The Drifter Is the Platonic Ideal of a Midcentury Motel

The New Orleans boutique hotel lets you live like a beatnik—if only for a weekend.

Are you a Kerouac-reading, Mad Men–watching digital nomad? Do you long for the days of boat-sized Cadillacs and roadside Howard Johnsons? Perhaps you should check into this new Big Easy hotel inspired by the Beat Generation, the latest boutique bolthole styled in a retrofitted mid-century motel. The sleek 20-key newcomer is the debut project of Drifter Hotels—which aims to expand over the next few years—and Nicole Cota Studio’s first lodging. “I had a strong interest in respecting the late-fifties motel architecture,” Cota explains.From the beginning, I wanted the hotel to be a place that encouraged a bit of escapism and playfulness, and really felt like the tropical destination it was then.” She cleaned up the facade, kept the original awning and terrazzo floors in the lobby, and restored the neon sign and lone surviving piece of glass with the property’s address. The rest was a studied reimagining of that platonic ideal of a 1950s piece of Americana and all that it symbolizes. Details like the custom retro umbrellas around the pool, Oaxacan tiles in the rooms, and Marcel Breuer–inspired cantilever chairs in the café complete the look, letting you live the fantasy, if only for a few days.

See more of America’s reclaimed motel revolution.

Southwestern stylings on display at the hotel bar.
The lush decor and bright palette in the Drifter Hotel lobby.
A king guest room.
The Drifter's exterior is a callback to the mid-century roadside motel .
Interior details by Nicole Cota Studio.

(Photos: Nicole Franzen, courtesy Design Hotels) 

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