Given my passion for travel and penchant for left-of-center, retro motels, many of my friends turn to me when it comes to finding decent lodgings on the tightest of tight budgets. This was taken to a new extreme when one of my friends asked me if it is possible to stay in a hotel for free. At first I thought this idea was absurd, unless of course you’re talking about programs that offer free motel vouchers for emergencies, like Sacramento’s Francis House Centre. But upon…Continue Reading “No Voucher Required: How to Increase Your Chances of Scoring a Free Motel Stay”

Nautical interior design has always been a mainstay of retro motel culture. Though many recently-erected boutique hotels have taken this aesthetic to a more luxurious extreme, there are a number of well-preserved retro nautical motels that maintain a bygone idea of what this design style is truly meant to embody. As an extension of the beach vacation experience, these motels are a time capsule for a time-enduring set of signifiers. Let’s take a look at some of the best of these retro nautical-themed motels. Nautical…Continue Reading “Get lost at sea (but not literally) with these great nautical motels!”

  Have you ever wondered what dreaming of a seedy motel means? Well, the meaning of motels and hotels in dreams is not cut and dry. There are many possibilities, some good and some bad. One thing’s for sure, the whole thing is very interesting. Let’s dive in and go deep, shall we?   Motels and Hotels in Dreams When You’re at Home, What’s That All About? The last time I dreamt of a motel, I was in one. Pretty meta. But usually I dream…Continue Reading “The Meaning of Motels and Hotels in Dreams”

From breathtaking mountain and desert landscapes to scenic open highways, filmmakers often rely on real-life locations to effectively convey a narrative and draw audiences closer. Roadside motels and motor lodges often serve as the backdrop for many American films. Whether you are searching for unique motel accommodation ideas for your next roadtrip vacation or are simply an avid fan of the road movie genre, the following list features some famous motels used in movies that you can add to your travel bucket list.   Known…Continue Reading “Famous Motels Used in Movies”

Long occupying an important space within the American cultural psyche, motels rose to prominence in the 1950’s and 1960’s following a boom in auto travel. After a decline in motor lodging demand during the 1980’s, a new guard of 21st century moteliers are putting classic motor courts back on the nation’s roadmap for a new generation of travellers wishing to revisit the heydey of roadside Americana. Well-preserved Googie architecture and authentic mid-century furniture harkens back to Atomic Age design, while audaciously embellished themed suites weave…Continue Reading “The Best Retro Motels in California”

Why have so many songs have been written about Route 66? In case this is news to you, here is a brief history lesson on the Mother Road, also known as the Main Street of America, also known as the Will Rogers Highway, and its deep-seated relationship with music. In 1946, American songwriter, Bobby Troup wrote (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66. The  song has been recorded by 11 artists including the Rolling Stones, Depeche Mode, and John Mayer. In 1994, there was an entire album featuring a…Continue Reading “Making Your Route 66 Playlist”

Motel neon signs once ruled America. They gave life to cities from New York to LA. But on the road they became truly mythological. Down Route 66 and the interstate highways, their wild colors blazed in the night. Beckoning the weary driver with the promise of modern comforts, they made far-off places seem welcoming. The history of American motel neon is fascinating, and it starts, oddly enough, in France. In 1910, French electrical engineer Georges Claude made a research breakthrough in lighting, making neon usable…Continue Reading “When Signs Ruled America: The Surprising History of Motel Neon”

Motel keychain

When check-out time comes along after a stay at a retro motel that has preserved its original accoutrements (like this great vintage Washington motel), I’m always a bit reluctant to give my room key back to the front desk clerk. This is not only because I’d like to prolong my stay but also because I have a penchant for the old-school motel keychain. After a quick browse through kitsch-friendly online marketplaces such as Etsy, I soon realized I am not alone in my appreciation for…Continue Reading “The Motel Keychain: Take Home A Piece of Retro Motel Kitsch”

Nearly two decade after Alfred Hitchcock first incited the horror genre’s fascination with creepy motels through his presentation of the ‘Bates Motel’ in Psycho, this particular choice of setting was revamped in the wake of 80’s slasher film genre. Injecting the setting with a twisted kitsch factor that is characteristic of the era’s cinematic offerings, the motels presented in certain campy horror outings really touches on a particular brand of nostalgia that pander’s to our love for the meeting point between motels and kitsch. Let’s…Continue Reading “Motel Hell and Beyond: The Motel Trope in 80’s Kitsch Horror”

Prior to the demise of the Jim Crow law brought forth by the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, journeying across America proved to be extremely difficult and often dangerous for African American travelers. Victor Hugo Green, a black New York postal worker, created the Negro Motorist Green Book, a guide that mapped out black-friendly businesses. Published from 1936 to 1967, the Green Book became an indispensable reference for black motorists traveling throughout the segregated South and all-white Sundown Town municipalities along the Route…Continue Reading “Motel Sites Listed in the Green Book”