MUNDANE MYSTERIES: The Difference Between Hotels & Motels

With another round of stimulus checks going out soon, you may be thinking about hitting the road for a safe, socially-distanced vacation. But, where will you stay: a hotel, or a motel? And, what’s the difference between the two?

It comes down to the etymology of the word motel, since it’s a actually 2 words spliced together: motor, and hotel. Motels first came to prominence in the 1920s, as newly-paved highways meant drivers would likely be traveling long distances & in need of places to stay. Early motels sprung up along roadways, offering meals, beds, and places to park your car. Those parking spaces were usually right in front of the motel rooms, which were typically in a one- or two-story building. Motels weren’t intended to shelter hundreds of people, so it made more sense to keep them small & make staying there as convenient as possible.

Hotels, though, have been around for hundreds of years & are intended to both host destination travelers & stand as structural wonders, with lots of lobbies that lead to interior room entrances. And a hotel can have a staff of hundreds of people to keep their sprawling operation moving efficiently.

With their more limited amenities, motels may employ only a handful of people who are less likely to see extended-stay guests, since most folks would quickly grow tired of the small rooms & basic features. (Think: no gyms or room service.)

One positive of motels: you’re more likely to find them in remote areas, and chances are the rates will be more reasonable than what a hotel might charge.

Regardless of whether you choose to stay in a hotel or a motel, if you are gonna be traveling soon, just remember to be safe, remain socially-distanced, and come back home soon.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at [email protected].

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