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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging 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in times past, consisting only of a room with a bed, a cupboard, a small table and a washstand has largely been replaced by rooms with modern facilities, including en-suite bathrooms and air conditioning or climate control.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. Hotel rooms are usually numbered to allow guests identify their room.

Some hotels offer 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.[citation needed] In Japan, capsule hotels provide a minimized amount of room space and shared facilities.

In the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and Ireland (and rarely in some parts of the United States), the word may also refer to a pub or bar and might not offer accommodation. In India and Bangladesh, the word may also refer to a restaurant.

Contents

Etymology

Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal, Budapest, Hungary

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. Grammatically, hotels usually take the definite article - hence "The Astoria Hotel" or simply "The Astoria".

Classification

A budget hotel in Malaysia

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.[citation needed] For the sake of greater comparability, rating systems have been introduced, with the one to five stars classification being most common[citation needed] and with higher star ratings indicating more luxury. Hotels are independently assessed in traditional systems and these rely heavily on the facilities provided.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] 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[citation needed] 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.

Hotels are also classified by service type ranging for all-inclusive full-service resorts that cater to vacationers to small limited service hotels that cater to transient business travelers. The main categories of hotels are as follows;

Historic hotels

Hotel Astoria and a statue of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia in front, in Saint Petersburg, Russia

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, United States 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, United Kingdom, 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 Waldorf Astoria and Statler hotels in New York City are also immortalized in the names of Muppets Statler and Waldorf.[citation needed]

The luxurious Grand Hotel Europe in Saint Petersburg, Russia achieved fame with its inclusion in the James Bond film GoldenEye.

Unusual hotels

U.S. City Chicago's Magnificent Mile has hosted many skyscraper hotels such as the Allerton Hotel

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.

Bunker hotels

The Null Stern Hotel in Teufen, Appenzellerland, Switzerland and the Concrete Mushrooms in Albania[1] are former nuclear bunkers transformed into hotels.

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, where people sleep in stacks of rectangular containers.

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, project cancelled 2004 in Dubai, would have had 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

Resort hotels

Principe di Piemonte, Viareggio (Italy)

Some hotels are built specifically to create a captive trade, example at casinos and holiday resorts. Though of course hotels have always been built in popular desinations, the defining characteristic of a resort hotel is that it exists purely to serve another attraction, the two having the same owners.

In Las Vegas there is a tradition of one-upmanship with luxurious and extravagant hotels in a concentrated area known as the Las Vegas Strip. This trend now has extended to other resorts worldwide, but the concentration in Las Vegas is still the world's highest: nineteen of the world's twenty-five largest hotels by room count are on the Strip, with a total of over 67,000 rooms.[2]

In Europe Center Parcs might be considered a chain of resort hotels, since the sites are largely man-made (though set in natural surroundings such as country parks) with captive trade, whereas holiday camps such as Butlins and Pontin's are probably not considered as resort hotels, since they are set at traditional holiday destinations which existed before the camps.

Railway hotels

Frequently, expanding railway companies built grand hotels at their termini, such as the Midland Hotel, Manchester next to the former Manchester Central Station and in London the ones above St Pancras railway station and Charing Cross railway station also in London is the Chiltern Court Hotel above Baker Street tube station and Canada's grand railway hotels. They are or were mostly, but not exclusively, used by those travelling by rail.

Motels

A motel (Motor Hotel) is a hotel which is for a short stay, usually for a night, for motorists on long journeys. It has direct access from the room to the vehicle (for example a central parking lot around which the buildings are set), and is built conveniently close to major roads and intersections.

World record setting hotels

Historical Hotel Savoy in Florence

Largest

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.[3]

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.[4]

Tallest

Burj Al Arab in United Arab Emirates is the tallest building used exclusively as a hotel.[5] However, the Rose Tower, also in Dubai, which has already topped Burj Al Arab's height at 333 m (1,093 ft), will take away this title upon its opening.[6][7][8]

Hotel rooms as an investment

Some hotels sell individual rooms to investors. The buyer is allowed to stay in the room without charge or at a reduced rate for a given number of days each year. The investor is paid a share of the takings for the room. Rooms can be sold on a leasehold basis, sometimes on a 999 year lease. Room owners are free to sell at any time.[9]

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".[10]

Fictitious hotels

Hotels have been used as the settings for television programmes such as the British situation comedies Fawlty Towers and I'm Alan Partridge, the British soap opera Crossroads, and in films such as the Bates Motel in Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho.

