Motels are a distinctly North American contribution to the world’s roster of accommodations. Originally designed for passing motorists looking for a quick and affordable place to spend a night on a road trip, today’s motels can be destinations in their own right. These modern motels still feature the tell-tale park spaces that lead right up to each room’s door, but they boast pleasant grounds and clean, renovated interiors – some even with award-winning interior design and stunning décor.
Grandview Inn, Tobermory
It’s hard to find another place to stay in Tobermory with a better view – no doubt the inspiration for the Grandview’s name. Renovated rooms feature flat screen tvs, simple but modern bathrooms and a soothing white and blue colour palette in the bedroom that seems fitting given its proximity to Lake Huron’s famous waters.
Unfortunately, the excellent on-site restaurant has closed, but guests can still enjoy its patio – an unparalleled spot to watch the Chi Cheeman depart for Manitoulin Island or enjoy a beautiful Bruce Peninsula sunset.
Boathouse Motel, Rockport
While most motels on this list harken back to the 1950s and 60s heyday of early road trips, this spot is truly historic. The main building is a lovely white 1830s waterside two-storey inn with a huge covered deck with a view over the docks. The property also has an eight-bedroom motel, with a shared balcony overlooking the water and quilted beds for country charm appeal. They motel has Stay and Cruise packages that provide a good rate for seeing the areas prime attraction of the Thousand Islands.
Swan Motel, Stratford
The lush greenery surrounding the Swan Motel seems at odds with the traditional image of a motel, more associated with pavement and revving engines than natural calm. However, there’s no denying that many long-time fans return here year after year to take advantage of its treed and flower-filled grounds surrounding its inground pool and gazebo.
And given Stratford’s continued pull for tourists, this is an affordable option worth considering.
The June Motel, Picton
Everything about this spot seems plucked straight out of Instagram and deposited into Prince Edward County. The two young women who turned this mid-century motel into a true destination, have successfully incorporated a laidback, but stylish California vibe (complete with palm trees) to this once overlooked property.
The pink doors on each room, funky wallpaper, fire pit, and Saturday morning yoga sessions make this an ideal spot for a bachelorette weekend or girls’ weekend getaway.
Temagami Shores Inn, Temagami
It’s hard to beat the lakeside location of Temagami Shores Inn. The motel-style rooms have a outdoorsy vibe with back decks with forest views. The inn also has a restaurant open for three meals of home cooking each day. In the winter, guests will enjoy on-site cross-country ski and snowshoe trails and the connection to the OFSC snowmobile trail.
Angeline's Inn, Bloomfield
Prince Edward County has a wide array of high-end hotels and inns, many of which capitalise on historic elegance and are of the white table cloth, dark wood four-poster bed, and traditional floral wallpaper variety. Angeline’s Inn is one of the new breed of restaurants and motels popping up as the county becomes more popular with tourists from across North America. The motel rooms here are an oasis of calm and pared back design.
on the same property is one of the best in the County, offering an innovative small plate menu.
Cadillac Motel, Niagara Falls
No town in Ontario does mid-century kitsch quite like Niagara Falls, so it should be no surprise there are a fair number of motels in the area. However, none have rooms quite like the Cadillac Motel off Fallsview Blvd. Designed particularly for car lovers, each room has a gigantic photograph of a vintage car above the bed and a black leather lounge chair that could perhaps make the occupant imagine they’re sitting on the smooth leather of a classic automobile. The rooms are all equipped with microwaves and mini-fridges for those looking to save some money and cook their own breakfast.
Luau Resort, Wasaga
Just a 10-minute walk from the longest freshwater beach in the world, this motel is a great spot for families looking to soak up some summer sun or are up for a short drive to Blue Mountain in the colder months. There are plenty of deck chairs with riverside views as well as loungers around its large pool. Though fairly basic in design, the rooms all have a four-piece bath and fridge.