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Holiday Motel vintage brochure from the 1950s


Join us and experience the timeless charm of downtown Sturgeon Bay’s premier retro retreat.


Join us and experience the timeless charm of downtown Sturgeon Bay’s premier retro retreat.

An Era of Elegance

As the very first motel built in Door County, The Holiday holds not only a special place in local history, but also in the hearts of travelers to whom crossing the bridge and seeing the little white motel with red awnings signifies a release from their daily lives and a beginning of a long-awaited vacation in one of Wisconsin’s most beautiful destinations.

Since 1952, The Holiday has played an important role in the community, from providing quality lodging to vacation travelers to acting as a hub for legions artists and musicians to convene and collaborate while they fought to save Sturgeon Bay’s beloved steel bridge.

Today, it is the world’s only fully operational motel deeply committed to fostering a collaborative creative arts scene while featuring a radio station that exclusively broadcasts the music created within its own walls.

Holiday Motel vintage brochure interior and exterior
Detailed motel brochure with motel features

In the Beginning…

The Holiday Motel was ahead of its time with its Cubist Modern design and focus on amenities such as fire-proof furnishings, ventilated phone booth for the smoking business traveler, glass-block windows, tile bathrooms, and white stucco and cement block construction.

In the 50s, the majority of travelers vacationed by car. As a result, the Holiday’s ‘Post-Motor Court’ style was very popular as guest rooms were easily accessible to on-site parking.

Accommodations in the day were in short supply–most stayed at camp grounds, cottage courts or tourist homes–and The Holiday provided a much needed service to the community and the growing tourist industry.

A Room of One's Own

Guest rooms continue to feature the original Simmons metal furniture–night stand, desk, lounge chair, ottoman–which was advertised back in the day as “chip-proof and fire-proof.” It is the same furniture that was initially used by the Holiday Inn franchise (no association) which opened two months after The Holiday Motel in 1952.

Immaculately maintained over the years, guests today will also experience the original colorful bathroom tiling in private 3-piece bathrooms (tub/shower combo, sink, toilet)–another newer amenity of the time–while classic radios, ice buckets, lamps and other vintage and stylized retro appointments add to the charm of your stay.


Polaroid photo of 2 women in the Holiday Diner

The Breakfast Nook

To enhance the guest experience, a breakfast nook/diner was installed in 1953. Having gone through many incarnations over the years–from a full service diner to a self-service continental breakfast buffet–it currently serves as a common area kitchenette where guests can prepare their own brought-in breakfast basics or reheat last night’s leftovers.

Guests are still able to immerse themselves in the nostalgia of the original salmon-colored boomerang formica countertop and green upholstered stools while they imagine all of the travelers who sat there in the past as they prepared for their business meetings or simply to explore the beauty of Door County.

Sign of the Times

Reflecting the exuberance of the postwar era, The Holiday features its original neon sign which has been exempted from current codes due to its historic relevance.

Popularized in the 50s, the metal box design with bright, enameled panels trimmed in vivid neon tubing, was a standard feature of the time as a way to beckon wayward travelers to stop for the night.

Our sign is now an icon, not only for The Holiday itself, but for our purposeful mission to attract creative talent to the area to collaborate, create and serve the community.

This Place Matters

How Our Song Began

What began as an effort to save a bridge quickly grew into an annual event with The Holiday Motel becoming the home base for hosting the musicians and songwriters who donated their talents to the charge.

Participants and enthusiasts who were impacted by what had been created and the momentum that had been unleashed, purchased the motel in 2007 and renamed it as The Holiday Music Motel making it a forever hub for ongoing endeavors that inspire and foster creative collaboration.


Become a part of the Holiday Music Motel’s international collective of those who create and those who appreciate art, music and community.

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