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Santa Monica Motels - The American Motel

Worst of the Santa Monica Motels

sign door woke pound

In a relatively normal Santa Monica neighborhood, sandwiched between some apartment buildings and an insurance company, is the American Motel. It has a classical motel sign, a top-down, squished group of letters in capslock: M-O-T-E-L.

This sign is complemented by a cardboard sign in a nearby window that assures you, in faded permanent marker, that the American Motel is O-P-E-N.

Before you even walk in the door, you know this place is a dive.

There are some good Santa Monica motels, like the well-maintained Sea Shore Motel where $105 can get you a clean twin bed and a shower near the beach. The Resthaven Motel features mini-fridges and LCD TVs to complement its plain brown furniture, and at a mere $75 it might just be the pound-for-pound deal in town.

You can save an extra six bucks by staying at the Santa Monica Motel. For $69, you can stay at rooms whose features include moldy showers, fire-hazard wiring, and a pervasive smell of cat urine. For many, a stay at the Santa Monica is a one-night trip, even if they reserved three.

But why settle for second worst? The American Motel is so terrible that it inspires guests to outbursts of poetic disgust. One visitor, Nick T. of San Diego, woke to the smell much earlier than he woke to his alarm clock. In the bedside drawer, he found ketchup, hot sauce, and a condom. Others have complained of roaches, unclothed staff members, an aggressive homeless man, and “a business card for some whore taped to the door.”

There are motels, there are dives, and then, at the bottom of the lodging barrel, is the American Motel. At $65, it is the cheapest motel in Santa Monica. Consumers are advised to avoid it, but for the philosophically destitute, it is a sanctuary for abject meditation.

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