Alibaba Motel.

Ali Baba Motel

Field review by the editors.

Costa Mesa, California

There was a time when Islamic architectural elements in an American hotel suggested an establishment of opulence, an oasis where one might slumber on a thousand pillows stitched with gold. The Ali Baba (formerly Alibaba) Motel was built in 1973, and last we checked was still distributing postcards with the slogan: "For a brighter tomorrow, rest in our Casbah tonight."

The unique building stands along a busy boulevard. A daylight stop there in the parking lot is fine. No one was around during our visit, except for the friendly front desk manager, who couldn't answer obscure historical questions, but gave us a couple of postcards.

Photographer Phil Pasquini classifies the Alibaba as a prime example of "Islamic Folly" architecture. In his book Domes, Arches and Minarets: A History of Islamic-Inspired Buildings in America (full of many amazing examples of Islamic-inspired buildings), Phil writes that the Ali Baba Motel is a "loud visual statement that draws attention solely for commercial purposes."

Office.

Resembling a desert palace (though, perhaps, of a cartoon sheik), it features a large central dome, faux minarets, and window and entrance arches. There are lots of little details in the metal shutters and glass. If there was a great neon sign early on, it's long gone.

These days, a preemptive American flag flutters above the office and mars a bit of the faraway land ambience. And in 2019 the motel owners painted the Ali Baba's gold dome white, because, they said, white paint is cheaper.

Ali Baba Motel

Address:
2250 Newport Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA
Directions:
Along Hwy 55/Costa Mesa Freeway, exit at 22nd St to parallel Newport Blvd., east side. Between Cecil Place and Albert Place.
Phone:
949-645-7700
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Cannibalistic French Fry and Hot Dog MenCannibalistic French Fry and Hot Dog Men, Costa Mesa, CA - < 1 mi.
John Wayne's YachtJohn Wayne's Yacht, Newport Beach, CA - 3 mi.
Hitler's CarHitler's Car, Costa Mesa, CA - 2 mi.
In the region:
United DC-8 Jet, Los Angeles, CA - 33 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in California

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in California.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

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

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Create and Save Your Own Crazy Road Trip! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

California Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Roswell Alien Attraction Autopsy, Roswell, New Mexico (Jun 21-27, 2021)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

RoadsideAmerica.com Hotel & Motel Finder

Special rates for hotels.

Book Now