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Where Cushy and Quaint Meet on Oregon Coast: Seaside's City Center Motel

Published 07/27/2019 at 5:23 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Where Cushy and Quaint Meet on Oregon Coast: Seaside's City Center Motel

(Seaside, Oregon) – Not too long ago – really only about ten years ago – one north Oregon coast motel wasn’t much to look at. Inside or out. It was a tad on the fleabag side: beaten down by decades of guests and some amount of neglect. You could even say this little motel in Seaside had an unpleasant odor.

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Somewhere in the last decade, the City Center Motel underwent a massive change – a humongous sea change, if you’ll excuse the pun. Scooped up by the company that owns the Inn at Seaside, the Coast River Inn at Seaside and the upscale River Inn at Seaside, it was bound for a new life. Major upgrades, remodels and probably a few good cleansings later, Seaside’s City Center Motel is a restored bit of Oregon coast history: one of those engaging motor lodges that sprung up in the ‘50s or so, giving way to the term “motel” and once again creating those charming old coast experiences that were seared into people’s brains back in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

These days, the main word that comes to mind for the motel is quaint. Just a block from the Prom and even less of a walk to Seaside Aquarium, it may be shiny and new but its bones go back a ways, and recall various vintage times in this resort town – both good and bad.

Motor lodges came about just before World War II, as the entire Oregon coast began its tourism boom and people arrived in droves by automobile after the creation of Highway 101 in the early ‘30s. At a brief point before their popularity exploded, the motor lodge was usually a series of small shacks or cottages that you could park in front of. At some point in the late ‘30s, motor lodges became one building with many rooms.

This was a marked improvement from tourist facilities in the early part of the century through the mid ‘20s: usually just tents to sleep in, and these did not include bathrooms or showers.

Exactly when the City Center Motel came into being isn’t clear, but it’s likely in the ‘60s or ‘70s. This means the little place could well have been around during the infamous summer riots of the early ‘60s, when hordes of teens tore up the town.

It was definitely there in 1999, when Seaside again experienced a riot during spring break. It, like many others in the area, had a sign up in their office saying they would not rent rooms to those under 25 years of age.

That stiffness is gone, and the City Center Motel now opens its doors to pets as well. Fido is welcome along with the other members of the family.

One of the more remarkable features of the motel is the copious population of flower pots that bloom in the spring. It can look and feel like a garden at times, bolstered by its cheery color scheme on the exterior and its interiors. There’s an iron bench in the parking lot that has a lot of lovely atmosphere if the weather is right.

Other features include kitchenettes in some rooms (these contain a beautiful rustic vibe created by the wood), free wi-fi and a captivating indoor pool for those days of raucous Oregon coast weather when you really want to play in the water but can't go outside.

The hotel also offers some good deals on large groups and an extravagant romance package. 250 1st Ave, Seaside, Oregon. 503-738-6377.

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