An oasis on the distant horizon after a long day behind the wheel. A roadside savior for the foolhardy road tripper who tried to push the drive for just a few more hours. Stumble from the car to your bed in the blink of a weary eye. Motels were once beacons of hope, safe havens for the night, a stylish stop on the great American road trip.
But then something changed…
Think of the most recent serial killer docu-series that you binged? There’s a very good chance that one (or multiple) crimes were committed at a motel. Need to make a major drug deal? I know just the place! Remember in Drive when Ryan Gosling goes from wheelman to full-fledged kicker of asses? Motel. One of the most famous horror movies of all time takes place at the Bates Motel. Alfred Hitchcock knows what’s up. For decades, it was nearly impossible to say ‘motel’ without the word ‘seedy’ in front of it.
But then something changed…again…
Retro kitsch. Mid Century side tables. Poolside drinks. A diner. Pantone’s color of the year. If your current choice of accommodation has one of these five ingredients, you’re entrenched in the Motel Renaissance. First and foremost, let’s be clear, the resurgence of motels is a good thing. With great motels, comes great adventure. More road trips, more friends, more fun (and exponentially fewer Tarantino-esque crime scenes for housekeeping to discover).
If you find your eyelids getting heavy on your next cross-country rip; rest easy know that you can rest easy (sorry) at one of these killer (sorry) spots:
Austin Motel: Austin, TX
The OG of South Congress. The Austin Motel has been a landmark of the South Congress neighborhood, and the endpoint of many SXSW benders. Rooms with retro vibes and a bar serving up Mexican-inspired drinks may actually keep you from exploring one of America’s best cities.
Drake Motor Inn: Prince Edward County, Canada
The newly minted roadside spot will pack you a picnic, book you a yoga class and point you in the direction of Prince Edward Country’s best wineries. It’s all in a day’s work for the Motor Inn team, as they welcome road-weary guests. Mid Century accents with just the right amount of luxury.
The Dive Motel: Nashville, TN
The Dive leans into the kitsch and we’re all thankful for it. The result: retro wallpaper, tandem bathtubs and disco balls. The Swim Club is where guests beat the Nashville heat. The Dive Bar slings drinks seven days a week. This retro Nashville abode has all the modern amenities one can ask for, but also one that you didn’t realise you need: A Party Switch.
The Amigo Motor Lodge: Salida, CO
This small town joint is worth skipping Denver for. Rest up before crossing the mountains at this stylish lodge that hits all the right notes, combining western and minimalist design. The Amigo team have nothing to hide and say it best: ‘our windows are old, and sometimes the floor might squeak’. Who cares about the drafty windows when you’re treatin’ yourself with the Malin & Goetz toiletries?
The Brentwood Hotel: Saratoga Springs, NY
A boutique motel located on the grounds of a racehorse track? Yes, please! The Brentwood is a stone’s throw from the track, should you choose to place a wager or two. The only challenge is that you’ll need to pry yourself away from The Brentwood’s elegantly warm cocktail bar. The rooms feel like a centuries-old hunting camp that likely smells like bourbon and leather. Classy.
The next time you find yourself on the open road and close to one of these Motels, do yourself a favor and set the GPS. Check-in for a stay that feels modern and vintage all at the same time, and tell them CYTIES sent you.