The old-school beachfront motels of your childhood have been getting spruced up of late, aiming to attract a new generation of travellers looking for a little luxury without putting too much of a dint in their avocado-toast funds. The latest retro accommodation to get a modern reboot is the former Abel Tasman motel in the holiday town of Batehaven, on the edge of Batemans Bay on the New South Wales South Coast.

The external bricks of the ’80s motel – now known as The Isla – have had a bright white paint job, while doors and arched window frames are coloured a sunset-orange. Terrazzo features are mounted throughout the building, from the doorstep of each of the 18 rooms to the decorative cavities next to beds that hold plugs and USB ports.

Inside, each room strikes a balance between the barefoot, sand-everywhere breeziness of the motels of yesteryear and the subtle luxury of boutique hotels. The lush king-sized beds are topped with cushy AH Beard mattresses, seating and sofas are from retailer Design by Them, and lighting is by Melbourne’s Coco Flip Design Studio. Unlike classic motels, check-in is contactless so you can head straight from your car to your room when you arrive. And, of course, no nostalgia-soaked motel can be without an umbrella-shaded pool.

Rooms vary in size, but all have rain showers kitted out with Leif skin and haircare products, smart TVs and Nespresso machines with St Ali pods. Some rooms have courtyards, while the three suites – the Grande Suite, the Vista Suite and the Poco Suite – each offer something different. Swing for the Grande Suite – it has two bedrooms, each with its own ensuite, as well as a big living area, kitchenette and dining table that seats six. But the real draw is the private courtyard with a plunge pool (and a palm tree, to really drive those holiday vibes home). Peek over the wall for views of the beach across the road.

Minibars aren’t motel standards – but The Isla’s version has us thinking they should be. Two vending machines offer food and drink by some ace brands. There’s St Ali bottled cocktails, Poor Toms canned Negroni Spritzes and G&Ts, beer from Dangerous Ales craft brewery up the road in Milton, Capi sparkling water and soft drinks, bottles of wine from local vineyards, Bahen & Co chocolate, and even microwave popcorn, Panadol, toothpaste and condoms.

The motel’s old garage has also been reworked into a cosy communal pool house, a locus for group gatherings or a spot to rug up next to the fire with a book when the nights turn cold.

Standard king rooms start from $200 a night.

theisla.com.au
@theislahotel