Retro Motels & Motor Lodges Across the United States
The ‘50s and ‘60s throwback (hello, motor lodges!) is back in vogue. Only instead of pulling the station wagon up to your room’s exterior entrance or glass-walled tiny lobby, you may be hopping out of a Lyft and handed a cocktail while shown the way to the spa. These reboots and refreshes on properties dating back to the middle of last century are perfect pairings for a road trip this summer or fall.
The Dive Motel (Nashville, TN):
All 23 wood-paneled rooms at this 1956 motel (relaunched in 2019 under a new name) flaunt “party switches” activating a disco ball and music. Order tacos at the Dive Bar, snug in a vinyl booth, or chill at the pool.
The Flamingo Resort (Santa Rosa, CA):
The 170-room, 1957 resort’s interiors may be new but they’re true to the period, especially the lobby’s chrome bar-height stools, and the flamingo still twirls atop the neon sign out front. Kick back poolside with a Mai Tai and Hawaiian-inspired cuisine.
The Drifter Hotel (New Orleans, LA):
Petal-valance umbrellas by the pool and fine wines put this 2017 refresh—owner Jayson Seidman was inspired by Japan to add bamboo lamp shades— into high-design territory but pedestal sinks in the 20 rooms and a restored neon road sign are authentic.
The Starlite Motel (Kerhonkson, New York):
Vintage mini-Frigidaires and pour-over coffee in the eight rooms—each door’s sky-blue hue a cheery entrance—help you chill at this 1960s motel, as do hammocks and bonfires, plus a pool. Drop by the Canteen—in two former guest rooms—for a drink.
Modern Hotel (Boise, ID):
Ribbed lighting-pendant shades in the 39 rooms are definite nostalgic nods but locals come to this former 1960s Travelodge (open since 2007) for Tiki-fied cocktails.