The border between a “hotel” and a “motel” is becoming increasingly blurry in today’s world, but in general, a “hotel” will provide more amenities while a “motel” is intended for a visitor who can take care of themselves.
The term “hotel” refers to the traditional establishment where business travelers might locate a room to stay in that was equipped with everything they required for short-term or long-term occupancy, as the case may be. The majority of hotels provide a comprehensive range of services, including not only luggage handling and room cleaning but also dining, cleaning, and grooming services, and so on. In point of fact, many hotels in major cities, and New York City, in particular, cater to customers who live there “permanently.” (If you are visiting the city, it is recommended that you pick one of these to stay in for the night because they are often the top hotels in the area.)
The motel is an abbreviation for “motor-hotel,” which was a new type of lodging that became popular with the invention of the vehicle. These were locations at which a driver could pull up in his vehicle and park it directly outside of his room at the hotel. It was convenient for the new hobby of “traveling” and “sightseeing,” which was becoming increasingly popular. The only amenities that were typically provided by motels were clean rooms, beds, and bathrooms. The purpose of this establishment was to offer travelers a simple and convenient location to rest for the night. Due to the impossibility of driving a vehicle up to a room on a higher level, they were often just one story tall.
The principal competitors were mobile homes, sometimes known as “cabins,” that were available for rent to travelers. Cabins offered the benefit of having distinct structures, which meant that each driver could have his or her own area and improved sound separation from the other drivers. Cabins have always been my parent’s vacation of choice.
The economics of development began to favor hotels of increasing size over individual cabins as time went on, and individual cabins eventually became relatively rare. Motels, too, rose in size and almost immediately began to have many floors. Some even did away with the outside entry entirely, replacing it with a lobby entrance and a shared corridor on the inside of the building. This made it impossible to pull up to the door of the building with your vehicle.
It appeared that the absence of services was the only distinguishing feature that was still present. If you stayed in a “motel,” you were responsible for transporting your own luggage and navigating your way to the room on your own. There was no one available to deliver meals to your room, and if you wanted a suit cleaned, you would most likely have to hunt around town for a dry cleaner.
Then, in order to entice more clients, most of whom were tourists, “motels” started providing additional amenities and services. They were large enough to provide amenities such as swimming pools and spas for guests. They started making arrangements for hotel-like services, despite the fact that the motel did not really have any of the amenities on site. Breakfasts offered at no cost are become very typical.
Even business travelers wanted more to do during their vacation time, so “hotels” started adding amenities like swimming pools and play areas to satisfy their needs. In the meantime, “hotels” also started adding these amenities.
Then there’s this thing called “marketing.” Many establishments will decide whether to refer to themselves as a “hotel” or a “motel” based on which of these two names they believe will be more appealing to potential guests. There are other establishments that do not identify themselves as hotels or motels but instead use phrases such as “inn,” “lodge,” or “resort,” despite the fact that the word “resort” suggests the presence of quite a few recreational amenities. Whatever is effective. When making a reservation for a hotel stay from out of town, you should exercise extreme caution.