The Charms of Motel Lodging: Nelson, BC

Despite my many travels, I had forgotten about the charms of classic motels. Memories from my childhood have roared back during our few days at the North Shore Inn in Nelson, BC. Here is a brief inventory of its classic features:

  • Our rental car can be parked conveniently near the front entrance to our quarters.
  • The parking lot has fewer spaces than the motel has rooms, yet, oddly, it is ample for the number of cars actually needing a space.
  • Landscaping is austere, but not without appearing that some effort has been made to dress it up. A park bench for three and a stack of white plastic chairs are there in the event that we wish to relax in front of our room and enjoy the view. (The view, by the way, thanks to Mother Nature, is spectacular! The motel overlooks Kootenay Lake.)
  • The exterior paint, such as it is, is monochromatic.
  • The lobby is no more handsome than the rooms themselves, as it, too, is carpeted in 1950s burber that has held up remarkably well. (Guests are mercifully spared the grotesqueness of shag that inexplicably sprang from the floors of most dwellings in subsequent decades.)
  • In our two bedroom unit with kitchenette, ceilings are exceedingly high, walls are painted a glossy white, and trim is in chocolate brown aluminum. The entry is enhanced with a safety chain of precisely seven links. In the kitchenette, the brown cabinetry and white appliances are fronted by a strip of linoleum, which marks off the space dedicated to watching TV and eating meals. A fire extinguisher is mounted above the sink. The TV itself is a Citizen of a vintage no longer available even at yard sales. (Our Apple TV device will remain packed.) The manually operated air conditioner is set over the front window some eight feet above the floor.
  • The first “bedroom” is adjacent to the kitchenette, has no door and no window, so that what little privacy it affords is improved by perpetual darkness. This room, furnished only with a queen bed, would make for a nice walk-in closet off the “master bedroom,” which does have a door, a nightstand, and a closet with folding doors. (The only chest of drawers is in the main room and is used to support the aforementioned Citizen.)
  • There are three inconspicuous and unremarkable wall hangings, thoughtfully distributed among the three rooms (one over the sofa and one over each bed). (I’m one who tends to notice wall hangings more by their absence than by their profusion.)
  • The bathroom is something special. It has no window. The white walls and flooring are accented with ocean blue tub, sink, and toilet bowl. We speculate that this room is the object of special pride on the part of the novelty-conscious proprietor. Heat and water pressure in the shower are superb. The blue wash basin is set in a plain formica counter-top that is glued to a press board cabinet with peeling veneer. A pool of water encircles the toilet pedestal, the result of heavy condensation forming around the toilet tank and running off it like a British Columbian waterfall. The fan switch has been installed on an unlikely wall opposite the shower, and is turned on, if at all, only when you—and the bathroom—have already been thoroughly marinated in steamy hot water.
  • The “Contl Breakfast” is meager, as it should be if your room is fitted out with kitchenette.
  • Wi-fi works efficiently, if slowly, and is free.

My favorite feature of the unit is the poster above our bed. It pictures, in sepia tones with enhanced shades of orange, a solitary rowboat anchored near a wood pier. Inscribed at the bottom are the words: “IMAGINATION. Believe in the glory of your dreams.”

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