Every couple of years or so, amid endless residential offerings online we chance upon something more substantial, a specifically more commercial proposal than a domestic one in the form of a classic Mid-Century motel. The recognition and romance of the Australian motel has been creeping up for many years (generally in the minds of those reaching a certain middle age who now find themselves unnervingly the responsible adults in the room) and has been duly enjoyed in recent events such as the Ok Motels mini-festival (5 stars – would go again) and the current Tim Ross show and new book, ‘Motel’, mining similar cultural bedrock.
Image from ‘Motel’ by Tim Ross pub. 2019
We at MA, in our tireless goading of you all, have oft championed the idea, much embraced in the USA, of taking a potential though perhaps rundown, Mid-Century Motel and breathing new life into it – celebrating its past, its design, its invariably holiday-esq location and spinning a hip narrative within a hospitality venture. You cannot deny that The Saguaro Palm Springs or Austin Motel (for example) aren’t onto an easily exportable and attractive variation for our own Australian stockpile of untouched 50s/60s motels just sitting offside the M1. And indeed there are a few intrepid Aussies getting their game on here with the Warburton Motel Yarra Valley and The Sails Motel Brunswick Heads for starters, but there is always room for more!
The Austin Motel, Austin TX
So today, for your consideration, we propose The Blue Dolphin Motel on Mid-North Coast NSW. Not to be confused with Robin Boyd’s Black Dolphin Motel in Merimbula, this unadulterated classic 1960s motel with incredible beach/river location, impeccable Mid-Century lines and 22 rooms is just gagging for someone to seize the opportunity and transform a dormant business with a sketchy recent past (you can goog that yourselves) into a MCM infused wonderland. You need bucks. You need a plan. You need an exceedingly catchy eye. And you need to set a hospitality standard which will keep the kids Instagramming and coming back time after time, but as Brian Wilson asks – wouldn’t it be nice?