Imagine stepping into a winter sanctuary just beyond the sweeping San Juan Mountains—a place cultivated for romantics and adventurers alike. Annie and Tony DeMille’s 17-room boutique motel is just this, and more. With an aesthetic that references 1950s roadside motels, this unexpectedly trendy space caters to travelers seeking something different in the Southwest. The Nightingale Motel (TheNightingaleMotel.com) is the recommended retreat after a long day of skiing or for those looking to indulge in a little staycation away from the big city.
Located in the charming town of Pagosa Springs, just an hour outside the city of Durango, the region is famous for its thermal hot springs, cross-country ski trails and the flowing San Juan River that cuts through town. The motel debuted last year and has taken an alternative approach to hospitality since day one, offering visitors to the area an understated yet chic hideaway to escape to. Directly informed by the couple’s professional careers, with Tony’s experience in production design and Annie’s background in behavioral studies, the duo has executed a well-decorated space with their guests’ needs in mind.
Built in 1891, the original building was the medical clinic in Pagosa Springs, pre-dating the town itself as Pagosa was established in 1897. They chose to keep most of the original infrastructure with updates done cosmetically to give it a more polished finish while nodding to the area’s history.
“I feel a personality growing here, and the Nightingale has put a stamp on this town,” shares Annie.
With a midnight black exterior and farmhouse-style architecture adorned with a neon sign outside, passersby are immediately captured. A contemporary black-and-white color palette paired with pinewood accents complements the brightly lit suites and single rooms that offer a variety of features, from plush white bedding to kitchenettes, living rooms and even some with bathtubs. And with both a pour-over coffee station and sumptuous bath products, each room provides those simple yet necessary luxuries for an overnight you won’t soon forget.
Seemingly ahead of the times, their contactless check-in system has been digitized for a safe experience that is also completely Covid-friendly. Each room is accessed through private doors so there are no shared hall spaces, and a simple text to the staff will get your needs met; whether that be new towels or a bed turnover. Modern amenities include smart TVs, USB docks for easy charging and fiber-optic cables for the fastest internet. Don’t forget to swing by their on-site bar, the Neon Mallard, where a sultry interior welcomes guests into a gilded, velvet-curtain oasis where designer cocktails are served in a glowing atmosphere.
“This place works for anyone,” Annie says. “You can wear heels or sit next to someone in their cowboy hat and jeans and it all works. We just want people to be comfortable.”
Ski, Sip and Soak
Ski: Just a 30-minute drive away resides Wolf Creek Ski Area, a small but epic destination in the San Juan Mountains that receives the most snowfall in the state annually. Another snowy stopover is Purgatory Resort just outside of Durango where a larger mountain unfolds for visitors of all abilities.
Sip: Following the theme of birds, the Neon Mallard is a stunning extension of the motel, where mixology abounds inside a speakeasy-inspired space. Sip on a selection of their eclectic cocktails, from a Godiva chocolate raspberry martini to a strawberry jalapeño margarita, while lounging against a moody backdrop adorned with antique paintings, bar stools from Las Vegas and even an organ from the 1800s.
Soak: With 24 mineral hot springs of varying temperatures poised along the San Juan River, this all-season indulgence is a must-see. Pagosa Hot Springs is only a short walk from the Nightingale Motel and offers visitors a sensual and healing experience in one of the world’s most famous geothermal hot springs.