What is the Difference Between a Hotel and a Motel?

Difference Between Hotel and Motel

When we talk about hotels and motels, one thing that comes to mind is that they are establishments that offer accommodation to travelers.

But despite this similarity, they both have their differences. Therefore, if you want to know the difference between a hotel and a motel, this article is for you.

Difference Between a Hotel and a Motel


A hotel is an establishment that provides lodging for guests on a short-term basis alone and makes provision of numerous amenities that could raise the lodging satisfaction of these guests.

The motel is an establishment that provides guests with both short-term and long-term lodging. Although motels provide lesser guests comfort, it is usually located with good access to the highway.


Another major difference between a hotel and a motel is the price. The price of hotels is usually higher compared to motels.

Nevertheless, it is based on the quality of services and facilities provided, such as room types, location, star rating, amenities, and better rooms/accommodation.

Motels are usually cheaper than hotels due to inadequate amenities, location, basic rooms, etc.


In hotels, there is the provision of numerous amenities that might raise the lodging satisfaction of their guests, such as

  • Fitness center
  • Meeting/banquet facilities
  • WiFi
  • Jacuzzi
  • Arcade/game room
  • One or more pools (indoor and/or outdoor)
  • Various room levels ( standard, premium, family suites, jacuzzi suites, etc.)
  • Business center, among others.

There’s usually no jacuzzi, pool, arcade/game room, fitness centers, or other facilities listed under hotels in motels.


Hotels are usually located anywhere within a village or city close to airports, vacation areas, sports arenas, business districts, downtown areas, casinos, attraction freeways, and other places.

On the other hand, Motels are located on highways, in rural areas, outskirts of town, and in other places.


Hotels are well-designed and are often remodeled to suit the taste of those seeking some essential luxury. On the other hand, Motels are concerned more about meeting basic needs, such as overnight accommodation.

So the design isn’t a significant factor in most cases. Notwithstanding, this can differ from place to place due to local competition.


Both establishments frequently employ a diverse range of employees in their respective fields.

Among the many jobs available in hotels are receptionists, concierges, bellhops, cooks, housekeepers, parking valets, door attendants, and elevator operators.

Occasionally, a manager or two will be on duty as well. Motels, on the other hand, are more likely to have receptionists and housekeepers on the premises.

In smaller establishments, these responsibilities may overlap.

The length of time you’ll be there

A motel is designed for those who are traveling on the highway and would like to take a break from their adventure.

A hotel caters to a diverse range of customers, including business travelers, travelers on business, students, and so on.

Despite this, few motels or hotels will turn away guests who plan to stay for a lengthy period, and motels, in particular, are generally accommodating of extended stays.

What is a hotel?

A hotel is an establishment that provides accommodation and other services such as a swimming pool, restaurants, etc., to guests. Many hotels provide large halls for meetings and conferences, therefore making it useful for business meetups.

A rating system of one to five stars is adopted to compare hotels’ quality or standards and amenities.

What is a motel?

People used the motel to describe when a hotel provides extensive parking, a feature unique to Americans and Canadians who often travel long distances on major highways and interstate systems. It is derived from the words “motorist” and “hotel.”

At first, the rooms in motels had doors facing the parking area, which makes going and coming less difficult.

Nowadays, the reverse is the case as several motels now have inward-facing doors linking to common areas.

When should I stay in a motel rather than a hotel room?

There are a variety of instances in which choosing a motel over a hotel makes more sense, including the following:

A motel can be a more affordable option if you’re seeking the best deal and don’t care about facilities (such as a fitness center and room service).

In the case of a road trip, motels are a practical alternative because they may provide you with an inexpensive spot to rest your head after a long day of driving.

For the most part, motels started off as modest and self-service hotels conveniently positioned along highway routes like Route 66, a popular cross-country route home to numerous historic and unusual motels.

When should I stay in a hotel rather than a motel room?

In some cases, even if motels are less expensive than hotels, it may be worth your while to pay the additional money and stay at a hotel.

In terms of amenities and comfortable vacations, hotels offer more elegant lodgings, faster WiFi, room service, fitness centers, spas, etc.

Hotels typically feature a larger number of staff members, such as receptionists and concierges, who may assist you in planning activities and providing local information for those coming to an unfamiliar location.

It is sometimes necessary to have a convenient location. Therefore people typically build their hotels in desirable areas, such as adjacent to popular tourist attractions.

Business travelers attending a conference may prefer the convenience of a hotel’s services, such as room service or a sit-down restaurant, in order to keep their schedules as stress-free as possible.

Which is more affordable: a motel or a hotel?

Hotels typically provide more than simply a place to rest their heads. They are likely to feature at least some basic amenities such as on-site restaurants, swimming pools, spas, and gyms. This is because people consider them a form of “getaway” for traveling families.

The average cost of a hotel room per night, including deluxe amenities and services, is $180 a night.

While you may get a general sense from this, the costs can vary significantly depending on the location and amenities of the hotel.

The more lavish you desire, aside from a place to sleep, the higher the cost of your bill will be.

On the other hand, Motels do not provide such a comprehensive selection of amenities, which explains why they are less expensive.

They are merely intended to suit the most basic of guests’ requirements, which is to provide a place to relax and wash.

A typical motel with only the rudimentary amenities will cost you anything from $45 to $100 per night.

In most cases, proper motels are only intended to be a place of rest for tourists; so, luxury is not a significant consideration in their design.

However, the location of the motel and the quality of its services will ultimately determine its cost.


Clearly, there are significant differences between hotel and motel accommodations.

Not only are their structure different and offered different services, but they also employ significantly different numbers of employees and have significant price gaps between them.

When you’re ready to start planning your next vacation, we hope you’ll find this article to be helpful in selecting which type of lodging will best fit your needs.

Comments 1
  1. It’s great that you talked about how motels are usually located on highways, rural areas, outskirts of towns, and other places. I am planning to go on a solo road trip next month and I am currently looking for good accommodation. I don’t think I’ll be staying in one place for too long so staying at a motel might work best.

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