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59 Different Types of Hotels

A close look at a metallic hotel signage at a building facade.

So, you are planning a trip.

Maybe it is your first real vacation and you want it to be special, so you are doing all the relevant research, planning every tiny detail. Take it from me, relax, you are going to forget some little, or big, detail, so just strap in and take it in stride. Maybe it is you and your bud or bestie, or it could be you and your whole family.

Another possibility is that you have lost track of how many times you have traveled for work, across the country, or even the world, and you want to know if there is anything different than those economy rooms you have been staying in. They are great for what they are, but at least on this trip, you want to treat yourself to something more. Any way it goes, you need to pre-arrange a place to stay just in case there is a convention in town or something, as everything could be full or there could some other travelers’ nightmare.

You have begun to research what is available to you, but it is just a bunch of jumble in your head. What is the difference between a motel and a hotel, between a hostal and a hostel? What in the world is a boutique hotel? Do I even want to talk about what a love hotel is? Yes, I do because I am here to teach you the nuances of hotel types.

By Ownership and Affiliation

A look at the main entrance of Hilton Hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Independent and Single Owner Hotels

  • May be owned by one or more people, but normally they are family-owned and operated
  • They do not have to conform to any of the standards, or corporate policies or procedures, set forth by any of the major chain hotels, because they are unaffiliated with them

Franchise Hotels

  • Independently owned and operated but franchised with a hotel chain
  • In a franchise, the franchisor guides the owners in his business dealings and lets them operate under their brand’s name
  • In return, the franchisee pays fees and enters into a contract to do certain things, one of which is to uphold the brand’s standards of service and quality

Chain Hotels

  • Hotel chains operate under a brand name, usually, a corporation, which sets minimum standards and rules along with policies and procedures to control the activities of its affiliates

By Star Rating and Level of Service

A look at the seven star luxury hotel Burj Al Arab.

1-Star Hotels

  • A Budget or Limited Service Hotel
  • Supposedly low pricing
  • Minimal service standards
  • Bare essential amenities
  • Fundamental decor

2-Star Hotels

  • A Budget or Limited Service Hotel
  • Standard pricing
  • Near minimal service standards
  • Essential amenities
  • Basic decor

3-Star Hotels

  • A Mid-Range Service Hotel
  • Barely above standard pricing
  • Average service standards
  • Extra amenities
  • Nice decor
  • Modern conveniences
  • Hotel staff on the property

4-Star Hotels

  • A Mid-Range Service Hotel
  • Above standard pricing
  • Elevated service standards
  • Luxurious amenities
  • Upscale decor
  • More modern conveniences
  • Hotel staff on the property

5-Star Hotels

  • A World-Class Service Hotel
  • AKA a Luxury Hotel
  • Quite elevated pricing
  • Top-shelf service standards
  • Extravagant amenities
  • Lavish decor
  • Every modern convenience
  • Attentive hotel staff on the property

7-Star Hotels

For the most part, it is in Asia and the Middle East, but opulent, prestigious, and cutting-edge hotel properties are popping up around the world – they are called 7-star hotels. Each 7-star hotel is different, but some examples of offerings at the respective hotels in which they were offered are:

  • Eight attendants for each suite
  • Helicopter services
  • Ferrari and Lamborghini rentals
  • A fleet of Rolls Royce Phantoms
  • A 24-karat gold iPad available for each room
  • Butler services – 24 hours a day

By Amenities Offered

Apartment Hotel (AKA a Serviced Apartment)

  • Residential homes with hotel facilities
  • Usually, rent for one month to one year

Airport Hotel (AKA a Transit Hotel [inside the transit zone of an international airport])

A close look at the hotel signage and directions at the airport.

  • Located on the airport’s property or in close proximity to the airport
  • Perfect for travelers with connecting flights
  • Many offer an hourly rate for just enough time to shower, change clothes, and catch a nap before heading back to the airport

Albergo Diffuso (Alberghi Diffusi [plural])

  • An Italian hospitality concept
  • Trying to revive small towns that seem to be dying off
  • By creating a dispersed hotel in which the different rooms are set up in various places throughout the town
  • This way, guests are able to see the town for what it is, to witness the life that needs saving

Bed and Breakfast (AKA a B&B or BnB)

A look at the homey exterior of a bed breakfast with windows adorned by planters.

