November 30, 2021

The origin story of the world’s first motel

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Staying at a roadside motel during your road trip all around the country is a dream of many. Motels today have a fantastic design to accommodate the motor travel of people cruising in cars. But do you know how motels came into being? The origin of the roadside accommodations for motorists and the story of the world’s first motel is quite interesting. So, let’s dig in the article and get answers to all your questions without any further ado.  

Origin of motels

Auto travel had only become a normal thing in early 1925. Since then, Motor travel has taken over other modes of transportations. While other people were living in their mundane lifestyles, a revolutionary idea sprung in the brain of Arthur Heineman. Inns for travelers were usual back in the day, but none of them were explicitly facilitating motor vehicle parking and accommodation. Because motor travel had recently become a mainstream concept, earlier, no one else had the ways to fathom it. 

A resident of a small town San Luis Obispo, somewhere amid Los Angeles and San Francisco, Arthur Heineman, merged the words motor and hotel and came up with mo-tel. The full name of the world’s first motel was Milestone Mo-Tel Inn. And hence, it marked the beginning of the chains of motels all around the world.  

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Lodging cost

Being specifically constructed for motorists, the hotel had special features for motor vehicle accommodation. According to Eric Zorn of

the Chicago Tribune, the bungalows were paired with garages. A single

night spent in one of the bungalows at that time would have set you back $1.25. In the present currency value, the 1925 price of $1.25 of the per night stay in the motel would now cost about $17.00! 

The build of the luxury motel

Innovative as the idea of the world’s first motel was, the cost of its construction and its living style could be valued as a privilege. Kristin Jackson of The Seattle Times, two years after the motel shutting down in 1991, wrote that the motel was luxuries. According to her written account, the motel was constructed using $80,000. The cost helped in the construction of the Spanish-mission fashioned, elegant building, which came with a courtyard bordered with trees. 

The design also boasted magnificent white pillars along with a three-whorled bell tower. When comparing the makeshift accommodation that most American car travelers used at the time, there is no doubt that this beautiful motel came as a luxurious settlement. Apparently, before the origin of motels, the road go-ers had to lodge in open grounds or

tiny wooden cabins. Or they crashed near gas stations or stores. The cabins were no different looking than the view and the build of chicken coops. Hence an establishment like the world’s first motel in the middle of two major cities would indeed help. 

Running out of business

Motel workers hand out brochures to the people passing through the road initially. Still, with the settling of the great depression and other motel establishments, the original idea of 18 chained motels was hindered. People now think of a motel as something cheap and for such travels where people can not afford to book a proper hotel. But the idea and origin of motels helped motorists all around America to travel more on the wheels. 

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