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No Tell Motel
Every night in a different place / I'll meet you tender lady / You're my no tell lover
- Chicago, No Tell Lover

It's the sleazy motel that rents rooms by the hour. The clerk doesn't ask what for, and doesn't want to know.

The No Tell Motel is where philandering affairs and criminal deals take place. Human nature being what it is, that also makes it the site of gruesome unsolved murders. Long story short, if you have something you can drink, smoke, snort, shoot, or fuck but don't have a convenient/affordable place to carry out the activity in question at, you go here to do it.

Low-lifes on the run, prostitutes turning tricks, and the detectives who want to talk to them, will all end up here sooner or later.

See also Smithical Marriage, and Love Hotels for Japan's more glamorous (or cleaner, at least) equivalent. Detectives usually end up here by Going by the Matchbook. May also be a Hell Hotel.


Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

     Comic Books  

     Film  

  • In Highlander, the motel that The Kurgan stays at in New York apparently has at least one door-to-door hooker (Candy). It's neither shown nor explained exactly what he does there. (For anyone else it would be obvious, but this is The Kurgan we're talking about.)
  • Seen in 12 Monkeys, where Bruce Willis and his psychiatrist visit one to work out just what the hell is going on with their lives in privacy.
  • When he is released in Psycho II, Norman Bates is shocked to find that this is how the Bates Motel is being run. He promptly sacks the manager, the hilariously sleazy Dennis Franz.
  • In Time also has their own variation.
  • La Habitacion Azul (The Blue Room), a Mexican film, has this in its title, where the manager of the hotel especially rents the eponymous blue room for lovers and their escapades.

     Literature  

  • Vlad Taltos and Kiera both find one of these immensely useful in Orca. Which fits the trope quite well, considering they are, respectively, an assassin on the run from an organized crime syndicate and the best thief and, secretly, most feared demigoddess in the entire Empire.
  • L.A. Confidential has two examples - one is El Serrano motel, where Buzz Meeks waits to be snuck out of the USA ( he doesn't make it) and Victory Motel, headquarters of Mobster Squad run by the resident Magnificent Bastard Dudley Smith, where out-of-town gangsters arriving in L. A. are hauled over and persuaded to leave and never come back (usually through applying cut rubber hose).
    • The Black Dahlia has The Red Arrow, which appears again in White Jazz.
  • In the Maggody mystery novels, Ruby Bee absolutely refuses to acknowledge that this trope applies to the motel she owns, even though it's an open secret that's what all the passing truckers rent rooms for. The only one who doesn't use it for his trysts is Mayor Jim Bob, who takes his girlfriends to Farberville's No Tell Motel to be farther from his wife.

     Live Action TV  

  • Shown perfectly in the "Full Moon" episode of Homicide: Life on the Street.
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation's Las Vegas has lots of these, generally complete with dead body.
    • In one episode, Brass even (kinda sorta, but not really) jokingly says that when people die in motels like these, it's generally not reported for quite a while, because the owners keep renting out the room until the smell of the corpse has gotten bad enough that it can no longer be ignored.
  • With more hotel-like places, appears in The Bill, such as with the Chandler-McAllister relationship. The one that ended with him raping her on their wedding night and then shooting himself during a Hostage Situation as she was in labour (with him in the room).
  • In an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, Arthur Carlsen tries to spice up his marriage by taking his wife back to the hotel they stayed at when they eloped, but since then its aspirations have declined a bit...
    Carmen: "Arthur, there's a machine in the bathroom that sells... things."
  • In an episode of Happy Days, Joanie and Chachi had to stay in one when they took a trip to a Beach Boys concert without permission.
  • Sam and Dean Winchester of Supernatural check into No Tell Motels together fairly frequently. This does not help their reputation at all.
  • In the pilot of White Collar, Peter Burke checks Neal Caffrey into one of these on the grounds that it's one of the few places a person can live for $700 a month in New York City. Neal improvises.
  • In an episode of Breaking Bad, Jesse stays at one of these, where he smokes some meth and has sex with a prostitute.
  • On Boy Meets World, Shawn's father dumps him at one of these when he leaves to chase after Shawn's mom, though it's not seen on screen.
  • These were Faith's digs during her time in Season 3, pushing her character as The Lad-ette and she even uses it as a one night stand (well two nights) with Xander. The Mayor upgrades her to a condo, but advises to maintain her old place as a cover.
  • All over the place in Law & Order: SVU. The detectives are always frequenting these places to pick up suspects (and witnesses of the shady variety.)

     Music  

  • One features in the Heart song All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You.
  • The Panic! at the Disco song "Build God, Then We'll Talk" is about one.

     Video Games  

  • Lupino's hotel from the first Max Payne game, which you have to blast through twice, was of this type.
  • The Visual Novel Hotel Dusk: Room 215 for the Nintendo DS takes place in one of these.
    • Though it's rundown and out of the way, it's more a place for people with troubled pasts than dirty goings on. Rosie wouldn't stand for it.
  • "King Arthur & the Knights of Justice" (SNES Action-RPG game) had a motel called literally "No Tell Motel".
  • Also featured, in all places, in the explorable landscape of the game Bully. You can't take girls there, of course, being fifteen (and rated T) but... well, other people do.
  • Galerians features one of these, complete with drug pushers, a sketchy maintenance man, pedophilic priests, men making nuclear weapons and a whore.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has the Bison Steve hotel, where you can find ransom notes and a murder/suicide. It's also where a group of criminals are currently holed up.
  • No More Heroes Motel in No More Heroes is the residence of one Travis Touchdown. While it does seem bright and cheery, don't forget it's in Santa Destroy.

     Web Original  

  • The Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Decemberween special is called "Cactus Coffee and the No Tell Motel". There is, of course, neither a No Tell Motel or cactus coffee involved, but Eh! Steve's mouth does explode the universe, and Ready For Primetime does a tiny, tiny dance. Even Strong Bad is stumped and he created the show.

     Western Animation  

  • The motels frequented by Mayor Quimby in The Simpsons. In particular, the "SLeEp-eAZY" Motel that Marge and the kids stay at during the episode "The Cartridge Family", complete with prostitutes at the entrance, coin-operated vibrating beds, and a corpse in the pool. Homer, Marge (and Mayor Quimby) go to one closer to a Japanese style Love Hotel in "Grandpa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" too.
  • The Family Guy episode "Screwed The Pooch" hits all the notes in this tune: prostitutes, sleazy proprietors, crime, roaches, non-working switches, Murphy beds, insane residents, people on the run, America's Most Wanted, police raids.
  • Rocko's Modern Life, king of the Parental Bonus and Getting Crap Past the Radar extraordinaire of The Nineties, has a cut scene with one named the No Tell Motel. The cut version of the episode just shows the exterior of the hotel. What they didn't cut just makes it even worse once you know what this trope is about!
  • This trope was referenced in Chowder, where a hotel is called the No Tell Motel. We don't actually see this trope in action, though.

     Real Life  

  • There is a hotel shamelessly called the No-Tel Motel in the sleazy part of Tucson, Arizona. According to the Tucson Weekly, it lives up to its name.


Love HotelsHotel TropesRest And Resupply Stop
Notable QuotablesSublime RhymeOld, New, Borrowed and Blue
Nonviolent Initial ConfrontationCrime and Punishment TropesNot Me This Time
No Communities Were HarmedSettingsNothing Exciting Ever Happens Here

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