25+ Different Types of Hotels and their Categories

What is a Hotel?

A hotel provides accommodation, along with services like food and beverages, and facilities like recreation, conferences, training arrangements, and the organization of official and private parties. Each hotel has unique features associated with it.

The features may be its location, the number of guest rooms, special services such as concierge, travel assistance, and valet parking, or facilities such as specialty restaurants, bars, business meeting venues, a swimming pool, and so on.

The star classification system is among the most widely accepted ratings for hotels worldwide. Ratings of hotels in different countries are done by government or quasi-government sources, independent rating agencies, or sometimes the hotel operators themselves. The Indian hotel industry follows the star rating system, which indicates the number and standard of facilities offered by the hotel.

A hotel sells a combination of accommodation, food, drinks, and other services and facilities to its guests. The main accommodation product in the room is among the principal sources of revenue for the hotel. Other facilities and benefits, such as ambiance, decor, in-room amenities, and security, are add-ons that play a significant role in the pricing of the services.

In order to suit the profiles and pockets of various kinds of guests, hotels offer different types of rooms that cater to their specific needs. The rooms may be categorized on the basis of their size, layout, view, interior decoration, and services offered.

Hospitality seems to be a glamorous industry, but now many know that a tremendous amount of hard work goes behind the scenes and behind the glitter that meets the eye. The origin and development of the hospitality industry are direct outcomes of travel and tourism.

There are many reasons for which a person may travel: business, pleasure, further studies, medical treatment, pilgrimage, or any other reason. When a person travels for a few or more days, he may carry his clothes with him, but it’s not possible for him to carry his food and home.

Thus, two of his three basic needs—food and shelter—are not met when he is traveling. This is where the hospitality industry steps in. Before the wheel was invented, people undertook journeys on animals such as horses, camels, and elephants.

However, there was a limit to the distance they avoided traveling due to their fear of wild animals and bandits, and also because of animal fatigue. Thus, for the night’s halt, they looked for a place that could provide them with water, fuel to cook food, and, above all, security from wild animals and bandits.

Primitive lodging houses, or inns, originated essentially to cater to the needs of travelers. The earliest inns were generally run by families or husband-wife teams who provided large halls for travelers to make their own beds and sleep on the floor. They also provided modest, wholesome food and drinks like wine, port, Ale, etc and stable facilities for the animals.

Entertainment and recreation were also provided on a modest scale. All this, of course, came at a price. These inns or lodging properties were housed in the private homes of local people.

They made a living by providing accommodations to travelers. These inns were not as clean and tidy as we see them today. They were also devoid of the frills and facilities seen in modern-day hospitality establishments. The travelers had to make their own beds and cook for themselves.

What are the Types of Hotels?

The diversity in services and facilities provided by each hotel makes it quite difficult to have any single basis for the classification of hotels, and if we categorize the hotels on different criteria, then there will be some hotels that will fall into more than one group.

1. Star Classification of Hotels

a) One-Star Hotels

These properties are generally small and independently owned, with a family atmosphere. There may be a limited range of facilities, and the meals may be fairly simple.

For example, Lunch may not be served, and some bedrooms may not have an en suite bath or shower. However, maintenance, cleanliness, and comfort would be of an acceptable standard.

b) Two-Star Hotels

In this two-star category, hotels will typically be small to medium-sized and offer more extensive facilities than one-star hotels. Guests can expect comfortable, well-equipped overnight accommodations, usually with a suite bath or shower.

Reception and other staff will aim for a more professional presentation than at the one-star level and will offer a wider range of straightforward services, including food and beverages.

c) Three-Star Hotels

At this three-star level, hotels are usually of a size to support higher staffing levels as well as a significantly higher quality and range of facilities than at the lower-star classification. Reception and other public areas will be more spacious, and the restaurant will normally also cater to non-residents.

All bedrooms will have an en suite bath and shower and will offer a good standard of comfort and equipment, such as a direct dial telephone and toiletries in the bathroom. Besides room service, some provisions for business travelers can be expected.

d) Four-Star Hotels

Expectations at this kind of four-star hotel level include a degree of luxury as well as quality in the furnishings, decor, and equipment in every area of the hotel. Bedrooms will also usually offer more space than at the lower star level. The restaurant will demonstrate a serious approach to its cuisine.

e) Five-Star Hotels

Five-star hotels offer spacious and luxurious accommodations throughout the hotel, matching the best international standards. The service should be formal, well-supervised, and flawless in its attention to guests’ needs without being intrusive.

The restaurant will demonstrate a high level of technical skills. The staff will be knowledgeable, helpful, and well-versed in all aspects of customer care, combining efficiency with courtesy.

f) Heritage Hotels

The heritage hotel is a recent addition to the hotel industry in the country. Heritage hotels are properties set in small forts, palaces, or Havelis, the Mansions of erstwhile royal and aristocratic families. They have added a new dimension to cultural tourism.

