From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The End of the Road: Vanishing Highway Architecture in America (1981) by John Margolies documents unusual roadside architecture and novelty architecture from across the U.S. including motels, gas stations, drive-ins, cafes, diners, signs and billboards.
Entering dictionaries after World War II, the word motel (portmanteau of "motor" and "hotel" or "motorists' hotel") referred initially to a single building of connected rooms whose doors face a parking lot and/or common area or a series of small cabins with common parking. Their creation was driven by increased driving distances on the United States highway system that allowed easy cross-country travel.
- See also: Love hotel
In most countries of Latin America and some countries of East Asia, motels are also known as short-time hotels, and offer a short-time or "transit" stay with hourly rates primarily intended for people having sexual liaisons and not requiring a full night's accommodation.
In Mexico love hotel equivalents are known as "Motel de paso" (Passing Motel) (even if they are actually meant mostly for pedestrian access). In Colombia and Brazil, motels are used by people for sexual intercourse only. Argentina these establishments are called albergue transitorio ("temporary lodging"), though known as telo in vesre-slang. In Panama love hotels are known as Push Bottoms. In Singapore, cheap hotels often offer a slightly more euphemistic "transit" stay for short-time visitors. In Manila, a campaign against the hotels, believed by religious conservatives to contribute to social decay in the predominantly Roman Catholic country, ended with the city banning hotels from offering stays of very short duration. As of December 2006 there are still many short time hotels in operation. In Belgium and France, these establishments are known as hôtels de passe. In Chile, they are known as moteles parejeros (coupling motels), and many of them offer hourly rates. In the United States and Canada, some ordinary motels in low income areas—often called no-tell motels or hot sheet motels—play a similar role to love hotels.
The Bates Motel is an important part of Psycho, a 1959 novel by Robert Bloch and the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name. Film sequels Psycho II and Psycho III feature the motel as does the 1987 television movie Bates Motel.