Hollywood has all but ruined the roadside motel. The creators of films like Bug, Psycho and No Country For Old Men would have us believe that even the most accommodating roadside rest stops come with burial arrangements. But recently we caught wind of Santa Barbara's Presidio Motel, which, despite it's lack of plywood paneling and corpses, is perhaps the most memorable motor inn we've ever seen.
In 2005, Kenny Osehan and Chris Sewell acquired the lease to the Presidio, a 16-unit motel in Santa Barbara and set about "flipping" the property. It wound up being more of a triple somersault. Three years after their acquisition, the pair, along with a little help from UCSB artists, Kat Trajano and Stephanie Mansolf, have transformed the basic roadside stop into a unique slumberland, complete with abstract dreamscapes, for those who would require coaxing. "We saw this motel as the perfect opportunity for us to bring the creative community together," says Osehan. And they have done just that. Along with their 16, mid-60's retro designed rooms, the motel frequently hosts art and charity events like the upcoming Jill of Trades. The motel is surrounded by beaches, wine tours, exotic greenery at Lotus Land and the pair's favorite haunt, the Hungry Cat raw bar. Get ready to check in and hate having to check out.
Presidio Motel, 1620 State Street, Santa Barbara, California, 805-963-1355; www.thepresidiomotel.com.