  • Set up usually in an old, large family home
  • Guests each have their own comfortable rooms for the night
  • Then, in the morning, they all have breakfast together, often cooked by the owner

Boarding House

  • A large house that is often the host’s home
  • Room (rooms) are rented for one or more nights
  • Some hosts (owners) offer extra amenities like meals and laundry

Boatel (Botel)

  • A water vessel converted into a hotel
  • Anything from a docked fishing boat to a large riverboat
  • If it is a water vessel and has a bed and protection from the elements, it is a boatel

Boutique Hotel

A look at a boutique hotel with a large pool and tall palm trees.

  • A small hotel that offers its guests some service, amenity – something unique
  • Usually, under 100 rooms, the theme at a boutique hotel can be anything from fragrances to sushi

Bunkhouse

  • Not a fancy hotel
  • In remote and small towns, workers can spend a night while in transit
  • In the UK, they are like hostels, except they don’t offer near as many tourism services

Capsule Hotel (AKA a Pod Hotel)

A close look at a capsule hotel with lit pods.

  • Small capsules, not much larger than an average person, allow the guest to sleep for an hour or overnight
  • So small that they may be stacked on top of each other
  • Guests often have to climb ladders past other capsules to reach theirs

Casa Particular

  • A concept of a Cuban homestay
  • Like a bed and breakfast and a vacation rental in one
  • A common homeowner rents out a bedroom and offers breakfast, and maybe other meals

Casino Hotel

An exterior look at a massive casino hotel in Macao.

  • A hotel where the tenant the hotel depends on for most of its proceeds is a large casino on the ground floor
  • Common in gambling destinations

Choultry

  • A place for travelers to rest
  • Most especially pilgrims heading to Hindu, Jain, or Buddhist temples in and near Asia

Circuit House

  • Nicer than a tourist bungalow
  • Good enough for student groups and senior government officials
  • There is a large hall offering multiple single beds with shelves, and common toilets and showers
  • Nominal pricing
  • No provision for food

Condominium Hotel (AKA a Condotel, Hotel Condo, or a Contel)

  • Like an apartment hotel
  • The only difference between an apartment hotel and a condominium hotel is the difference between an apartment and a condominium

Conference Hotel (Convention Center Hotel)

A look at a huge conference hall in a luxury hotel.

  • A hotel that is part of or that is connected to a conference center
  • Conference visitors who stay at conference hotels find it convenient to stay close to their interests

Dark Bungalow

  • For government duty officials
  • Similar to a small residential structure with limited rooms
  • Found in a significant location from the perspective of public works
  • Low prices for moderate facilities

Eco Hotel

An eco hotel with a wooden lodge surrounded by water and a tropical forest.

  • Aims to make its impact on the environment minimal
  • Uses sustainable materials
  • Puts environmental consciousness at the forefront
  • Tries to reduce and reverse the effects of climate change

Extended Stay Hotel

  • Offers all of the modern living’s amenities for guests who expect to stay an extended period of time over that of a typical vacationer
  • Rooms usually have refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, and extra closet space

Farmhouse

A look at the rustic bedroom of a farmhouse hotel.

  • For travelers in search of life outdoors and good food
  • Farmers with enough land and capital build farmhouses on agricultural land
  • They then rent them out to make money
  • The practice is popular in India and England, and in Denmark, they sell farm holidays to an international market through travel agents

Floating Hotels

A row of huts in a floating hotel in Thailand.

  • Old passenger transport ships converted into hotels
  • They come with modern facilities
  • Located on the surface of a lake or river

Garden Hotels

A look at the jungle-style pool and garden of a luxury hotel.

  • Usually a converted, large residence
  • Noted because of its sizeable and meticulous outdoor gardens
  • These gardens are often designed and nurtured by famous botanists

Garni Hotel

  • Usually found in central Europe
  • A small hotel with no restaurant at all that may offer breakfast

Gasthaus

  • A type of German lodging
  • A banquet hall, restaurant, or public bar has accommodations for guests upstairs or in the back where they can stay overnight

Guest House

  • Accommodates a guest overnight
  • Can be a large estate, a small house, a villa – any number of arrangements

Heritage Hotels

An exterior look at a large heritage hotel in India.

  • Usually has historic importance
  • Converted palaces, fortresses, castles, and other royal property with modern facilities
  • Often decorated like the era of the prime of the building and property
  • Gujarat and Rajasthan in India are known for heritage hotels

Heuhotel

  • “Hay hotel” in German
  • Hay bales for beds
  • Some offer private rooms with hay beds
  • Some share rooms, similar to what they would do in a hostel
  • Often, heuhotels are erected in a converted barn

Holiday Cottage (AKA a Holiday Home or Vacation Property)

A couple of wooden holiday cottages in the alps with a sweeping view of the mountains.

