Can’t help but wonder what the difference between a hotel and motel is? Here is the hotel vs motel story for you!

Difference Between Hotel And Motel

It is not unusual that you have a doubt whether to check into a hotel or motel when you are on vacation. You’ve probably seen both while cruising through your journey. A lot of research has been done in the past few years to exactly define the two. It is interesting how these words came to be known as what they are. One common confusion that people have is what a restaurant is then. A restaurant is a place where people can only dine and not stay.  A hotel is defined as any lodging where you can pay and live at for a specified period of time. A motel is a combination of the words – ‘hotel’ and ‘motorist’ since it was known to be a place where motorists could rest during their long journeys. This still makes it the same thing. So how exactly do they differ from each other? The answers will be found in the next section.

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Hotel vs. Motel

  • The most basic difference between a hotel and motel is the way it is built. A hotel has a number of rooms and levels and has internal corridors leading to the rooms. They have staircases and elevators. A motel has usually rooms one next to other on a single level just beyond a parking lot.
  • Motels are usually U-shaped buildings with a yard and parking lot. Hotels are just rectangular and placed one above the other though new shapes are being experimented with nowadays.
  • Hotels are luxurious whereas motels are a necessity for some rest and specific type of customers (example: bikers!).
  • Hotels cater to a group of people that require service. Hence they employ receptionists, concierges, housekeeping etc.  Motels usually just have limited services but sometimes may have a ‘bed-and-breakfast’ deal.
  • Costs between the two also vary. Hotels are usually more expensive because of the services they offer and motels are a cheap way to spend the night and carry on in the rest of the journey.
  • As far as the location is concerned, hotels are usually located in cities or in a more urban area whereas motels are found alongside the highway.
  • In a hotel room, you will find a television, utility area, bathroom, bed, cupboard, table etc. In some rooms, they might also have a provision for an air conditioner and telephone connections. In a motel room, it is a basic en suite bathroom with a table and chair and has a common parking area.
  • Different countries have different rules in hotels. For example; in the United Kingdom in some hotels, food has to be served within a stipulated period while in other places, the money just includes accommodation.
  • Since hotels are built in busy areas, the scenic view from the building could be either very huge building like the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty or it could be just surrounded with trees. But motels have an open area surrounded by the woods or the other cabins.

So depending on where you are headed to, you can stay in a hotel or motel. If you’re travelling to a city for sightseeing or a business trip, then you will want to stay in a hotel. But, if you’re travelling with family for a short road trip and want to spend some time overnight then a motel is a better idea. Budgeting is also important as a hotel with services will be more expensive than a motel with no services. The choice is yours to make! Hope this article has taken away some doubt from your mind about the hotel vs. motel debate.


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