The Desert Caravan Inn – 1951

Architect: Unknown

The fabulous view of Spokane from Sunset Highway. This is the view travelers would see as the drove into the city. (Image via Vintage Spokane)

Situated along Spokane’s famed Sunset Highway, the Desert Caravan Inn met the needs of the modern motorist who traveled long distances by car for vacation or business.  It was a favorite of traveling salesman Duncan Hines.  The motel was listed in his top ten hotels for a 1953 article in Look magazine.  Hines stated the motel was a “modern motor inn, situated in the midst of picturesque pines.”   He found these new motor inns to be particularly convenient as you parked your car close to your room, so the distance to haul your luggage was quite the short distance. 

The Desert Caravan Inn featured small, singular cabins along with regular motel rooms in the main building on property.  There was the perfect type of room for every traveler.  The covered car port extending from the lobby entrance gave overhead protection to customers.  Staying in line with popular color schemes of the time chartreuse and turquoise made up the exterior color scheme, emphasizing the brick, cedar and pumice used in construction, according to a postcard featuring a picture of the new motel on the front.  The motel also boasted a short distance to the city center – just five minutes – free radio and television in every room and a heated pool.  

The motel went through a series of remodels and names throughout the years, with the Spokane House Hotel being one of the common names throughout the years, until being purchased by Red Lion Hotels.  The small cabins are now gone, but the mid-century modern main building remains and it is now known as the Quality Inn & Suites Airport. 

Find Me! 4301 W. Sunset Blvd., Spokane, WA

View the Trade Winds Motel here.

Sources: Hatchett, Louis. Duncan Hines: How a Traveling Salesman Became the Most Trusted Name in Food. Lexington, University Press of Kentucky. 2014. 

“Desert Caravan Inn.” Vintage Spokane.  Accessed May 30, 2018.