From ArticleWorld

A motel may be defined as a hotel in which rooms open on to the parking lot and guests can park vehicles right opposite their door. A motel typically has certain characteristics that differentiate it from a hotel. Although both offer lodging to the general public, a motel does not have any entrance lobby which guests would need to necessarily pass through before going on to their rooms. In fact a motel may not have a lobby at all, just a small manager’s room where guests register. It generally has only a limited number of rooms to let and these are rented to guests for a period of less than 30 days. A motel may or may not have a diner attached.

The building of the motel itself is usually a long low structure that contains lodging rooms with adjoining bathrooms. Guests drive up to the manager’s room, register, pick up their room keys and then drive up straight to their rooms

The beginning

In 1925, Arthur Heinman, coined the term Motel (or Motor Hotels) when he opened the Motel Inn in San Luis, Obispo. The name stuck and hotels on highways where guests stayed the night and moved out in the morning began to be called motels; soon many mom and pop establishments were set up on the outskirts of towns. And very soon they took on a standardized, homogenous appearance – most were ugly structures.

Reason for existence

It is strange how over a period of time people have become so dependent upon motels. This has come about because of a very important change that has taken place in the American way of life, the transition from trains and hotels to cars and motels. People have moved from journeying in trains and together to journeying by cars and alone.

Now large motel chains like the Holiday Inn and Motel 6 clearly proclaim their importance in our lives.


  1. The fact that some motels, especially those close to ‘strip bars’, charge an hourly fee instead of the usual nightly rate, goes a long way in establishing their reputation.
  2. Sometimes people who cannot afford apartments, rent low cost motel rooms for use as transient homes.