The Motor Lodge is located at 503 S. Montezuma Street in Prescott. For more information, call 928-717-0157 or visit www.themotorlodge.com.
© Nick Berezenko
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The Motor Is RunningForget everything you've ever heard about motels. The Motor Lodge in Prescott is a midcentury slice of Americana that's more boutique than bad stereotype. Check in and check it out.
By Roger Naylor
Prescott If you build it, they will come. If you build it fun, funky and friendly, they'll come in droves. At least that's how things worked out for The Motor Lodge in Prescott.
The Motor Lodge is a midcentury slice of Americana that's been completely refurbished and operates as distinctive boutique lodging. Originally built as summer cabins in 1910, the cabins were purchased in 1940, then connected by a common roofline. Thus, a motor court was born. During the ensuing decades, the little inn was dragged through other incarnations, including a tragic stint as country cottages, dripping in doilies with stuffed bears stacked on beds like cordwood. In 2008, Joe Livingston and Brian Spear bought the place and created a stylish and memorable getaway.
The restored property is a striking balance of eye-pleasing nostalgia and modern comfort. Outside, the exterior resonates with a retro vibe. A dozen units clustered in the shape of a small horseshoe are painted with a snappy color scheme designed to lure weary motorists. The sign is small but appropriately veined with neon.
The rooms themselves aren't as firmly rooted in the past. Spotlessly clean and effortlessly cool, each room sports an eclectic mix of furnishings and art, sampling a range of eras. The Motor Lodge also features amenities akin to those found at far pricier resorts. Beds are luscious stress-swallowers draped with high-thread-count sheets. You'll be tempted to steal the towels until you realize they're too fluffy to fit in your suitcase. By the way, don't even try.
The most pleasant surprise, however, might be the jovial hospitality that permeates the place. It starts with Joe and Brian. They offer a cold beer or glass of wine at check-in, circulate among the rooms with fresh-baked cookies and steer you toward all the great restaurants in Prescott. If you're heading downtown, they'll give you a lift in the official orange Motor Lodge pickup, or you can hop on one of the loaner bikes — including a vintage tandem — and tool around in style.
That friendly spirit tends to be contagious. A small porch fronts each room, and there, guests often gather in the afternoon. Conversations bounce from porch to porch, leading to impromptu cocktail parties and room tours, with guests pointing out the details of their overnight home as proudly as if they'd designed it themselves.
Once upon a time, travel was a journey fraught with discovery, rife with mystery and grace. Thanks to the folks at The Motor Lodge, that experience lives again.