While the Centro Motel is Calgary’s first Boutique Motel, it is certainly not Calgary’s only Motel, nor is it anywhere close to the first Motel. That’s not to say that the concept of a Motel is very old. They really only became popular after World War II, and the very first Motel was built in 1925.
The very first Motel ever built, seen here, was the Motel Inn of San Luis Obispo, California. The word ‘Motel’ is actually a shortening of the term ‘Motorists Hotel’. You see, Motels are essentially a side effect of the Industrial revolution and the popularisation of cars in the United States. When the infrastructure of the United States Highways was built, it suddenly became possible to drive cars for long distances between cities and other points of interest. However, the quality of the roads at the time, not to mention the relatively low vehicle speeds and relatively high gas consumption meant that a 200-mile drive was an all day trip. This opened up a niche for accommodations specifically geared towards motorists.
Before Motels came along, there were few options for motorists out for a long drive. There were facilities called ‘auto courts’, which were basically large parking lots where the drivers could camp out next to the road. The only other option was to sleep in your car by the side of the road, or to try and find a gas station that had some small, chicken coop-like cabins attached to it.
At first individual owners dominated the Motel scene and there weren’t really any chains worth talking about. However, with the advent of the Holiday Inn chain by Kenmons Wilson in 1952 individually opened Motels began to decline, eventually becoming the minority. Which pretty much brings us up to date. Luckily for us, there’s still room out there for individually-owned Motels like the Centro. In fact, because the Centro Motel is one of a new wave of increasingly popular Boutique Motels, you could say it’s the start of a new chapter in the history of Motels.
The Centro Motel is Calgary’s first Boutique Motel. Located in the Montgomery neighbourhood, just south of Calgary’s Motel Village, The Centro offers stylish, trendy rooms at competitive prices. For more information on booking, rooms and rates, check out the home page, or Contact Us.
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