  • A small apartment or house only used for vacation lodging
  • Often an owner’s second home that they rent out when vacant

Homestay

A close look at a wooden directional signage for homestay.

  • A private home offering paid accommodations
  • OR
  • When a local family hosts a person volunteering abroad

Hospices

  • For travelers journeying for a religious reason
  • The host provides the pilgrims a place to lay their heads, a way to keep warm, and food to eat

Hostal

  • In Latin America and Spain
  • Cheap hotel with a bar or small cafe and a private room to rent
  • Most often family-run

Hostel

An exterior look at a hostel with red brick exterior walls adorned by flowers.

  • Cheap lodging
  • People from separate parties stay in shared dorms, usually sleeping on bunk beds

Hotelship

A look at a large hotelship docked in Prague.

  • A cruise liner, river ferry, or large boat that serves as a hotel
  • Can hold up to hundreds of guests
  • May travel during the guests stay

Hotel Barge (Péniche Hôtel [in French])

A row of hotel barges in Amsterdam.

  • Popular in Western Europe, especially the UK and France
  • A trend from back in the 1960s
  • Commercial river barges, after being removed from service, were converted into unique accommodations for travelers

Hotel Garni

A look at the front facade of a large hotel garni in Minsk.

  • French
  • Like a bed and breakfast
  • A furnished apartment or boarding house that supplies breakfast
  • Has more rooms than a bed and breakfast

Ice Hotel

A look at the main entrance of an ice hotel with ice accents and a large chandelier.

  • Built of ice blocks and snow that is tightly packed
  • A seasonal novelty, usually
  • Doors and some other fixtures are of everyday materials

Inn

  • A suburban or rural lodge for travelers’ overnight accommodations
  • The concept may reach back as far as the Roman Empire

Love Hotel (Sex Hotel)

A look inside the bedroom of a love hotel with red sheets on its bed.

  • A short-stay hotel
  • Rented out long enough for a sexual encounter
  • Rent by the hour or by the night

Motel

A nighttime look at the main entrance of a motel.

  • Means “motor hotel”
  • For car travelers
  • Motels’ doors are directly accessible from the parking lot, so that a guest can easily access their vehicle

Patient Hotel

A look at the main entrance of the Gran Hotel Colon, a patient hotel in Spain.

  • Common in Scandinavian countries
  • For medical patients needing to be near a hospital without needing to be in a hospital room
  • Also for a patient’s friends and loved ones

Pension (Lodging)

  • Common in the Middle East, Northern Africa, and in Europe
  • A small hotel serving three full meals per day
  • Owner-run, usually

Pension Hotel

  • Specific to the Philippines
  • Offers the bare minimum in a hotel at very low prices
  • Rooms usually have a fan or air-conditioner, a bed, and possibly a chair

Pop-up Hotel

  • A temporary hotel usually set up to take advantage of some opportunity, like a seasonal event
  • May happen one time or may happen over and over in different places

Railway Hotel

  • Hotel built inside of or close to a train station

Resort

A look at the pool area of a large Caribbean resort hotel.

  • Provides many more services, amenities, and activities that are vacation-related than a standard hotel
  • Possibilities may include childcare, multiple high-end bars and restaurants, and kayak rentals

Rotel

  • An air-conditioned coach offering transport, food, and sleep
  • Each passenger has a bed, lamp, mirror, and article rack
  • A Rotel’s sleeping coach offers a three-tiered room and a bed next to a wardrobe
  • It has a kitchen with a refrigerator, sink, and cabinets

Ryokan (Inn)

A look at the spacious and cozy room of a ryokan in Japan.

  • A Japanese inn that has traditional Japanese layouts and furnishings
  • Guests will find yukata-dressed guests, communal baths, and on the floors will be tatami mats

Ski Resort

A look at a ski resort hotel with large glass walls and large balconies.

  • A resort hotel constructed on or near a big mountain or skiing park
  • Primarily for skiers and snowboarders

Suite Hotel

This is a look at a deluxe suite hotel interior with a living room area and bedroom area divided by a wall.

  • Offers only suite-level accommodations
  • No offering of common hotel rooms

Timeshare

An aerial view of a timeshare condo hotel in the Caribbean.

  • People go in on a property together
  • Each of them owns a certain time period out of the year
  • During that period, they can visit or rent it out

Turbaza

  • Societ-era accommodations
  • A large structure found in what most would consider a getaway location, like a secluded beach or hidden forest
  • They have dozens of rooms for big groups
  • Still popular in Russia, Ukraine, and multiple other eastern European countries.
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