The Big Six: Cool motels

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Hotel Valley Ho, Arizona

Built in 1956 by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Hotel Valley Ho was the first motor resort in Scottsdale and was for many years a gathering place for stars and high society. After a period of decline, it was completely renovated five years ago and has returned to its stylish roots. Luxurious rooms come in tropical colours, while the Tiki bar/restaurant Trader Vic's has had a suitably retro make-over.

Hotel Valley Ho, 6850 East Main Street, Scottsdale, Arizona (001 480 248 2000; hotelvalleyho.com). Double rooms start at $178 (£119), room only.

Hotel San José, Texas

What was built in Austin in the 1930s as an "ultra-modern motor court" is now a retro boutique hotel. If you're feeling creative, you can borrow a Polaroid camera or typewriter. There are also iPods loaded with "Americana" music and bikes to borrow. The décor combines the best of the original building with modern touches: white walls, polished concrete floors and vintage-print bedspreads. Bento box breakfasts can be delivered, otherwise there's a kiosk selling anything from beers to sandwiches.

Hotel San José, 1316 South Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas (001 512 444 7322; sanjosehotel.com). Double rooms start at $95 (£63), room only.

The Jupiter Hotel, Oregon

This mid-century motor inn is in Portland's hip East Burnside neighbourhood. Rooms feature colourful photographic murals that range from a Buddha's head to a sylvan scene, plus graphic fabrics, free Wi-Fi, iPod speakers and the option of kitchens or amenities for pets. The on-site Doug Fir Restaurant and Lounge is modelled on a mountain log cabin and hosts live music, while the Wack salon provides massages, hair styling and a Japanese onsen.

The Jupiter Hotel, 800 East Burnside Street, Portland, Oregon (001 503 230 9200; jupiterhotel. com). Double rooms start at $107 (£71), room only.

The Roxbury Motel, New York

This Catskill Mountain motel has an eye-catching array of patterned wallpapers, retro fabrics and acid hues; one room takes a primary-coloured Mondrian theme, while another has clouds on the ceiling.

The Roxbury Motel, 2258 County Highway 41, Roxbury, New York (001 607 326 7200; theroxburymotel.com). Doubles start at $97 (£64), including breakfast.

Presidio Motel, California

The Presidio Motel in downtown Santa Barbara, just over a mile from the beach, offers cool rooms for budget-conscious travellers. The white walls are brightened up with colourful vinyl stickers and free bicycles are provided.

Presidio Motel, 1620 State Street, Santa Barbara, California (001 805 963 1355; thepresidiomotel.com). Doubles start at $69 (£42), including breakfast.

Ace Hotel, California

This Palm Springs resort has 180 rooms and a "swim club", which comprises a pool, massage yurts and a hammock-strewn terrace. Some rooms have patios, others fireplaces, but all feature pared-back style and 1960s furnishings.

Ace Hotel, 701 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, California (001 760 325 9900; acehotel.com). Double rooms start at $194 (£129), room only.

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