Unveiling the Motel 6 Legacy: $6 Myth, Motel vs. Hotel, and More

motel 6


Motel 6, with its iconic logo and simple, budget-friendly accommodations, has been a staple in the American lodging landscape for decades. But one question that has persisted over the years is, “Was Motel 6 ever really $6?” In this article, we’ll explore the intriguing history of Motel 6, delve into the distinctions between motels and hotels, define what a motel is, and even take a look at its competitor, Super 8.

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Was Motel 6 Ever $6? The myth that Motel 6 was once priced at a mere $6 has been a topic of speculation and nostalgia for many. While it’s true that Motel 6 was founded with the idea of offering affordable lodging, the $6 rate is more of a marketing legend than a historical fact. The actual rates varied by location, time, and room type, but Motel 6’s commitment to affordability and simplicity has remained a constant throughout its history.

What Is the Difference Between a Motel and a Hotel?

To understand Motel 6 better, it’s essential to distinguish between motels and hotels. Both provide accommodation, but they differ in several ways. Motels are typically designed for travelers looking for a convenient stopover, often featuring parking spaces right outside rooms, making it easy to unload luggage. In contrast, hotels often cater to longer stays, offering a wider range of amenities such as restaurants, bars, and conference facilities.

What Is the Definition of a Motel? 

A motel, short for “motor hotel,” is a type of accommodation designed for travelers with vehicles. The term “motel” signifies its convenient layout, where guests can park their cars just outside their rooms, providing easy access to their belongings. Motels are usually one or two-story buildings with exterior corridors and rooms that face a parking lot or courtyard. They are known for their simple and functional design, making them a popular choice for road-trippers and budget-conscious travelers.

Which Came First: Motel 6 or Super 8? 

Motel 6 and Super 8 are both prominent motel chains in the United States, but which one came first? Motel 6 was founded in 1962 by two businessmen, Paul Greene and William Becker. Their vision was to create a chain of affordable motels that offered clean and comfortable rooms. On the other hand, Super 8, established by Ron Rivett in 1972, followed a similar concept of budget-friendly lodging. While Motel 6 predates Super 8 by a decade, both chains have contributed significantly to the motel industry’s growth.


In conclusion, Motel 6 may not have always been priced at $6, but it has consistently embodied the spirit of affordable and convenient lodging. Understanding the differences between motels and hotels helps travelers make informed choices, and Motel 6’s simple yet effective design has left a lasting mark on the hospitality industry. While Motel 6 and Super 8 both have their unique histories, they share a common goal of providing budget-conscious travelers with comfortable places to stay. Whether you’re on a cross-country road trip or seeking a cost-effective overnight stay, Motel 6 and motels like it continue to be a reliable option.

FAQs about Motel 6

  1. Was Motel 6 ever $6?
    No, the $6 rate is a marketing legend. Motel 6’s rates have varied by location and time, but affordability remains a core principle.
  2. What’s the difference between a motel and a hotel?
    Motels cater to travelers with vehicles, offering exterior entrances and parking near rooms. Hotels typically provide more amenities and cater to longer stays.
  3. What’s the definition of a motel?
    A motel, short for “motor hotel,” offers convenient parking, exterior corridors, and simple, functional rooms, making it ideal for road-trippers.
  4. Which came first, Motel 6 or Super 8?
    Motel 6 was founded in 1962, predating Super 8 by a decade. Both chains offer budget-friendly lodging options.
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