The latest incarnation of San Francisco’s famed Phoenix motel, at the hands of hotelier Liz Lambert and her Austin-based Bunkhouse group, no stranger to groovy rehabs of old hotels.
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•••••The Drifter, New Orleans
Uniting Space Age, aka Googie, architecture, tropical motifs and muted midcentury furnishings, this reimagined roadside motel in New Orleans’s Mid-City neighborhood is an unapologetic mishmash. Rooms feature both Oaxacan tiles and troweled concrete. You can order Cuban sandwiches from an on-site food truck and South African rosé and sake from the poolside bar. From $175 a night, thedrifterhotel.comPhoenix Hotel, San Francisco
Rising yet again, this 1956 motor lodge underwent its first major metamorphosis in the ’80s, when it went from a seedy “no tell” motel to coolly retro crash pad for touring musicians. Last year, Austin’s Bunkhouse hotel group—no stranger to groovy and highly Instagrammable rehabs of old hotels—reopened the 44-room property, punching up the décor and flaunting its rock ’n’ roll past with a number of unsubtle details, from a wall of vinyl records in the restaurant to a punk-themed gift shop. From $185 a night, phoenixsf.comSound View, Greenport, N.Y.
A 1953 seaside motel on Long Island’s North Fork re-emerged last August as the 55-room Sound View, a lofty spin on a beach cottage from Brooklyn-based design firm Studio Tack. Rooms are wrapped in cedar paneling and furnished with Eero Saarinen-inspired “pool furniture” specially made for indoor diversions: “You can sit in your room with your legs crossed and watch the sunset,” said Jou-Yie Chou, a partner at Studio Tack. Or take in the sunset with locals and day-trippers at the Halyard, the property’s stylish seafood restaurant. From $195 a night, soundviewgreenport.comAmigo Motor Lodge, Salida, Colo.
Two years ago, a Texas couple remade a 60-year-old motel in the Rocky Mountain town of Salida into a 16-room hipster beacon with a Southwestern slant: Handwoven pillows in Zapotec patterns top crisp white linens; leather butterfly chairs perch on cowhide rugs; and a cone fireplace sits beside a wood pile on the patio. Guests can also opt to sleep in one of the on-site Airstream trailers. From $100 a night, stayamigo.comCalistoga Motor Lodge & Spa, Napa Valley, Calif.
The former Sunburst Motel has all the prerequisites of a midcentury motor inn—retro furnishings, kitschy signage, a fleet of Priority Cruiser bikes—with one added amenity: a mint-green spa with seven treatment rooms and three mineral pools that are heated by geothermal springs beneath the property. Corkboards in the 50 bright and cheerful (and dog-friendly) rooms, designed by New York firm AvroKO, highlight daily activities and events, including guided hikes, cooking classes, wine tastings and—in a wink to its earlier days—a hula-hoop contest. For more private competition, borrow one of the board games stocked in the lobby. From $209 a night, calistogamotorlodgeandspa.com
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