The Untold Benefits of Staying at Dated Hotel Properties

Staying at a dated property may immediately make you feel a certain type of way. In fact, most people probably avoid dated hotels as much as they can.

But are you potentially missing out by avoiding these type of hotels?

There are actually some distinct benefits of staying at a dated property and I’ll go through some of those below.

What is a dated property?

A “dated” property is simply a hotel that offers an experience not aligned with the expectations and standards of a modern hotel.

There are different types of dated properties out there and you probably have stayed at some in the past. Let’s look at three different types of “dated” properties before jumping into the benefits of staying at one.

Intentionally dated

An intentionally dated property is a delightful haven that skillfully preserves its vintage vibe, offering guests a tasteful, charming, and inviting experience.

Think of a property that exudes nostalgia, where an old-school jukebox in the lobby sets the tone and analog alarm clock bells wake you in the morning. It’s a place that transports you through time but does so with intention and authenticity.

These time-traveling treasures can sometimes come at a premium nightly rate, so your ticket to the past isn’t always so cheap.

Historic elevator doors
Well done intentionally dated Hilton elevator doors at the Plaza Hotel.

Unintentionally dated

An inadvertently dated property is one that sometimes unwittingly finds itself left behind the times in its decor and design, without actively seeking to preserve any retro charm.

When people refer to a hotel as “dated,” they often have this type of establishment in mind.

One common characteristic is the presence of technology from a bygone era. Prepare for encounters with vintage TVs, antiquated phones, a scarcity of outlets, doors devoid of RFID technology, the absence of EV parking, and water fountains reminiscent of yesteryears.

The furnishings in these properties often belong to a past decade, bearing noticeable wear and tear like scuffed surfaces and chipped paint. And brace yourself for a rendezvous with bathroom fixtures that haven’t quite caught up with the time.

Additional telltale signs may include a lackluster pool area, noisy elevators, and gym equipment that harkens back to a less physically enlightened era.

The Omni Corpus Christi, a dated property right on the coast with great views.

Unkept hotels

Another facet of the “dated” label lies in the realm of being “unkept,” but it’s good to distinguish between the two.

Being unkept is mostly a question of how well the management has tended to the property’s maintenance needs.

Unkept properties often grapple with infrastructure issues like plumbing mishaps, Wi-Fi woes, malfunctioning doors, AC troubles, and the like. Stains on ceilings and walls, along with dirty windows are common.

An unkept property might also rely on an outdated website, failing sometimes to provide accurate information about its own existence.

It’s worth noting that a hotel can be dated yet impeccably maintained with well functioning infrastructure and features.

Conversely, a hotel can be modern but woefully unkept. Even spanking new establishments can earn the unkept title if the management fails to promptly address major shortcomings.

However, the ultimate get-me-out-of-here scenario would be staying at a dated and unkept hotel—the epitome of a lodging nightmare.

Thankfully, discerning whether a hotel falls into this category can be done by searching through guest reviews. Keep an eye out for keywords like Wi-Fi, stains, water, plumbing, etc. A substantial number of recent negative comments regarding these is a telling indicator of an unkept property.

Unfortunately, a lot of extended stay properties from the major chains can sometimes fall into this unkept category. Be extra suspect about those.

Now that we’ve explored the various guises a dated hotel can assume, let’s delve into the benefits of staying at one. Primarily, we’ll focus on unintentionally dated hotels—those that didn’t actively aim to channel a vintage vibe.

Tip: Stray away from properties with excessively outdated websites, as this can signify a lack of attention to upkeep.

The benefits of a dated hotel

Low prices

Dated hotels, bless their outdated hearts, often grace us with lower room rates in comparison to their trendier counterparts. It’s no surprise, really. They may lack the sexiness and buzz that entices the masses.

Furthermore, these establishments in need of a makeover might extend a warm welcome with attractive off-peak pricing, special deals, and big savings promotions. With a little sleuthing, you might stumble upon hidden gems, offering serious value steals where you can save $$$.

