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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in times past, consisting only of a room with a bed, a cupboard, a small table and a washstand has largely been replaced by rooms with modern facilities, including en-suite bathroom and air conditioning or climate control.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 meals as part of a room and board arrangement. In the United Kingdommarker, 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. In Japan, capsule hotels provide a minimized amount of room space and shared facilities.

In UKmarker,Australia, Canadamarker and Irelandmarker (and rarely in some parts of the United States of Americamarker), the word may also refer to a pub or bar and might not offer accommodation. In Indiamarker, the word may also refer to a restaurant since the best restaurants were always situated next to a good hotel.

Etymology

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

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

Historic hotels

Some hotels have gained their renown through tradition, by hosting significant events or persons, such as Schloss Cecilienhofmarker in Potsdammarker, Germanymarker, 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 & Towermarker in Mumbaimarker is one of Indiamarker'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 Citymarker, United Statesmarker where the Waldorf Salad was first created or the Hotel Sachermarker in Viennamarker, Austriamarker, 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 Hotelmarker in Singaporemarker, where the Singapore Sling cocktail was devised.

A number of hotels have entered the public consciousness through popular culture, such as the Ritz Hotelmarker in Londonmarker, United Kingdommarker, through its association with Irving Berlin's song, 'Puttin' on the Ritz'. The Algonquin Hotelmarker in New York City is famed as the meeting place of the literary group, the Algonquin Round Table, and Hotel Chelseamarker, 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.

The luxurious Grand Hotel Europemarker in Saint Petersburgmarker, Russiamarker achieved fame with its inclusion in the James Bond film GoldenEye.

Unusual hotels

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 Ricamarker; the Treetops Hotelmarker in Aberdare National Parkmarker, Kenyamarker; the Ariau Towers near Manausmarker, Brazilmarker, on the Rio Negro in the Amazon; and Bayram's Tree Houses in Olymposmarker, Turkeymarker.

Cave hotels

Desert Cave Hotel in Coober Pedy, South Australiamarker and the Cuevas Pedro Antonio de Alarcón (named after the author) in Guadixmarker, Spain, as well as several hotels in Cappadociamarker, 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 Japanmarker, where people sleep in stacks of rectangular containers.

Ice and snow hotels

The Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvimarker, Swedenmarker, and the Hotel de Glace in Duschenay,­ Canadamarker, melt every spring and are rebuilt each winter; the Mammut Snow Hotel in Finlandmarker is located within the walls of the Kemimarker snow castle; and the Lainio Snow Hotel is part of a snow village near Ylläsmarker, Finlandmarker.

Garden hotels

Garden hotels, famous for their gardens before they became hotels, include Gravetye Manor, the home of garden designer William Robinson, and Clivedenmarker, designed by Charles Barry with a rose garden by Geoffrey Jellicoe.

Underwater hotels

Some hotels have accommodation underwater, such as Utter Inn in Lake Mälarenmarker, Sweden. Hydropolismarker, project cancelled 2004 in Dubaimarker, will have suites on the bottom of the Persian Gulfmarker, and Jules Undersea Lodgemarker in Key Largomarker, Floridamarker requires scuba diving to access its rooms.

Other unusual hotels



Resort hotels

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.

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, Manchestermarker next to the former Manchester Central Station and in Londonmarker the ones above St Pancras railway stationmarker and Charing Cross railway stationmarker also in London is the Chiltern Court Hotel above Baker Street tube stationmarker 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

Largest

In 2006, Guinness World Records listed the First World Hotel in Genting Highlands, Malaysiamarker as the world's largest hotel with a total of 6,118 rooms.

Oldest

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest hotel still in operation is the Hoshi Ryokanmarker, in the Awazu Onsen area of Komatsu, Japanmarker which opened in 717.

Tallest

Burj Al Arabmarker in United Arab Emiratesmarker is the tallest building used exclusively as a hotel. However, the Rose Towermarker, also in Dubai, which has already topped Burj Al Arab's height at , will take away this title upon its opening.

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.

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 Hotelmarker while in Londonmarker. 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".


Fictitious hotels

Fawlty Towers series title card.


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

  1. Genting's First World Recognized As World's Largest Hotel, Bernama.com
  2. Hoshi Ryokan website, accessed 22 June 2008
  3. The opening of the Rose Tower was originally scheduled to take place in April 2008, but has still not opened as of late May 2008.
  4. Home Suite Home – BBC News


Further reading

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



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