I've never stayed at the Mission Bell, but people I know who have say the same thing: it's authentic, clean, cheap, and quaint in a "mom & pop" sort of way. Here's one review: "Unique layout of rooms and carports make this little motel appear as if it is a village on its own. The rooms are simple, yet cozy, and the manager adds to the atmosphere by offering a warm welcome. Great place to stay!"
Those arches are the individual carports attached to the corresponding rooms. Pretty cool, but I imagine a lot of modern cars don't fit in them. It's easy to imagine them filled with cars belonging to people escaping L.A. for the warm, uncrowded beaches of Ventura though.
This is the motel in the Forties.
Today, the cafe is one of the most popular places to nurse a hangover on Saturday and Sunday mornings. They serve basic breakfasts, nothing fancy, and there's always a crowd of people waiting to get it because it's really tiny inside. Although this is a black and white photo, it's modern. The place really is just this authentic.
Other vintage Ventura motels include:
(links go to pictures)
- Rex Motel
- Viking Motel
- Silver Sands Motel
- Crystal Lodge (then and now)
- Meta Motel
- Topper Motel
- White Caps
- City Center
- Bayshore Inn
As I've said before, what sets Ventura apart from a lot of California beach towns is its "funk" factor. The motels and coffeeshops lining Thompson Boulevard are a large part of that.