10 Stylish Motels That Break the Motor Lodge Mold - Full-Time Travel

10 Stylish Motels That Break the Motor Lodge Mold

10 Design-Forward Motels Breaking the Motor Lodge Mold

A new breed of motels is shedding stereotypical associations you might have about motor lodges. Rather than a cheap and convenient place for travelers to rest their heads, these design-forward establishments have the feel of a boutique hotel, complete with stylish interiors, and luxurious amenities. In other words, they're places you'll genuinely love staying in. As an additional plus, the motel's one/two-story, direct-access rooms feel like a safer option in the time of coronavirus (read: no crowded elevators or corridors). Read on for a few places we’ve personally bookmarked. 

Breakers Montauk

Breakers Montauk, Long Island NY

About a 15-minute walk from the center of Montauk, directly across the street from a wide sand-dune fringed beach, you’ll find Breakers, a thoroughly modern motel. Access your pristine room with a keycode (check-in is totally contactless) and note the mini kitchenette – ideal if you’d rather eat some meals on your private deck instead of venturing to one of the seafood restaurants in town. Breakers also has a pool with ocean views if you’re feeling too relaxed to walk 20 feet down to the beach.

Coachman Hotel | By Courtney Aaron

Coachman Hotel, Tahoe CA

Though its location, close to the pine-covered mountains and sparkling water of Lake Tahoe, is ideal for nature excursions, the Coachman Hotel is more than a crash pad between adventures in the Californian wilderness. Rooms here are thoughtfully designed and cognizant of the setting (e.g. rubber flooring at the entrance for wet boots, skis, or swimsuits) while also being super comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, with slate-gray wood paneled walls and sumptuous linens. After a day of exploring, an on-site pool, hot tub, and fire pit make it easy to connect with your fellow adventurers. 

Austin Motel | By Nick Simonite

Austin Motel, TX

Austin Motel is famous for live entertainment and a buzzy after-dark scene, which normally revolves around its retro kidney-shaped swimming pool (don’t miss the full moon swim events, complete with tropical cocktails and DJ-spun tunes). The motel, which was resurrected by Bunkhouse group, is right at home in the trendy, lively South Congress neighborhood. Start your evening with a poolside drink, then head out to sample the local bars and restaurants. The following day, nurse your hangover amid potted greenery in Austin Motel’s peaceful courtyard.

Amigo Motor Lodge | By Anthony Barlich

Amigo Motor Lodge, Salida CO

 Like many properties on this list, the Amigo Motor Lodge was built from the bones of an old motel, and it cleans up very well indeed. The newly renovated rooms are the epitome of casual, stylish comfort – handwoven Mexican-design throw pillows, antler wall hangings, mid-century modern bedside tables, and velvet-covered couches in vibrant colors. After a great night’s sleep you’ll be ready to explore the Rockies – soaking in hot springs (there are four close to the motel), skiing Monarch Mountain, or hiking one of the nearby “14ers” (mountain peaks that exceed 14,000 feet).

Photo courtesy of Pioneertown Motel

Pioneertown Motel

About 125 miles outside of Los Angeles you’ll find Pioneertown, a desert community founded in the 1940s by the stars of old western movies. The Pioneertown Motel dates back to that same period (Gene Autry is said to have played polka until sunrise in room #9) but was revamped several years ago for city slickers seeking a bohemian desert escape. Inside, vaulted dark wood ceilings, cowhide throw pillows, and woven wall hangings embody the new western aesthetic. Outside, wide desert vistas, Joshua trees, and gleaming starlight cultivate complete peacefulness.

Sound View | By Read McKendree

Sound View, North Fork NY

Fashioned after the serene aesthetic of classic North Fork seaside homes, the rooms at Sound View open directly onto the hotel’s private beach, so there’s nothing between you and the calm surface of the Long Island Sound. The North Fork of Long Island is known for its vineyards, farms, fishing villages, and a laid-back pace that New York City residents appreciate. Spend your days chilling on the sand or next to the pool, or sign up for one of the hotel’s social distance-friendly activities, including an ocean-side painting class and a chef-led farm tour.

Anvil Hotel | By Read Mckendree

Anvil Hotel, Jackson WY

 Situated right on the edge of Yellowstone in Wyoming, Anvil Hotel was created for explorers, by explorers. After a day of hiking and bison spotting in the national park, you’ll sleep like a log in Anvil’s bedrooms. Each one is outfitted with vintage touches like an iron bed frame, brass fixtures, and Woolrich blankets, creating a look that feels clean and modern while also providing a little western flair. This is the Cowboy State after all.

Photo courtesy of Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa

Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa, Calistoga, CA

Although Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa was inspired by the classic American road trip, it’s the kind of place you’ll want to remain for an extended period of time. Besides beautiful rooms (picture blonde wood, soft white linens, and splashes of navy blue) a pool and spa, the stand-out feature at Calistoga Motor Lodge is its convivial atmosphere. Community building is central to the motel’s ethos, so look out for group games and activities from happy hours to hikes.

