Mid-century magic is in the air at Le Saint Motel selfie studio. There are over a dozen sets capturing the kitsch and wonder of a roadside motel with vintage decor you can interact with while taking photos. Pick up the receiver of a gold rotary phone while reclining on a purple velvet sofa, or slip into a clawfoot tub surrounded by emerald curtains and peacock wallpaper.

Visitors are given a motel key (filled with a kitschy plastic keychain) to enter the space. A timer and remote control are attached to control the intensity and color of overhead lighting in each zone.

All sets are tinged with moody neon signs or unique lamps. The Twin Peaks-inspired Red Room, for example, bathes visitors in a crimson glow. Light rings are available for free.

People staring at a phone after taking a picture under a neon sign that says ‘never trust the living’ from the gothic side of a black and pink divided room.@sofsilva.mtl | instagram

The studios blend seamlessly together, spanning a bedroom, bathroom, living rooms, garden, swimming pool and staircase. More defined rooms are housed in small cabins with windows connecting them to maintain the motel illusion. Each one features such attention to detail that it could serve as a compact movie set. Vintage board games are stacked on a wooden TV in the late ’70s room, along with artifacts from Expo ’67, while gold trim and a chandelier hang above a ouija board in the turquoise tarot room.

“The kitsch vibe of the motel comes from the road trips we took. There’s something charming about these old places that have quirky decor, like furry walls and mirrors on the ceiling,” Marisa Parisella said. , co-creator and photographer of Le Saint Motel. Both elements feature in different parts of the studio.

“A lot of our artifacts come from vintage stores, like Saint Michel Market. We also found a great company called EcoSceno which renovates old cinema and theater pieces to prevent them from going to the landfill,” she said.

Saint Motel co-creators Olivier Dufort, Maria Parisella and Astrid Apissoghomian hold a vintage map of Expo '67 in a retro-themed room.Saint Motel co-creators Olivier Dufort, Maria Parisella and Astrid Apissoghomian hold a vintage map of Expo ’67 in a retro-themed room.@davidwallyrawalia | instagram

The Saint Motel is nestled in the industrial district Chateau St-Ambroise building overlooking the Lachine Canal. It’s a hike to the 2nd floor studio, especially if you’re wearing heels, but there are illuminated signs indicating where the elevators and studio entrance are to help you navigate the space. With $5 parking out back and a number of outdoor photography options, it’s a convenient destination for models and photographers.

“The terrain here is beautiful. You can see out the window there’s a gazebo and the water is right there too,” Parisella said.

Of course, if it rains, the studio’s astroturf-covered tropical garden facing the heart-shaped pink pool is already a great option.

Someone lies down in the studio's pink heart-shaped ball pit.Someone lies down in the studio’s pink heart-shaped ball pit.@davidwallyrawalia | instagram

The ball pit was custom built from scratch for the space. The bottom is padded with foam, making it comfortable to sit, stand or kneel on while posing for photos. Up to three people can comfortably immerse themselves in the pool. A few lines of the Village of Montreal’s former pink ball installation hang overhead, offering a complementary nod to the city’s history.

“The rooms will change. Every couple of months we’ll update the themes. If we see there’s demand for a certain style,” Parisella said.

A visitor leans on a pillar painted to look like a pink palm tree, while taking a picture of a friend in a room.A visitor leans on a pillar painted to look like a pink palm tree, while taking a picture of a friend in a room.@davidwallyrawalia | instagram

A well-lit mirror in the center of the studio, near the custom-painted staircase, offers visitors the chance to touch up hair and makeup before a shoot.

Studio entry starts at $30 for one guest per hour, but the entire space can be rented for private shoots, starting at $500.

The Saint Motel

Where: 4000 St-Ambroise, Suite 278

Cost: $30 for a guest for one hour; $50 for a two hour tour. Private rentals start at $500.

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