See also

References

Further reading

  • Lundberg, Donald E., The Hotel and Restaurant Business, Boston : Cahners Books, 1974. ISBN 0843620447

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Hotels article)

From Wikitravel

This article is a travel topic.

See also the Travel accommodation article.

Hotels provide private serviced rooms for guests. They range from very basic budget-style to extremely luxurious accommodation.

A typical twin hotel room.
A typical twin hotel room.
  • Single rooms are for single travellers. In many hotels, a single room is actually the same as a double room.
  • Double rooms are for two travellers sleeping in the same bed.
  • Twin rooms have two separate single beds.
  • Triple rooms have either three separate bed, or a double bed plus a single bed.
  • Quads rooms are designed for 4 people or more.
  • Suites are complete apartments with multiple rooms, intended for long stays — or just people with money to burn.

There is considerable variation and many frills within these basic types, the rule of thumb being that the more you pay, the larger your room becomes. Some business-oriented hotels offer an executive level, where a steep premium gets you access into an airline-style lounge and typically some perks like "free" Internet access or pay-per-view movies. Naming for these rooms varies, with eg. the Kuala Lumpur Hilton dubbing even its cheapest rooms as "Deluxe" and the next category up being "Executive" — but you need to upgrade one more step to an "Executive Suite" if you want to actually get the executive level perks. Some hotels are now taking an active stance on being smoke free.

Hotels may additionally offer meal service included in the price. Common terms include:

  • Bed and breakfast (B&B). The morning meal is included. This may range considerably from a simple roll and coffee to an elaborate spread.
  • Half board (aka half pension, demi-pension, modified American plan). A hotel rate that includes breakfast and one additional meal, typically dinner. Also called Modified American Plan and demi-pension.
  • Full board (aka full pension, full American plan). A hotel rate in which three meals a day are included in the price.
  • All inclusive. All meals and drinks are included. The list of "free" drinks is usually limited though: house wine is probably OK, champagne probably isn't.

Hotels may also charge a mandatory fee in addition to the standard room and board charge to provide access to additional facilities. This is typically called a Resort Fee and can include access to things such as exercise facilities, pools, and high-speed internet access.

The supposed "Seven Star" Burj al-Arab hotel in Dubai.
The supposed "Seven Star" Burj al-Arab hotel in Dubai.

The guide below is by necessity a generalization, as star ratings are awarded by each country according to their own rules, and the difference between a 3-star and a 4-star may be something as obscure as having a minibar in each room. It's also worth noting that star ratings are often 'sticky', in the sense that once awarded they're rarely taken away: a four-star built last year is probably still pretty good, but a four-star opened in 1962 and never renovated since may well have turned into a dump.

Note also that the ratings are weakening as marketers misuse them. The original Michelin star scale for restaurants only went up to three stars, which meant restaurants worth making a special trip for. Two stars were worth a detour, one a stop. The Mobil Travel Guide, which covers all of North America, awarded the Five Star rating to only 32 hotels in 2006, but that does not prevent dozens of hotels from claiming to be "five star". Most are more like Mobil's defintion [1] of three star "Well-appointed establishment, with full services and amenities" or four star "Outstanding-worth a special trip".

See also Rating systems.

Six and seven-star hotels

The notion is that a hotel can be six or seven stars is a joke among travel professionals since most respectable hotel rating systems do not give out a rating higher than five stars. The consensus is since so few hotels really can achieve the five star rating then there shouldn't be a rating higher than five stars.

An example of a popularly known "seven star" hotel is Dubai's Burj al-Arab. It's certainly one of the most luxurious hotels in the world (as awarded earlier by Conde Nast Traveller Magazine), and is also officially the tallest hotel in the world. In reality, it is a 5 star deluxe property (the popular seven star status is not often corrected in the media, though).

Five-star hotels

The five-star hotels is the quintessential luxury hotel, offering thrills above and beyond the actual needs of the travel. They have restaurants and night spots that are world class, with food and entertainment that draw non-guests to sample it too.

Five-star hotels also tend to have opulent and expensive decorations; fancy gyms, swimming pools and spas. Major five-star chains compete to offer the most ludicrous thrills imaginable: Loews offers dog-walking services, while Conrad will let you order from a menu of pillows. Needless to say, all this comes at a steep price, and you're unlikely to be able to justify the expense of a five-star for ordinary business travel. The other downside to five-stardom is that hotels that can jump through all the hoops to achieve the rating are likely to be large and impersonal.

