Hotel vs. Motel vs. Inn

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Difference between Hotel, Motel and Inn

Everyone needs lodging when venturing out of the town due to work or pleasure related reasons. Now, the decision to pick a hotel, motel or inn for oneself is a pretty complicated one especially when you have so many options available before yourself. Hotels, motels and inns all offer you coveted residing facilities when you need them the most.



Hotels are everywhere now. Hotels range from the most sophisticated branded ones to the average 2 or 3 star hotels. The main difference between hotels, motels and inns are that the latter refer to residences for traveler's not necessarily special guests. 

Both inns and motels are situated along highways or long roads and not inside cities so that tourists can easily seek them. Travelers can find food, accommodation and drinks in motels and inns whereas hotels also include more luxurious amenities like swimming pools and TV's. Typically motels are meant for an overnight stay but it depends on your discretion. Motels sometimes charge your stay on a per-hour basis.

Hotels weren't created with parking lots initially whereas motels quintessentially have a parking lot since their inception. Inns and motels have existed for centuries in Europe but hotels have a more recent origin. An inn like The George in England is quite old but offers you ample residing and dining facilities.

Motels often have neon boards for easier recognition whereas hotels traditionally don't have any such distinctive boards. 


There is also some variance in the structure of hotels, motels and inns. Motel rooms and Inn rooms open to a corridor outdoors.  Hotel rooms are more private and have hallway entrances on the interior of the buildings.  


Hotels are bound to have their branches. Top notch hotel chains often strive to have branches in major cities of the world. Motels typically are restricted to a single country like the Super 8 chain. Inns don't typically have branches but Holiday Inn is an example of an exception with its branches situated all over the world. Motels don't have more than one to three stories at the maximum. Hotels can have as many stories as one can think of.


It is up to you to select any one of these structures depending your trip preferences and budget.

  • Number of travelers. If you have a large number of travelers with you, the best bet would be to choose a hotel over a motel for the availability of amenities. However, motels offer lower rates as compared to hotels.
  • Hotel rates depend on its exclusivity like Ritz Carlton.
  • Accessibility. You can easily find motels as they are located opposite to parking area in many places. 
  • Ease of meals. Hotels may not always have a restaurant on site by generally offer food via room service and may offer to order food for customers. Motels and inns usually have comfortable although not perfect eating facilities. They also often advertise optional kitchenettes for long term stays. Hotels commonly offer luxuries of served meals, microwaves, refrigerators and perhaps restaurants on site.

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