Often described as an “undeniable super-aesthetic,” the hyper-American Googie architectural stylings of the 1950s and ’60s can still be seen all over North America today. But what is Googie? Why was it so pervasive in mid-century America, especially within roadside establishments such as diners, motels, and coffee shops? Well to put it simply, it is an ultramodern fashion of architecture that came to prominence in America after the end of World War II. Following the War, the United States’ economic base grew almost exponentially; this…Continue Reading “Googie Architecture: Why Motels Look Like U.F.O.’s”

The Great American Novel by Phillip Roth is simultaneously one of the most ridiculous as well as cuttingly accurate pieces of American literature that I have ever read, and it is easily one of my favorite novels. At one point in the story, the protagonist is discussing the potential of A Great American Novel with none other than Ernest Hemingway while out fishing for marlin; although they do not agree who will be the writer of said novel–perhaps a dentist from Westchester County, New York…Continue Reading “The Great American Travelogue”

Every once in a while, a star suffers an untimely death at the hands of tragedy. Only a handful of these celebrities and artists become cult heroes, who – since their star burns out long before ever fading away – are remembered just as they were in their heyday. But what about the sacred places where these legends came to their sudden end? Sometimes the loss is so agonizing and heartbreaking that their devoted followers build shrines at these sanctified dwellings to honour the memory…Continue Reading “Cult Hero Hotel Shrines”

The last decade has seen many neighborhoods affected by the strike of gentrification. Acquired by over-greedy real estate developers, sadly condemned to meet the good ol’ wrecking ball fate, a slew of mid-century motels are demolished to make way for cookie-cutter luxury condo developments. Here we see the motel transformed into art to give the old structures a new lease on life. Art Motel in Las Vegas, NV (Town Lodge Motel) Held annually since its 2013 inauguration, Life Is Beautiful is a three-day festival whose…Continue Reading “Motel Transformed Into Art”

The Main Street of America, as it has come to be known, is arguably the world’s most famous route, which is exactly why I’ve decided to focus this post around Motel Signspotting on Route 66. With no shortage of visual splendor –old-fashioned service stations and iconic water towers, all-American diners straight out of the 50’s and charming small-town cafes, big blue skies blanketing rolling hills and deserts, famous rivers and landmark bridges  – one of the most iconic sights on this historic route remains the colorful…Continue Reading “Motel Signspotting On Route 66”

I’ve talked to great extent about some of my favorite motels all over the beautiful United States of America. Heck, I’ve even written about my favorite tunes to listen to while traveling, but today I will deliver you the first ever edition of what fresh pit stop grub that I love to fuel up on while riding the I-40 all night long. Through all of my extensive research and experiences traveling this great country I believe that I occupy a pretty exclusive position as true-snack-insider….Continue Reading “Pit Stop Grub: Finding America’s Best Road Trip Snacks”

Wes Anderson’s 1996 feature film Bottle Rocket not only functions as his directorial debut but is also responsible for launching the careers of both Owen and Luke Wilson. The kitschy crime-comedy film has been well regarded over the years for symbolizing a prologue of sorts for what would become Wes Anderson’s signature theatrical style of filmmaking. From botched heists to unlikely love stories, the film is rife with enough classic thematic hooks that it’s pretty clear why the film has been released as part of…Continue Reading “Bottle Rocket Motel: Telling a Story through an Environment”

While most of us are familiar of the makings of a typical hotel, the ‘motel’ is the sometimes misunderstood offshoot of its more well-recognized counterpart. So, what is precisely the difference between motels and hotels? The term ‘motel,’ a portmanteau contraction of ‘motor’ and ‘hotel,’ was coined by the founders of San Luis Obispo’s The Milestone Mo-Tel, the world’s first motel, in 1925. The development of major American highway systems and subsequent increase in automobile travel during the early 1920’s created the demand for a…Continue Reading “What’s the difference between motels and hotels?”

If this blog has proved anything, it’s that old school motels can be alternately cozy or seedy, depending on how you look at it. The world of television certainly caters to both sides of this spectrum, as evidenced in the wide array of fictional motels that have become pivotal settings for a number of iconic television programs, such as Bates Motel. We’ve decided to rank three of the most memorable fictional motels from television’s recent past.   The Bates Motel from Bates Motel Our rating:…Continue Reading “Bates Motel and Beyond: Rating the Best and Worst Fictional Motels from the Small Screen”

Retro love hotels in Tokyo and Japan more generally are, to put it in an understated way, special. And the older they are, chances are the weirder they are. In this special post, I look at a few truly classic kitsch love hotels. Honestly, you have to see these. Only in Japan. Empire of Kitsch: Love Hotels and the Swinging Seventies Yes, we know. We’re not in Kansas (or California) anymore. But Japan’s love hotels are fascinating, and have a strong national identity that’s worth…Continue Reading “The Coolest Retro Tokyo Love Hotels”