Difference Between Hotel & Motel

Posted On: April 9, 2016

A motel facade

“Yeah, the company put up me in a motel this time…..” my colleague said with a disparaging tone.  

Even I was a bit surprised as it was standard for colleagues to be housed in hotels, and to top that, the motel was not in a very desirable part of town. Obviously, the company was on a tight budget and wanted to save money when sending employees on assignment

In 2015, I stayed in a few really nice motels in good neighborhoods in the U.S. and began to wonder what the real difference was between a hotel and a motel. As this question sometimes comes up in cross-cultural training programs for the to-be expat workers preparing to go onsite to the U.S., I began to seriously ponder this difference. In the video below I share some of my thoughts on three differences I see between hotels and motels from a purely lay person, customer viewpoint. 

What is the difference between a hotel and a motel

YouTube video link

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Note: In the video I discuss the lack of exterior walled hallways in motels. In fact, I read up on this and many motels built after about 2009 may have closed exterior hallways as it increases guest safety in many instances, as well as saves on heating or cooling costs. 

Between 2017-2020, we have stayed in many hotels and motels especially in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Nevada. I have a slightly different opinion about motels in this part of the country than ‘back East.’ As I am a transplant to Utah, I find that especially in Utah, where tourism is a big part of the economy, motels tend to be nicer and more costly than what I am used to seeing in New York. In general, motels and hotels tend to be costlier than what I have seen back East, but, at the same time, I find that there can be really good motels, while some hotels may not be so good. It all depends on location, how the owners upkeep the property, and other criteria.  It’s also good to keep in mind that there are some really good budget motels that can save you some good money, but be super clean and with great amenities like free breakfast, fantastic customer service, clean laundry spaces and spacious, clean bathrooms

<A Swiss themed motel in Utah
A Swiss themed motel in Utah

What other differences have you seen between hotels and motels? Or, do you think they are pretty much the same? Have you stayed in motels while coming onsite to the US? What is your opinion? Feel free to share your experiences below.  

Jennifer Kumar, author, provides expat preparation and cultural leadership programs for professionals in the software industry in India who work with US Americans. See our programs or get in touch to get started today

Note: Authentic Journeys does not endorse any particular chain of motels or hotels. Authentic Journeys is using this hotel as an example for purposes of the video only. Authentic Journeys is not gaining royalty off mentioning these or any other hotels or motels in general. 

Note: Authentic Journeys’ can provide cross-cultural training to expat residents of your U.S. based hotel from other countries. Contact us for more information or to start a discussion on this today. 

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