TOURISTS | By Nick Simonite

TOURISTS, the Berkshires MA

If you’ve been craving time in the woods, preferably accompanied by the sound of flowing water and birdsong, head to TOURISTS, a forest retreat in the Berkshires. Set on the banks of the Hoosic River, and within easy reach of art galleries, craft breweries, and the Appalachian Trail, it’s the perfect base for enjoying a little bit of all the best things. TOURISTS’ rooms are minimal and modern, featuring organic materials that bring the beauty of the outdoors inside.

Courtesy of The Graham & Co.

The Graham & Co. 

 Snuggled in the forested Catskill mountains of upstate New York, The Graham & Co. is a 20-room motel with “unpretentious but considered accommodations.” The bedrooms, which surround a small swimming pool, are simple and cozy with wood paneled walls, cowhide rugs, and butterfly chairs. Whatever season you visit The Graham & Co. you’ll find activities aplenty, from skiing or hiking on Hunter Mountain to exploring Phoenicia town’s local stores and restaurants by bicycle.

There's more to Greece than the white and blue buildings and the surrounding Mediterranean Sea. If you're planning a visit, check out these places below!

📍Kokkinopilos. Preveza
📍Verliga Dragon lake, Thessaly
📍Ithaca island, lonian Sea
📍Aoos springs lake, Epirus
📍Lake Prespes, Macedonia
📍Balda di Stringa waterfalls, Epirus
📍Meteora, Thessaly
📍Pelion, Thessaly
📍Lake Zorika, Epirus
📍Mt Lakmos
📍Crete island, Aegean Sea
📍Gistova Dragon lake, Macedonia

Reel: @farawayfarers

Swim or kayak through the limestone cliffs of the Twin Lagoon, a must-visit destination for those traveling to Coron, Palawan, Philippines. It is called "twin" lagoon because it consists of two lagoons separated by a limestone cliff, with one lagoon on top of the other. The water in the inner lagoon is warm and clear, with a stunning turquoise color that makes it popular for swimming and snorkeling.

Reel: @travelifejournal

Take a dip in a series of seven saltwater lagoons located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The Lagoons of Baltinache are known for their beautiful turquoise waters and unique geological formations. The high concentration of minerals in the water gives it a unique buoyancy that makes swimming in the lagoons a unique experience.

Reel: @everchanginghorizon

Watching the sun rise above the clouds at Haleakalā National Park is one of the most memorable experiences you could have. Haleakalā is a Hawaiian name that means “House of the Sun” and is an awesome place to watch the clear night sky and stars fade away as the sun lights up the sky and the earth.

Reel: @girlchill_sunset

Just 1 hour from Shanghai by train, Cherry Blossom Valley is a popular tourist destination, particularly in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The valley is named after the thousands of cherry blossom trees that cover the area and create a stunning display of pink and white flowers. The trees were originally planted in the 1980s by a group of Japanese experts who were invited to China to help with reforestation efforts. The best time to visit is typically in late March or early April. Get there early to beat the crowds!

Reel: @cyncynti

New Zealand is unbelievable. See it for yourself:

1. Fiordland National Park
2. A classic backcountry hut trip
3. Blue Pools walk
4. Hooker Lake
5. Milford Sound
6. Lake Pukaki

Reel: @kylekotajarvi

Surrounded by lush greenery, towering karst mountains, and the river flowing through, the Detian Waterfall is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of the close relationship between China and Vietnam. It is the largest waterfall in Asia and the fourth largest cross-border waterfall in the world.

Reel: @sophoebelous

Escape to a serene and peaceful oasis away from the bustling city of Marrakech at Le Jardin Secret—a beautiful and historic garden where visitors can escape the noise and chaos and enjoy the beauty of nature. The garden was originally built in the 16th century and is home to many different species of plants, including exotic flowers, citrus trees, and palm trees.

Reel: @hypermiggzz

For a magical moment and bucket list travel experience, visit the end point of the annual monarch butterfly migration. Starting in August, the monarchs travel 2,800 miles south from Canada, making a temporary home amid the towering trees of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, where the two most popular sanctuaries to view them are el Rosario in the state of Michoacan and Piedra Herrada in Estado de México. Standing in silence while thousands of delicate wings beat in unison is something you'll never forget.

Reel: @juliiathompson

There's just something beautiful about snow covered landscapes like this popular attraction in southwestern Utah. Known for its unique geology, @brycecanyonnps_gov consists of a series of natural amphitheaters, called "hoodoos," formed by erosion of the rock layers.

Photo: @nathanleeallen

As we experience a couple more weeks of winter, we can't help but dream of tropical destinations like Hawaii. The warm water, sunny skies, and consistent waves make it an ideal destination for surfers. Hawaii has a vibrant surf culture and community and is also a beautiful place to explore outside of the water, with lush green mountains, stunning beaches, and unique cultural experiences.

Reel: @christopherballadarez

1. @sequoiakingsnps, California
2. @canyonlandsnps, Utah
3. @olympic_nps, Washington
4. @whitesandsnps, New Mexico
5. Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
6. Knik Glacier, Alaska

Reel: @nathanleeallen

Imagine getting caught in the rain while kayaking at one of the most beautiful and popular destinations in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Known for its stunning turquoise-colored lake, surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains, Lake Louise is home to diverse wildlife, including grizzly bears, elk, and moose.

Reel: @reneeroaming