A beachside motel at Mollymook on the NSW South Coast is the latest Aussie lodging to undergo a cool retro makeover, with the Mediterranean-inspired Motel Molly opening in December following a multimillion-dollar renovation.

Less than three hours’ drive from Canberra, and three hours from Sydney, the 16-room motel’s design is inspired by pastel-coloured coastal towns across the Amalfi Coast, Portofino and Cinque Terre in Italy – with hints of Moroccan influences. And it sits just metres from the beach.

It’s the latest in a string of hotels being made over in recognition of their retro roots, joining Kyah in the Blue Mountains, The Mysa Motel on the Gold Coast and Blue Water Motel at Kingscliff in the Tweed.

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The refurbishment is a collaboration between Knox Developments and award-winning interior design and architecture practice Richards Stanisich – also responsible for refitting historic Sydney hospo joints Hotel Rose Bay and The Woollahra Hotel. The project reimagines the former motel as boutique lodging aimed at guests with appreciation for good design.

“Restoring the motel was a fine balancing act,” says Kirsten Stanisich, director at Richards Stanisich, in a statement. “The motel’s next chapter celebrates the beauty of an Australian coastal setting while creating a new and exciting destination for locals and visitors alike.

“This involved designing a distinct palette that speaks to its local context in a contemporary manner; soft, natural textures and muted, creamy tones elevated with intricate details and striking patterns.”
The reopened motel features a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments and several king suites kitted out with specially curated custom furniture, handmade tiles, artwork by local creatives and amenities from high-end international brands. Guests can enjoy 1950s-style Smeg appliances alongside handmade Moroccan ceramics and textiles by cult Marrakech-based lifestyle brand Lrnce and room scents and toiletries courtesy of Le Labo Santal 26. Some suites also feature luxe Moroccan-style sunken baths.

Outside, motel grounds are peppered with bougainvillaea and olive trees. There’s also a pool with deck chairs and tassel-trimmed scalloped umbrellas, plus a barbeque area.
Mini bars come stocked with locally sourced wine from Cupitt’s Estate as well as Stone & Wood beer from the award-winning Byron Bay brewery.

Rates start at $398 per night for a standard suite or and at $979 for a three-bedroom apartment.