After months at home, Simonson and his wife chanced a stay at the Amigo Motor Lodge in the Central Colorado mountain town of Salida. “They were able to assure [that] the room we would occupy would have at least one vacant night immediately before our check-in, if not more,” he says. “Each room has windows that open front and back that provide natural ventilation, which early on we learned is very beneficial to avoiding Covid-19.” Outdoor seating areas in front of rooms, plus a central courtyard, made it easy to enjoy a beer or coffee without being surrounded by others, he says.

Now, Simonson says that if he travels again, he’ll stay only at upscale motels. “I’ve had very good experiences with Airbnb, but it just can’t match the precautions and the comfort the Amigo gave us.”

The 96-room Marram, a renovated oceanfront motel in Montauk, at the eastern tip of New York’s Long island, features Le Labo bath products and Retrospec cruiser bikes, with rooms starting at $600 a night. Its owner, Atit Jariwala, has been converting luxury travelers who might have previously stayed at equally pricy stays such as nearby Gurney’s ($995 a night) or the Ocean House in Rhode Island ($765 a night). He’s seen a boom in bookings for the rest of summer, with most weekends already sold out.

“Is this luxury? Yes,” says Erik Warner, owner of the Sound View Greenport, a 55-room oceanfront motel on Long Island’s North Fork and the Anvil, a 50-room converted motel in downtown Jackson Hole, Wyo. Both properties are nearly back at last summer’s numbers. “Guests are looking for hotels that provide them with the highest probability of not contracting the virus and simultaneously, the highest degree of comfort,” he explains. “That’s the new luxury.”

Where to Stay
Sold on the concept? Here are eight standouts to consider for your next trip.

• Amigo Motor Lodge, Salida, Colo.
Birch bed frames, Oaxacan woven pillows, and white porcelain tile bathrooms—plus four designer Airstreams—make this 1950s motel new again. From $100
Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa, Calistoga, Calif.
Besides its prime location at the end of Napa’s famed Silverado Trail, this 62-room retro motor lodge has three geothermal mineral pools and such old-school lawn games as corn hole. From $249

• Longleaf Hotel, Raleigh, N.C.
A glowing 16-foot neon sign proclaiming “Long Live Longleaf”—not to mention an ambitious wine program—beckons travelers to this restored 1960s Travelodge. From $105

• Marram, Montauk, N.Y.
Rooms feature light sculptures by Isamu Noguchi. Firepits are equipped with roasting sticks and house-made marshmallows. And a visiting reiki master leads singing bowl meditations on weekends. From $600

• Pioneertown Motel, Pioneertown, Calif.
Western movie stars, including Roy Rogers, founded the hamlet of Pioneertown in 1946 as a movie set. Today, the buildings include artist studios, a saddle maker, and a 19-room motel that attracts Los Angeles hipsters and musicians. From $175

• Sound View Greenport, Greenport, N.Y.
The new beach bar at this restored mid-century motel was designed by the cocktail wizards from Death & Co. From $365