Lots of available space

If you can brave the vintage vibes of old furniture and creaky floorboards at a dated property, you’ll be rewarded with hotel rooms boasting more real estate than you ever thought possible.

At some properties, you’ll be astounded by the ludicrously spacious accommodations you can snag at very reasonable prices. We’re talking expansive balconies offering sweeping ocean views and enough room to host your own impromptu dance party.

Who really cares if your awe-inspiring vista happens to be from the balcony of a dated property? Beauty knows no era.

It’s often the case that the same jaw-dropping setups in a modern, recently renovated hotel would cost you somewhere close to double the price tag.

So, if you’re a traveler who revels in extra legroom and the freedom to stretch your arms without grazing the walls, a dated hotel can be a great fit.

Prime locations

When it comes to hotels, not every city can be the fresh-faced belle of the ball. In fact, many cities are sporting a broad selection of older properties that could be classified as dated.

This means that it’s often easy to find a dated property in a major city with good central location which also means better odds of you finding a good deal. I’ve seen dated hotels in downtown areas offering eye-popping savings that you could better use on your travel experiences.

Dining can still be solid

Some dated properties are home to established restaurants that are true hidden culinary gems. We stayed at the Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach which in my eyes was a pretty dated property.

But yet we enjoyed a fantastic meal at their Bali Oceanfront restaurant, which felt significantly more modern than the room.

To make things even sweeter, prices at hotel restaurants sometimes track the prices of the hotel. This means that you can stumble upon restaurants nestled within dated hotels with reasonable pricing that won’t make your wallet weep.

Hotel restaurant with tables


Some properties have stood the test of time and have seen a lot.

These hotels have storied histories that can make them interesting enough to stay at despite their dated condition. Maybe they have survived catastrophic hurricanes, been around for 100 years, or catered to an active US president.

They may not necessarily be attempting to preserve a “time capsule” of their era, but they nevertheless have a strong historical past you can appreciate.

I recall my stay at the Hilton Fort Worth, the very place where JFK rested his head before his tragic assassination. The property wore its dated attire well, but its historical significance allowed me to look past any immediate needs to modernize.

More recently, we stayed at the Outrigger Kona Resort that’s undergoing renovations to shed its dated appearance. But despite the need for a face lift, it offered an intriguing history involving special appearances by majestic manta rays. That fascinating past added an irresistible allure to my stay allowing me to largely ignore its outdated appearance.

hotel sofa by windows
Dated but historic, the Hilton Fort Worth.

Lower fees

Another area where dated hotels shine is when it comes to fees.

They may offer lower resort fees or minimal pet fees which makes sense because they would not be as protective about their rooms as a new property would.

Great service

This one is hit or miss like you would expect but lots of dated properties understand that their outdated charm may not be their strongest suit. Instead, they compensate by delivering exceptional service that can make your stay truly memorable.

This is particularly true if you’re staying at a dated iconic property like at the Omni in Corpus Christi, Texas. I’ve found that while the decor may be lacking, the spirit of service at these establishments can still be sky-high.

Final word

Dated hotel properties can turn some people off and understandably so. But if you spend some extra time researching, you may find some amazing deals at some of these properties especially if your priorities are savings, extra space, and a bit of history.


  1. Funny you mention the Omni. There used to be two Omni Hotels in downtown CC — the bay view one you stayed at and the Marina View one that is currently a Holiday Inn. The Marina View one still has all the Omni decor from around 2000, and nice high rise balconies, whose doors are unfortunately screwed shut now. I have good memories of staying here when it was an Omni and when I visited the Holiday Inn rendition in 2020, it was still an OK stay…although on the low end for a Holiday Inn (in terms of upkeep). There’s also a Best Western a few blocks down which still looks 1980s inside; however the BW may have the bones of a 1980s resort, it attracts a clientele of the hourly nature.

    1. Interesting. Didn’t know they had two. I still think CC is just begging for a 5 star hotel somewhere in the area or at least a big revamp of the Omni.

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