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Australia's Coolest Motels for Luxury on a Budget

Treat yourself to a 5-star experience without the hefty price tag at one of Australia's coolest Motels.

When you think of motels, chances are the words luxury holiday don't come to mind. Synonymous with stopovers on your way to the coast and 5am flights, this budget-friendly alternative has forever been living in the hotel's shadow - until now that is.  From blissful Bryon Bay retreats and reimagined beach shacks to a retro wonderland that has seen the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and AC/DC, these are the coolest motels in Australia to book for your next holiday.

Australia's Coolest Motels: NSW

Motel Molly

Like we needed another reason to head to beautiful Mollymook! Following a multi-million-dollar refurbishment of a former beachside motel, Motel Molly officially opens its doors to guests this December and is the perfect place for a summer roadtrip.

Motel Molly offers the perfect blend of classic South Coast charm with a modern edge. Perfectly positioned just a few sandy steps from the gorgeous Mollymook beach, the 16-room motel oozes cool with its pastel tones, Mediterranean cool and a touch of Moroccan flair. A chic outdoor BBQ area overlooks the swimming pool, surrounded by deck chairs and scalloped Basil Bangs umbrellas which are perfect for escaping the sun with a good book and an Aperol Spritz.

From $659 per Night. Book Now

2 Shepherd St, Mollymook NSW


Appease your inner traveller and escape to the Mediterranean - no passport required. Hidden next to one of Australia's best-kept coastal secrets, this unique urban stay caters to all. With an impressive array of lodging options ranging from penthouses to holiday containers (yes, it's actually a container), you're in for a one-of-a-kind experience regardless of budget with The MED. La Costa Cantina will keep you fed and watered with tasty Mexican bites and cocktails that are guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit. From lounging by the pool to catching some serious waves at the picture-perfect Crescent Head Beach, this seaside escape is easily one of Australia's coolest motels. 

From $265 per Night. Book Now

35 Pacific Street, Crescent Head NSW 

The Sunseeker

Calling all '80s kids - this one's for you! Travel back to the time of shoulder pads, 16 candles, and boomboxes at The Sunseeker. Concealed behind Byron Bay's iconic beaches, this bungalow-style retreat blends art, music, and culture from a time defined by indulging in all the colours of life. Forget your standard motel amenities, Sunseeker's boutique offering was designed with conscious creatives in mind. Exercise the brain at the library curated by Good Publishings before hitting the mineral pool to soak your way to serenity. What would a holiday be without a tiki bar? Luckily they have that too. 

From $275 per Night. Book Now

100 Bangalow Road, Byron Bay NSW

The Sails Motel

In the words of Bryce Holdaway, it’s all about location, location, location. Surrounded by all your favourite vacation indulgences, this modern retro stay offers you the opportunity to redefine the meaning of treat yourself through accessibility. An easy drive from holiday heavyweights Byron Bay and Coolangatta, The Sails Motel has everything within arm’s reach. If lazy days are on the cards, head down to the fully licensed pool club for a drink and a dip. Adrenaline junkies have no fear because they have you covered too. Head straight to the front desk where the friendly staff can arrange anything from skydiving lessons and canoeing to a cruise along sapphire waters.

From $232 per Night. Book Now

26/28 Tweed Street, Brunswick Heads NSW

The Chalet Motel

If the only thing on your itinerary is to do a whole lot of nothing, then The Chalet is the place for you. A classic '60s motel with a tropical twist, relax amidst the palm trees and be ready for a healthy dose of good old fashion hospitality. Clean, comfortable, cute and charming, it ticks all the boxes for a budget-friendly stay. Break up the tanning sessions with a trip to Brunswick Heads where you’ll find everything from surf beaches and prime sunset spots to a myriad of places to eat, drink and be merry.

From $218 per Night. Book Now

68 Tweed Street, Brunswick Heads NSW

The Brunswick

With its laid-back style, impressive entertainment offering, and prime location, it’s easy to see why The Brunswick snagged the People’s Choice Award in 2020. Situated on the Brunswick River, this blissful retreat favours the art of simplicity. From taking a dip in a saltwater pebble pool to sunset paddleboarding, The Brunswick’s divine location lends itself perfectly to holiday activities guaranteed to nourish the mind and body. Choose between poolside and treetop sanctuaries to retreat in the evening where calming interiors have been designed to ensure the perfect night’s sleep.

From $462 per Night. Book Now

2-6 Old Pacific Highway, Brunswick Heads NSW

The Whale Motor Inn

While the sign reads Motor Inn, this sophisticated stay is far from basic. The Whale Inn delivers the perfect mix of value, comfort, and convenience, it offers a family-friendly setting with a long list of amenities that far exceed its approachable price tag. Well-appointed rooms feature everything from coffee machines to cocktail glasses and come complete with their own patio or balcony. For all the foodies, you're in for a treat at the Whale Kitchen. It's not every day that an ex-pro surfer heads up one of the town's most sought-after dining experiences, but it's safe to say executive chef Matthew Hoar and his team know their way around a kitchen. 

