Motel vs. Inn

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Motel and Inn is that the Motel is a A motor hotel in which all rooms face directly onto a car park. In some countries, any low-cost (1 star) hotel; in others, a “no-tell motel” associated with adultery and Inn is a establishment providing lodging, food and drink.

  • Motel

    A motel is a hotel designed for motorists and usually has a parking area for motor vehicles. Entering dictionaries after World War II, the word motel, coined as a portmanteau contraction of “motor hotel”, originates from the Milestone Mo-Tel of San Luis Obispo, California (now called the Motel Inn of San Luis Obispo), which was built in 1925. The term referred initially to a type of hotel consisting of a single building of connected rooms whose doors faced a parking lot and in some circumstances, a common area or a series of small cabins with common parking. Motels are often individually owned, though motel chains do exist.

    As large highway systems began to be developed in the 1920s, long-distance road journeys became more common, and the need for inexpensive, easily accessible overnight accommodation sites close to the main routes led to the growth of the motel concept. Motels peaked in popularity in the 1960s with rising car travel, only to decline in response to competition from the newer chain hotels that became commonplace at highway interchanges as traffic was bypassed onto newly constructed freeways. Several historic motels are listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.

  • Inn

    Inns are generally establishments or buildings where travelers can seek lodging and, usually, food and drink. They are typically located in the country or along a highway; before the advent of motorized transportation they also provided accommodation for horses.

  • Motel (noun)

    A type of lodging rooms the access to automobiles parked there.

  • Motel (noun)

    A low-cost short-stay hotel, often with hourly rates rather than daily rates, and notorious for permitting illicit sexual activities; love hotel.

  • Inn (noun)

    Any establishment where travellers can procure lodging, food, and drink.

  • Inn (noun)

    A tavern.

  • Inn (noun)

    One of the colleges (societies or buildings) in London, for students of the law barristers.

    “the Inns of Court; the Inns of Chancery; Serjeants’ Inns”

  • Inn (noun)

    The town residence of a nobleman or distinguished person.

    “Leicester Inn”

  • Inn (noun)

    A place of shelter; hence, dwelling; habitation; residence; abode.

  • Inn (verb)

    To house; to lodge.

  • Inn (verb)

    To take lodging; to lodge.


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