The word hotel is derived from the French word hotel, and is derived from the word hote – meaning host. The term originally referred to any building that has frequent visitors. Today, the hotel is an institution that provides accommodation, meals and other services to travelers for a fee.
The earliest record of all references to paid accommodation would be in Bible time. According to the Bible, Mary and Joseph could not get accommodation because "there was no room at the inn."
During the Roman Empire, hotels began to expand. They were founded to encourage visitors to the empire.
According to Guinness World Records, the oldest hotel still operating today is Hoshi Ryokan, located in the Avazu Onsen area in Komatsu area of Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. It was founded by the same family for 1,292 years. The hotel is with a family of forty-six generations from 718. The hotel was built near a hot water source that is believed to have wonderful healing properties. The locals still claim that it is real. The hotel has 100 rooms and can accommodate up to 450 guests.
In America, the first inn was recorded in 1607. In 1792, the Citi Hotel, the first public 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, began operating in 1908.
Over the years, individual tastes changed and it was inevitable that hotels would change according to what customers wanted. These days, customers can choose from a wider selection.
Customers can choose to stay at a luxury hotel or budget hotel, depending on their budget or available funds. Hotels can also be classified by type of service:
- Complete Upscale service
- Complete service
- Select Service
- Limited service
- Extended stay
- Destination club
For people who want an adventure, they can try some quirky hotels like the Null Stern Hotel in Teufen, Appenzellerland, Switzerland, which used to be a nuclear bunker that has been turned into a hotel. There are also cave hotels in Cappadocia, Turkey and Spain. Costa Rica has Treehouse hotels, and Japan has capsules where people sleep over each other in rectangular containers. Given that it is cold most of the year in Canada, Finland and Sweden, these countries have hotels that are 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 the mountainous area of Genting, Malaysia. It contains 6,118 rooms. The tallest hotel is the Rose Tover located in Dubai. It is 333 meters high.