hotel vs motel - difference between hotel and motel

Hotel vs Motel: 9 Main Difference Between Hotel And Motel

Hotel vs Motel: We all have been confused at some point in our life when it comes to the difference between hotel and motel.

Some of us might have even stayed at both hotel and motel but still do not know the exact difference between them. And trust me, most of the seasoned travelers also do not know the difference between hotel and motel 😉

In this post, we will be learning about the main difference between hotel and motel in terms of definitions, pricing, amenities, and location etc.

But before going into the motel hotel difference, let us know what hotel and motel actually are.

What is a hotel?

Hotel is a commercial establishment which provides paid lodging facilities to the guests. Facilities that are provided may range from a modest-quality mattress to a large suite with great sea view, balcony and king size bed. Read more about it here.

Other services that could be found at the hotel are swimming pool, bars, smoking room etc.

What is a motel?

The word motel is derived from motorist and hotel. Motels provide paid lodging facilities for a short duration generally for a night or two. They just provide basic facilities like a room with a bed to spend your night and an attached washroom. They have a parking lot where guest can park their vehicles. You can read more about it on Wikipedia here.

Now coming back to the point, let talk about the differences.

Hotel vs Motel: Difference and Detail Comparision


One of the main difference between hotel and motel is their locations.

Most of the hotels are located in busy tourist spots where thousands of people arrive every day. They are also located near airports and railway stations to give quick lodging option to the people.

hotel vs motel - location difference

When it comes to motels, they are located on highways. Stretches of open roads are the ideal locations motel because you fill find the motorists there.

Stay duration

When it comes to hotel vs motel, stay duration is indeed an important factor.

Hotels provide lodging for quite long durations, starting for one day to a month. Hotels’ main customers are the tourists who come to explore the new place. That automatically makes them book hotel rooms for a long duration to avoid the unnecessary hassle of changing hotels again and again.

While motels are for short stays. Highway travelers come to motels to spend their night and hit back on roads the next morning. Motels provide lodging for one or two days.

Amenities and Services

Hotels are rich in amenities. They provide restaurants, bars, swimming pools and some do provide smoking rooms. For hotels, it is like, the more services they provide the more customers they gain.

As the users of hotels are there for long stays, providing these amenities and service is a must for hotels so that their customers come back to them again.

hotel vs motel - services

But Motels have no such pressure to provide these services to keep their customers come back to them. Travelers go there to spend a night and take rest for further traveling the next day. A place to wash and sleep, light breakfast and dinner are the services you can expect at a motel. You can find a mechanic shop or a fuel station near motels.

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Room Service

While hotels provide great room services, it is not the case with motels.

Hotels have dedicated room services team that looks after the issues of the guests. They quickly fix to ensure a great stay for them. Problem with taps? Call at number 9 and they will send a guy to fix it. Your floor is messed up from last night birthday party? No issues, they will send someone to clean it up.

But this is not something that you can expect at a motel. They generally don’t have room service to cut down the cost of plumbers, maids, and waiters.

If you face any problem, You need to contact the owner of the motel. Owner will either fix the issue himself or call a third person to fix it for you.

Staff members

Another hotel vs motel difference is the numbers of staff members.

While hotels have a large number of staff members, motels don’t.

Hotels have dedicated staff members for the front desk, kitchen etc.

But the motels have max two to three people who look after the entire motel. This is generally because:

  1. People don’t look for too many services when they are there only for take rest and spend their night.
  2. Keeping fewer staff members cuts the cost for motels.

Hourly Booking Hotels – Websites To Book Hotels On Hourly Basis In India


Hotels are costlier than motels. This is because of the hotel vs motel services and quality differences.

While hotels provide lots of services like room services, bars, restaurants etc, their price increases as the number and quality of services increases.

Also, The price of hotel rooms can vary depending on the tourist seasons. Hotels tend to increase there tariff in some particular months of the years when the flow of tourist is high in that region. Increasing the room tariff overall increases the cost of your stay at the hotels.

On the other hand, motels provide a cheap lodging option. They are much cheaper than the hotels as they don’t provide much facilities and services. They provide basic facilities to sleep, relax and get ready for next day travel.

Number of floors and design

Hotels are generally multi-storey buildings with more than three floors. They have elevators, corridors, and staircases. Also, hotels have a large number of rooms.

There are different types of hotel rooms to choose from. You have the option to choose the size of the room, the size of the bed etc.

hotel vs motel - design

While motels are one or two-floor buildings with directly facing a parking lot. Guest have direct access to the parking area where they can park their vehicles.

All the rooms are quite similar and have a bed to sleep and a washroom to freshen up.


The type customers are the key point of hotel vs motel difference.

The main customers of hotels are the tourists. They book hotels for two to three days or sometimes more.

hotel vs motel - customers

While the motels are best for frequent travelers who travel on highways on their own vehicles. They halt at motels, take some rest and get back on roads the next day.


Generally, hotels charge you for your stay and all the service you use during your stay. that includes room tariff, food charges, laundry, wifi charges etc.

So whenever a person books a hotel room, all these charges are included in the final amount. If not so, hotels explicitly declare the charges for using some of their services.

But motels provide the basic facilities of lodging. So, any extra services that they provide are chargeable to the guest. That may include food charges, wifi charges or charges of any other service that you request for.


So, here was the hotel vs motel detailed comparison in terms of price, location, and services. If I missed any important point, do comment, I will add it to the post.

Also, If you have ever had gone for a great road trip stayed at a motel, do share your experiences in the comment section. We and our readers would love to know about it.

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