People don’t usually associate budget accommodation with a unique, fun or interesting experience. However, the United States is full of incredibly interesting roadside motor inns ( or, more commonly known as motels) that have become a kind of American institution in their own right. Why spend your money at some boring budget chain when you can experience something entirely unique at any one of these motels in the United States?
Route 66’s Concrete Wigwams
Photo by Graeme McLean
Once a popular stop on the famous Route 66, the Wigwam Motel now exists mostly for its photogenic historical value. Guests have the opportunity to stay in one of 15 concrete and steel “teepees.” Antique cars parked around the property complete the throwback feeling. Inside, the rooms have hand made wood furniture and private bathrooms, TV and AC. Small and no frills but a budget stay at just $70 a night.
The Ultimate Hipster Motel
Photo by Roger
The Jupiter is a mid-century all-American motor inn that has been converted into a hip boutique hotel. It’s designed to give you a taste of staying in a motel with upgraded amenities. All of the 81 rooms have been completely modernized with iPhone docking stations, flat screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. In typical Portland fashion, the hotel also has its own tattoo studio and is home to one of Portland’s most popular music spots, The Doug Fir Restaurant and Lounge.
Stay with the Rat Pack in Palm Springs
Photo by Thom Watson
The Tiki inspired Caliente Tropics offers a taste of 1964-style glamour. Back in its heyday the Tropics hosted big name guests like Frank Sinatra and Elvis and even boasted the largest pool in Palm Springs. The hotel has since renovated its rooms but kept its kitschy Tiki theme with Polynesian influenced furniture, cocktail lounge and lanai.
Get into a Caboose
Lancaster County, the heart of Amish Country, is an unusual place to visit, so it makes sense to stay in an unusual motel. The Red Caboose Motel is made up of over 40 authentic retired train cars and cabooses. Visitors have the opportunity to sleep in their own private train car, furnished with a/c, flat screen TVs and microwaves. Onsite activities include buggy rides, a petting zoo and a gift shop. For dinner you can check out the Red Caboose restaurant that serves fresh food from the local Amish farms.
Fly away in a Flying Saucer
Photo by Moominsean
Blast back to the space age at this 60’s-loving roadside inn, which you will easily spot by the giant flying saucer poking out of the roof. Built in 1962, the Space Age Lodge is a testament to a certain moment in time when the whole world had their eyes on the sky. Best Western now owns it but the company thankfully maintained the 41 original rooms with their space age décor. Other features include Whirlpool hot tubs, a retro pool and an attractive astronaut themed dome over reception.The primary attraction here is the Space Age Outer Limits Restaurant, which features old school cholesterol laden cuisine.
The Classic Route 66 Motel
Photo by Randy Heinitz via photopin cc
Should you decide to drive the now-defunct Route 66 yourself, you must stop at the Route 66 Motel, which is dedicated to celebrating the historical route. Just a mile from the official Route 66 museum, the hotel displays antique cars, a route 66 mural and a plethora of Americana on the walls. For the complete experience be sure to stay in one of the original rooms featuring round beds and other quirky throwbacks.