Our photographers are so terrific. They often give us great ideas, because they are inveterate travelers themselves. Recently we sent a new contributor, Peter Frank Edwards, to Dallas to shoot a story for us. His partner, Sandy Lang, accompanied him. Not only did they produce a beautiful shoot, they also gave me a great tip on a cool affordable motel they found:

Whenever we're in Austin we get to the Hotel San Jose (to stay or for drinks), so wanted to try the Belmont, which is managed by the same company. The Belmont is also a revamped 1940s-50s motor court, with the same kind of retro coolness. Instead of cars parked in front of rooms, there are walking paths and gardens, and the former carports are arranged with patio chairs.

The paint is fresh, the furniture spare and modern, with an airy check-in counter for guests. The exterior is bright white stucco and there's a pool, health club, bar and café... the adjacent Cliff restaurant is being remodeled (it will re-open this fall). One night, there was a good crowd for an opening art reception in the café; and the day we left, there was to be a pool party with Texas barbecue and a rockabilly band.

Prices start at $99 per night.

Whitney Lawson is a photo editor at Travel + Leisure.