Photos of 1970s cheap motels


In the 1973, subversive street artist Mike Mandel would take snapshots of the cheap motels where he stayed while traveling the country. He's posted the series on Flickr.

Working on the Baseball Photographer Trading Cards, traveling throughout the country, my girlfriend at the time, Alison Woolpert, and I would stay at some, shall we say, "economy" motels. We pulled into one in Texas on a wintry night and upon waking in the morning we realized that the sheets had not been changed after the visit of the previous motel guest. When we indignantly complained to the owner he shot us back a dirty look, "What do you expect for five dollars?" What we did expect was that no matter how shabby, beaten down or forgotten a motel might have become, there was always a motel postcard to be had: a memento of a one night stop, a promotional calling card, a free mailable note card to report back on the progress of a vacation to those back home. We would often take the back roads, sometimes follow old Route 66, and we would find those sad, forsaken motels that had been sucked almost out of existence by the newer corporate chains situated just off an exit ramp on the newer highways. We bypassed Motel 6, Travelodge and Howard Johnson's. After all, their postcards were usually just the same design with a different address. But we'd go out of our way to stop at every independent motel we could find in hopes of finding a postcard that would be even more banal than the one we had just found down the road.
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Transparent hotel room hanging from side of mountain


For around $300/night, you can sleep in a transparent bedroom hanging off the side of a mountain above Peru's Sacred Valley of the Incas. Read the rest

Marriott plans to block personal wifi hotspots

The hotel chain petitioned the FCC for changes that could let venues shut down personal networks. Microsoft, Google, and the cell industry are opposed.

FCC fines Marriott $600,000 for jamming hotel Wi-Fi

A Nashville convention center figured out how to boost its revenue from selling Internet service: it illegally jammed guests' and exhibitors' Wi-Fi networks. Glenn Fleishman explains the technical scam and why it earned a six-figure smackdown.

Corpse under motel bed for 5 years

UPDATE: Duh! It was fake!

Police in Mount Laurel, New Jersey found a young woman's corpse under a motel bed and it reportedly had been there for at least five years. A guest discovered the body when searching for the TV remote.

“I clean that room every day. I noticed a smell several times, and told my manager,” hotel housekeeper Anita Rodriguez told Empire News. “He told me to just use extra Febreeze in the room and it would go away eventually. I always hated cleaning that room.” Read the rest

Russian Olympic official to reporters: stop complaining about hotels or we'll release CCTV footage of you in the bathroom

Dmitry Kozak, Russia's Olympian deputy prime minister warned a Wall Street Journal reporter that he would release hidden-camera footage of journalists in their hotel bathrooms if they continued to complain about the substandard hotels in Sochi.

Just a reminder for anyone thinking of travelling to Sochi after the Olympics for a spot of tourism: according to Russia's deputy prime-minister, the hotel bathrooms have surveillance cameras that watch you in the shower. Read the rest

The Chelsea Hotel: Warhol, Burroughs, and Nico

Here's a curious clip of Andy Warhol and William S. Burroughs having a chat at the iconic Chelsea Hotel in NYC. The topic is chicken fried steak. It's followed by the lovely Nico singing "Chelsea Girls." The video is from a 1981 BBC documentary about The Chelsea that you can watch in full right here. (via Dangerous Minds) Read the rest

The Nakagin Capsule Tower

I would totally live in Japan's 1972 Pod Hotel. Read the rest

Library Lounge: decorating with books

The Library Lounge at the B2 Boutique Hotel Zürich is one of those amazing temple-of-books rooms that always make me catch my breath. If I had a teleporter, this is where I'd go every time I felt stressed out. (Except for the wallpaper with the pattern that looks like JPEG artifacts -- that'd have to go).

Library Lounge – B2 Boutique Hotel Zurich (via Attack of the Bonniegrrl) Read the rest

Floorplan for supposed sex-dungeon in Houston's Hotel ZaZa

Remember the potential weirdo sex-dungeon in Houston's Hotel ZaZa? A reader with inside knowledge writes,

That "two-way mirror" in 322 hangs on the bathroom wet wall for the more spacious suite 321 next door. So in the "secret voyeur room" case, you'd be standing in the bathroom next door and looking through a piping chase full of sanitary and domestic water lines. The bricks are a veneer that they decided to stop at the frame of the mirror. It doesn't seem like this room was specially built for secret sex shows or whatnot. At least, no more than any other hotel room with potential for pinhole cameras and so on.

I think it really is just an awkwardly placed and sized room, dictated by adjacent suite and service elevator lobby/shaft requirements. (See attached snippet from floor plans.) The associated balcony sits in a corner, so it is in fact larger than the balconies in the adjacent conventional rooms, as the ZaZa rep claims. I have no explanation for why some owner, architect and/or interior designer thought this would be a good theme for a room, though.

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Is the "secret" room at Houston's ZaZa a voyeuristic sex-dungeon for rich weirdos?

A redditor called joelikesmusic reported that a friend of his had been checked into a weird, narrow dungeon-like theme room at the Hotel Zaza in Houston (it's got lots of theme suites -- I once stayed in their awesome space-themed one with my family, on the way to my honeymoon). When he complained, the front desk apparently told him that it was a mistake -- no one was supposed to use that room.

The ZaZa's management told the press that it was a "prison" themed room, and that there was no mystery, but intrepid redditors have been examining the pictures (especially the portrait of Jay Comeaux, a banking exec from the disgraced Stanford Banking Executive, and have been spinning out theories about secret societies and rituals in the comments.

However, one commenter called lejefferson makes a plausible case that the room is a sex-dungeon with a one-way voyeur's mirror, used by rich weirdos:

What person that you know keeps a creepy picture of a guy over their television. This is obviously a secret room either personal or for a small group of people for sexual liasons/ S&M prostitution or worse. The mirror and small space of the room also indicates there is a good chance that the mirror is two way and that people could pay to come watch the sexual/S&M events occuring. The photo of a Stanford Banking Executive, (Jay Comeaux), on the wall further indicates that this is a high society sex room. The fact that the clerk said, "This room isn't supposed to be rented out" indicates that there was a big mistake and they didn't want anyone to find out about the room.

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Earthquake-causing elevator discovered in Seattle Sheraton

The elevators in the Seattle Sheraton are fitted with buttons that allow their riders to rain earthquakes upon the Pacific Northwest. This power is largely used for good, and that is rather affirming -- people really are quite nice.

EARTHQUAKE button, Sheraton, Seattle, WA, USA Read the rest

Coming soon: Dinosaur hotel

A Best Western in Denver is set to begin a remodeling project that will turn it into a dinosaur-themed wonderland. (Via Alexandra Witze) Read the rest

Dasparkhotel is a series of tubes

Dasparkhotel (The Park Hotel) is, literally, a series of tubes. Constructed from repurposed sewer pipes, each tiny room offers a double bed, storage space, a light, and the fun of an inside that is very nearly outside. Nearby are shared toilets, showers, a bar and coffee shop. [via Laughing Squid] Read the rest