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in times past, consisting only of a room with a bed, a cupboard, a small table and a washstand has largely been replaced by rooms with modern facilities, including en-suite bathrooms and air conditioning or climate control.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.Fact|date=January 2008 In Japan, capsule hotels provide a minimized amount of room space and shared facilities.
Australiaand 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.Fact|date=August 2007
The word "hotel" is derived from the French "hôtel" (coming from "hôte" meaning "host"), which referred to a French version of a
townhouseor 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.
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.Fact|date=April 2008 For the sake of greater comparability, rating systems have been introduced, with the one to five stars classification being most commonFact|date=August 2007 and with higher star ratings indicating more luxury. Hotels are independently assessed in traditional systems and these rely heavily on the facilities provided.Fact|date=April 2008 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
elevatorwould prevent it from reaching a higher categorization.Fact|date=April 2007 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 standardFact|date=April 2008 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.
Some hotels have gained their renown through tradition, by hosting significant events or persons, such as Schloss
Cecilienhofin Potsdam, Germany, which derives its fame from the Potsdam Conferenceof the World War IIallies Winston Churchill, Harry Trumanand Joseph Stalinin 1945. The Taj Mahal Palace & Towerin Mumbaiis 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 Astoriain New York City, USAwhere the Waldorf Saladwas first created or the Hotel Sacherin 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 Pariswhere the crêpe Suzettewas invented or the Raffles Hotelin Singapore, where the Singapore Slingcocktail was devised.
A number of hotels have entered the public consciousness through popular culture, such as the
Ritz Hotelin London, UK, through its association with Irving Berlin's song, ' Puttin' on the Ritz'. The Algonquin Hotelin 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 Europein Saint Petersburg, Russiaachieved fame with its inclusion in the James Bondfilm GoldenEye.
Many hotels can be considered destinations in themselves, by dint of unusual features of the lodging or its immediate environment:
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 Hotelin Aberdare National Park, Kenya; the Ariau Towersnear Manaus, Brazil, on the Rio Negroin the Amazon; and Bayram's Tree Houses in Olympos, Turkey.
Desert Cave Hotel in
Coober Pedy, South Australiaand 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 caveformations, some with rooms underground.
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 Finlandis located within the walls of the Kemisnow castle; and the Lainio Snow Hotel is part of a snow village near Ylläs, Finland.
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 Barrywith a rose garden by Geoffrey Jellicoe.
Some hotels have accommodation underwater, such as
Utter Innin Lake Mälaren, Sweden. Hydropolis, under construction in Dubai, will have suites on the bottom of the Persian Gulf, and Jules Undersea Lodgein Key Largo, Floridarequires scuba divingto access its rooms.
Other unusual hotels
Library Hotelin New York Cityis unique in that each of its ten floors are assigned one category from the Dewey Decimal System.
Burj al-Arabhotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, built on an artificial island, is structured in the shape of a boat's sail.
* The former
ocean linerRMS|Queen Mary in Long Beach, Californiauses its first-class staterooms as a hotel.
* The Jailhotel Löwengraben in
Lucerne, Switzerlandis a converted prison now used as a hotel.
Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotelin Doha, Qatar is known as the Pyramid of the Gulfdue to its pyramidal structure.
Liberty Hotelin Bostonused to be the Charles Street Jail.
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.Fact|date=April 2008
World record setting hotels
The hotel with the greatest number of rooms is the
MGM Grand Las Vegasin Las Vegas, USA, with a total of 6,852 rooms.Fact|date=April 2008 In 2006, Guinness World Recordslisted the First World Hotelin Genting Highlands, Malaysiaas the world's largest hotel with a total of 6,118 rooms. [ [http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v3/news_lite.php?id=237233 Genting's First World Recognized As World's Largest Hotel] , Bernama.com]
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, Japanwhich opened in 718. [ [http://www.ho-shi.co.jp/jiten/Houshi_E/home.htm Hoshi Ryokan website, accessed 22 June 2008] ]
Burj Al Arabis the tallest building used exclusively as a hotel.cite news |date=March 2008 |title=World's Tallest Hotels |url=http://www.emporis.com/en/bu/sk/st/tp/ty/ho/ |publisher=Emporis |accessdate=2008-03-23] However, the Rose Tower, also in Dubai, which has already topped Burj Al Arab's height at convert|333|m|ft|abbr=on, will take away this title upon its opening. [The opening of the Rose Towerwas originally scheduled to take place in April 2008, but has still not opened as of late May 2008.] [Cite news |title=Rotana to bring 10,000 more rooms under management |url=http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/07/11/22/10169274.html |publisher=" Gulf News" |date=2007-11-22 |accessdate=2008-04-06] [Cite web |title=Four Dubai Openings For Rotana Hotels |url=http://www.rotana.com/specialoffersco-1397.htm |publisher=Rotana Hotels |date=2008-01 |accessdate=2008-04-06]
Living in hotels
A number of public figures have notably chosen to take up semi-permanent or permanent residence in hotels.
Richard Harrislived at the Savoy Hotelwhile 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". [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/6990706.stm "Home Suite Home" – BBC News] ]
Bed and breakfast
RevPAR(measurement of hotel performance)
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