Eight renovated motels for roadtrips across America

Following the popularity of the Netflix show Motel makeover, American motels are experiencing a revival – even becoming destinations in their own right

by netflix Motel makeover follows best friends turned moteliers April Brown and Sarah Sklash as they renovate a dilapidated motel in a Canadian beach town, with a renovation budget of just US $ 100,000 to renovate the motel without losing any of its nostalgic charm.

Want more retro inspiration? From Miami to Santa Rosa, WeThrift has scoured the web for eight renovated motels worth checking out, and shared them with Globetrender…

1. Vagabond Hotel – Miami, Florida

This kitsch 1950s motel renovation combines cutting-edge design with modern Miami architecture. The property features iconic mid-century interior design, from terrazzo tiling to a hut bar.

2. Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa, Calistoga, CA

Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa, Calistoga, CAIf you are a vintage RV fan then the Calistoga Motor Lodge is for you. Motel-style rooms have been lovingly modernized, with a touch of nostalgia through old-fashioned car games, hoops, and road maps.

3. Austin Motel in Austin, Texas

Austin Motel in Austin, TexasFirst opened in 1938, it was redesigned in 2017. From retro radios to lava lamps, the Austin Motel’s candy-colored retro decor allows guests to travel back to a bygone era. The hotel’s biggest draw is the kidney-shaped swimming pool which is perfect for escaping the heat of Texas summers.

4. The Dive Inn Motel in Nashville, Tennessee

Dive Motel, TennesseeThe Dive Motel and Swim Club was built in 1956 and was a motel until it was remodeled and reopened in 2019. From shag rugs to black and white television loops, the Dive Motel is the perfect mix kitsch and retro cool from the 70s.

The hotel’s 23 guest rooms have been renovated to feature an incredible 1970s-inspired interior design. It has been described as “a blend of classic American motel and romantic Pantone-inspired nostalgia.”

The decor of each room is very Instagram friendly and comes with a ‘party switch’ that starts the music and spins the disco balls, making it the perfect backdrop for those Instagram shots.

5. Amigo Motor Lodge, Salida, Colorado

Amigo Motor Lodge, Salida, ColoradoAfter a makeover in 2016, the Amigo Motel has gone from a wall-to-wall carpeted monstrosity to the super chic motel it is today. The couple who bought the motel spent a year renovating the property, so it’s still a work in progress.

Not only does the Amigo Motel have 16 rooms, the owners have also included updated Airstream trailers and a yurt, making this Colorado motel a destination in its own right.

6. Phoenix Hotel, San Francisco, CA

Phoenix HotelIn 1987, the Caravan Lodge Motel was transformed into the Phoenix, after which it drew a host of famous guests from Pearl Jam to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, all of whom were photographed during their stays here.

The swimming pool is where the retro style takes on its full meaning. The courtyard-style pool features potted palm trees and the original mosaic tile on the pool floor, so you’ll really feel like you’re stepping back into 1950s California.

7. Sparrows Lodge, Palm Springs, CA

House of sparrowsThis rustic, romantic getaway was originally known as Castle’s Red Barn in 1952, by MGM actor Don Castle, and was one of the first escapes of Hollywood’s elite. Completely restored and renovated in 2013, the property still retains the rustic charm of the original red barn.

The 20 rooms feature the original exposed beams and red walls, as well as horse troughs salvaged as baths. None of the rooms have a TV or phone, which means this is the perfect place for a relaxing digital detox.

8. The Astro Hotel, Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California

Astro MotelInexpensive yet chic, this budget motel is a refurbished version of a 1960s motor lodge in the Sonoma County wine country. The motel was originally built in 1963 and has been lovingly restored by the current owners, where it opened earlier than expected to help house the victims of the wine country fires of October 2017.

The motel is a design lover’s delight, furnished with mid-century modern touches such as Sputnik chandeliers and vintage Eames chairs. Local artists have been used for the hotel’s art and as such there are many pieces that can be purchased as the perfect souvenir from your trip.

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