A hotel is a commercial establishment which offers paid accommodation in furnished rooms to passing customers. In general, a hotel provides daily maintenance of the rooms and beds, as well as the supply of bathroom linen.
Almost every hotel has single and double rooms. Sometimes a third bed can be added (familyroom). A room is generally equipped with:
- Bathroom with shower and toilet
- telephone (calls must be paid for)
- free WIFI
- safe for valuables
Rooms at many hotels also have a minibar.
In some hotels, the guest is still given a key to the room door. There is a large key ring attached to it, which makes it easy for the guest to forget to hand in the key upon departure.
Hotels are increasingly using a chip card or a numerical code instead of a key. The ticket or code will automatically become invalid upon departure, so it is no problem if the ticket is not returned. The same card is placed in the room in a switch (box) that activates the electricity. In this way, the guest cannot leave the light on or otherwise waste electricity when leaving the room.
There are also so-called self-service hotels. The guest pays with his credit card at the outside door. He will then receive a number code for both the outer door and the room door.
The Latin word hospitalis (from the radical of hospes, hospitis with the suffix -alis), or that of hospitalitas, gave the derived words host, hotel, hotel, hospital or even hospitality. In old French, the hostel is a “house where one lives”, but has another meaning by designating a “furnished house used as paid accommodation and inn”. This sense would have appeared with the development of market towns in the north of Europe and in Flanders in particular, in the 13th century. During modern times, the hotel became an important home.
The words hostellerie or hôtellerie, during the Middle Ages, designates part of a monastery open to the public, reserved for the reception and accommodation of occasional guests, pilgrims and foreigners. During the period, they became secular (thirteenth century), then designated a more “rustic” establishment than a hotel (sixteenth century-nineteenth century). The tourism historian, Marc Boyer, indicates in Tourism of the year 2000, that the Great Encyclopedia of the 18th century, does not define Hotel but only Hotel to designate a “house where travelers are housed and fed for their silver “. Recalling that hotel is an abbreviated form of Hospitality. The word, however, will prevail, dismissing ostellerie, taking precedence over the inn which is becoming rural, and relegating the hotel industry to a use limited to the professional sector. Since the 19th century, most dictionaries have designated the hotel as an establishment where one can stay for one or more nights against payment. This definition thus supplants the other meanings of the word.
During Antiquity, hostels offered board and lodging to the traveler. The Roman Empire used them in particular as relays for its armies. After the barbarian invasions, there remain only furnished houses which more often than not become haunts of highwaymen and brothels.
In the Middle Ages, the hotel still had the meaning of “place of reception for guests, hospital” before losing it to the benefit of an inn, except in the monastic world, and designating almost only a “noble residence”.
During the Renaissance, it more particularly designated the King’s house, then the residence of a prince or a lord, and finally that of a bourgeois (sometimes a distinction was made between the grand hotel, inhabited all year round, and the small hotel, town house inhabited during the visiting season called social season (in)): it then refers to the private mansion, a French concept with vocation other than the offer of accommodation. Today, the word “hotel” and its English equivalent “hotel” have the same meaning, and the expression “hôtel particulier” is used to refer to the old French concept. French spelling with the circumflex accent was commonly found in English in the past, but it is rarely the case today (formerly, the French word was written “hostel”). At the same time, it may concern public buildings: Hôtel des Monnaies, sales, Foreign Affairs, city hall.
Hotel accommodation can be in different types of accommodation, with different levels of comfort. The most common is the hotel room, which is a bedroom ready to be used when the customer arrives. It is often accompanied by sanitary facilities and a bathroom or shower room. In France, these installations become compulsory in all rooms from the third star.
There are also hotels that can accommodate their customers in rooms with two or more rooms, at least one of which is provided for sleeping. This type of accommodation is known as a suite, or also an apartment.
In France as in Quebec, these establishments can offer a kitchen area. In addition to accommodation, hotels can offer other services to their customers: catering, room service, wellness area, swimming pool, sports facilities, etc.
Some hotels offer meeting room rental services, which encourage groups to hold conventions and conferences.
Classification of hotels
Tourist hotels are usually classified into categories according to their level of comfort, the level of service they offer, and the regulations on which they depend. Depending on the country, you can find different classification systems, such as starsN 1: this is the case in France, Morocco or Quebec.
For the same category, comfort and services can vary widely from one country to another, each country – and sometimes each region – having its own criteria. The classification of hotels is in principle based on objective criteria: surface area of the rooms, equipment, type and availability of toilets, etc.
In Europe, various hotel federations have joined together within HOTREC12, a supranational association which advocates harmonization of classifications at European level13. Apart from this initiative, there is currently no standard common to the European Union.
Hotels around the world
Until March 2008, Cubans were denied access to hotels reserved for foreigners. Upon coming to power, Raùl Castro lifts this ban, thereby allowing the development of domestic tourism.
The Four Points by Sheraton, the first American hotel to open its doors on the island since the Cuban revolution, was inaugurated on June 28, 2016.
As of January 1, 2015, with a capacity of 1,284,000 beds, the tourist hotel was the second merchant host after the outdoor hotel and its 2,668,000 beds. At the same date, the number of hotels classified as “Tourism” represented 18,807 hotels and similar establishments.
In France, since 2009, hotels have been classified from one to five stars, and among these are distinguished exceptional hotels, marked with the “Palace” distinction. In July 2016, only sixteen establishments were so distinguished. The ranking table was updated in January 2016.
Since 2015, hoteliers have been able to equip their rooms with a kitchen area.
The daily maintenance of the room and the beds, as well as the supply of the bathroom linen are obligatorily included in the price.
The term capsule hotel refers to a particular type of hotel that is quite common in Japan, offering extremely small individual rooms, often for a small price.