Who wouldn't want to get paid to sit on a beach and sip a cool drink? That dream could be your reality if you enter a new contest from Hotels.com.
The hotel booking website is looking for a "Retro Beach Motelier" who will get paid $15,000 to visit the company's "10 best retro beach motels" across the U.S. this summer. The money includes a $10,000 travel stipend — the hotels are far-flung across the country, from Florida and Maine to Washington state and southern California — and a $5,000 "salary" to spend on whatever you like during your travels.
Hotels.com says it will also outfit the contest winner with sunscreen, umbrellas, vintage sunglasses, a cooler, a solar-powered AM/FM radio and a retro polaroid camera. The only requirement for the winner: Use that camera to document the trip "for future generations."
To apply, you'll have to fill out an online questionnaire that asks for your Instagram handle and includes prompts like "If you time traveled to the '50s, who would you spend your beach vacation with?" and "Describe why the retro beach motel is your perfect somewhere."
The company says it'll choose a winner based on three metrics: creativity and originality, quality of submission and fit to theme.
The winning traveler's itinerary includes old-school boutique beach motels across the country, like San Diego's The Pearl Hotel and The Montauk Beach House in Long Island, New York. The motels come from Hotels.com's recent ranking of the top 10 "retro beach motels" in the U.S., based on factors like average guest ratings, motel design, price value and location.
Their commonality is a collective mix of modern amenities and retro aesthetics. Miami's refurbished Vagabond Hotel, for example, originally opened in 1953 — and still features many of the establishment's original 1950s kitschy design elements and a brightly colored poolside tiki bar.
"These timeless motels are not only budget-friendly but will transport beachgoers — literally and figuratively — back in time to truly disconnect and relax," Hotels.com spokesperson Melissa Dohmen said in a statement.
According to the company, these smaller boutique hotels can be more affordable than your average luxury mega-hotel. And with travel numbers rising alongside high gas prices and record inflation, it makes sense that anyone booking a beach vacation would want to save money however they can.
Applications close on August 5, and Hotels.com plans to notify the winner by August 12, leaving a little bit of time to enjoy the beach before summer ends. Entrants must be at least 21 years old to enter.
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