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What's The Difference Between A Hotel And A Motel?

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The main difference between a motel and a hotel is that a motel offers rooms for travelers who are on a budget, while hotels offer more luxurious services.

A hotel is a place where people stay for the night, typically to travel somewhere else. A motel is also a place where people can stay for the night, but motels are often cheaper and provide fewer services. Although there are many similarities between hotels and motels, there are some differences that set them apart - this article will help you better understand what those differences are!

What is a Hotel?

Ritz Paris, a very luxurious Hotel

A Hotel is a place where people stay when they travel for holidays, business trips, conferences, etc. Most hotels have many features that can be costly but are worth it for visitors who want to stay somewhere luxurious during their trip. In general, hotels provide more amenities than motels do because they're bigger. They typically have larger rooms that come with a TV, bathroom, telephone, a mini-fridge to store snacks and drinks, and internet access via Wi-Fi. They also include daily housekeeping services including fresh towels and linens every morning and a swimming pool or fitness center. Depending on your budget the amenities offered can be less or more.

What is a Motel?

Flight Motel, a cheap Motel in Los Angeles

Motels provide rooms for travelers on highway exits or along major roads outside cities, whereas hotels usually don't locate their properties off highways unless they're located near an airport. Motels usually have an office located in the front of the building where guests can check-in, whereas hotels often have bellhops waiting to greet their guests with luggage carts. Hotels typically cater to business people or families that want to spend some time away from home, but motels are popular among long-haul truckers who need an inexpensive place to stay overnight before continuing on their journey.

Differences between a Hotel & Motel


One of the major differences between a hotel and a motel is where they are located. Motels normally locate their properties off highways unless they're near an airport, whereas hotels don't tend to be in this type of setting. They are located more in prime areas.

Hotels usually have an office with staff waiting for guests at the front desk that can check-in people when they arrive versus motels having guest call bells that ring down to the office so someone can come up and assist them with checking in. 

Size & amenities

Motels are normally smaller than hotels and have fewer amenities. For example, most motels don't have an on-site restaurant or food service available where you can go to eat breakfast in the morning since they're usually just small motels with only one or two floors.

Another difference between staying at a hotel vs a motel would be if you need any special assistance during your stay. An example is asking housekeeping for extra towels or pillows that aren't already provided in your room. This is something that is more easily accessible when staying at a hotel since there will be a front desk with staff working to assist you whereas motels may not have anyone on-site after or before certain hours. Room service is generally provided only in hotels.


Hotels and motels also vary in pricing as well. The price of a hotel room is normally more expensive than the same type of room or bed at a motel. Especially if you compare them both during peak seasons like summer because hotels increase their prices whereas motel rates stay the same year-round. This is also the case during peak seasons for businesses, holidays, and conventions when hotels will increase their rates to accommodate people who want a place to stay whereas motels remain at a lower rate all of the time regardless if it's summer or winter since they're off highways and not in busy cities where demand would be higher.

Comparison Chart: Hotel Vs Motel

Property SizeHugeSmall
Room Service OfferedYesNo
Room AmenitiesMoreLess
Good For TouristsYesNo
Good For Road TripsNoYes

Similarities Between Hotels and Motels

Both hotels and motels normally provide the basic amenities in their rooms like a TV with cable channels, air conditioner (or heater), telephone, and housekeeping to clean your room daily. Plus both places have towels and linens provided as well. Despite many differences, the basic premise of both a hotel & motel is the same. That is to provide accommodation to travelers.


Hotel Vs Motel: Which is better?

There's no right or wrong answer to this question. It simply depends on your needs and preferences regarding which one you choose. If you are on a road trip and you are planning to save money a motel will be the best bet. A hotel is good when traveling as a tourist and with your family.

Are hotels and motels safe? Which is safer?

Both come with certain risks such as the chance of encountering crime but normally, they're quite secure places for people to stay at. They generally have security cameras, often with a monitoring system to keep an eye on corridors as well as secure entrances. Though in comparison a hotel is generally more secure than a motel. Since hotels charge more, it is a given that the security measures taken are also higher.

Why is it called a motel instead of a hotel?

The term "motel" is actually a condensed version of the words "motor hotel".


You may not realize it, but there are some big differences between a hotel and a motel. Hotels typically have more amenities than motels, offer better customer service, and provide the atmosphere of luxury that you might be looking for in your travels. If you're traveling to an area with nothing but motels available, don't despair! There are still things about these budget-friendly options that can make them really great places to stay.


Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
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About the Author: Tom Vincent

Tom Vincent graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and social studies. He then started his higher education at the University of François Rabelais in Tours with a DUT Information Communication. To expand his knowledge, he also followed a professional degree in e-commerce and digital marketing at the Lumière University of Lyon. On this project, he is in charge of articles covering language, industry and social.
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