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Did Schitt’s Creek make motels cool again?

Motels evoke treasured childhood memories but did binge-watching Schitt’s Creek during lockdown rekindle a love of minimalist retro?

With a plethora of Emmy Awards and a dedicated cult following, the popular television show, Schitt’s Creek has had a significant cultural impact but it’s also rekindled a love for retro motels.

The series follows the wealthy Rose family as they go bankrupt, and move back to Schitt’s Creek, a small town they once purchased as a joke, to live at the local motel.

Despite Schitt’s Creek airing its final season in 2020, the show appears to be living on – through the renewed popularity of motels.

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To investigate this latest trend, AccomNews takes a look at the motels that are embracing their retro roots.

The Isla at Bateman’s Bay

The Isla – Image by Anson Smart

The passion project of a group of Canberra-based professionals, The Isla at Bateman’s Bay promises the charm of a retro Australian motel with all the mod cons.

Co-founder Yanna Dascarolis said The Isla was inspired by a desire to explore more of their own backyard, and nostalgia for a simpler time.

“We all have fond memories of holidays in Batemans Bay as kids and since having children of our own, we’ve fallen back in love with the beautiful untouched Australian beaches and warm community,” Ms Dascarolis said.

“It was important for us to stay connected with the things we love about Batemans Bay and create something that is a fitting reflection of its charm.

“The Isla is extraordinary because it offers guests a holiday of the past, while presenting modern design and amenities that will appeal to a whole new generation.”

The founders’ said that despite The Isla being in its infancy, the motel had received a warm welcome from visitors and the local community.

“While we have only just started trading, the local community seems very excited for a breath of fresh air in the area,” Ms Dascarolis said.

The Isla – Image by Anson Smart

The Pink Hotel at Coolangatta

A bit further up the coast, one of Australia’s most iconic retro hotels continues to be a must-visit destination for Gold Coast tourists.

Featuring in Australian cult classic film Muriel’s Wedding, The Pink Hotel Coolangatta and Eddie’s Grub House is a landmark on the coastline.

Lovingly restored in 2018, ​​co-owner Samuel Diklich said the restoration project aimed to celebrate the building’s retro roots.

“We wanted to keep a piece of the old Coolangatta and the old Gold Coast as well. We definitely ramped up the retro appeal of it,” he said.

“We’ve definitely exposed its former glory because everyone who comes past says, ‘Oh I got married here,’ or ‘I had my honeymoon here’.

“The Pink Hotel is the last of its kind along the strip and even further up the Gold Coast as well so it’s a bit of a classic, so we are trying to keep it as it was.”

With it’s ‘instagrammable’ pink exterior and its retro-fittings, the much-loved motel is now up for grabs- with the restoration project proving popular with prospective buyers.

Photo by Josh Withers on Unsplash

“The risqué pink painting, orange furnishings and neon-lit poetry on the walls adds to its retro renaissance,” ResortBrokers Gold Coast broker Greg James

“Because it’s Coolangatta and everybody that I have spoken to seems to have holidayed here at some time when they were growing up, they know the property.”

Mr James said he had been overwhelmed by the response from the market, who clearly saw the value in the motel.

“I have been in this industry for a while, and sales all my life and I have never experienced anything like it,” he said.

With more Australians using their post-pandemic holidays to travel regionally, there appears to be a trend towards minimalistic holidays.

While motels stand as a reminder of treasured childhood memories, it may be that binge-watching Schitt’s Creek during lockdown had a greater influence than we expected.

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