Make this ‘Star Trek’ motel part of a geeky getaway on the Oregon coast


Looking to boldly go where … frankly, many men have gone before? Book a night in the uber-popular Star Trek room at the Itty Bitty Inn in North Bend on the southern Oregon coast.

The Star Trek themed motel room places guests on the bridge of the original Starship Enterprise, complete with screen-accurate controls and wall-mounted communicators. Inn owner Rik Villarreal, an electrician by trade, has installed buttons and switches throughout the room that activate various sound and lighting effects.

There’s a tri-dimensional chessboard, paper masks of your favorite Starfleet characters, a few tribbles hidden here and there, copies of the original movies to be watched in the room, viewing logs for all the original episodes, an owner’s manual for the Bird-of-Prey warship (written in Klingon) … and it only gets geekier from there.

Ensign Rizzo — notable as the rare “red shirt” to survive an attack on an away mission — carries a towel rack. The bathroom has a 1930′s style in tribute to the time-travel episode “City on the Edge of Forever.” Two framed newspapers in the bathroom depict two realities — one where social worker Edith Keeler is killed, another where she meets with the president about her peace initiative. (Fans will get the reference.)

“In the captain’s log, you’ll find signatures from people who worked on ‘DS9,’ on ‘Voyager,’ on ‘TNG,’” Villarreal said. Marina Sirtis, who played Counselor Deanna Troi, once stayed the night.

Many of the guests come wearing their own cosplay, including Jeff and Jennifer Hunger, recent visitors from Chicago who booked the room a year in advance.

“We’re huge Star Trek fans,” Jeff said while posing with a tribble and sharing a Vulcan hand salute.

You can’t miss the Itty Bitty Inn during a drive along U.S. Hwy 101 in North Bend. The motel is covered in murals of both Star Trek and Star Wars characters, and a glowing sign promises “themed rooms.”

The Itty Bitty Inn was the original name of the small, five-room motel when it opened in 1950. Villarreal said he wasn’t looking to become an innkeeper, but the former owners, who were friends, approached him about buying the motel in 2014.

Villarreal – who had no background in hospitality but was moving back to his hometown of North Bend – figured, why not? He could run the motel and live there.

“It was a clean, humble vibe, just an old-school motor inn,” he said. “Their mission was to provide a clean, quality service, without necessarily pumping a whole lot of kitschy goofiness into it.”

But Villarreal envisioned a geeky, retro oasis on the Oregon coast. He redesigned the motel rooms around things he loved: namely, Star Trek, tiki lounges and the 1970s.

“Just by nature, I can be a little dramatic, if not flamboyant,” Villarreal said. “I wanted to exercise some creative freedom that my job did not allow me to.”

That other job? Providing energy management for corporations and the defense sector with his business, EdComm — something that, as he puts it, doesn’t always allow for flourishes of “dramatic creativity.”

He’s put plenty of drama into the Itty Bitty Inn.

In addition to the Star Trek room, the motel has two tiki-themed rooms — the Tiki Cha Cha room, named after a KBOO radio program (whose founder lives in North Bend) with a ceiling painted like a grass hut, and the Tiki Lounge room, with more of a swanky vibe. Each room is furnished with mid-century decor and comes with a stash of “emergency leis.” The Tiki Lounge room has a record player loaded with Martin Denny records.

The Oregon Trail room features posters from old westerns and a large mural of the Three Sisters mountains. It’s admittedly the least wild of the rooms, though Villarreal is considering turning it into the forest moon of Endor for Star Wars fans.

The Disco room comes with a light switch that activates a spinning disco ball and plays the Bee Gee’s hit “Staying Alive.”

“What ‘70′s room would be complete without a rebuilt vintage Atari 2600 circa 1979,” Villarreal said, opening the top dresser drawer to reveal a stash of game cartridges. “I happen to know that Atari Millipede, Space Invaders and Donkey Kong pairs remarkably well with a locally brewed IPA or cranberry cider.”

Guests who aren’t in the disco room but want to get their retro gaming on can rent a vintage Atari, an assortment of game cartridges and an old-style cathode-ray tube television for $15.

“I think the amount of people that (the motel) brings in is really something special,” said Vera Martinez, Villarreal’s daughter and co-innkeeper. “We see walks of life from all over the world. We’ll have people come from Europe, Asia, South Africa. We like to regard this as a second home for them.”

Each modest room comes with a tiled shower and toilet, and a small breakfast nook with a mini fridge and microwave. Guests are offered complimentary fresh-ground coffee from Bridge View Coffee Roasters and local IPAs or cranberry cider (Coos County is Oregon’s cranberry capital, after all). Villarreal will shuttle people to and from North Bend’s tiny airport and provide bike trail and kayaking drop offs. Guests can also check out bicycles to get around town (along with helmets and safety vests.)

Villarreal has installed two 60-amp car chargers in the parking lot, with instructions written in English, Klingon and Aurebesh (for the Star Wars fans.)

“We are all inclusive here,” he said.

With rates ranging from $89-$128, the Itty Bitty Inn was named Yelp’s No. 1 Budget Hotel in the U.S. in 2019. To book a room at the Itty Bitty Inn, 1504 Sherman Ave. in North Bend, visit or call 541-756-6398.

Villarreal grew up in North Bend, which he described as “the Oregon Coast’s nerdy little secret.”

“Geek culture here has always been big, since I was a little kid,” he said. “Dungeons and Dragons, sci-fi. We were doing cosplay before anybody called it cosplay.”

If you’re planning a geeky getaway to North Bend, here’s a few other stops to add to your trip:

Recycle Video Games, 1942 Sherman Ave.: This retailer specializing in rare retro video games and gaming systems has four locations on the Oregon coast but is headquartered in North Bend. Owner Annie Jackson repairs, cleans and buys used games and equipment, and has an impressive collection on display, including a Commodore 64 and Video Computer System by Atari in original boxes. (Stay tuned: She’s thinking about creating a video game museum.)

Yoda’s Hut, 775 N. Front St.: Technically, this Star Wars-themed food cart is in neighboring Coos Bay, but it’s within walking or biking distance of North Bend. Named the Best Food Truck of 2023 in the Toast of the South Coast awards, chef Ron Phillips said he earned the nickname Yoda for his skill behind the grill. Yoda’s Hut serves all-day breakfast (try the Leia, a burrito with caramelized onions, mushrooms, peppers, eggs, potatoes and cheese) and sandwiches (the Yoda is a smoked ribeye sandwich with roasted garlic aioli.) Find it at the new Front Street Food Trucks pod.

Liberty Pub, 2047 Sherman Ave.: At first glance, the Liberty Pub looks like your standard small-town bar. Then you notice the Dungeons & Dragons gaming table in the back and the paintings on the walls of the Borg Queen, a Sleestak and Jar Jar Binks. It’s the perfect place to stop for pizza and embark on an adventure.

Gamers’ Cantina, 761 Virginia Ave.: Every Friday night, you can find folks throwing down Magic cards at this hobby store, which sells supplies and miniatures for Magic the Gathering, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Dungeons & Dragons and more tabletop role playing games. Thursdays are “D&D with Darrel.” Check the store’s Facebook page for more upcoming tournaments.

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