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“You know when you see something incredible and you want to immediately pull your camera out and film it? Like a sunset or a magic trick or a concert? That’s what I felt like seeing these rooms for the first time,” says photographer Margaret Bienert, one half of the A Pretty Cool Hotel Tour duo that is she and husband Corey.

A Pretty Cool Hotel Tour began when the couple started seeking out themed hotels in 2018. “We started the project to get the word out, to try and keep these places around, but also as a fun way for us to get to work together on a personal project. I wanted more experience with shooting video, with directing, and with photography.”

The couple avoids places with 5-star reviews, instead searching for unexpected themes or, even, listings that mention heart-shaped tubs or ceiling mirrors. They comb reviews for the word “outdated.”

“I like the fact that these hotels invite you out of your day-to-day mindset. The designs force you to feel something—whether that’s shock, joy, or curiosity. I just appreciate the gut reaction they bring.”

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“I wanted to be able to enjoy them later and show them to people who might also get joy out of them,” says Margaret Bienert about the hotels featured in A Pretty Cool Hotel Tour. Photo by Margaret B.

Both midwesterners, Margaret studied photography and communications and Corey studied filmmaking.

“Even though we both love learning, neither of us were very school-minded. I ended up dropping out before graduating.”

A version of this article originally appeared in Sixtysix Issue 06 with the headline “Margaret Bienert: Photographer, Michigan.” Subscribe today.