From $248 per Night. Book Now

102 Wagonga Street, Narooma NSW

Australia's Coolest Motels: Western Australia

Indian Ocean Hotel

Always wanted to party like a rockstar? Standing in all its glory since 1968, the Indian Ocean Hotel knows a thing or two about hosting a killer bash. Complete with a disco ball and jacuzzi, it's no wonder it has seen the likes of rock legends like Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and AC/DC. Located in the heart of Scarborough Beach, this insta-worthy space is an iconic getaway where you too can live like a star. With free in-house movie screenings and live music, you’ll never be short of things to do but let it be known that if you’re looking for calm and quiet, this is not the place.

From $360 per Night. Book Now

23 Hastings Street, Scarborough WA

Australia's Coolest Motels: Victoria

Image credit: Albert Comper 

River Drive Motel 

This newly transformed motel, tucked alongside the tranquil Tarwin River in the heart of South Gippsland is a nostalgic-evoking dream stay. An ode to the simplicity of holidays gone by, River Drive Motel is where guests get to set their own pace and make memories that will last a lifetime. The five-room motel offers self-contained and beautifully designed rooms equipped with all the essentials, and is perfect for every kind of travel group, from families on holiday, solo travellers exploring the region's natural wonders, and couples on a romantic escape. Business and life partners Kate Hannaford and Dic Coates have poured so much love into the space, aided by the clever team at Moth Design... and it's all in the details!

Paying homage to the natural landscape that surrounds the motel, the five stunning rooms enchant in palettes of eucalyptus greens, earthy tones and wattle golds, with custom-designed Victorian hardwood furniture, Moth designed vintage pieces and a collection of 25 artworks by Australian artists adorning the scene. 

Perfectly located close to a quaint strip of shops, River Drive is close to amenities but manages to feel a world away, making it a must-add accommodation to your travel bucket list.

Book Now

19-21 River Drive, Tarwin Lower

Oval Motel

When driving through Bendigo, you can't miss the bright, shining and inviting Oval Motel neon sign out the front. Centrally located and well-appointed, the Oval Motel provides the creature comforts of home for when you're road tripping. Expect clean and tidy rooms, free wi-fi, excellent value for money and a well-stocked bar at reception, where you'll also find your friendly hosts Carolyn and Gary who can tell you everything you need to know about the local area.

From $190 per Night. Book Now

194 Barnard Street, Bendigo, VIC

Australia's Coolest Motels: Queensland

The Mysa Motel

Sitting poolside is like transporting yourself back to the '60s at this Palm Beach beauty. Balancing nostalgia with innovation, The Mysa Motel is championing the retro revival on the Gold Coast and we couldn't be more here for it. While pastel hues and old-school appliances are a nod to the past, this pretty pink paradise is anything but dated. Charming, vibrant, and with just the right amount of quirk, this luxury boutique motel offers seven light-filled rooms that perfectly capture the Goldie's laid-back beach lifestyle. Within two minutes' walk you'll find golden sand, crystal clear waters, and world-famous surf breaks. 

From $600 per Night. Book Now

1100 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach QLD

La Costa Motel

Giving new meaning to the term 'beach shack', this seaside spot is as welcoming as it is convenient. Just minutes away from both the airport and the water, La Costa Motel is the ideal destination for leisure and business travelers alike. Ditch the car and opt for a vintage bike when exploring neighbouring coastal hotspots like Kirra, Coolangatta and Tugun. Retro facades are complemented by crisp, clean interiors that accommodate solo travellers through to families. For all the sunset chasers, you won't be disappointed with Point Danger, Rainbow Bay and Coolangatta Beach which are all within walking distance. 

From $493 per Night. Book Now

127 Golden Four Drive, Bilinga QLD

Motel Nomad

The roadside motel has long been regarded as the official halfway point of Australian family road trips. The kind of place where the price is low and your expectations are even lower… but not anymore. Proving that roadside lodging can indeed be fabulous is Motel Nomad an unexpected sanctuary in tropical Cairns. With a spa, pool, and laneway cocktail bar, kicking it curbside has never been so luxurious. Zen out by the pool sipping on colourful cocktails from the bar or treat yourself to a little retail therapy in Cairns City. If visiting the Great Barrier Reef is on your bucket list, they can get you there too. Who says you can’t have it all?

From $199 per Night. Book Now

314 Mulgrave Road, Westcourt QLD

Loving our list of Australia's coolest motels and looking for more travel inspiration? Plan your next getaway with the best romantic retreats, treehouse stays, and lake house lodging in Australia - or explore further afield with these eco-friendly retreats scattered around every corner of the country. 

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