Stay at a Motel (Southwest, USA)

In “Psycho” directed by Alfred Hitchcock, it was a motel in a suburb that Janet Leigh was killed vividly while on the run with the large sum of money ( Oh sorry if you have not seen yet!). Not just in this movie, a motel is often served as the setting of American movies and television dramas, so, unarticulated anxiety about a motel and interest contrary to that had progressed inside of me.

I traveled alone the first half of the Southwest Travel. On the previous night or in the morning of the day, I fixed a destination and accommodations according to my condition, but I could have a reservation of a first-class hotel and a motel without any problem.

A motel is accommodations that you will enable to lodge without reservation probably. It is a place suitable for the site of an incident ? The affordable price of 40 dollars at minimum is similar to that of a Japanese economy hotel. What difference exists between an American motel and a Japanese economy hotel ?

In a city like Phoenix, you can find a motel easily in the downtown as well as in the suburb. Most of those are low-rise. So, it is contrastive with Japanese economy hotel which is always middle-rise even in a rural town. Not only in the Southwest as a low-rise and low-density’s region but also throughout USA, two stories’ motel seems to be standard. A car is the main moving means for American. If you don’t stay at a resort hotel, the factor to decide accommodations must be physical proximity to a parking lot.

The most are an outside gallery type. Each room is adjacent to other room back to back and a window is only opened on the side of the outside gallery. It is quite different from a Japanese economy hotel with a middle gallery without window.

To think that a middle gallery type without window is safer may be peculiar to Japanese. In an American motel, I realized that an outside gallery type plan exposed to public was a deterrent to crime. Even the middle-rise hotel where I stayed at Albuquerque layered the floor plan of a motel style with an outside gallery. That style must be a low-cost-style’ response to an American sense of security.

As for a sense of security, Anthony Perkins certainly went in the room of Janet Leigh not by the violent means but by the duplicate key, and I have thought back that, in movies and drams, it was very rare that an unknown person broke the window and forced an entry into the room. In most case, the victim of a crime invited an acquaintance into the room. Danger doesn’t necessarily lurk in an outside gallery.

The reasons why a motel is popular as the stage of a crime drama are charge setting correspondent to a runaway and a space easy to hide and escape by freedom of access that an low-rise outside gallery enables. It is also a place to allow to stand alone without communication with other guests.

Therefore, there are no rooms which window is open. Probably, in the sight of anonymity, a window only exists reluctantly due to legal requirement. I don’t like air-conditioner, so I opened the window to take outside air. I might break the unwritten rule among motel guests by showing me and looking at guests.

The floor area of the interior is two or three times more than a Japanese economy hotel. It is quite wide for the big body size of American. A large bathtub, an independent washstand, a king-size bed, a desk possible to work, a television monitor, a refrigerator to store foods and a microwave oven are equipped in a room. A swimming pool would be because the Southwest is a hot region ? If lurked into a Japanese economy hotel, I must be about to go crazy due to the smallness. But, in an American motel, I can hide during one month without difficulties.

After I experienced an American motel, I could understand the difference from a Japanese economy hotel. It controls the movement of the unspecified people so strictly that a guest could not invite a visitor and the smallness doesn't allow a guest to shut himself in a room. A bed mostly occupies a room and it is a space specialized in only sleeping.  

It is natural that a Japanese economy hotel is unsuitable for the stage of a crime drama, so an Onsen Ryokan ( a Japanese style inn with a hot spring) must be discovered as the alternative stage. An Onsen Ryokan is too complicated to check the movement of people and has various spaces to hide and gadgetry as if it had been established for a crime drama. However, due to the lack of anonymity and isolation, the nature of a crime case gets more sentimental.

To Japanese Version

Google Maps

Along the main road in most of cities.

America's Best Value Inn
Comfort Inn
Days Inn
Ecno Lodge
Microtel Inns and Suites
Motel 6

2018.01 Photos and text in English version and Japanese version


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Various motels where I stayed in the Southwest 

Photo by Daigo Ishii