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The difference between a hotel and a motel

Hotels and motels have many differences, including the type of facilities and services, location, architecture, length of stay, etc.

Many travelers and tourists go to a hotel or motel to stay during their trip, and most of them do not know the difference between a hotel and a motel; While there are significant differences between them such as services, prices, number of employees, etc.; For example, if you are looking for the best price and don’t care about the amenities of your accommodation, motels can be a good choice.

On the other hand, if you prefer that your residence is equipped with amenities and services such as Wi-Fi, room service, gym, spa, etc., you should book a hotel room. In this way, by knowing the differences between a hotel and a motel, you can decide which one best meets your needs.

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In this article from Nabtrip Tourism magazine, you can get enough appropriate information about these differences.

Definition of motel and hotel

According to Webster’s dictionary, the word hotel was coined in 1765 and comes from the French word “hôtel” and refers to a place that provides accommodation, food, entertainment, and other services to travelers.

According to this dictionary, the word motel was coined much later (in 1925) and is a combination of the words “motor” and “hotel” and describes an accommodation that provides only some hotel services to guests, and its passengers often They are drivers and passengers of motor vehicles. As America’s highway system developed, so did motels, eliminating the need for roadside stops for motorists.

hotel and motel
Photo source: unsplash site (photographer: mike Beaumont)

What is the difference between a motel and a hotel?

We will explain in full below, stay with us.

The difference between a hotel and a motel is in the location

Hotels are usually located in places such as the city center or close to famous tourist attractions and provide easy transportation and easy access to urban areas for guests. Also, if you book a hotel room, you can choose from a variety of rooms, suites, and even villas.

Motels are usually located in the middle of cities, on the side of roads, highways, and often in the suburbs and along high-traffic routes.

The difference between hotel and motel in architecture

One of the main differences between hotels and motels is their design and construction. Hotels often consist of hundreds of rooms on several floors, connected by a central lobby, staircases, elevators, and internal corridors; They also have a special design that makes them attractive and stylish.

Motels are usually one or two stories and are designed in such a way that access to each room is possible directly from the parking lot. There is no lobby in motels; While in the hotel, you have to go through the entrance and use the elevator to get to your room.

The difference between hotels and motels in facilities

The facilities in hotel rooms are much more complete than in motels and often include safes, mini-fridges, hair dryers, Wi-Fi, etc.; However, in most motels, limited facilities such as towels and blankets are provided for guests.

The difference between hotels and motels in services

Another difference between hotels and motels is related to their services. Hotels often offer more extensive services, including room service (the possibility of providing food and reception in the room), restaurant, laundry, indoor pool, gym, and spa. The services of hotels are directly related to the number of their stars, and accordingly, they get one to five stars.

Hotel stars as international standards specify what to expect from the hotel. Due to their location inside the cities, hotels provide the possibility of holding meetings and conferences for different companies and people. Also, if you are traveling to an area you are not familiar with, hotel staff can help you plan activities or provide local information.

Motel services are fewer and some of them cover things like a swimming pool and breakfast. In addition, there is no specific international standard for motels and their level of service is not as different as that of hotels.

Difference between hotels and motels in staff

Hotels and motels both have different types of employees in their staff. The range of activities of the people working in the hotel is diverse and employees are working at the reception, concierge, porter, porter, chef, housekeeper, parking staff, and elevator operators. In addition to the main management, many hotels have one or more internal managers in different departments.

In motels, which are smaller accommodations and the type of services is limited, the number and type of staff activities are also reduced and usually only include reception and housekeeping staff.

The difference between a hotel and a motel is the cost of accommodation

One of the main differences between hotels and motels is the price difference. Hotels usually charge more for each night of stay; Although their location and service level also play an important role in determining this issue.

Motels can be the cheapest places to stay near cities; Especially since they have minimal services and facilities.

The difference between hotel and motel in the length of stay

Hotels are designed for long stays ranging from several weeks to several months. Since the hotels are located in places that are close to the entertainment and main centers of the cities, travelers and tourists are encouraged to stay longer in them.

Motels are used for shorter stays of a few days. They are designed for roadsides and are considered as a temporary resting place due to the lack of facilities and tourist attractions around them.

History of the motel

In the early 20th century, when automobiles became a common means of road transportation and freeway networks expanded, motels gradually came into use. Motels are an all-American phenomenon that, as accommodations along the nation’s first major highways, offered a place to rest for road users and weary families.

The first accommodation for travelers traveling by car was built in the late 1910s. Before that, travelers who couldn’t afford hotel stays slept in their cars or pitched tents in roadside fields. In the 1920s and 1930s, roadside accommodations were equipped with piped water, picnic areas, and restrooms.

The term motel was coined in 1925 by Arthur Heinemann. When he couldn’t find enough space to install the sign “Milestone Motor Hotel” on the front of his motel, he shortened “motor hotel” to “mo-tel”. Many other businesses followed his lead and started building motorhomes.

During America’s Great Depression, travelers chose to stay in roadside motels instead of expensive downtown hotels to reduce travel costs. In the 1940s, at the same time as World War II, the construction of motels was stopped; Because manpower and expenses had to be spent on war. However, there was limited construction going on near military bases where every cabin was used to house soldiers and their families.

During World War II, car companies had great success in making tanks and combat vehicles, and by the end of the war, this had gone in favor of cars. With the increase in the number of cars, the routes became more developed and subsequently the trips increased. Motels also gained double popularity.

After the war in the 1950s, a boom in the construction of motels began on a large scale, and by 1947 there were approximately 22,000 motels in the United States, and this number reached 50,000 units by 1950, which is half of the 22 million travelers. The United States served. A year later, motels surpassed hotels in terms of demand.

The industry peaked in 1964 with 61,000 lodging units, and many motels began advertising on their colorful neon signs that they were air-conditioned in hot summers or heated in cold winters. However, the motel boom did not last and the number of motels in the United States decreased to 16,000 in 2012.

Types of motels

Motels provide very limited facilities and services to their guests; Although not all of them are of low quality and some motels have tried to provide good services for travelers and tourists; Therefore, motels can be divided into two general categories:

Motels that meet the essential needs of guests with only basic services.
Motels that are equipped with suitable furniture and services such as a swimming pool and restaurant. These motels have provided good facilities for the rooms.


common questions

What is the difference between hotel, motel and hostel?

The difference between hotel, motel and hostel is in the type of architecture, services, facilities, location, staff, cost of stay and length of stay.

What is the basic difference between a hotel and a motel?

The purpose of building hotels is to enjoy their facilities; While motels are established for cheap accommodation and temporary rest.

Is a hotel or a motel better?

Hotels and motels serve different purposes and attract travelers with different needs based on their location, architectural structure, and what they offer.

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