Difference Between Hotel and Motel

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Hotel and Motel

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Hotels and motels are establishments that provide paid lodgings. However, hotels are more upscale and glamorous compared to motels. High-priced hotels provide several facilities like rooftop swimming pools, gyms, basketball or tennis courts, and so on. A motel can only boast about its parking lot. Hotels can range from small, low-priced ones to luxury hotels. If one wants to live like a king, luxury hotels are the best choice.

However, motels are an excellent choice if people merely need a place to crash and some good food. Motels are a boon to travelers, as they do not have to make reservations before they arrive at the location. Whether people spontaneously decided to hit the road or planned a long road trip, motels are lifesavers. One merely has to park one’s vehicle, stroll in, get a room, and crash into the modest-quality bed (it is comfortable enough to sleep like the dead. What more can one want?).

On the other hand, when going on business trips or vacations, hotels are the right choice. Nothing beats looking out the suite’s window, a cup of coffee in hand, and smirking at the sky as if to say it is a great day (at least until people remember that they are late to a business meeting). Staying at a hotel will be an unforgettable experience for foodies, as each dish is made to impress. Some hotels have even served as a home for many people.

Hotel Vs. Motel

The most significant difference between hotels and motels is that the former offers many amenities/luxurious facilities, while the latter only provides basic service to its paying guests. Another difference worth noting is that motels were designed with motorists in mind, whereas hotels are designed for high-profile clients.

Difference Between Hotel And Motel In Tabular Form

Parameters Of Comparison Hotel Motel
Architecture Hotels are high-rise buildings. Even the smallest hotel will have many more rooms available than motels. Because of their low-rise construction, only a limited number of rooms are available. However, some motels are known to have a second story.
Cost Hotels vary in size, and the amenities provided by each differ. The pricing is based on how big a room the clients choose and the facilities they want access to. Typically, staying at a hotel is much more expensive than staying at a motel. Motels are generally inexpensive, as they provide only the necessities. Some motels offer additional amenities for an extra price, but these are not on par with a hotel’s.
Location Hotels are classy and are located near airports, beaches, and well-populated areas of cities. Motels are situated close to highways. Usually, motels have entrances facing the parking lots.
Facilities Provided Gyms, swimming pools, on-site restaurants, arcade/game room, room service, en-suite bathrooms, meeting and conference services, and spas are some of the facilities provided by hotels that cater to a wealthy clientele. Some motels offer continental breakfast, while others offer kitchenettes so guests can cook whatever they want. However, high-quality amenities are rare in motels. Motels only take pride in their parking lots, as the guests can easily park their car, get their luggage, and directly enter the motel without any hassle.
Personalized Service Hotels provide highly personalized service. Most guests are so pampered that they dread going back home to continue their mundane lives. No such personalized service can be expected during one’s stay in a motel. Some run-down motel owners hilariously glare at the guests for daring to enter the premises. However, the popular motels help make their guests’ short stays as convenient as possible without going overboard.
Parking Lot Many motels charge for using their parking lots. Motels do not charge for parking lots.
Employees General managers, receptionists, bellhops, elevator operators, valets, and housekeepers are the employees of hotels. With hundreds and thousands of guests to take care of, multiple employees are essential for the successful functioning of a hotel. Motels do not have many employees. They simply have receptionists and housekeepers. In fact, in small motels, these roles overlap and are undertaken by the same person. Sometimes, the owners themselves serve the guests.
Extended Stay Guests can extend their stay and live for weeks or months in a hotel. Motels are designed to be stayed in for a short duration (generally, 2 or 3 days), as their target customers are travelers and tourists. Some motels allow guests to stay for a few weeks; however, it is rare to see guests live in motels for months.

What Is A Hotel?

Hotels provide rooms for guests to stay for a few days or weeks depending on the purpose of their visit. They range from small hotels that offer only limited amenities to large, luxury hotels that provide every facility their guest may need.

Types Of Hotels

Hotels are classified according to their size, function, and the extent of high-quality amenities provided. The following are the popular types of hotels:

International Luxury Hotels

These hotels are located in major or capital cities and are considered a pinnacle for providing high-quality service. International luxury hotels have five-star ratings and make their guests feel like they are living in mansions instead of staying at a hotel. Lifestyle luxury hotels are a type of these hotels; they cater to clients who lead a specific type of lifestyle. The defining feature of lifestyle luxury hotels is they focus more on satisfying every need of their guests besides providing lodgings.

Upscale Full-Service Hotels

Upscale full-service hotels are similar to luxury hotels; however, luxury hotels offer premium quality facilities. Though upscale hotels offer quality amenities, they fall just short of luxury hotels in this regard. These hotels even have ballrooms (of course, nothing can beat the ballroom in Disney’s film Cinderella). People may go skiing or golfing if they feel like undertaking any recreational activities.

Boutique Hotels

Boutique hotels are independent hotels with unique themes. They may be small in size, but they have a charming manner of capturing and reflecting the spirit and culture of the neighborhoods they are located in. These hotels prioritize being authentic rather than brand positioning like other hotels. Boutique hotels are affordable, and some offer painting and yoga classes. People who want to take a break from their everyday drill and want to try something new will be besotted with these fantastic hotels.

