The iconic Cadillac Motel neon sign beckons travellers off Ferry Street to enter a renovated boutique 1950s property. The integrated wide U-shape red brick buildings features 23 teal coloured motel room doors, matching plastic Adirondack patio chairs and awnings–all with the Cadillac Motel logo.
Niagara Falls, Canada (also known as Little Las Vegas) hosts over 30 million tourists a year. From the bright neon lights in and around Clifton Hill, a myriad of attractions, rides, souvenir shops, every chain restaurant you can imagine, two casinos, theme parks and over 400 hotels and motels that offer over 16,000 rooms to choose from, you understand why.
And notwithstanding the Cadillac name of the property, moteliers Ray and Lisa love motorcycling. Lisa’s dad was a member of the Ontario Provincial Police’s Golden Helmets precision motorcycle team. “We got our first bikes when we were about five years old. They were small 50cc bikes, and we were members of the Welland County Motorcycle Club” said Lisa. She adds “Ray and I are planning to get our licenses next year and take up riding again”. But for now they oversee all the activities of the only retro-chic motel in Niagara Falls.
Pulling up under the portico, it welcomes you to a small but nicely appointed office to check in. This is where I first meet Lisa and Ray. The glass-enclosed lobby features a modern black and white leather sofa, a white registration desk and a small white table where you find Starbucks coffee in the mornings. The entire lobby is clean and minimalist in its design. Only the plastic pink flamingo sitting on the desk seems out of place–but maybe not.
I’m handed the key to room number ten and I pull the bike up to the front door, (which you can do for 20 of the 23 rooms). Room 10 is the 1959 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible room. The mural of the shiny red classic car spans the room’s width above the queen-size bed. Recently renovated, the room is small but with modern finishes in black, white and hues of grey and brown. Adding a splash of colour is one blue and two orange shag throw pillows on the bed. Instead of a closet, there are a series of hooks that make a great spot to hang your riding leather. A small bar fridge and microwave are the only added features you will find in the room. And the bathroom matches the guest room; it is clean and small with only hand soap dispenser instead of toiletries and a compact a hair dryer. Fortunately, you are so close to so many attractions, and restaurants, that everything you may want or need is only a short walk away.
Each of the 23 rooms features a different Cadillac mural. “Every single room is different,” Lisa tells me, “There is the Marilyn Monroe, ZZ Top, Cadillac Ranch and you have the Elvis room which is two rooms with double pink Cadillacs,”.
In behind the motel is a fenced garden area with picnic tables and a barbecue for guests to use. Lisa mentions she books groups of rooms for motorcycle clubs that tour the region and enjoy the private back yard for evening parties.
So, any destination known as Little Las Vegas needs a Cadillac–and guaranteed you will see one at The Cadillac Motel in Niagara Falls, Canada.