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What’s The Difference Between A Hotel And A Motel?

By Leah Freeman-Haskin

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Have you ever wondered what the actual difference is between a motel and a hotel? Maybe you’ve noticed that hotels tend to be more expensive and often offer more amenities than motels. Based on the history and origins of each type of accommodation, they serve a distinct purpose depending on your travel needs, budget, and length of stay. Here are some differences to keep in when booking your next trip.

“Hotel,” originating in 1765, comes from a French word for an establishment that provides lodging, meals, and other services. On the other hand, motels are a more modern and completely American phenomena. “Motel” blends the words “motor” and “hotel” and were established in 1925 as inns along the country’s first major motorways to provide convenient and affordable rest for motorists and travelers. Because of this, you will find that motels are usually highly visible from highways and are located along long stretches of road often in remote areas.

In terms of design, motels generally have a practical construction. With a limited number of rooms that can be accessed directly from the parking lot and typically only having one or two floors, motels do not offer much diversity or luxury in design. However, hotels, often larger in size, have internal corridors, multiple floors, and elevators that lead to hundreds of guest rooms. 

You may find that hotels offer more amenities including room service, lounges, restaurants, spas, fitness centers, and other entertainment areas for guests which also result in higher nightly rates than motels. Due to these added comforts, hotels are often the preferred option for longer stays. Although motels may offer a swimming pool and a small dining area for breakfast, amenities are often limited as well as the size of their staff, making them a better option for short-term stays.

[Source: USA Today]

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