Motels usually are defined as a place outside of urban centres, where motorists make their stops along the freeway for a night or two. Mostly famous for their L or U shape, low rise buildings and facing a wide parking lot, the first ones started to pop up in the US in the twenties, when traveling long distances became more popular and truckers were in need of a decent pit stop. Nothing really fancy here, the most luxurious thing would have been a pool at your front door or a little diner next to the registration office if you were lucky. Can you turn a motel into hip and fancy? Can you get hip with it? Yes. And this article here is the proof.
I’m sure not the biggest motel visitor here, but a couple of them hit my journey here and there on this planet. One of them has been my last minute savior around LA when travelling across the country six years ago and I felt like in a movie. You know what I mean, those cheesy ones where usually a motel is the only option for that one desperate character. The pool was empty and there where nothing but trucks. Order in pizza boxes where piling outside of the room’s doors and the bomb was a breakfast consisting in sugary donuts and filter coffee (aka water). I loved it. Another one was the only cheap option for spending new year’s eve in Las Vegas, on a side street close to the MGM Grand, with a huge six twisting circles on the roof, tons of mexicans in pick up trucks checking in and linens on the bed that could have been made of my grandmother’s curtains. However, there’s one amazing thing that they seem to be having in common: no matter how dark the room can be, no matter how the building is falling apart, the beds are giant, and the most comfortable thing ever. Love love love.
A couple of years ago I had the pleasure to meet these motels’ high class brother (or sister), while taking my first trip to Berlin. I was looking for a place to stay central and that would be affordable for my glamorous salesperson salary, which wasn’t glamorous at all at the time. Motel One became my booking and I was amazed about the concept so much, that I keep on booking back every time I visit a German city. This past weekend was Munich’s turn, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Motel One’s successful concept is quite easy to get, and there are several hotels out there that would be in need of a hint of fresh air in these terms. The combination of an unique design, affordable and functional rooms, great staff and service is the secret. It’s easy to recognize, their curvy blue chairs are almost legendary for me already, and it’s a delight to get directions and tips from the superhelpful front desk. I saw them expand outside of Germany thanks to their uniqueness, in places like Amsterdam, Newcastle or Vienna: speaking of Austria, there even is a lounge provided by Motel One at the central station.
But it’s not only about the sweet sleep and the awesome tips you’ll get. The Motel has an excellent bar with great cocktails, which will lead you to stay in at least one evening on your stay. The airy lobby has enough sofas to chill in and sometimes, depending which motel you’re in, an outside lounge or a tiny garden for less chilly days. This nightlife meeting point turns into a total different story in the morning, where a rich breakfast is served, until 11am on the weekends, which makes it easier if you’re still digesting those sambucas from the night before. The only motel like thing here is the booking price. Everything else will attract you here for business, a family trip or simply pleasure.
My stay this time was at Motel One City Ost, which is strategically located close to Munich’s Ost Train station. Easy to reach by train from wherever you’re travelling from. The neighborhood is green, full of cafés and stores – a sweet add on for finding your favourite brunch spot (check out ZimtZicke Café & Wohnzimmer!) or for a chilled afternoon walk. You’ll feel as a part of the district right away, so you might want to settle yourself down with the city, before you head out to explore the city, see an exhibition in a museum or just simply cheer with your pals with a giant beer at Hofbräuhaus.
A special thank you to Motel One City Ost for supporting my trip.
*header picture is courtesy of Motel One Lounge, Vienna Main Station