The word hotel originated from the French word hotel, derived from the word hote, which means host. The term originally referred to any building that has frequent visitors. Today, a hotel is an establishment that offers lodging, meals and other services to travelers for a fee.
The first record of any mention of paid accommodation would be during Biblical times. According to the Bible, Mary and Joseph could not get lodging because “there was no place in the inn.”
It was during the Roman Empire that hotels began to proliferate. These were established for the purpose of encouraging visitors to the empire.
According to the Guinness World Records, the oldest hotel that is still in operation today is Hoshi Ryokan located in the Awazu Onsen area of Komatsu in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. It was founded and is still operated by the same family for 1,292 years. The hotel has been with the family for forty-six generations since 718. The hotel was built near a hot spring that is believed to have miraculous healing properties. Locals still claim this is real, to this day. The hotel has 100 rooms and can accommodate 450 people.
In the United States, the first inn was recorded to have been established in 1607. In 1792, the City Hotel, the first public hotel, opened in New York. The Tremont opened in Boston in 1809. It was the first modern hotel in America. The Buffalo Statler, the first business hotel in the United States, began operating in 1908.
Over the years, individual tastes have changed and it was inevitable that hotels would change according to what customers wanted. These days, customers can choose from a larger selection.
Customers can choose to stay in a luxury hotel or a budget hotel, depending on their budget or available funds. Hotels can also be classified by type of service:
- Exclusive full service
- Full service
- Select service
- Limited service
- Long stay
- Destination club
For people who want some adventure, they can try some unusual hotels like the Hotel Null Stern in Teufen, Appenzellerland, Switzerland, which used to be a nuclear bunker that was transformed into a hotel. There are also cave hotels in Cappadocia, Turkey and Spain. Costa Rica has Treehouse hotels and Japan has capsule hotels where people sleep on top of each other in rectangular containers. As it is cold most of the year in Canada, Finland and Sweden, these countries have hotels made of ice and snow. There are also underwater hotels in Sweden and Florida, USA. USA
The largest hotel according to the Guinness Book of World Records is the First World Hotel located in Genting Highlands, Malaysia. It has 6,118 rooms. The tallest hotel is the Rose Tower, which is located in Dubai. It is 333 meters high.