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(2022 - Spring/Summer Issue)


Ontario’s classic motels are getting a makeover, as entrepreneurial individuals have brought back the retro accommodation, creating an updated modern sensibility to a once familiar old-timey road staple. Easily explore a handful of driveable areas like the picturesque wine-growing region of Prince Edward County, the sun-kissed shoreline of Sauble Beach, or the verdant Ottawa Valley where modernized motels are making a comeback, and have become oh-so en trende.

June Sunsets

The June Motel ignited the makeover trend in Prince Edward County when this hip boutique property debuted in 2017. Designed to transport experience-seeking clientele back to the good old days, staying at a re-imagined motel like this one is a truly unique experience they haven’t had before. A second property recently opened in Sauble Beach, with rooms featuring floral-tinged wallpaper, colourful tiling, and funky designed private patios. Guests can enjoy a retro-themed pool to relax in while watching the sunset over Lake Huron, and grab a bite at the indoor/outdoor Heydays restaurant that specializes in coastal classics. Weekend entertainment, yoga on the beach, and pop-up vendors add to the festive vibe.

Must Try 

Amici’s Coffee Bar, Luscious Bakery, and Casero Taco Bus. For a day trip, hit the Grotto in Bruce Peninsula National Park, or the Southampton Arts Gallery.

Lounging By the Lakeside

In winery-laden Wellington, Ontario, the Lakeside Motel is the go-to spot for both visitors and locals, who are drawn not only to the retro rooms, but to the county’s largest waterfront swimming pool and deck bar overlooking Lake Ontario. Plans are to have local musicians perform, along with other events involving furry friends, fashion shows, and weekly tasting nights.

In addition to the standard-size rooms, those seeking more unique stays might consider the glamping tents, two-bedroom bungalow, or the loft-like Wharf House that includes an open-concept kitchen, private outdoor deck and a second-floor patio off the master suite, as well as your own foosball table. Canoe rentals, fire pits, and lakeside swing add to the relaxed atmosphere.

Must Try

Cocktail sipping on the built-in pool bench during sunset.

Drake Doubles Down

Another Wellington favourite is the Drake Motor Inn, which is located within walking distance from their more upscale property, Drake Devonshire. Aimed at the more budget-conscious, the inn offers a fun-filled experience with curated vending machines, Polaroid cameras, and a cone-shaped art installation that projects a beautiful kaleidoscope from within. The boutique property is also just steps away from local shops, restaurants, art galleries, nature trails, and the sandy shores of Lake Ontario.

Stylish rooms include a balcony or garden option, premium stocked mini fridge, complimentary morning beverages, and afternoon snacks. There’s also a communal room, backyard terrace, and outdoor fire pit for socializing. Various packages include wine and art tours, cycling trips, paddleboarding, and hiking.

Must Try 

Sandbanks Provincial Park, Millennium Trail, North Shore, and Cressy.

Somewhere in Summertime

The Somewhere Inn nature-inspired motel is located in Calabogie, within the heart of the Ottawa Valley. Guests have access to outdoor fire pits, nearby hiking trails, and a freshwater beach within walking distance. Owner Joel Greaves suggests hiking the Eagles Nest lookout trail, and Morrow Lake for the waterfalls.

Inspired by the nearby landscape, the Calabogie King room features a luxurious in-room soaker tub and fireplace, and is surrounded by natural forest. The lobby doubles as a bottle shop, with Ontario craft beers, low intervention, biodynamic, and organic wines, and wholesome snacks. Guided hikes, kayak and SUP rentals, and beekeeping or fly-fishing excursions can be booked on-site, and food trucks often pop by on weekends.

Must Try

Oh-el-la Café, Calabogie Brewing, On the Rocks restaurant overlooking Calabogie Lake ideal for sunsets. Pack a picnic, and let your fun-in-the-sun motel road trip begin!

Travel Planner

For more motel information visit

Drake Motor Inn

The Lakeside Motel

The June Motel

Somewhere Inn


With the pandemic strengthening the value of travelling locally, now is the perfect time to plan that much-anticipated summer road trip.

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