Motels

Colorado’s once-forgotten run-down motels get another chance to be cool | Mail from Pikes Peak

In the first episode of “Schitt’s Creek”, a suddenly broke family must leave their lavish mansion to reluctantly live in a run-down motel.

In late April 2020, the remodeled motel became something the fictional family — and viewers of the hit show — loved.

The motel’s takeover story reflected a trend happening beyond the television screen: forgotten roadside stays were getting a second chance in the spotlight.

There was this real-life scene from 2017: Jody Corey and his friends planned a wine-tasting trip to Palisade in western Colorado. They booked a small motel with no google reviews or website. They hoped for the best.

When they arrived, “We were horrified,” Corey said.

After the wine trip was over, however, Corey kept thinking, “We should buy this place.”

The place fits the image many have in mind of old RVs: “Dark rooms with 1970s decor, popcorn ceilings, showers you couldn’t turn around in, managers shady and very low prices.”

This description comes from the Spoke and Vine Motel website, the new name of the 1955 motel where Corey stayed. She and her husband, Jeff, bought it in 2018 and opened the remodeled version in May 2019.






The Spoke and Vine Motel is located in Palisade.




“I saw how cute we could make it,” said Corey, owner of a property management company in Steamboat Springs. “We like challenges.”

And it was a challenge to update the 17-bedroom property that has shown signs of little care over the past few decades, Corey said.







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The Spoke and Vine Motel in Palisade.




“If we had torn it down, it would have been a lot easier,” Corey said. “But we liked the idea of ​​saving the past and keeping the story alive.”







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Bikes are available at the Spoke and Vine Motel.




This is what attracts visitors to these places, among options like chain hotels or brand new boutiques. Colorado is home to trendy renovations, such as Mellow Moon Lodge in Del Norte and Amigo Motor Lodge in Salida.







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The Mellow Moon Lodge in Del Norte.




They have a vintage feel, because they are vintage.

The rise of roadside motels dates back to the 1950s, the beginnings of the quintessential American road trip.







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It used to be the Mellow Moon Lodge, it was called El Ranch Motel.




These long trips were powered by affordable places that you could easily find back then without GPS tracking. In many cases, the motel was just a place to rest on the way to the next location.

Keeping that spirit of adventure alive is one of the missions of Loge Camps, a company that finds motels near outdoor towns and brings them back to life.







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Snow is falling at the Breckenridge Lodge.




Of the Lodge’s five renovated motels, a location in Breckenridge opened in 2019. The roadside stay is just 10 minutes from Keystone Ski Resort and 15 minutes from Copper Mountain.

Edward Solan was a self-proclaimed ‘fan boy’ of the company behind ‘hotels that take you outdoors’, which is Lodge’s motto. He first heard of Loge a few years ago while studying hospitality at a graduate school in Georgia.







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Edward Solan, the manager of the Lodge at Breckenridge, poses for a portrait. “We want to treat you like a friend to whom we want to have a very good stay,” he says of those who stay at the Lodge.




“It just sparked something in me, like this is what hospitality should try to be,” he said. “They are breathing life into these older hotels, renovating them sustainably and putting their own spin on them.”

When offered a job managing the Breckenridge site, he asked, “Where do I sign up?”







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A common area next to a cozy fireplace inside The Lodge in Breckenridge, March 9, 2022. Built in the 1960s, the former Wayside Inn is now a fashionably renovated boutique motel with an ambience of hostel which reopened in 2019.




Loge took over the old Wayside Inn, a motel built in the 1960s. The updated location offers gear rentals and demonstrations and an on-site bar and restaurant, called the Wayside Cafe.

Much like in his day, Solan says the lodge-style option offers something less expensive for visitors to Breckenridge, where hotel rooms can fetch $500 or more per night. A recent search shows a room at Lodge for $179.







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The Lodge at Breckenridge opened in 2019. The roadside stay is just 10 minutes from Keystone Ski Resort and 15 minutes from Copper Mountain.




“In a place that may be a bit luxurious and out of reach for many, there’s this option that’s a bit more affordable,” Solan said.

He describes the type of service as “not intimidating”.







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Rooms at The Lodge in Breckenridge on March 9, 2022. Built in the 1960s, the former Wayside Inn is now a trendy renovated boutique motel with a hostel vibe which reopened in 2019.




“We’re not going to be super formal. When we greet you, we’re going to be like, ‘What’s up?’ “, He said. “We want to treat you like a friend to whom we want to have a very good stay.

This kind of friendly, laid-back service can also be found at Spoke and Vine, where room check-in details are texted, so visitors can skip the lobby when checking in. Bikes are available for rent, dogs are welcome and breakfast is free. is delivered to the rooms.







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A warm fireplace inside the common area of ​​the Lodge at Breckenridge.




On the website, the owners write about a belief in the “little things,” like delicious coffee, attentive service, and good vibes.

So far, these little things have elicited many stories of pleasant surprises from visitors.







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John and Barbara Stafford of Highlands Ranch hang out with their dogs Yeti and Cassie as the snow falls outside the Lodge in Breckenridge. Built in the 1960s, the former Wayside Inn is now a trendy renovated boutique motel that opened in 2019. The updated location offers gear rentals and demos and an on-site bar and restaurant. place, called the Wayside Cafe.




Solan shared the story of a woman who stayed at Lodge after staying at the old motel in the 1980s.

“She said, ‘You should have seen it here back then,'” Solan said.

She must have noticed the improvements. The essence of the stay could have been similar, as Solan said: “You want to feel safe and comfortable and you want good coffee. You don’t need a bunch of fancy stuff to have an amazing experience. ”







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Polaroid photos of guest pets are displayed in the lobby of the Lodge in Breckenridge.




Corey has stories of people saying, “They’ve never really seen anything like this before.”

Visitors have been known to point out something else. How the motel’s story reminds them of a popular TV show.

“If it’s their first time staying at a motel,” Corey said. “They’re like, it’s just like, ‘Schitt’s Creek.'”







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Snow falls at the Lodge in Breckenridge on March 9, 2022. Built in the 1960s, the former Wayside Inn is now a trendy renovated boutique motel with a hostel vibe that reopened in 2019.




Corey and her husband see the resemblance. They dressed up as “Schitt’s Creek” characters for a 2020 Halloween party they threw at the motel.

It’s hard to say how much the show inspired this motel movement.

The pandemic likely played a role, as some travelers preferred to drive rather than book a flight.







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Guests can spend time next to a warm fire at the Lodge in Breckenridge on March 9, 2022. Built in the 1960s, the former Wayside Inn is now a trendy renovated boutique motel with a hostel vibe which reopened in 2019.




Along the way they may have seen a sign for Spoke and Vine Motel. And maybe they’ve changed their minds about what it means to stay in a motel. That’s one of the reasons Corey thought it was important to keep “motel” in the name.

“We thought some people would have bad connotations associated with that word,” she said. “We wanted to show people that this was something cool.”

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