Supervised shelter providing inexpensive overnight lodging, particularly for young people. Often located in scenic or historic areas, hostels range from simple farmhouses to hotels able to house several hundred people. Guests often cook their own meals, make their own beds, and do other chores; in return they receive lodging at much less than the usual commercial rate. Hostels place limits on the length of stay and formerly set a maximum-age limit for guests. The hosteling movement was founded by Richard Schirrmann, a German schoolteacher concerned about the health of young people breathing polluted air in industrial cities. Common in Germany in the early 1900s, youth hostels spread through Europe and other parts of the world after World War I, and an international organization was formed in 1932; currently known as Hostelling International and based in London, its membership includes national federations in more than 60 countries, comprising some 4,000 hostels. Some hostels still impose age limits.
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Building that provides lodging, meals, and other services to the traveling public on a commercial basis. Inns have existed since ancient times (e.g., along the Roman road system during the Roman Empire) to serve merchants and other travelers. Medieval European monasteries operated inns to guarantee haven for travelers in dangerous regions. The spread of travel by stagecoach in the 18th century stimulated the development of inns, as did the Industrial Revolution. The modern hotel was largely the result of the railroads; when traveling for pleasure became widely popular, large hotels were often built near railroad stations. In 1889 the Savoy Hotel in London set a new standard, with its own electricity and a host of special services; the Statler Hotel in Buffalo, N.Y. (1908), another landmark, catered to the growing class of business travelers. After World War II, new hotels tended to be larger and were often built near airports. Hotel chains became common, making purchasing, sales, and reservations more efficient. Hotels fall into three categories: transient hotels; resort hotels, intended primarily for vacationers; and residential hotels, essentially apartment buildings offering room and meal service. Seealso motel.
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