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  >  Destinations   >  Australia   >  La Costa Motel review

The Gold Coast has come of age since the 1950s but La Costa Motel located near Coolangatta airport shows that a little nostalgia never goes out of style. La Costa Motel is an original ‘Highway Heritage’ motel – one of the accommodation options built along the highway from Labrador to Coolangatta as Australia shrugged off its post-war austerity. It has been lovingly restored by owners John and Diane Cartmill, two of the most charming hosts you are ever likely to meet.

Jaunty pink flamingos and historic photos line the walls near reception, showing the history of the hotel as well as the evolution of the Gold Coast as a holiday destination. The motel’s original pale green 50s facade remains as does the iconic neon sign but each room has been completely remodelled. We stayed in the upstairs apartment which is ideal for families with a full kitchen, main bedroom and bunk beds tucked away off the main living area. It also has an outdoor sitting area with ocean views. The motel’s interiors are ‘tastefully retro’ rather than kitsch, and the rooms are serviced daily and spotlessly clean.

La Costa is ideal for families
The apartment is ideal for families
Bunk beds for the kids
Bunk beds for the kids
Outdoor sitting area with a view of the ocean
Outdoor sitting area with a view of the ocean

If you are staying in the apartment it has everything you need to fully self-cater. For those staying in a standard room, there is a microwave, fridge and small kitchenette as well as a selection of well priced ‘heat and eat’ meals for those who arrive late (the apartment had these on offer too). These are handy as, while there are some great dining and takeaway options available within a 15 minute walk, not much stays open after 8pm.

Standard room
Standard room

I also had a look at a standard room on behalf of my Mum who was looking for somewhere affordable to stay near Gold Coast airport so she could catch a flight to New Zealand. These rooms are equally good and like the apartment upstairs, come with a coffee machine and complimentary pods so you can enjoy a decent cup of coffee before you fly out. At around $99 per night, they are a bit of a steal.

Airport transfers are also complimentary. Just let John or Diane know when you need to leave and they’ll drop you off at the airport. It’s only a three minute drive so can enjoy a sleep in. We parked our car at an off-site car park near Gold Coast airport the previous afternoon then took the free carpark transfer back to the airport and walked across the street to La Costa. If you have a car this is a great idea as you can’t park for an extended time near the hotel. It was easy and convenient and we didn’t have to pay for a transfer the following morning thanks to our lift to the airport with John who gave us a cheery send off.

Disclosure: The writer was a guest of La Costa Motel and has stayed here with her family several times since at her own expense.

Looking for some more accommodation on the Gold Coast? Read our reviews of The Star Gold Coast and voco Gold Coast. Or you can check out this round up with plenty of Gold Coast accommodation suggestions to suit every taste and budget.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.