Immune to the sniggers of visitors, the small town of Intercourse, Pennsylvania, is in the centre of “Amish Country.” Black Amish buggies trot along the roads, often with a gaggle of small, bonneted children peering from the back, while stalls selling fresh produce abound along the roadside. The Amish shun modern machinery, or even electricity, so horses and hand-drawn ploughs are a common sight in the fields. Like other towns in the area, it boasts ‘all you can eat’ Amish and Mennonite restaurants where you can indulge in limitless helpings of wholesome, traditional cooking; leave room for tooth-numbingly sweet desserts like ‘Shoo-fly pie’. Passing tiny, one roomed schoolhouses, you can see children clad in lace bonnets, pinafores and dark, knee length dresses playing traditional playground games in the schoolyard. Staying in the Red Caboose Motel, a collection of old railway carriages in nearby Strasburg, we awoke each morning to perfect stillness and silence, broken only by the sound of threshing being done by hand in the fields beyond.
Quirky, arty, offbeat Truth or Consequences is the small New Mexico town that changed its name for a radio programme in the 1950s. It used to be called Hot Springs and is built over thermal waters. There are plenty of small motels with their own hot tubs, some restored and some a little more genuinely 'vintage'.
The town is a wonderful base for exploring New Mexico and the spring waters are wonderful.
The Blackstone is a beautifully restored motel, tasteful but kitsch themed rooms each with their own hotspring tub.
The main street has cafes, galleries, thrift stores and vintage shops, one called Red Bone was the best we visited in the South West.
And it's delightfully cheap, lots of the motels let you pay just to use their hot springs even if you're not staying.
Although Crescent City itself is pretty much 'Anytown, USA' - the Curly Redwood lodge is a decent, clean and kitsch motel apparently made from one redwood tree! A comfortable stay for a night or two. We can also recommend The Chart Room diner down on the dock, a good place to go to get a genuine local American experience, in terms of food and good company.
You can stay in an Airstream trailer.
They have a kitsch diner on sight - 'Dot's Diner'
You can stay in the 1947 Tiki Bus Polynesian Palace - in fact all their trailers and boats are kitsch classics!
Its brilliant and 100% retro!!!!
For a potent San Francisco experience, the Phoenix delivers on all levels. Its motorlodge 1950s motel style, complete with kitsch central pool and vintage furnishings, make you feel like you're in a really good Quentin Tarantino film. Team this with its grungy Tenderloin location and the fact that tour buses regularly pull up on the drive to deliver touring rockstars as guests, and you've got yourself one hell of an American Dream.
When at Breakers Inn you can be in Japan, Sweden or Canada Or if you are feeling a little homesick – England, Scotland or Ireland. Or if you want to experience more of the USA than you have time for – Oregon, Pennsylvania or Virginia. These are just a sample of the 28 individually decorated rooms available.
We stayed in Holland. It was bright, fresh and clean with all that you would want in a motel room with just one or two extras: bright ornamental wooden tulips, pictures of windmills surrounded by tulip fields and mini china clogs hanging from the wardrobe handles!
With amazing uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean and the Gualala River, Breakers Inn is a brilliant motel to spend a night or two when exploring Northern California.
Truly scary palace of kitsch - bright pink sparkly lobby, themed rooms and a waterfall in the men's toilets. Definitely worth a stop for a drink even if you can't face staying here!
The best restaurant on the one-road town centre in Elk, overlooking breathtaking cliffs, surf and driftwood. Great service and often live music too.
The 'inn' itself looked good, though we didn't stay.
Cute little motel teepees in the middle of Kentucky. I always remember seeing this as a kid and thinking it was the most amazing place. It's near Cave City, home of Mammoth Cave, which is a quirky and kitschy place all in itself. The Wigwam Village is a unique bit of Kentucky history and I've never seen another place quite like it. Apparently, there's only three motels like this still standing in the U.S.
601 North Dixie Hwy
Cave City, Kentucky 42127
For me, Route 66 conjures up open roads, wide skies and roadside diners. But now, on the outskirts of San Bernardino, it's one dollar stores, bail bond businesses and liquor stores. But in the midst of this rather run-down neighbourhood, is the Wigwam motel, an encampment of concrete teepees, built in 1949. There is something truly amazing about your first glimpse of the green field full of 30-foot teepees, encircling a swimming pool and barbeque area, rather than a campfire. Our double room was large enough to encompass a sofa and TV area, as well as a bed. Good job that there was plenty of space, as the bed was almost 2 ft high so, short as I am, I needed to make a running jump to get into it! Tucked under the sloping back of the teepee, the bathroom is small and basic, perhaps a reflection of the different expectations of earlier customers. This is a motel out of time and out of place. Before you leave, search out the 'Do It In a Teepee!' sign at the back of the site.
