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.
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 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.