Shining a Bright Light on Motel and Hotel Redevelopment

As the hotel sector continues to develop new product there are many aging hotels and motels that need redevelopment. Many hotels, outside of urban cores, are exterior corridor products that are still in vogue with many guests that park near their room – the genesis for the product “motel” that was spread starting in the 50’s with the advent of the car and development of the nation’s interstate roadways after the war.

While the type of occupancy, utility demands, methods of construction do not vary between hotel and motel there is a negative connotation with motels in today’s marketplace. We have seen a growing differentiation in General Plans and Zoning Codes that burden motels with redevelopment constrictions that appear to deter alterations and growth of existing facilities. While not prohibited, new hotels have shed the concept of exterior corridors and room entrances for a host of reasons that include energy conservation, weather protection, security and operational efficiency. This leaves the old exterior corridor hotels on their own to sustain criticism against current trends.

There are beautiful examples of reconstructed hotels without massive change from the exterior corridor concept. It’s all about design that needs infusion of landscaping, lighting, material changes and sensitivity to details relating to railings, doors and windows. Old does not have to be thrown away particularly the common area spaces that are typically “front and center” in the public view. The Capri Hotel in Redwood City is a good example of the need for redesign that is shown here in before and after (design model) photos. The owner is not increasing rooms but refurbishing them and reconstructing the common area building to add amenities that guests want today.