2728 W. Foothill Blvd.
Rialto, CA 92376-5333
Affordable motel right on the Highway 101 Pacific Coast Highway. Beautiful setting right next to the sea - you can hear the waves breaking from your room. Perfect stopover when driving the Pacific Coast.
The Greenporter is an old-style US motel, just two hours from central Manhattan. The difference with this motel is that the central parking lot has been replaced by a beautiful swimming pool and hot tub (complimentary towels and loungers) and this motel has fine dining in the shape of La Cuvee Bar and Bistro, which offers locally-sourced food and a selection from the local Long Island vineyards (wine tours available).
Greenport, a historic seaport on the North Fork of Long Island, provides an excellent contrast to the hustle and bustle of NYC. You can drive (or better, hire a bike from Bike Stop on Front Street) and take the short ferry to Shelter Island, home to deer and secluded bays, then another short ferry to Sag Harbor on the South Fork, with its artsy shops and eateries.
Two minutes walk from the station or the bus station (the 'Hampton Jitney' takes you from Penn Station in air-conditioned comfort, with charming hostesses who provide complimentary drinks and snacks). Ample parking by the motel too.
326 Front Street
Greenport, NY 11944
phone: (631) 477-0066
fax: (631) 477-2317
Even though Montauk is part of the stylish (and absurdly expensive) Hamptons, the town is more Campbell's dry goods than Calvin Klein. Montauk is full of retro motels - 1950s mock-Tudor and Polynesian designs with whimsical names like Daunt's Albatross and Kenny's Tipperary.
But the most famous motel of all is the Memory Motel, which Mick Jagger immortalised in the 1976 Black and Blue album. The Stones often visited resident Andy Warhol, and they would hang out at the bar. The Memory was the only place around with a pool table and a piano. It seems that the owners weren’t pleased; they hated the Stones!
Still a little seedy, the Memory is only a block from the beach. Diners and a pizza place are only a short walk away. Today fans regularly pay homage, and it’s not unusual to spot a stretch limo parked in front.
692 Montauk Highway, Montauk, New York 11954 USA
(001) 631 668 2702
The Madonna Inn is on Route 1, the spectacular Californian coastal highway, and is the most unusual wacky motel we found on it.
It has themed rooms that have to be seen to be believed and which are not sparing on detail, public toilets that are like waterfalls and staff who are dressed as if they have escaped from a Disney cartoon film.
The food in the restaurant is equally over the top and fantastic, and the next day you can travel up to Hearst castle for more surreal experiences.
If Dali had run a motel this would have been it!
100 Madonna Road
San Luis Obispo
805 543 3000
Situated on a bluff overlooking a lovely bay, The Castaway is the most westerly motel in the continental US. All the rooms have excellent seaviews, some with sun porches. Next door is a lodge, owned by the same people, that can accomodate 2-10 people, on over 7 acres of grounds.
The historic Cape Blanco Lighthouse is nearby, with one of several cedar-framed beaches to walk for miles on with only your own footprints to keep you company. The Sixes and Elk Rivers are known for their trout and salmon fishing. Shops, charming art galleries, and excellent restaurants are within walking distance of the hotel
The Austin Motel has quirky themed rooms - for instance we stayed in the Mexican Room with kitschy cactus plants and colourful walls. It's a fabulous location so once you park up you can walk to most places - ideal as Austin has a great bar scene with live music on every night. It has a 50's style kidney shaped pool if you are there in the summer to cool down in. For breakfast I recommend El Sol y La Luna
This 1950s-style motel near Palm Springs is an oasis of kitsch in a desert of indulgence. Whichever hot tub you choose - warm, hot, natural mineral, indoor or outdoor - you'll be mesmerised by palm trees and snow-capped mountains, not to mention the vibrant carpet of AstroTurf.
The Ma Ha Yah Lodge is ideally situated to provide sanctuary for visitors of Palm Springs, the incredible Joshua Tree National Park, and in particular, the Coachella Music and Arts festival hosted in the near by polo fields.
68111 Calle Las Tiendas, CA 92240
Sublime Apartments is great value motel apartment accommodation in Paihia, Bay of Islands, Northland, New Zealand.
They provide a great budget (but only in terms of price) option in a lovely, lush, hillside location in Paihia.
It's about a five-minute walk from the centre of town and has a small pool and BBQ facilities. The hosts are very friendly and extremely helpful. The apartments are clean and well maintained.
Paihia itself has loads to do and the hosts can help organise tickets for the attractions and provide tips on where to head to.
All things considered, Sublime Apartments provide a great alternative to a hotel, is far quieter than a traditional looking motel (it's not based around the car park) and it's run by people who have lived in the area for many years - a good choice.
Stay at the no-frills Motel 6 in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray just off Interstate 15 south of the airport for under $40 per night, with an easy, 30-minute drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta/Snowbird, or a 45-minute drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon to Brighton and Solitude.
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