The Mysa Motel - Real Life Reno
Tell us a bit about The Mysa Motel?
The Mysa Motel (pronounced Mee-sa) is the Gold Coast’s first sustainable, boutique luxury motel. Located in Palm Beach and channeling vintage GC vibes, we like to describe ourselves as a sustainable, seven-room oasis with serious aesthetic appeal, passive design and self-service check in.
What did you renovate?
Mysa Motel proudly inhabits the site of the old iconic Palm Trees Motel, which we bought a couple of years ago and completely renovated. The existing building was tired, rundown and in need of a revamp, so aside from the exterior structure, we rebuilt everything; culminating in seven renovated rooms with added courtyards, a revitalised pool area, and a new carport that also serves as an outdoor function area.
The entire roof needed replacing, which enabled us to increase ceiling height in the rooms. To capitalise on this extra space and allow maximum natural light, we also expanded all windows and doorways. The old manager’s living quarters were converted into a two-bedroom suite with a kitchen, and spacious living and dining room area, which provides short-stay guests with a comfortable option. Our mission was to renovate with as minimal impact as possible, so we upcycled a lot of materials including the original exposed hardwood ceiling trusses, which we repurposed for the carport and function area. To increase our sustainability credibility, we also added solar panels to power the entire motel and water tanks to service the gardens and bathrooms.
What motivated you to renovate?
The old Palm Trees Motel was an institution on the Gold Coast, and in a city that has lost so much of its architectural heritage to new development, it was really important to us to retain the façade of the building. We also wanted to give back to the community that supported the original motel and continues to support Mysa Motel by preserving some of their local history. In doing so, we have had overwhelmingly positive feedback for holding onto elements of the original building.
We were motivated to renovate because the original building was extremely dilapidated and in urgent need of TLC before it became completely unsalvageable but we are confident we did a good job preserving its retro motel vibe. After all that hard work and love, we have no plans to re-sell.
How would you describe the style of The Mysa Motel?
The style of Mysa is best summed up as “a modern twist on retro Gold Coast” and that’s the exact style we envisioned when we bought the property. We based the aesthetic on the existing façade and footprint of the building and enhanced it with recycled and upcycled items and materials from various buildings across the Gold Coast.
Hopefully the authentic motel style will appeal to previous clients, while the fun additions we’ve made – including individually coloured rooms adorned with local artwork and a magnesium pool – will attract a new breed of low-key traveller.
Did you renovate all the rooms the same? Why or why not?
We renovated seven rooms and five of those rooms have a signature door colour and uniquely matching interior décor – they’re even named according to the exact shade of paint we used. For example, ‘Lilac Affair’ is our aptly-named pastel purple room.
We have a couple of double ups in terms of size and layout; they’re our standard rooms. Some rooms absorbed other zones from within the existing property, including the old reception area and a storage space, to allow for a better overall layout.
Our largest room, The Merillo, was converted from the onsite manager’s quarters into a self-contained two-bedroom apartment. It’s our only double story offering and it features ensuites with showers, kitchenette, washer/dryer, comfortable queen beds, and a private courtyard with BBQ and dining area.
As we’ve mentioned, we were really conscious of reducing our carbon footprint throughout the build so we opted for end-of-line or discontinued stock over brand new alternatives; and where possible, we upcycled pieces from the original property.
Did you work with a designer for the renovations?
Nope – it’s our creative brainchild. Jason has been in the construction industry for over 20 years and he felt that with the help of local trades, we would be able to comfortably take on the design elements ourselves.
Talk us through the process you take in the planning stages of the renovation!
A lot of planning, research and product testing went into getting Mysa off the ground! We conducted our own market research by staying at various venues around the world and taking note of things we liked – such as keyless entry via keypad and self-check in without reception – and didn’t like. We also went on a bunch of landscaping inspiration trips to places like Cactus Country in Victoria and Cobaki Tree Co and took thousands of photos along the way.
Comfort and quality are important to us when we travel so we wanted to provide that same service for our guests. We conducted extensive research on appliances – such as silent fridges – and even attended a bed showing; and while we were at it, discovered the only beds approved by the National Asthma Council of Australia. We also had multiple conversations with onsite trades for guidance on items such as solar and rain-water tanks, and the longevity and quality of materials. We read a bunch of books about sustainable travel and design, and devoured Motel by Tim Ross. This book galvanised our desire to create a retro feel and guided us in the creation of our neon sign and logo. We clocked plenty of time scrolling Instagram (including TileCloud’s page!) and Pinterest for inspiration.
Were there any delays? How long did the renovations take?
We hurdled multiple delays. The bulk of the renovation took place throughout 2020 during the height of COVID, which made it difficult to obtain products such as lights and fridges, which in turn had a flow on effect to our trade partners and their timelines. Unfortunately we were also set back by vandalism and theft during the renovation, so in total it took around two years to complete.
What was the most challenging part of the renovation? Did anything go wrong?
The most challenging aspect was that for us, the renovation was a labour of love. We were so passionate about being hands on and doing the designing, building, labouring and upcycling ourselves that time got away from us. We only have two sets of hands between us!
Did you have to close up for the renovations to take place?
The motel closed down for renovations for more than two years. Initially we were both working on it part time but then we stepped it up and spent the last 14 months working full-time side by side. Jason and his friends did most of the hard labour, working 11 hours most days.
Did you come into the TileCloud showroom to look around at tiles? Did you order samples?
As long-time followers of TileCloud, we knew from the website and Instagram that our desired colour palette would work with your products. We didn’t even need to visit the showroom or see samples – we just straight up ordered what we liked. It helps that Jason has been tiling for more than 20 years so has extensive knowledge of the industry and an eye for quality products!
Why did you choose TileCloud / What did you enjoy best about the TileCloud experience?
We chose TileCloud for quality and uniqueness. We had a very fun aesthetic in mind and you had options to suit, including the ‘Bangalow’ tile, which we used in The Merillo room to jazz up the staircase and turn it into something visually interesting. The ‘Broadwater Pink Gloss Penny Round’ was the perfect tile to complement the peach hues in the Hilton Archway room. Plus, we figured a tiled bedhead is not only different, it can be cleaned easily, which makes for an extra hygienic space.
Any advice for first time renovators?
Yes, definitely! We strongly recommend - if it’s possible - to live in the space or visit the site for at least three months before commencing building to get a feel for the area and learn how the natural light reacts at different times of the day. By doing this, you will also learn the layout of what will work for your needs, as your mind will change 20 times within the first week alone.
How can we find you?
Facebook: The Mysa Motel
Address: 1100 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach QLD 4221