With coronavirus travel restrictions still in place, and some wariness to board flights, 2020 has become the year of roadtrips. To get the most Americana per mile while you salvage your vacation, book a night at a roadside motel.
If it’s been a while since you’ve stayed in a motel, know this: The very best ones have borrowed a page from boutique hotels as they’ve undergone thoughtful renovations. They’re brimming with unique art, retro charm and Instagram gold. Plus, at many motels, you enter directly into your room, which makes it easy to avoid public spaces.
Here are five motels in the west that are worth incorporating into your road trip route.
Mountain Modern in Jackson, Wyoming
From the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar to the iconic elk antler arches in the town square, Jackson, Wyoming aces the country western vibe. For a downtown stay that matches the Jackson spirit, giddy on up over to Mountain Modern, a 135-room motel outfitted with the West’s favorite color scheme: red buffalo plaid. Grand Teton backcountry maps double as wall coverings, and guests here will find whimsical chalkboard word searches and Malin+Goetz bath products. Gear walls will stash everything from your hiking boots to your skis.
Spoke and Vine in Palisade, Colorado
Palisade, Colorado is where you’ll find the most delectable peaches, an under-the-radar wine country, and an adorable 17-room motel, Spoke and Vine. The dog-friendy motel is within walking distance of wineries and orchards, but you can also borrow a bike to bop around downtown. The motel was originally built in 1955, and given a sustainable restoration in 2019, with local Colorado art decking out the walls and luxury beds topped with punchy pillows.
Signature San Francisco in California
In the buzzy SoMa district, RLH Corp. debuted the first of its Signature hotels: A brand that strikes a balance between modern and retro; cheap and chic. Rooms at Signature San Francisco are bursting with a kaleidoscope of colors and funky mid-century mod design elements. Grab the VO5 bath amenities and peer into the shower. The hotel hired an artist to create images in each one of its 38 showers. Most are geometric. But, lucky guests in one room will spot the likeness of Marilyn Monroe in their shower. As the bombshell would say, “It’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
Amigo Motor Lodge in Salida, Colorado
“Now with Gluten-Free Beds”
“Fresh, Never Frozen, Pillows”
“Come and ‘Salida’ Little Closer”
“We Can Feel It! 2021 Is Going to Be Our Year.”
You’ll know you’ve arrived once you’ve spotted the quippy (and occasionally inspirational) roadside signs outside of Amigo Motor Lodge, a renovated motor lodge with 60-year-old bones.
Less than three hours south of Denver, Salida has all the amenities you’d want in a mountain town: Art galleries, river rafting, a high concentration of 14ers (i.e. mountains that stretch 14,000 feet high), mountain biking trails, skiing and bubbly hot springs nearby. And Amigo Motor Lodge has all of the amenities you’d want in a roadside motel: Tuft & Needle mattresses, Malin+Goetz bath products, a teepee, hammock chairs, hot tub, sun room and a stellar sense of humor.
El Rey Court in Santa Fe, New Mexico
An iconic adobe roadside motor court, El Rey Court is located on the old Route 66. Amenities at this 86-room motel include a five-acre garden, outdoor fireplace, a seasonal outdoor heated pool and hot tub, and La Reina, an agave bar with an expertly curated selection of tequila and mezcal. Originally built in 1936, the hotel’s newly renovated rooms are all individually decorated with original artwork and southwest decor. (See New Mexico’s current travel restrictions for out-of-state visitors here).