Return from the Motor Lodge: Stay at these roadside motels

[From $199 per night;]

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2. Hotel Vagabond

MIAMI, Florida

Originally designed by modernist architect Robert Swartburg, the Vagabond opened in 1953 as a motel and restaurant/lounge enough to be a Biscayne Boulevard hangout for Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. Abandoned for years and at one point slated for demolition, the rescued and revamped incarnation of the 42-room motel blends an uber-Miami aesthetic (lots of white and aquamarine) with must-have contemporary travel features (WiFi free, gym). Don’t overlook a cocktail at the pool bar surrounded by palm trees and dive in to say hello to the mosaic mermaid at the bottom of the shallow end.

[From $159 per night;]

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Raton Pass Motor Inn
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3. Raton Pass Motor Inn

RATON, New Mexico

Located just off I-25 in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains midway between Albuquerque and Denver, this newly renovated spot’s tagline is “Where Wild West meets Mid-Century Modern.” And of course, the lobby features a vintage Zenith stereo and a 1950s Westinghouse fridge that could be straight out of a Coen Brothers period movie. It’s in the individual themes of the 15 well-appointed rooms (WiFi, flat-screen TVs) that the place really shines, including the Pin-Up Room, El Matador Room, Rodeo Room, and Lucky 13, featuring classic science fiction. and horror movie posters and a shower curtain with a bloody handprint.

[From $84 per night;]

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Anvil Hotel
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4. Anvil Hotel


Hope you like Prussian Blue, as it’s the striking hue that covers just about the entire exterior of this reborn motoring terrain in the heart of a perennial ski town on the edge of Yellowstone National Park. Its 50 rooms have a lodge-ish, almost masculine vibe, with tall wood paneling, custom iron bed frames, globe lamps, and Woolrich blankets. Blizzard raging outside? Enjoy daily happy hours and bison osso buco at Glorietta, the hotel’s own fine-dining Italian trattoria that surrounds a wood-burning grill. Psst! If you have a national parks pass, flash it to get a discount on fares.