Travel: Opulence in the Cabin

The traveling salesman on the road these days never had it so good—and neither, for that matter, did the farmer's daughter on vacation with her husband and five children. U.S. motels, once thought of as only a place to lay down one's head overnight, are competing with one another to give Americans the most outlandishly luxurious and wildly gimmicked night's rest in the history of the middle class. Today's motels bear about as much relation to the old tourist cabin as the Baths of Caracalla do to a penny arcade, and the...

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