The New Wave of Roadside Motels, and What It Means
Bungalows, glamping sites, and luxe pools included.
Published Sep 30, 2017 6:00 AM
New motor lodge-inspired properties are channeling classic Americana, perfect for the laid-back traveler clamoring for this sort of nostalgia. A stay at any of these properties will transport you back to the days of camper van convoys, beach bonfires, postcards, and Polaroids. Here are three chic, modern takes on the roadside motel.
Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa in Calistoga, California
Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa is a new 50-room property in the Napa Valley town of Calistoga. A classic 1946 roadside motel, The Silverado Motel, has been reimagined by New York-based design firm AvroKO (1 Hotel Central Park, the Arlo Hotels and food halls around the country) as a new hospitality property. The accommodations, most recently renovated under the Sunburst Motel name, are modern interpretations of a camper van and harken back to mid-century motor lodges.
“The property was a diamond in the rough,” says Ingrid Summerfield, president and partner at Filament Hospitality. “It had the mineral baths that Calistoga is famous for as well as vineyard views. But that’s about it. Our team saw this as an opportunity to invest in a renovation to significantly rehabilitate the two abandoned buildings, execute a renovation of the guest rooms, lobby, and grounds, as well as build a new spa.”
Calistoga was the ideal location for this motor lodge concept. “We transformed it into a joy-filled ode to the great American road trip of the ‘50s and ‘60s, and the sense of nostalgia is meant to counterbalance the gadget-happiness of today. We really want people to engage with where they are, and who they are with in that moment in time,” Summerfield continues.
A color palette of navy and light blues, mustard yellow, and shades of green are mixed in with woven and striped fabrics and simple wood furniture and lighting from mid-century through the 1970s. “It’s all really unfussy and natural,” says AvroKO principal Kristina O’Neal. “The concepts of analog leisure and road tripping celebrate having a great time with family and friends on a budget. The new luxury is about great experiences.”
One of the property’s more unique draws is the MoonAcre Spa. “The classic campground community pool is certainly an inspiration, and obviously Wes Anderson sets [inspired us] as well,” says principal designer William Harris. “It’s just super cheeky and fun.”
The team mashed up apothecary motifs and quirky films to inspire the design—think cheeky signage, mint green claw tubs, a white and gray color palette with pops of pink in the lounge and reception areas, and a navy, green, mint; and mustard floor-to-ceiling tile in the locker and steam rooms.
The Atlantic in Byron Bay, Australia is a glamping pioneer with its onsite American Airstream Trailer, made for the spontaneous and adventurous traveller. Long time California dreamers couple Stephen Eakin and Kimberly Amos fell in love with the 2007 Ocean Breeze while on vacation in Long Beach and shipped the camper back to Byron Bay as a souvenir.
A rare Airstream edition, the Ocean Breeze is the result of a special collaboration with surf brand Quicksilver and features a tiki-inspired interior retrofitted with a striped awning, palm tree print curtains,galley kitchen
dinette, and double bed. Parked next to the lap pool with access to all the shared areas (plus its own amenities including Aveda products, air conditioning, and a DVD player), the cozy camper is the ideal holiday hideaway.
Outside, the lush gardens feature nautical treasures and wooden walkways that lead through the rainforest and to the other whitewashed cottage accommodations on the property. The open plan shared kitchens, outdoor BBQ’s and outdoor dining settings make it easy to scoop up delicious produce at the nearby farmer’s market and whip up dinner.
The Native Hotel in Malibu, California
Built in 1947, the former one-story Malibu Riviera Motel has been reimagined as The Native Hotel in Malibu, California. Now, the modernist Point Dume property has been given a much needed mid-century-modern-meets-hipster makeover by Folklor, the branding team behind Venice restaurant Gjelina.
The 13 SoCal bungalow-style rooms all feature exposed white beams, Design Within Reach walnut beds with Casper mattresses, handmade wood furniture, Turkish rugs, and George Nelson and Greta Grossman light fixtures. Each room offers a private deck with hammock, chic robes made from deadstock African fabrics, minibars in the form of vintage ice chests, Native’s own all-natural bathroom amenities, and, of course, sage smudge sticks to clear any negative energy.
A roadside food stand by Chef Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec and Petit Trois) operates out of a retrofitted 1947 Airstream trailer. Later this year, the retreat will add luxury tents to its property offering guests an alternative accommodation option.