What Is The Difference Between a Hotel and a Motel?

Whether you are a weekend traveler or a week-long vacation enthusiast, having a place to stay at night is a must and there are plenty of options available to you. From bed and breakfasts to luxurious resorts, to hostels and campgrounds, to hotels and motels, you can’t really go wrong when finding a place to stay for the night.  Most individuals know the difference between a luxurious resort and a campground or even a bed and breakfast and a hostel, but the majority of us aren’t actually well versed in the differences between a motel and a hotel despite knowing that they serve the same basic purpose – a place to sleep. With this said, let’s take a look at what the differences are and why they are important.

What is a Hotel and What is Considered a Motel?

A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging to individuals on a short-term basis as well as numerous amenities to guests like spas, swimming pools, and restaurants. These amenities are supposed to increase lodging satisfaction. The name, “hotel” first appeared in the Merriam-Webster dictionary back in 1765 and is derived from French. A motel, on the other hand, is an establishment that provides some but not all of the same services that a hotel provides including short-term and long-term lodging. They were originally created as a type of inn for motorists who required an inexpensive and easily accessible overnight accommodation. The name, “motel” first appeared in the Merriam-Webster dictionary back in 1925 as a United States phenomenon.

Where Are Hotels and Motels Location?

A hotel is often situated within a city, often near businesses, airports, downtown areas, attractions, vacation areas, or entertainment venues. A motel will be found on highways, near the outskirts of towns, or sometimes in rural areas or in places where hotels would normally. With regards to appearance, you can tell that a hotel is a hotel by the fact that the rooms are open to the interior of the building and they are often multi-storied requiring either staircases and elevators to get to the various floors. A motel will have open walkways, exterior entrances to the rooms, and will often be single or double storied.

Is There A Difference in Cost and in Employees Available on Site?

Although both establishments will have similar types of employees, a hotel will likely have receptionists, housekeepers, doormen, elevator operators, chefs, concierges, and bellhops, whereas, a motel will have receptionists and housekeepers. In a motel, it is very likely that the receptionist will also double as the housekeeper or have some of the two roles overlap.

With regards to cost, motels are generally considered to be a lot cheaper as they have cheaper rates per night than hotels as hotels are built for longer stays. Hotel accommodations commonly cost more because they offer more amenities and are generally more luxurious than a motel. However, it is very important to note that a hotel accommodation will vary in cost depending on the star rating, where it is located in the city, and what area of the country it is in.

The Bottom Line: Motels Are Just Cheaper With Fewer Amenities

If you are just looking for a cheap night to stay over before continuing your lengthy automobile trip down the coast, a motel will be your best choice. They offer an inexpensive place to sleep, often near roadways so that you don’t get lost, and will have ample parking for those who have large vehicles. If you want comfort and amenities like a restaurant and a pool, you’re going to want to go with a hotel.