Major chains: Orient-Express Hotels, Conrad (Hilton), Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts, St. Regis, Le Meridien and W (Starwood), InterContinental (ICH), JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton (Marriott), Shangri-La, Mandarin Oriental, Sofitel (Accor), Four Seasons (Accor), Regent (Carlson), Langham International

Four-star hotels

The four-star hotel is a good business hotel. Everything works smoothly, there's Internet in every room, a well-equipped business center, they'll arrange your airport transfer and room service is palatable and only somewhat expensive. And your boss will probably not faint when they see the bill.

Major chains: Hilton, Marriott, Novotel (Accor), Crowne Plaza (ICH)

Three-star hotels

Three-star hotels are solid but dull. Your room will have an attached bathroom and there's probably a restaurant downstairs and 24-hour reception service.

Major chains: Ibis, Mercure, (two Accor hotels brands), Courtyard by Marriott, Holiday Inn (ICH), Cyprus Hotels

Two-star hotels

Two stars means no-frills hotel. In most countries two stars means that your room probably has its own bathroom and there's probably a TV and telephone in your room, but rooms are bare-bones and you're unlikely to want to spend any more time than strictly necessary inside.

Major chains: Comfort Inn, Motel 6, Super 8 and Etap

One-star hotels

You don't see many of these, and with reason. One-stars are not just no-frills, but often downright dodgy: rooms are barely functional, shared bathrooms are somewhere down a corridor and the painted ladies from the all-hours karaoke bar next door dance the horizontal tango all night long in the room next to yours.

Unrated hotels

Unrated hotels are a mixed bag. Most, it is safe to say, are hotels that are either too dodgy to achieve even the meager requirements of a one-star — or, alternatively, too small and personal to be able to offer (say) 24-hour room service, although the service and amenities offered are otherwise of five-star caliber.

There are also selective hotel groups for smaller properties that generally select for high quality, boutique hotels.

Grand old hotels

In many cities, there is one famous old hotel, usually going back to the Victorian era, that was historically the place to stay. Of course, the newer luxury hotels may have better facilities, but the old place has cachet. See Grand old hotels.

International brands

International brands are a popular choice with business travellers, as they generally offer standardized predictability. The downside for leisure travel is that they are rarely very exciting or exotic, and there can still be considerable variation within the brand.

The following lists major international hotel brands only, with over 500 hotels in multiple countries. Local chains can be found in individual country articles.

  • Accor [2] From the luxury Sofitel brand to the basic Etap and Motel 6 brands, Accor has hotels in a range of economic travel segments, from luxury to budget class hotels. Accor Hotels is probably the most established company in Europe and offers great choices for the backpacker and the discerning guests. Accor's subsidiary Compagnie des Wagons-Lits [3] provides hotel services for trains.
  • Best Western International [4] is the world's largest hotel brand with more than 4,200 hotels in 80 countries. In 2006, the company celebrated 60 years of providing quality customer care and dedicated service to Best Western guests across the globe. The chain operates in growing economies (like Armenia or Eastern Europe): seriously refurbishes interior of hotels built dozens year ago, introduces western management -- and then sells it to US/Canadian/Australian travellers. This results in low rates and a good service.
  • Choice Hotels International [5] Brands include- Comfort Inn, Comfort Inn & Suites, Sleep Inn, Quality Inn & Suites, Clarion Hotels, Cambria Suites, Mainstay Suites, Suburban Hotels, Rodeway Inn, and Econo Lodge
  • Hilton Hotels [6] Hotel brands include Conrad, Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Waldorf=Astoria, Hampton Inn, and Homewood Suites.
  • Hyatt Hotels[7] Hyatt has over 735 hotels and resorts in more than 44 countries. The company brands include Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Resorts, Hyatt Place, Hyatt Summerfield Suites and Andaz.
  • InterContinental Hotels Group [8] hotel brands include InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel Indigo, Candlewood Suites, and Staybridge Suites.
  • Marriott [9] hotels include Renaissance, J.W. Marriott, Marriott, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, SpringHill Suites, and Marriott Vacation Club International. Marriott also owns Ritz Carlton. [10].
  • Louvre Hotels [11] brands are primarily located in Europe. The upper brand (Concorde Hotels [12]) includes Hotel de Crillon or Hotel Martinez. The economic brands include Premiere Classe [13] (1 star hotels) or Campanile [14] hotels, two very well known brands in France and Eastern Europe (more than 800 properties).
  • Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts[15]is a hotel-management company with a portfolio of 15 hotels in 9 countries. The company is a founding member of the Global Hotel Alliance, the world's largest alliance of independent hotel groups.
  • Radisson [16] and its affiliates Country Inn, Park Plaza and Park Inn have over 1700 hotels around the world.
  • Starwood Hotels [17] Starwood hotel brands include Le Meridien, Sheraton, St. Regis, Luxury Collection, Westin, W Hotels, Four Points, Element, and Aloft.
  • Wyndham [18] has 6,500 hotels, concentrated mostly in North America and the Caribbean. Its vast constellation of brands includes Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Ramada, Super 8 and Travelodge. Wyndham Hotels are the upscale brand of this corporate hotel chain.

