Dexter Filming Locations: Windy Keys Motel

DEXTER Filming Locations - hundreds of actual places where the TV show Dexter was filmed.

The location: Windy Keys Motel

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A motel.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. On Fiesta Key, an island in the Florida Keys.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 8, of Season 8, "Are We There Yet?".

    Dexter goes there (with Hannah) hunting young psychopath Zach Hamilton, his former apprentice, whom Dex believes has broken the code by killing Dexter's neighbor, Cassie.

    Cassie was bludgeoned in the same way that Zach previously killed Norma Rivera, and Dex finds Zach's blood under her fingernails.

    When they get to the motel, Dexter is surprised to find Zach's room (#129) covered in plastic, in a style reminiscent of his own kill-rooms.

    Dexter thinks that he will use the room to kill Zach when he returns.

    But when Zach returns, it becomes evident that he didn't murder Cassie.  He has proof that he has been stalking someone else - Sean Decker, a killer who fits Dexter's code.

    (In fact, Zach has the man's dead body in the trunk of his car, since he botched his attempt to knock him out.)

    Dex notices a blade on the door handle of Zach's car door, sees Zach's cut fingertips, and surmises that someone framed him, taking blood from that blade and putting it under Cassie's fingernails.

    While Dex is out disposing of Zach's car and the body, and Hannah is alone in the motel room, Debra arrives, planning to arrest Hannah.  But she gets talked out of it.

    In the middle of the confrontation, Dex returns with Zach, and Debra exits, telling Dex that Hannah is his problem now.

Q. What is it actually in real life?
    A. A motel - but nowhere near Florida.

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:

Here is an aerial photo of the location.  And here is a map link.

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.

    Between those reports, my own personal reconnaissance around town, and a few new resources I discovered, by the time the new first episode airs, I already know most (but not all) of the filming locations, and only need to watch the episodes and match up the scenes with the correct locations.

    This group of helpful fans includes Rick, Ellen, Suzi, Elaine, Mia, Julie, Kerry, Joel, Eric, Jeff, & others. My thanks to all of them.

    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.

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