In a heritage hotel, a visitor is offered rooms that have their own history, is served traditional cuisine toned down to the requirements of international palates, is entertained by folk artists, can participate in activities that allow a glimpse into the heritage of the region, and can bask in an atmosphere that lives and breathes the past.

Examples: The Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur and The Oberoi Cecil in Shimla are some examples of heritage hotels.

2. Hotel Classifications on the Basis of Size

The number of guest rooms in a hotel is a criterion used to classify hotels. Hotels can be grouped into the following categories on the basis of the number of rooms or the size of the hotel:

a) Small Hotel

In India, hotels with twenty-five rooms or fewer are classified as small hotels. For example, Hotel Alka, New Delhi, and The Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambore.

However, in the developed countries of Europe and America, hotels with fewer than 100 rooms are considered small. These hotels provide clean and comfortable accommodations but may not provide upmarket facilities, such as a swimming pool, restaurant, bar, etc.

b) Downtown Hotel

A downtown hotel is located in the center of the city or within a short distance from the business center, shopping areas, theatres, public offices, etc. The center of the city may not necessarily be the geographical center, but it refers to an area that is considered to be the commercial hub of the city.

The room rates in these hotels may be higher than similar hotels in other areas, so as to cover the huge investment made in the land. They are generally preferred by business clients, as they find it convenient to stay close to the place of their business activities.

c) Sub-Urban Hotel

As the land costs more in the city center and the space is limited, some entrepreneurs build their hotels near the outskirts of the city. Providing similar facilities as the downtown hotels, these hotels are set in sub-urban areas and have the advantage of quieter surroundings.

Such hotels are ideal for people who prefer to stay away from the hustle and bustle of a city. The duration of the stay of guests in these hotels may be longer than at a hotel located in the city.

d) Resort Hotel

Hotels that are located at tourist destinations such as hill stations, sea beaches, and the countryside are referred to as resort hotels. These hotels have a very calm and natural ambiance.

The room rates in these hotels may range from moderate to high, depending on the additional services offered. The occupancy in resorts is normally higher during vacation time and weekends, when guests want to take a break from their weekly routine.

Examples: Taj Fort Aguda Beach Resort, Goa, and Wildflower Hall in the Himalayas, Shimla, are examples of resort hotels.

e) Airport Hotels

Airport hotels are situated in the vicinity of airports and other ports of entry. Offering all the services of a commercial hotel, these hotels are generally patronized by passengers who need a stopover en route to their journey.

f) Motel

The word motel is formed by merging the two words’ motor and hotel. They are located primarily on highways and provide modest lodging to highway travelers. This phenomenon is quite common in American and European countries.

Travelers who were traveling in their own vehicles needed neat and clean accommodations for the night. They also required garages and refueling facilities for their vehicles. In the year 1950, the concept of motels came into existence to meet the requirements of such highway travelers.

g) Flotel

Floatels are types of lodging properties that float on the surface of the water. This category consists of all lodging properties that are built on top of rafts or semi-submersible platforms and includes cruise liners and houseboats. Some of them provide luxurious accommodations along with food and beverage facilities for guests.

Examples: The houseboats of Dal Lake in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, and Kerala are some examples of floatel in India.

3. Hotel Categorization on the Basis of Clientele

a) Business or Commercial Hotels

Designed to cater to the business traveler, commercial hotels are generally situated in the city center. These hotels provide high-standard rooms and amenities, along with high-speed Internet connectivity, business centers, and conference halls.

They also provide in-house secretarial services as well as facilities such as letter drafting, typing, faxing, and photocopying of documents for the convenience of their guests.

The duration of guests stays is generally very short at these hotels. The occupancy level is higher during the weekdays and slightly lower during the weekends. These hotels are also known as downtown hotels.

Example: The Park and Hotel Intercontinental in New Delhi are examples of business or commercial hotels.

b) Transient Hotels

Transient hotels cater to the needs of people who are on the move and need a stopover en route to their journey. Located in close proximity to ports of entry, such as seaports, airports, and major railway stations, these hotels are normally patronized by transient travelers.

They have round-a-clock operational room service and a coffee shop and offer all the facilities of a commercial hotel. The occupancy rate is usually very high, something more than 100 percent, as rooms can be sold more than once on a given day.

Example: The Hotel Centaur and Radisson in New Delhi are examples of transient hotels in India. Airport hotels fall fully into this category.

c) Suite Hotel

Suite hotels provide the highest level of personalized service to guests. The guest rooms generally comprise a living area, a compact kitchenette complete with a refrigerator and a microwave, a bedroom attached to a bathroom, and sometimes even a dance floor. These hotels are patronized by affluent people and tourists who are fond of luxury.

