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Stylish Renovated Roadside Motels

How HipLodge became the premier resource in finding stylish renovated roadside motels that feature high design at an affordable price.

Stylish renovated roadside motels
Photo courtesy of Selina Miami Gold Dust

It was mid-December. Cold and dreary outside. We were longing for a sunny spot to lure us away from the hustle and bustle of the holidays. We had booked one too many pricey hotels in our extended family’s hometown for the season when we happened upon an article about the revitalism of motels. Apparently, the hip new place to be was stylish renovated roadside motels. Motels, we asked ourselves? Yes, motels.

Soon after, we discovered two new shows on the Magnolia Network called (re)motel and Inn the Works which highlighted run down motels across the country that were being renovated into gorgeous, hip and quirky places to stay. Full of character, interesting design perspectives and amenities we would never have dreamt of in a standard hotel, we started seeking out these hidden gems.

After researching, we discovered a few articles in publications like Travel and Leisure, Dwell and Architectural Digest highlighting a growing trend in buying retro motels from the 1950’s and 1960’s, and reimagining them into the hottest properties in hospitality today. In all, we had a solid set of about 15 properties, but where was the comprehensive list? We wanted to see more. 

Stylish renovated roadside motels
Photo courtesy of Selina Miami Gold Dust

What we love about these fresh motel properties

Stylish renovated roadside motels hit on so many positive notes when we consider our lodging options on the road. First, they are storied. Built in the era of the road trip-when Route 66 was the place to be-the classic roadside motel is an American icon. Originally built as no-frills, inexpensive lodging for travelers crossing the country, the American motel eventually fell to the wayside as larger hotel brands came onto the scene. Today, these motels are being purchased by individuals or small hospitality groups that have their own unique story to share. Every traveler who passes through the lobby of these stylish retro motels joins a community of individuals with miles of stories in their rearview mirror, and a lust for the future journey which has yet to be mapped.

The design is drool-worthy

Second, we have an ongoing love affair with mid-century modern design. Retro motels have a cool factor that is unmatched by a contemporary chain hotel property. For example, look at the Vagabond Motel in Miami, FL. The architecture, colors, decor, and neon signage are like a beckoning light as you exit the highway. Today, retro motels are being renovated into something magical. Each property is unique to the hotelier that has taken on the challenge of bringing it back to its glory day. The character remains, but the design is fresh.

Photo courtesy of Selina Miami Gold Dust

A community of really cool people

Third, the community. We strayed from big box hotels when Airbnb came on the scene as they introduced an opportunity to experience unique designs wherever we traveled. What was missing though, was community. The renovated motel community is a haven for really cool people. Stories are shared around open air firepits or at hip bars overlooking the mountains. What was once a parking lot has been turned into an open community lawn with outdoor games welcoming all who pass through a sense of respite. And we can’t overlook the classic mid-century pools. These cheeky water holes are so buzzy we can’t help but go for a dip. One of our favorites is The Caliente Tropics Resort in Palm Springs. It’s retro to the max and so much fun. 

Motels are economical (even chic renovated motels)

Fourth, it’s economical, so your vacation money goes a lot further. When you look at our comprehensive and growing map of stylish renovated roadside motels, you will see that they are fairly priced. Most rates are in the $150 – $200 range, which for what these properties offer, is really reasonable and far less than big name hotels. Factoring in the chic designs, abundance of amenities and overall experiential factor at today’s hottest motel properties, it’s just a no brainer choice for where we want to be.  The rooms tend to trend much larger than a big box hotel, with family rooms (hello bunk beds!) planned into the design at a refreshing number of properties. Gone are the days when we have to budget for renting two adjoining rooms, or taking our chances on the foldout couch for the kids.

The perfect blend style and comfort

Lastly, these chic motels strike that perfect balance between big and small, public and private, housekeeping and… clean up after yourself. There is a cleanliness (albeit, sterile) expectation when you stay in a major hotel brand. In someone’s private home, it’s hit or miss. These motels strike the perfect balance between the two.  You get a managed property with a consistent standard of cleanliness and maintenance, and the outsized character they offer. You get a glimpse into the personal styling of the hotelier, with cool bodies of art and interesting personal collections. It’s truly a blended effect taking into account style and comfort.

After having our eyes opened to the new way of the roadside motel, we launched HipLodge, hit the road, and never looked back. We’ve built an amazing collection of boutique motel listings on our property listing page

We hope you look to us as a resource for your own adventures. If you find a cool renovated motel out there that’s not on our map, we hope you share it back with us so we can experience it as well. But most importantly, we hope you have fun out there enjoying the American spirit of discovery.

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