In my 30 odd years of travel, I’ve stayed in some pretttttttty colourful places. Like the time I thought I’d booked somewhere nice, and found it was a single bed, above a pub, with a shared bathroom, and no air conditioner. Had they changed the sheets? I didn’t dare ask.
Or the “quaint” bed and breakfast where the owners stayed next door and thought nothing of popping around unannounced during a romantic weekend.
These days, I’m too old and grumpy for such incidents. As such, there’s one accommodation option that I’ve found myself boomeranging back to. It’s familiar. It’s warm. It has a breakfast hutch. And from the floral quilts to the tiny packets of biscuits, you know exactly what you’re going to get.
In short, I’ve rediscovered the simplicity of the motel stay.
They're never pretentious. They're practical, dependable, and some of the most underrated accommodation options in Australia. I've stayed at the ol' Golden Chain Motor Inn a bunch of times in my life and the novelty of it never leaves me. Let me remind you of their Golden ways:
1. The check-ins.
Warm, friendly, and no-fuss is the modus operandi of motel check-in. In my experience, people who work in motels have generally been working there for a long time and have a sense of ownership. In one case, I was arriving quite late to a motel in winter. We pre-arranged our late check-in, and when we arrived, they had turned the heater on for us in advance so the room was warm. That is hospitality with a capital H for 'Holy moley, thanks cobber'.
2. The parking.
I don't even have a car park outside my own house. So pulling up right outside your own front door cannot be underestimated, especially on road trips when you have overpacked like I always do, and have to keep nipping outside to get stuff. And free parking. For as long as you want. Zero chance that you'll be stung by hotel valet parking, and ticket inspectors can get stuffed. At motels, you are your own valet.
3. The little details.
The small packets of cereal. Tiny biscuits in tiny packets. Tiny mugs. Tiny teacups and tiny bars of soap. It's a miniature world of joy. There's often no mini-bar, so no temptation, but there are commonly vending machines that have normal-priced and normal-sized goods for those late-night snacks. There's always a kettle, but alongside that, toasters are a staple. They know the restorative power of fresh toast and hot tea. And they go the extra mile; a motel I stayed at in country Victoria provided a bucket of water and a squeegee to clean your window from icy frost in the morning. They're thinkers, these motel folk.
4. The breakfast hutch.
Quite hard to find these days, the breakfast hutch is the rarest of rarities but the most delightful motel quirk. It's a small door, next to the main door of your room, that houses a tucker box. And in a more quaint version of room service; you order breakfast the night before (on your little checklist), nominate what time you'd like it to be delivered, and then sure enough, at the nominated time there's a little tap at the door and your breakfast slides into the hutch. No awkward exchanges in pyjamas, and all the novelty.
5. Shower heads.
Is there a code among motel owners to make sure their showers are the hottest and most satisfying? Is it knowing that you've been on the road? Or that you're away from home and you need that extra level of steaming, hot watery cleanliness? Motels take their shower heads pretty seriously.
6. And the convenience factor.
With a couch, TV, workstation, comfy bed, hot shower, unlimited wifi, insider knowledge of the local area, and service with a smile, what more do you need?
Oh, a car. And that's just outside.
This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Golden Chain Motor Inn.