Return of the Motor Lodge: Stay at These Roadside Motels

[From $199 per night;]

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Vagabond Hotel
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2. Vagabond Hotel


Originally designed by modernist architect Robert Swartburg, the Vagabond opened in 1953 as a motel and restaurant/lounge swinging enough to be a Biscayne Boulevard hangout for Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. Abandoned for years and at one point set for demolition, the rescued and revamped incarnation of the 42-room motel blends an uber-Miami aesthetic (lots of white and aquamarine) with the must-have hallmarks of contemporary travel ( free WiFi, gym). Don’t neglect a cocktail at the palm-shrouded pool bar, and take a dip to say hi to the mosaic mermaid at the bottom of the shallow end.

[From $159 per night;]

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Raton Pass Motor Inn
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3. Raton Pass Motor Inn


Located right off I-25, in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains halfway between Albuquerque and Denver, this recently overhauled spot’s slogan is “Where the Wild West meets mid-century modern.” And sure enough, the lobby features a vintage Zenith hi-fi and a 1950s Westinghouse fridge that could be straight out of a Coen brothers period flick. It’s in the individual themes of the 15 well-appointed rooms (WiFi, flatscreen TVs) that the place really shines, though, including the Pin-Up Room, the El Matador Room, the Rodeo Room and Lucky 13, featuring classic sci-fi and horror movie posters and a shower curtain with a bloody handprint.

[From $84 per night;]

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Anvil Hotel
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4. Anvil Hotel


Hope you like Prussian blue, since that’s the striking shade that coats pretty much the entire exterior of this reborn motor court in the heart of a perennial ski-bum town on the edge of Yellowstone National Park. Its 50 rooms offer a lodge-ish, almost masculine vibe, featuring high wainscoting, custom iron bed frames, globe lamps and Woolrich blankets. Blizzard raging outside? Enjoy daily happy hours and bison osso buco at Glorietta, the hotel’s own gourmet Italian trattoria that surrounds a wood-burning grill. Psst! If you hold a National Parks pass, flash it to receive a discount on rates.

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