The word hotel derives 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 a business that provides accommodation, meals and other services to travelers for a fee.
The earliest record of any mention of paid lodging would be in biblical times. According to the Bible, Mary and Joseph could not stay because "there was no room at the inn."
It was during the Roman Empire that hotels began to spread. These were created for the purpose of encouraging visitors to the empire.
According to Guinness World Records, the oldest hotel still operating today is Hoshi Ryokan located in the Awazu Onsen area of Komatsu in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. It was founded and still run by the same family for 1,292 years. The hotel has been with the family for six generations since 718. The hotel was built near a hot water source which is believed to have miraculous healing properties. The locals still claim that this is real to this day. The hotel has 100 rooms and can accommodate up to 450 guests.
In America, the first tavern was registered, established in 1607. In 1792, the City Hotel, the first publicly held hotel, opened in New York. Tremont opened in Boston in 1809. It was the first modern hotel in America. Buffalo Statler, the first business hotel in America, started its business in 1908.
Over the years, individual tastes have changed, and it was inevitable that hotels changed according to what customers wanted. These days, customers can choose from a larger selection.
Customers can choose to stay at a luxury or budget hotel, depending on their budget or available resources. Hotels can also be classified by service type:
- Full service upscale
- Full service
- Select Service
- Limited service
- Extended stay
- Destination Club
For people who want some adventure, they can try some unusual hotels such as the Null Stern Hotel in Teufen, Appenzellerland, Switzerland, which used to be a nuclear bunker that was turned 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.
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, located in Dubai. It is 333 meters high.