The location: Windy Keys Motel
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. Dexter often films in Long Beach, near the ocean, so it's surprising that they filmed this beach motel scene far inland.
This is actually the Saga Motor Hotel, at 1633 E. Colorado Boulevard, in Pasadena, CA.
If you know anything about Pasadena, you know that it is the home of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade, which is held each New Years Day. The Rose Parade travels down this exact same Colorado Boulevard, with the snow-capped mountains in the background creating a picture-perfect postcard view that each year inspires people freezing on the East Coast to pack up & move out to California.
Pasadena is located northeast of downtown L.A., and is a good 26 miles inland from the nearest beach (and about 35 miles north of Long Beach).
So what about that ocean that we see in the background? That was blue-screen all the way.
I still have no idea why they went all the way to Pasadena to fake an
ocean motel scene, when they could have easily filmed the real thing in
Long Beach or Santa Monica. But that's what they did. (The
only notable factor about the motel is that it does have a lot of palm trees.)
You'll find the Saga Motor Hotel on the north side of Colorado Blvd, at Sierra Bonita Ave., right across the street from Pasadena City College. (In fact, you can glimpse the college's Shatford Library in the background of some of these scenes.)
Here is a Google StreetView of the motel:
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. In the early seasons, I
usually had to hunt down the locations after viewing the episodes, using
clues from the various scenes. By the now, though, I've developed
a small group of fans, spies & tipsters who kept an
eye out for Dexter filming in their neighborhoods, and let me know in advance when something is about to film there.
This tip came from Rick, and that was very fortunate, because given that blue-screened fake ocean, I might have spent a long time looking for motels with an actual ocean view... (Thanks, Rick!)
Once I knew where it was at, it was easy to confirm, since you can see Shatford Library (at Pasadena City College) in the background of some of the shots.
Dexter screenshots from the show and all related characters & elements
are trademarks of and © Showtime.
Looking for something in particular? Search the Seeing-Stars website!