Everything old is new again at these six Gold Coast retro motels where mid-century makeovers bring classic stays back to life. From Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise, you can find a retro gem in a prime holiday position.  Best of all, many have room rates that won’t break the bank!

Where to find a classic Gold Coast Retro Motel

The hallmark of any great Aussie road trip, these motels celebrate the coast’s colourful past and coastal lifestyle. While the retro ambience is deep, you won’t miss out on any modern comforts in the intricately restyled interiors and flash new exteriors. Pack the car, lock the door, and roll up to the front door of these revamped Gold Coast retro motels.

Tessa’s on the Beach

Tessas on the Beach Gold Coast Retro Motel
Sandy Toes 1 Tessas on the Beach Gold Coast Retro Motel

Sandy Toes 1 Tessas on the Beach Gold Coast Retro Motel

Tessa’s On The Beach, Bilinga

When they say on the beach, they really mean on the beach.  The wide white sand beach of Bilinga is just a stone’s throw from the motel. Book one of the front, ground floor apartments, and the only thing that’s between you and the beach is a white umbrella and day lounge.  You’ll fall asleep to the sounds of the surf hitting the beach in the background.  It’s true beachside bliss. Locals come for nostalgia, and hipsters love the colour.  It’s also the ultimate in recycling. Owners Tessa and Tony decided to keep the retro feel of a previously a run-down mid-century modern motel and revive the classic style with Palm Springs vibes.  At the front is a bar, which also serves coffee, but it’s only for in-house guests, so it doesn’t get busy. This spot and poolside is where guests to mix and mingle. There are 15 rooms and another nine on the way. There are 15 rooms, a lush magnesium pool and an onsite café and bar. An adults-only escape, this relaxed motel is perfect for romantic weekends away and can also be hired exclusively for weddings and special events. Gold Coast Airport is only two kilometres away so this would be a great pre-departure stay too.

Coffee Shop Bar Tessas on the Beach Gold Coast Retro Motel

Coffee Shop Bar Tessas on the Beach Gold Coast Retro Motel

Sandy Toes 1 Tessas on the Beach Gold Coast Retro Motel

Why stay here?
  • No children; it’s an adults-only playground perfect for a romantic escape.
  • Float in the magnesium mineral pool
  • Bicycle and paddleboard hire available
  • Exclusive hire available.
  • Good for chilling pre or post-flight too.
Room rate From $350 per night. The beachfront rooms are Sandy Toes 1 & 2 at $500 a night and $650 on Saturday. I prefer 2, which is slightly smaller but feels more spacious. Tessa’s On The Beach, 281 Golden Four Drive, Bilinga.
Swimming pool Tessas on the Beach Gold Coast Retro Motel
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Gold Coast retro motel The Mysa Motel

The Mysa Motel Palm Beach. Photo: Mysa Motel

The Mysa Motel, Palm Beach

With a lot of TLC, upcycled materials from local building sites, and carefully restored vintage design pieces, the old Palm Trees Motel was transformed into a boutique luxury retro motel with a genuine dedication to sustainability. There are seven pastel-coloured rooms and one two-story suite in this Gold Coast retro motel, all artfully restored by husband and wife team Eliza and Jason. Old-timers might remember the site as the Palm Trees Motel. Why stay here?
  • Refill your water bottles from self-filtering taps in your room
  • Float in the magnesium mineral pool
  • The motel is powered by solar and uses rainwater for toilets and gardens
  • Self-service check-in
Room rate From $220 per night. The Mysa Motel, 1100 Gold Coast Hwy, Palm Beach
Gold Coast retro motel The Pink Motel

 There is no missing The Pink Hotel. Photo credit: The Pink Hotel

The Pink Hotel, Coolangatta

Paying homage to the candy-coloured fun of the Gold Coast’s famous pyjama parties in the 50s is Coolangatta’s Pink Hotel. If you are looking for an iconic Gold Coast retro motel, this is it! Expect plush velvet couches that pop from polished concrete floors and neon signs that light up the bathroom walls.  The décor is cute and quirky. Why stay here?
  • Beachfront location
  • Rooftop and piano bar open Friday and Saturday nights
  • Pink beach cruisers are available for hire.
  • A record player with a vinyl library available at reception
  • Netflix in all rooms
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • King size beds
  • In-room dining
Room rate From $160 per night. The Pink Hotel, 171 Griffith Street, Coolangatta.

 Even the bedrooms are pink in The Pink Hotel.  Photo credit: The Pink Hotel

The Pink Hotel, Coolangatta
Blue Herron Motel Gold Coast

The Blue Heron Motel at Mermaid Beach. Photo: Blue Heron Motel.

Blue Heron Motel, Mermaid Beach

Perched on a corner block just 200m from the beach, Blue Heron Motel has been lovingly modernised with pockets of nostalgia celebrating the motel’s 70s childhood. It’s all crisp white paint and modern minimalist furnishings offset by plush velvet couches and royal blue throws. Outside, a sparkling turquoise pool, sun loungers, and retro beach umbrellas invite guests to lounge in the garden. Why stay here?
  • Landscaped pool and barbecue area with sun lounges and bean bags
  • Free vintage bikes to explore Mermaid Beach.
  • Two minutes walk to the beach
  • Nespresso machines in the room
  • Smart TVs with Netflix
Room rate From $105 per night, Blue Heron Motel, 2323 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
La Costa retro motel Gold Coast

 Grab a vintage bike at La Costa Motel.  Photo credit: La Costa Motel

La Costa Motel, Bilinga

This quirky, renovated retro motel allows you to step back in time to the weatherboard-clad surf shacks and motels that dominated the Gold Coast’s coastline in the 1950s. Nominated as one of the Gold Coast’s original ‘Highway Heritage’ motels, La Costa Motel kept its original, sky-blue façade and beachside chic. Adding to the charm are mint green beach cruisers casually leaned against the white picket fence, rainbow-coloured umbrellas, and pink flamingos. With the motel situated opposite Gold Coast Airport at Bilinga Beach, it’s the perfect beachside getaway just minutes from the baggage carousel. Why stay here?
  • 50m to the beach
  • Free vintage bicycles
  • Free airport transfers
  • Free breakfast and wifi
Room rate From $145 per night, La Costa Motel, 127 Golden Four Drive, Bilinga.
The Island retro motel Gold Coast

The Island Surfers Paradise.  Photo credit: The Island

The Island, Surfers Paradise

Gold Coast 80s icon, ‘The Islander Resort’, was revamped, rebuilt, and redesigned to within an inch of its laidback life back in 2017. Now dubbed ‘The Island’, this classic Gold Coast retro motel has 98 rooms with seaside chic interiors. Outside rejoice in breeze blocks, blonde timber furnishings, rattan lamps, and cherry pop umbrellas. Drift back to the 80s and mingle in the Gold Coast retro motel relaxed, yet sassy and modern charm.

Why stay here?

  • Pool deck and bistro
  • Tropical rooftop bar
  • Minutes from the beach
  • Located at the heart of Surfers Paradise and all the action.

Room rate

From $157 per night, The Island, 3128 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Things to do on the Gold Coast

The Island, Surfers Paradise. Photo credit: The Island 

The Island retro motel Gold Coast bar and pool deck