San Luis Obispo, California: World's First MotelMost recently called "Motel Inn," opened on Dec. 12, 1925 by Arthur Heineman as "Motor Hotel." By fate or economy (the stories vary) it became the first to squeeze the words into "motel." All that's left is the bell tower and the sign.
- 2223 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo, CA
- Northeast edge of town, just off of the entrance ramp onto northbound US 101 at exit 204. Bear right onto the parallel service road, not left onto the highway.
- Not open, but visible.
Visitor Tips and News About World's First Motel
There has been some sort of makeover on the first building, it's new and has a historical plaque. However that original "motel" sign is gone, which is disappointing. The 2nd building looks like even more of it has been demolished. Interesting stop.[CS, 04/13/2013]
The individual rooms are gone. They used to stretch between the two remaining buildings, one which contained the office.[Roger Hendrix, 07/23/2010]
Most recently called "Motel Inn," it opened in 1925 as "Motor Hotel," and by fate or economy (the stories vary) it became the first to squeeze the words into "motel."
Looks like some kind of renovation is underway. Fenced off but easily visible.[Raphael, 07/11/2010]
The site of the world's first official motel is fenced off and looks like it might be marked for destruction -- or an extreme makeover at the very least. But, you can still get close enough for a photo op and a chance to see the sign that bears the first use of "motel," a word that would shape American car culture forever.[Justin Winokur, 06/07/2010]