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What's the Difference: Hotel, Motel, Inn, Lodge, and Other Accommodations?

Updated on June 25, 2018
revmjm profile image

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She researches and shares remedies for using certain products for illnesses.

When people travel away from home, there are many places for them to stay on the way to their destination as well as places to stay once they reach their destination. Even though travelers are away from home, they still need a place to sleep, rest, eat. drink, and be safe. Today, there are more places than ever that are available.

It is a matter of personal choice where people stay. It is much easier for a single individual to make the choice than for a group of people who must decide on a temporary dwelling place.

Hotel

A hotel is normally a big building with many rooms and services. Hotels have more than one floor. Guests cannot get to their rooms without going through a lobby. A hotel provides lodging on a short-term basis. Hotels are often used by visitors who have reached their end destination where the hotel is located.

Rooms in small usually include only basic guest services such as a bed, a dresser, a chair, refrigerator, a flat screen television and a bathroom.

Larger and more expensive hotels have more guest services, such as a swimming pool, gym, meeting rooms, a business center with computers, printers and other office equipment, childcare, tennis or basketball courts, restaurants, day spa, beauty parlors and social function services.

Some people use the term hotel for other living accommodations such as the ones listed below even though they are not hotels based on their descriptions.

Motel

The word motel is the combination of the words motor and hotel. It is a hotel for motorists whose destination is not where the motel is located. A motel room is less expensive than a hotel room. It is usually a rest stop on the way to a motorist's final destination where he will stay in something more elaborate.

This is usually somewhere people will stay to rest during a road trip. Motels are mostly located along busy highways with high lighted signs so motorists can see them from far away

A motel a single building of connected rooms whose doors faced a parking lot. Guests can enter a motel without going through a lobby. They can go directly to their room from the parking lot or taking outside stair to the second floor. Motels typically do not have more than two floors. Smaller motels have only one floor.

Inn

Inns are usually smaller and older places to stay in the country or along a highway. At one time, inns also provided accommodation for horses. “Inn” is an older word for a place to stay temporarily with only the bare necessities that may include food and drinks.

An exception to this would be where large hotel chains have made Inn part of their name. For examples, Holiday Inn and Ramada Inn can be seen as both a hotel and an inn.

Hostels and Hostals

Hostels provide budget accommodation where guests can rent very inexpensive accommodations. They get a bed, which is usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory type building. Guests share a bathroom, lounge and sometimes a kitchen.

Hostels are much cheaper for both the operator and guests. Sometimes hostels hire long-term residents as desk clerks or housekeeping staff.

A hostal is a type of lodging found mostly in Spain and Hispanic America. Hostals are much cheaper than hotels and motels. Accommodations typically include private bedrooms available for either short or long term rent. Guests sometimes share a common bathroom. Hostals usually have a bar, restaurant or cafeteria where guests can buy food and drinks.

Lodge

A lodge is a relatively small building. Lodges are mainly used by tourists. In some lodges, guests have something in common and are there for the same reason.

A good example of that is a ski lodge. People also prefer a lodge when they are on a retreat.

Bed and Breakfast

A bed and breakfast, which is usually shortened to B&B or BnB, is a small lodging place for overnight accommodation and breakfast.

Bed and breakfasts are often located in private family homes with an average of six rooms. The hosts usually live in the house along with the guests.

Even though it is called bed and breakfast, other meals may be served to the guests as well.

Boarding House or Rooming House

A boarding house or rooming house is usually a family home where guests rent a room for one or more nights. Sometimes they will rent for extended periods that could last for years.

Room and board and some meals are provided. The boarding house may or may not offer meals.

Airbnb

Airbnb started out being called AirBed & Breakfast. It was started because the founder needed a place to stay and put an air mattress in a friend's living room. Then he started a company offering the same services to others who might be visiting a place where no hotel rooms were available.

Guests do not have to sleep on air mattresses in living rooms, but they can rent short-term lodging in people's houses. Airbnb has over 5 million lodging listings in over 81,000 cities and about 191 countries. The company is very successful and has had over 300 million guests since the company launched in 2008.

No Shortage of Places to Stay

From the above list, you can see there is no shortage of places to stay when someone is away from home. Whether travelers are gone for one night, weeks, months or even years, there is always a place for them to lay their heads at night and have a hot meal in the morning.

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    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      3 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Mactavers, thanks for reading and commenting about the places to dwell while traveling.

    • mactavers profile image

      mactavers 

      3 years ago

      Well done. I would suggest that all your terms are generic except for Airbnb which is a specific rather than Vacation Rentals by Owners which I think would cover Airbnb, Homeaway, VaCay and so on.

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