Motels built in the 1950s and ‘60s have been revamped to become cool beachside getaways.
The Gold Coast has been a beach playground for Queenslanders and their southern state neighbours since the 1950s when a burgeoning tourism trade gave the coastline strip its name. By the 1960s weatherboard beach shacks were lining the shoreline and La Costa Motel at Bilinga on the southern end of the Gold Coast, was there in its prime.
Current owners Diane and John Cartmill have been able to trace the motel’s origins with the help of piles of Australian Women’s Weekly magazines they found behind the walls during a major renovation several years ago. “The magazines were used for insulation in those days and we found copies dating back to 1957,” says Diane.
Hardwood floors were uncovered beneath cracked linoleum, the exterior colour of the motel and the original neon light box for the sign have been retained, even the lettering on the sign is the same. Other features have been added such as white picket fences outside street-front units and vintage-style bicycles are available for guests to explore the neighbourhood.
However, there are some things a modern traveller can’t live without, and rooms have been remodelled with facilities such as ensuites, air-conditioning (and ceiling fans), flatscreen televisions, coffee machines, microwaves, mini bar fridges and complimentary WiFi.
Coolangatta’s Pink Hotel embraces a Rockstar lifestyle with plush velvet couches in rooms, neon signs that light up the bathroom walls, musical wall art, vinyl record players in six suites and, in one room, a baby grand piano. There’s also a 1970s recording studio control room re-tuned for private functions.
It’s not just about looks though. On the ground level the legendary Eddie’s Dive Bar supports live music with weekly jam sessions, karaoke and local musicians every weekend. Eddie’s Grub House, home of award-winning burgers, provides room service to the hotel.
Closer to Pacific Fair Shopping Centre at Broadbeach is the Ventura Beach Motel, a sea blue and pink pastel brick motel that has all the icons of the last century, including a kidney-shaped swimming pool with banana lounges and rooms with cane bedheads and sisal mats. It’s walking distance to Bam Bam Bakehouse, Le Café Gourmand and Little Mermaid for breakfast and lunch and the Mermaid Beach Surf Club is around the corner for a casual dinner.
Happy in their blue heaven
The Blue Heron Motel rooms are crisp and bright, offset with sunny accents, pale wood, deep sea blue throws and modern minimalist furnishings, the result of a complete makeover by new owners Karl and Andrea Baumuhlner who loved the Gold Coast so much on their own (frequent) holidays they decided to buy the motel to operate as a family business.
Newly named and renovated, it is a short walk to Mermaid Beach, vegetarian café The Milkman’s Daughter and an easy bike pedal away (be quick to borrow one of the guest bikes or BYO) to the buzzy eateries of Nobby Beach or Piccolo Espresso at Miami Beach Surf Lifesaving Club. For after dark fun with street food and music (Friday and Saturday are the best nights), you are minutes away from Miami Marketta.
The Gold Coast is approximately 80km (about one hour drive) from Brisbane via the M1 motorway.
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