Definitions

hotel

hotel

[hoh-tel]
hotel [Fr., from O.Fr. (origin of Eng. hostel), from Latin (origin of Eng. hospital),=guest place], name applied since the late 17th cent. to an establishment supplying both food and lodging to the public (see inn). In common law of England and America, the hotelkeeper is a public servant and must receive all proper persons. The first American hotels, successors to the early inns, differed from their European prototypes by charging a fixed fee for food and lodging (American plan). For many years $1.00 per day was the accepted price. Fraunces Tavern (1762; see under Fraunces, Samuel) and the City Hotel (1793) were fashionable resorts of early New York City. The Tremont House, in Boston (1829), for years considered the most imposing hotel in the United States, was rivaled by the Astor House, built in New York in 1836. The modern hotel in America dates from the early days of railroad travel, when the modest hostelry, prepared to entertain small groups of occasional guests, was forced to become a more commodious and efficient institution to accommodate the great number of traveling salespeople. Technical progress in the late 19th cent. permitted the construction of large hotels with safeguards against fire. Hotels may be classed as transient, residential, or resort hotels. Semicommercial hotels with club features are maintained by organizations such as the YMCA (see Young Men's Christian Association). With the growth of suburban centers and the increase of travel by automobile, a form of transient hotel, called a motel, became popular. In the 1990s, the "extended-stay hotel"—for guests who need a room for at least five nights—was developed, especially for business travelers who preferred more apartmentlike accommodations for longer stays. By 1998 extended-stay hotels represented 40% of U.S. lodging rooms planned for construction.

See H. Weisskamp, Hotels (1968); R. Brotherton, ed., The Handbook of Contemporary Hospitality Management Research (1999); A. K. Sandoval-Strausz, Hotel: An American History (2007).

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.

Learn more about hotel with a free trial on Britannica.com.

A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging, usually on a short-term basis. The provision of basic accommodation, in times past, consisting only of a room with a bed, a cupboard, a small table and a washstand has largely been replaced by rooms with modern facilities, including en-suite bathrooms and air conditioning or climate control. Additional common features found in hotel rooms are a telephone, an alarm clock, a television, and Internet connectivity; snack foods and drinks may be supplied in a mini-bar, and facilities for making hot drinks. Larger hotels may provide a number of additional guest facilities such as a restaurant, a swimming pool or childcare, and have conference and social function services.

Some hotels offer various combinations of meals as part of a room and board arrangement. In the United Kingdom, a hotel is required by law to serve food and drinks to all guests within certain stated hours; to avoid this requirement it is not uncommon to come across private hotels which are not subject to this requirement. In Japan, capsule hotels provide a minimized amount of room space and shared facilities.

In Australia and Canada, hotel may also refer to a pub or bar. In India, the word may also refer to a restaurant since the best restaurants were always situated next to a good hotel.

Etymology

The word hotel is derived from the French hôtel (coming from hôte meaning host), which referred to a French version of a townhouse or any other building seeing frequent visitors, rather than a place offering accommodation. In contemporary French usage, hôtel now has the same meaning as the English term, and hôtel particulier is used for the old meaning. The French spelling, with the circumflex, was also used in English, but is now rare. The circumflex replaces the 's' found in the earlier hostel spelling, which over time took on a new, but closely related meaning.

Classification

The cost and quality of hotels are usually indicative of the range and type of services available. Due to the enormous increase in tourism worldwide during the last decades of the 20th century, standards, especially those of smaller establishments, have improved considerably. For the sake of greater comparability, rating systems have been introduced, with the one to five stars classification being most common and with higher star ratings indicating more luxury. Hotels are independently assessed in traditional systems and these rely heavily on the facilities provided. Some consider this disadvantageous to smaller hotels whose quality of accommodation could fall into one class but the lack of an item such as an elevator would prevent it from reaching a higher categorization. In some countries, there is an official body with standard criteria for classifying hotels, but in many others there is none. There have been attempts at unifying the classification system so that it becomes an internationally recognized and reliable standard but large differences exist in the quality of the accommodation and the food within one category of hotel, sometimes even in the same country. The American Automobile Association (AAA) and their affiliated bodies use diamonds instead of stars to express hotel and restaurant ratings levels.

