San Luis Obispo, California: World's First Motel

Most 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.
Address:
2223 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo, CA
Directions:
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.
Hours:
Not open, but visible.
Save to My Sights

Visitor Tips and News About World's First Motel

Reports and tips from RoadsideAmerica.com visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Motel Inn sign. 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]
First motel. World's First Motel

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."

World's First Motel

Looks like some kind of renovation is underway. Fenced off but easily visible.

[Raphael, 07/11/2010]
World's First Motel

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]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Latest Tips Across Roadside America

Catch up on the latest discoveries from the road.

Explore Thousands of Oddball Tourist Attractions!

Unique destinations in the US and Canada are our special obsession. Start here.
Use RoadsideAmerica.com's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

August 30, 2014

My Sights

Create Your Own Bizarre Road Trips!

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

California Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Abita Mystery House, Abita Springs, Louisiana (Aug 25-31, 2014)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from RoadsideAmerica.com. Subscribe now!
RoadsideAmerica.com Hotel & Motel Finder

Special online rates for hotels & motels.

Nearby Hotels and Motels, San Luis Obispo, California

Nightly rates found:

Book Online Now