The Hustle

Motels are the new king of the road

The surprise star of summer vacation? Motels are back, baby.

August 26, 2020

Scratchy sheets. A lingering smell of cigarettes. The muffled moans of the couple next door.

If you think that’s what motels have to offer… well, sometimes you’re right. But the road-side stay is having a renaissance.

Marriott’s become a MarriNOT

Between 1964 and 2012, the number of US motels shrank from 61k to 12k.

But then the coronavirus checked in. By May 2020, occupancy rates at luxury hotels plunged >15%. Economy class properties, which includes motels, sat pretty at ~40%.

Some are reporting week after week of no vacancies.

What in the Magic Fingers happened?

The summer of the road trip happened. If you’re not camping or living that #vanlife, motels are the easiest way to catch 40 winks and a shower.

And motel layouts are well-suited to social distancing. Most are 1- or 2-story buildings — no crowded elevators — with outdoor access to rooms. Sure, there’s no restaurant, fitness center, or spa, but stays are cheap — ~$40 to $100/night.

Not sure you’d wanna crash somewhere without a Starbucks? 

These roadhouses are worth the trip just for the joy of saying their names.

Best Western Plus Intercourse Village: Intercourse, my friends, is a village in Pennsylvania. Get your mind out of the gutter.

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