend and you are out like a light. The train scared us the first night but didn't bother us after. Restroom is big and has a closet, extra towels and blankets in the linen closet.

We LOVED IT!

  • Stayed: November 2017, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Delia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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