Extended Stay Hotels

People who always feel like they miss the humdrum of their homes when staying at hotels will benefit a lot by giving extended-stay hotels a chance. These hotels provide more home-like amenities that are not available in standard hotels. Self-service laundry facilities, attached kitchens with a sink, refrigerator, microwave oven, and stovetop (yay, home away from home!). The guests of these hotels are mostly those looking for semi-permanent lodgings; they are a great option for those who require a temporary place of residence.

Economy And Limited Service

Hotels that provide only a limited number of amenities are classified as economy hotels. They target specific niches like single business travelers, those looking for affordable lodgings with no additional bells and whistles, and so on. As these hotels lack on-site restaurants, they provide complimentary food and beverages.

Microstay Hotels

Do not need a hotel room for more than twenty-four hours? Book a room in Microstay hotels. The guests can choose the check-in and checkout time, and the hotels gain more profits, as they can resell the same room several times in a day; it’s a win-win situation. Of course, if people stand dallying in their rooms after the end of the duration for which they booked the room, they may find a kind but firm manager ushering them out with the utmost politeness. Hey, they need to serve the next client, do not judge them.

Other Unique Types

Bunker Hotels are former nuclear bunkers transformed into hotels. These hotels are ideal for small families (if they can withstand nuclear bombs, they definitely can handle a bunch of annoying kids hell-bent on wreaking havoc). Cave Hotels are built on natural cave formations; they have underground rooms, too (no, people will not encounter any trolls in the corridors, no matter how much they hope to meet one). Cliff Hotels located high above the sea levels offer a breathtaking view of the sea, especially during dawn and dusk.

Capsule/pod hotels are ideal for those who do not require the large rooms that most standard/conventional hotels provide. Capsule hotels have small bed-sized rooms; a guest has enough space to crawl in and sit on the bed. Small TVs, air conditioners, and power sockets are available within the pod. Showers, dining rooms, and wireless internet have to be shared with the other hotel guests.

Day Room Hotels are best suited for those who need lodging only between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Microstay hotels differ from these as the guests can stay as long as they want within a time limit of twenty-four hours, whereas guests who book day rooms can book the rooms for only a few hours. Garden Hotels are typically former mansions, castles (a fantastic example is Dracula’s castle in Hotel Transylvania), monasteries, and so on with awe-inspiring gardens converted into hotels.

Ice Hotels are built out of snow and sculpted blocks of ice (apparently, Elsa is not the only one who can build a sound structure for living out of ice). They have to be rebuilt every year, as they are prone to melt during spring. The guests sleep on beds made of snow and ice; fortunately, warm furs and blankets designed to withstand heat are provided by the hotels.

Airport passengers waiting impatiently to change planes can take a short break and rest in Transit Hotels. Another fun and unique type of hotel to stay in are the Library Hotel. Each floor of a library hotel will have a specific theme (science, music, poetry, etc.). Every room is stocked with books according to the floor theme (looks like the guests do not need to visit a library after all).

What Is Motel?

Motels are the best choice for those who need somewhere to crash and recharge after a long day (remember how, in the TV series Supernatural, Sam and Dean spent most of their time in motels?). Considered a haven for road travelers, these motels were built along freeways. The limited availability of rooms did not present a problem, as many motel chains sprang up due to the popularity of its lodgings. Some modern independent motels provide more amenities than traditional ones to compete against extended-stay hotels, chains, and franchise motels.

Main Differences Between Hotel And Motel In Points

  • A wide variety of hotels is available to suit the varying needs of guests. On the other hand, almost all motels look similar; only the amenities provided differ.
  • Entering motels may fill the guests with a feeling of familiarity (as they all look the same), which many people crave. However, each hotel offers a unique experience and is known for its professional and personalized services.
  • Most old hotels do not have a parking lot. As motels were built with travelers in mind, they all have a parking lot, and most importantly, they do not charge for using them.
  • The range and quality of food available in hotels are difficult to match or replicate. Motels offer modest food but do not stand a chance against hotels.
  • Motels are designed for short stays, whereas hotels often serve as semi-permanent lodgings. Sometimes, people stay at hotels for months.
  • Hotels are located in the busier parts of cities. Motels were built along highways to attract road travelers.
  • Motels are typically built in I, L, or U shapes. They may or may not have a second story. Hotels have several floors with hundreds of rooms in each.
  • Most hotels require prior reservation of rooms, whereas anyone can spontaneously book a room in a motel, as long as they can pay for it.


Hotels are the most suitable option if people plan to go on a vacation or need a place to stay for several days or months. Hotels are always buzzing, and people will not be bored even for a second (with so many facilities/amenities to explore, who has the time to even think?). However, if people embarked on a spontaneous road trip or merely need a room for a few days, motels are an excellent option.


  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel#
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motel#
  • https://traveldudes.com/what-is-the-difference-between-hotel-and-motel/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_Hotel
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boutique_hotel
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsule_hotel
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_room_(hotel)
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_hotels


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"Difference Between Hotel and Motel." Diffzy.com, 2023. Thu. 01 Jun. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-hotel-and-motel-1243>.

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