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hotel

hotel [Fr., from O.Fr. (origin of Eng. hostel ), from Latin (origin of Eng. hospital ), = guest place], name applied since the late 17th cent. to an establishment supplying both food and lodging to the public (see inn). In common law of England and America, the hotelkeeper is a public servant and must receive all proper persons. The first American hotels, successors to the early inns, differed from their European prototypes by charging a fixed fee for food and lodging (American plan). For many years $1.00 per day was the accepted price. Fraunces Tavern (1762; see under Fraunces, Samuel) and the City Hotel (1793) were fashionable resorts of early New York City. The Tremont House, in Boston (1829), for years considered the most imposing hotel in the United States, was rivaled by the Astor House, built in New York in 1836. The modern hotel in America dates from the early days of railroad travel, when the modest hostelry, prepared to entertain small groups of occasional guests, was forced to become a more commodious and efficient institution to accommodate the great number of traveling salespeople. Technical progress in the late 19th cent. permitted the construction of large hotels with safeguards against fire. Hotels may be classed as transient, residential, or resort hotels. Semicommercial hotels with club features are maintained by organizations such as the YMCA (see Young Men's Christian Association). With the growth of suburban centers and the increase of travel by automobile, a form of transient hotel, called a motel, became popular. In the 1990s, the "extended-stay hotel"—for guests who need a room for at least five nights—was developed, especially for business travelers who preferred more apartmentlike accommodations for longer stays. By 1998 extended-stay hotels represented 40% of U.S. lodging rooms planned for construction.

See H. Weisskamp, Hotels (1968); R. Brotherton, ed., The Handbook of Contemporary Hospitality Management Research (1999); A. K. Sandoval-Strausz, Hotel: An American History (2007).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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