Renovated Hotels Are the Preferred Accommodations for In-the-Know California Travelers

Everything old is new again.

I can’t begin to tally up the number of roadside hotels and motels my family checked into on our yearly California vacations. From San Diego to Eureka, we rolled in to the receptions filled with AAA maps, flimsy local attraction brochures and that steadily familiar scent of nicotine oozing from dated furniture upholstery. Ah, the memories.

If you’re nostalgic for those good old days, but prefer more amenities than a kidney pool or a loudly humming ice machine down the hall, the latest hotel trend matches hip designers with aging hotel properties for a totally retrofitted and revamped experience.

In a recent story for Surface Magazine, writer Sarah Firshein checks in to a handful of these “20th century vestiges” made over for a 21st century traveler’s appetite.

Here a few right here in California:

Nobu Ryokan, Malibu, California

“Nobu Matsuhisa and billionaire Larry Ellison refashioned the former 1950s Casa Malibu Inn above Carbon Beach as the Nobu Ryokan, just steps from the chef’s celebrity-filled Malibu restaurant. The 16-room property, designed by Studio PCH, Inc., along with Montalba Architects and TAL Studio, is a contemporary take on a traditional Japanese inn. A minimalist sea of teak, bronze and limestone is offset by eastern-inspired elements such as tatami mats, shoji screens and wooden soaking tubs.”

The Goodland Hotel, Santa Barbara, California

“California design firm Studio Collective incorporated influences from retro Westside surf culture into Santa Barbara’s Goodland Hotel, a 158-room Kimpton property with an onsite record shop and an Airstream trailer parked in the front. Stop by the restaurant Outpost, which turns out Cali-inspired street food such as pork-belly bao-buns and battered-cod tacos.”

Pioneertown, Pioneertown, California

“The heyday of Western films is long gone, but the Pioneertown Motel, built by Roy ‘King of the Cowboys’ Rogers in 1946, keeps the era alive with wood-beamed ceilings, vivid Native American textiles, and cowhide rugs. It’s located in a boho desert settlement, on the outskirts of Palm Springs, that has come into fashion in recent years thanks to urban refugees looking to get off the grid and the exploding popularity of Coachella.”

Coachman Hotel, South Lake Tahoe, California

“Rubber flooring and plywood closets in the 42-room Coachman Hotel, a five-minute walk from Heavenly Gondola, suggest grit and durability to withstand ski gear. But the ‘60s-style property, retrofitted by Studio Tack, has plenty of luxuries, including Malin + Goetz toiletries, Frette linens, a café bar serving Stumptown coffee and local beers, and fire pits to roast s’mores. In a nod to the motels of yesteryear, one of the suites even comes equipped with a heart-shaped Jacuzzi.”

View the entire nation-wide list here.