Hotel Loyalty Programs

Hotel Loyalty Programs are corporate sponsored membership clubs for hotel frequent guests and are similar to airline frequent flyer loyalty programs. Membership is free in most hotel chains. The purpose of Hotel loyalty programs are to ensure that a hotel company retains its clients as frequent guests by offering added value benefits for staying as a guest or booking conference rooms and facilities at their hotels. The basic idea is every eligible hotel night or every dollar you spend at hotel brands participating in the corporate hotel loyalty program earns points, which can be exchanged for rewards like hotel rooms, room upgrades and airline miles.

Some hotel chains, particularly in the luxury segment, operate programs that do not award points, but offer frequent guest recognition with added value benefits such as complimentary room upgrades, restaurant and spa discounts, and additional amenities in recognition of the loyal guest.

Hotel co-branded credit cards are a common strategy for earning hotel loyalty points and benefits when not staying at hotels.

An additional incentive for a hotel frequent guest is premium membership. Each corporate hotel loyalty program has its own criteria for elite membership. Hotel loyalty program elite membership is generally earned by a frequent guest when certain thresholds are met for the number of hotel stays, hotel nights, or money spent. A hotel stay is defined as consecutive nights at same hotel under same name, regardless of the number of different reservations.

Elite membership in a hotel loyalty program is generally based on activity within a calendar year. Sleep at the loyalty program member hotels for sufficient nights or stays, or spend enough money and you'll get a silver/gold/platinum/diamond hotel program membership card entitling you to various perks, such as hotel points bonuses, lounge access, free upgrades, guaranteed rooms, etc. High level elite membership in the major hotel chain loyalty programs, generally with the benefit of complimentary room upgrades, takes between 25 and 75 hotel nights in a 12-month period.

Some of the better-known hotel loyalty programs are:

  • 1865, for Langham Hotels International. [19]
  • Choice Privileges, for Choice Hotels properties including some international destinations. [20]
  • Hilton HHonors, at Hilton hotels. Allows guests to "double dip", earning both hotel points and airline miles for the same stay. [21]
  • Hyatt Gold Passport is a rewards and privileges program associated with the entire Hyatt hotel chain. Beginning with the first stay, a Hyatt Gold Passport member can earn and redeem free nights with no blackout dates in over 470 locations worldwide. For information visit [22]
  • Marriott Rewards, for Marriott owned hotels. [23]
  • Pan Pacific Privileges, for Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts [24]
  • Priority Club, for InterContinental chain hotels (including Holiday Inn). [25]
  • Starwood Preferred Guest, for all Starwood hotels and resorts. Le Meridien's Moments program has been rolled into this. [26]
  • Shangri-La Hotel Golden Circle, at Shangri-La and Traders. The program is unusual for having no points of its own; instead, you can choose to credit miles into various airline programs. Nights and stays are still tracked for premium levels. [27]
  • MaS Rewards, for Sol Melia Hotels & Resorts. Allows guests to earn points for their hotel stays and to get open access to exclusive special offers in solmelia.com 2 days before non-members. [28]

Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also hotel, and hôtel

German

Etymology

From French hôtel

Noun

Hotel n. (genitive Hotels, plural Hotels)

  1. hotel

Simple English

A hotel or a guest-house is a large building with many rooms, where people can sleep when they are not at home. A motel is a hotel especially for motorists - people who drive cars - where the room door usually opens into the parking lot. Inn is sometimes used to mean a smaller hotel.

These places will rent a room for any number of days. They offer rooms to sleep, and want money for the service. There are also hotels where conferences are held.


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