2 Local Motels Named Among Best in California by National Geographic

Travel site National Geographic recently released a list of "5 of the best retro motels for Californian kitsch." Two local properties made the cut.

Travel site National Geographic recently released a list of five of the best retro motels in California. Two local motels, in Santa Rosa and Calistoga, made the cut.

Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa, originally opened in 1946 as a roadside motel, placed third on the list for its nostalgic design and nature-inspired interiors. The retro lodge is known for its hot springs-fed geothermal pools and modern, 1880s bathhouse-inspired MoonAcre Spa with clawfoot tub mud baths.

The Calistoga Motor Lodge features 97 guest rooms and suites and the onsite Fleetwood restaurant, serving Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. Rooms from $246.

A vintage van parked outside a room at Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa in Napa Valley. (Courtesy of Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa)
The lounge of The Astro Motel in Santa Rosa. (Courtesy of The Astro)

The Astro Motel in Santa Rosa, built in 1963 as part of a chain of space-themed motels, earned the fourth spot on National Geographic’s list for its modern revival and 1950s-themed interior.

After the turn of the century, The Astro fell into disrepair and became infamous for its seediness. The team behind Santa Rosa’s Spinster Sisters restaurant acquired the motel in 2017 and got to work on an ambitious remodel. The motel became a refuge for fire evacuees later that year during the 2017 wildfires in Sonoma County. The renovated motel officially opened to the public in January of 2018.

Retro decor at The Astro include “white leather banquettes, record players and signs for defunct soft drinks,” according to the National Geographic listing. The motel features 34 rooms and a guest lounge complete with a vintage sound system, a collection of board games and a daily complimentary breakfast from The Spinster Sisters pantry. Rooms from $139.

Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa, 1880 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga, 707-737-0000, calistogamotorlodgeandspa.com; The Astro, 323 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa, 707-200-4655, theastro.com