Historic hotels

Some hotels have gained their renown through tradition, by hosting significant events or persons, such as Schloss Cecilienhof in Potsdam, Germany, which derives its fame from the Potsdam Conference of the World War II allies Winston Churchill, Harry Truman and Joseph Stalin in 1945. The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower in Mumbai is one of India's most famous and historic hotels because of its association with the Indian independence movement. Some establishments have given name to a particular meal or beverage, as is the case with the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, USA where the Waldorf Salad was first created or the Hotel Sacher in Vienna, Austria, home of the Sachertorte. Others have achieved fame by association with dishes or cocktails created on their premises, such as the Hotel de Paris where the crêpe Suzette was invented or the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, where the Singapore Sling cocktail was devised.

A number of hotels have entered the public consciousness through popular culture, such as the Ritz Hotel in London, UK, through its association with Irving Berlin's song, 'Puttin' on the Ritz'. The Algonquin Hotel in New York City is famed as the meeting place of the literary group, the Algonquin Round Table, and Hotel Chelsea, also in New York City, has been the subject of a number of songs and the scene of the stabbing of Nancy Spungen (allegedly by her boyfriend Sid Vicious). The luxurious Grand Hotel Europe in Saint Petersburg, Russia achieved fame with its inclusion in the James Bond film GoldenEye.

Unusual hotels

Many hotels can be considered destinations in themselves, by dint of unusual features of the lodging or its immediate environment:

Treehouse hotels

Some hotels are built with living trees as structural elements, for example the Costa Rica Tree House in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica; the Treetops Hotel in Aberdare National Park, Kenya; the Ariau Towers near Manaus, Brazil, on the Rio Negro in the Amazon; and Bayram's Tree Houses in Olympos, Turkey.

Cave hotels

Desert Cave Hotel in Coober Pedy, South Australia and the Cuevas Pedro Antonio de Alarcón (named after the author) in Guadix, Spain, as well as several hotels in Cappadocia, Turkey, are notable for being built into natural cave formations, some with rooms underground.

Capsule hotels

Capsule hotels are a type of economical hotel that are found in Japan.

Ice and snow hotels

The Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, and the Hotel de Glace in Duschenay,­ Canada, melt every spring and are rebuilt each winter; the Mammut Snow Hotel in Finland is located within the walls of the Kemi snow castle; and the Lainio Snow Hotel is part of a snow village near Ylläs, Finland.

Garden hotels

Garden hotels, famous for their gardens before they became hotels, include Gravetye Manor, the home of garden designer William Robinson, and Cliveden, designed by Charles Barry with a rose garden by Geoffrey Jellicoe.

Underwater hotels

Some hotels have accommodation underwater, such as Utter Inn in Lake Mälaren, Sweden. Hydropolis, under construction in Dubai, will have suites on the bottom of the Persian Gulf, and Jules Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Florida requires scuba diving to access its rooms.

Other unusual hotels

Motels

A motel is a hotel which is convenient for people who wish to be able to have quick access from their parked car to a hotel room.

World record setting hotels

Largest

The hotel with the greatest number of rooms is the MGM Grand Las Vegas in Las Vegas, USA, with a total of 6,852 rooms. In 2006, Guinness World Records listed the First World Hotel in Genting Highlands, Malaysia as the world's largest hotel with a total of 6,118 rooms.

Oldest

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest hotel still in operation is the Hoshi Ryokan, in the Awazu Onsen area of Komatsu, Japan which opened in 718.

Tallest

Burj Al Arab is the tallest building used exclusively as a hotel. However, the Rose Tower, also in Dubai, which has already topped Burj Al Arab's height at , will take away this title upon its opening.

Living in hotels

A number of public figures have notably chosen to take up semi-permanent or permanent residence in hotels.

  • Actor Richard Harris lived at the Savoy Hotel while in London. Hotel archivist Susan Scott recounts an anecdote that when he was being taken out of the building on a stretcher shortly before his death he raised his hand and told the diners "it was the food".

See also

Gallery

References

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