Hotels have been used for centuries by travelers for a wide range of purposes. Historically, they have served as places of rest and as centers of sociability and political activity. During the 19th century, hotels evolved as a result of the emergence of a commercial industry. They are now considered important landmarks of travel.
Hotels have been located in various regions and nations. In the Middle Ages, they were used by various religious orders to provide hospitality to travellers. The term “hotel” originated in French, based on the word “hôtel”, meaning a place where people stay.
Hotels were often located in large towns and cities. For example, Paris is home to the Hotel-Dieu, a hospital that has been in operation since the middle ages. In the 19th century, cities in Europe established lodging facilities and transportation services.
In the nineteenth century, the American hotel system was based on steam-driven transportation. The rapid growth of railroads changed the country’s transportation network. This led to the construction of the second generation of hotels.
The American hotel industry entered the twentieth century as a major segment of the national economy. It grew rapidly during the years following World War II. Today, the industry comprises more than four million guest rooms nationwide and over 5,000 overseas properties.
A large number of hotels are chains. The chain model enables hotels to be more efficient in terms of sales, purchasing and reservations. Additionally, the use of chains enables the establishment of transient hotels, which provide lodging for travelers on short-term stays.
Hotels may offer services such as swimming pools, tennis courts, gyms, gift shops, restaurants, conferences, and even day spas. Some hotels even offer a range of services for business travelers. However, the main accommodation product is the room. All bedrooms will have a well-designed and comfortable layout and include an en-suite bath or shower.
Hotels are now a part of the nation’s social and cultural landscape. Among other things, they have served as venues for public assemblies. During the middle and late 19th centuries, they were important symbolism in the simultaneous political and transportation world. Throughout the 20th century, they also became symbolic of America’s imperial power.
During the 20th century, the hotel industry was affected by economic depression. Nevertheless, the industry benefited from the uneven prosperity of the 1980s and 1990s. Many American-owned hotels abroad served as examples of capitalism in foreign countries.
Hotels have also been used as places of aristocratic residence. Traditionally, the residence of an aristocrat was a townhouse. But in the twentieth century, the term “townhouse” was shortened to “hotel”.
Hotel rooms can have a wide range of facilities. Depending on the size of the hotel, there may be rooms that have kitchen facilities, larger beds in suites, dining areas, and conference rooms. Other facilities include laundry, a gift shop, and a cocktail lounge. Modern hotels also include broadband internet connectivity, cable TV, and tea and coffee making units with electric kettles.