The 10 Best Retro Motels in the United States

Luxury resorts, dreamy bungalows and modern home rentals can make for the perfect vacation, but if you want something a little off the beaten path, a retro motel can satiate your quirky travel appetite. Think authentic neon signage, vintage pools that evoke all the nostalgia, and expertly decorated rooms that practically beg for a photo moment. We’ve rounded up 10 of the best retro motels in the United States below so you can book an unforgettable getaway.

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Blast to the Past with the Best Retro Motels in the US

1. The Dive Motel – Nashville, TN

Get ready for lots of far-off 70s nostalgia – and we mean a lot. From swirling red, orange, and yellow rooms with scruffy floors to retro-fitted bars, The Dive Motel in Nashville will have you feeling like you’ve stepped back into the grooviest era of them all.

“We wanted to pay homage to the motel’s past, which dates back to 1956 when it was a Motor Inn known as ‘The Key Motel,'” says Lyon doorman, co-owner and designer of Urban Cowboy Hotels, owner of The Dive Motel. “We’ve incorporated old and new pieces, handpicked vintage decor, original 70s wallpaper, bathtubs and more, ensuring each piece is uniquely designed.”

2. The Pearl Hotel – San Diego, CA

Nestled in the charming Point Loma neighborhood of San Diego, you’ll find The Pearl Hotel, a mid-century getaway that effortlessly combines a laid-back coastal vibe with a dreamy retro aesthetic. It’s a small motel with 23 rooms and an oyster-shaped pool at the center of it all, and has been carefully landscaped. While the overall look is reminiscent of the 50s and 60s, rooms are spacious and bright with a neutral color palette that makes it easy to relax.

3. Pioneertown Motel – Pioneertown, CA

Those looking for a more rustic-retro vibe should book a stay at the Pioneertown Motel, which is located about 15 minutes from Joshua Tree National Park. At first glance, you’d guess the motel and its surroundings are straight out of the dusty days of the Wild Wild West.

In fact, Pioneertown was erected in the 1940s to see like the Wild West, and served as a destination for filming movies. In addition to 19 bedrooms, there is a 24-hour lounge area called “The Canteen”. Fun fact: Gene Autrey stayed in room 9, where he played poker until sunrise.

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4. Hotel Adeline – Scottsdale, Arizona

If a retro pool party surrounded by palm trees, mountain views, and sunshine sounds like your kind of scene, then a visit to Scottsdale’s Adeline Hotel is a must. It’s larger than other motel-style stays on this list with 213 rooms, the majority of which overlook the pool that runs through the middle of the property. The hotel also has a retro-style poolside bar, an indoor restaurant, and a hidden speakeasy.

5. Stonewall Motor Lodge – Stonewall, TX

Authentic vintage vibes run wild at Stonewall Motor Lodge, a classic roadside motel that opened in 1964 and recently underwent a robust rehabilitation. Although safe in modern territory – yes, you’ll have AC and WiFi – it still retains a deep sense of retro charm that’s only possible when looking at the real deal.

The property is quite small with 16 rooms, four cabins, and four RV spots, but that only adds to the whimsy. Plus, it’s located along the famous Highway 290 Wine Route, which is dotted with wineries, distilleries, and breweries. Another fun fact: The Stonewall Motor Lodge served as a “menagerie of reporters, photographers, secret service, celebrities and politicians eager to be near the first family when they visited the LBJ Ranch,” the site notes. website.

6. The Local – St. Augustine, Florida

The Local is a retro motel perfect for a girls’ weekend, bachelorette party, sister bonding and more. This newly opened very pink boutique hotel has 20 rooms and is meticulously prepared for pretty photo ops throughout the property. Best of all, guests have access to the on-site pool, dreamy garden lounge, fitness center with rotating group classes, and bike rentals so they can easily explore the historic surroundings. of St. Augustine.

7. Hotel City Loft – Beaufort, SC

The City Loft Hotel is located in downtown Beaufort, a charming coastal town where several notable movies have been filmed. It was also the setting for Nicholas Sparks An unforgettable walk, so you can easily imagine how romantic and charming it is! With 22 rooms, this upscale boutique getaway features an urban design and is conveniently located within walking distance of the city’s best restaurants, shops, and sights.

“Much like Beaufort, City Loft is authentic in its essence. It is actually both ‘old’, yet very new with a somewhat mid-century modern exterior that harbors a transitional interior vibe,” says the owner, Matt McAlhaney.

8. The Drifter – New Orleans, Louisiana

Built in 1956 and renovated in 2017, The Drifter is a New Orleans gem that has managed to retain its authentic retro history while keeping a foothold firmly in our modern world. According to the site, its name was “inspired by the iconoclastic Beat Generation of post-war America,” and the 20-room motel spotlighted the city’s “”hip new side” by acting as a crucible for the local and the world. ‘drifters'” who found their way there.

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9. Hotel Phoenix – San Francisco, CA

Now it’s time for a rock n’ roll twist at the Phoenix Hotel, a 1950s car yard that to this day remains a must-visit for musicians and music lovers passing through town. It’s located in the heart of San Francisco, specifically where the Tenderloin, Civic Center, and Little Saigon meet, but still feels like an oasis in its own right.

“More legendary than a hip hotel, it’s a second home for generations of traveling bands, a stone’s throw from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, the Great American Music Hall and other iconic live music venues, and a cornerstone of the city’s musical past,” says the website.

10. Austin Motel in Austin, TX

Aptly named, the historic Austin Motel is nestled in Austin’s popular South Congress neighborhood, which puts visitors a short distance from tasty restaurants, vibrant nightlife, and plenty of shopping. The hotel opened in 1938 and remains one of the city’s most beloved destinations today.

“The story of the Austin Motel and the land it sits on is not a story of corporate success with multimillion-dollar profits, high-end stocks, explosive growth in franchises and financial wizards at the helm,” the website reads. “This is the story of a unique small business that has survived well through several generations and over 65 years of continuous operation while going through both difficult times and joyful good times.”

In addition to the 41 rooms and suites, guests can enjoy a premium swimming pool with pool bar and an on-site restaurant.