Examples: the Burj Al Arab in Dubai and Intercontinental The Lalit Goa Resort is an example of a suite hotel.

d) Residential Hotel

As the name suggests, Residential hotels provide accommodation for a longer duration. These kinds of hotels are generally patronized by people who are on a temporary official deputation to a city where they do not have their own residential accommodations.

The guest may choose to contract for some or all of the services provided by the apartment hotel. The hotel signs a lease with the guest, and the rent is paid either monthly or quarterly.

e) Bed and Breakfast Hotels

A European concept, bed and breakfast hotels are lodging establishments, generally operated in large family residences.

f) Casino Hotel

Casino hotels provide gambling facilities, such as the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. These hotels attract clients by promoting gambling and arranging extravagant floor shows; some may also provide charter flight services to their clients.

Example: The casinos in Las Vegas, USA, are among the most famous casinos in the world.

g) Conference Centers

The word conference means a meeting, sometimes lasting for several days, in which people with a common interest participate in discussions or listen to lectures to obtain information. The services provided are of the highest standard. Normally, conferences are charged as packages, which include accommodation and meeting facilities.

Example: Hotel Ashok, New Delhi, is an example of a conference center.

h) Convention Hotels

A Convention is defined as a formal assembly or meeting of members, representatives, or delegates of a group for general agreement on or acceptance of certain practices or attitudes. This type of meeting involves a large number of participants.

The hotels catering to the needs of this segment are known as convention hotels. A convention hotel has a greater number of rooms to host a large number of attendees as compared to conference centers.

4. Hotel Categorization on the Basis of Guest Stay Duration

a) Commercial Hotels

The duration of guests stays in these hotels is short, ranging from a few days to a week.

b) Transient Hotel

Mostly occupied by travelers as stopovers on their journey, the duration of stay at transient hotels is very short—a day or even less.

c) Semi-Residential Hotels

These hotels are generally patronized by people who are staying at a location while in transit to another place. The duration of the stay may range from a few weeks to a few months. They incorporate the features of both transient and residential hotels.

d) Residential or Apartment Hotel

Residential hotels provide accommodation for a long duration and are patronized by people who stay for a long time. The duration of the stay may range from a few months to a few years.

e) Extended Stay Hotel

In today’s age of downsizing, outsourcing, and mobility, business executives are often away from their hometowns for extended periods of time and require more than a hotel room.

These hotels are for those guests who wish to stay for a long period and cater to their long-term needs with special services, amenities, and facilities, such as full-fledged kitchens with dishes and kitchenware, a refrigerator, a separate area to wash clothes, housekeeping services, grocery shopping services, and recreational facilities. The room rates of these hotels are determined by the length of stay.

5. Classification of Hotels Based on Level of Service

a) Upmarket luxury, or world-class service hotels

Targeting the affluent segment of society, hotels in the upmarket category offer world-class products with personalized services of the highest standard. The emphasis is on excellence and class.

The design and interior decoration of the hotels provide upscale restaurants and lounges, exquisite décor, concierge service, opulent rooms, and abundant amenities. These hotels also offer the facilities of health clubs with trainers and dieticians.

These hotels are generally patronized by affluent people who care for quality and include business executives, celebrities, and high-ranking political figures.

Examples: The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, and the ITC Hotel Grand Maratha Sheraton and Towers, Mumbai, are a few of the luxury hotels in India.

b) Mid-Market or Mid-Range Service Hotels

These hotels offer modest services without the frills and personalized attention of luxury hotels and appeal to the largest segment of travelers. They may offer services such as room service, round-the-clock coffee shops, airport/railway station pick-up and drop-off facilities, and a multi-cuisine restaurant with a bar.

A typical hotel offering mid-range service would be medium-sized, having roughly 150 to 300 rooms. The room rent is much lower than in upmarket hotels.

c) Budget or Economy Hotel

Budget or economy hotels are mainly focused on meeting the most basic needs of guests by providing them with clean, comfortable, and inexpensive rooms.

These hotels have clean and comfortable guest rooms, a coffee shop, a multi-cuisine restaurant, an in-room telephone, and channeled music and movies. They may also have a swimming pool, a shopping arcade, and a beauty parlor.

What is The History of hotels?

The term “Hotel” was used for the first time by the fifth Duke of Devonshire to name a lodging property in London sometime in AD 1760. The hotel word is derived from the French hôtel, which refers to a French version of the townhouse.

The hospitality industry is among the oldest commercial activities in the world. It is, in fact, an integral part of the larger business enterprise known as travel and tourism, which provides a wide range of travel-related services, such as modes of travel, accommodation, food and drinks, recreational activities, and other facilities required by the modern-day traveler.

A hotel or inn is defined by British Law as a place where a bona fide traveler can receive food and shelter, provided he is in a position to pay for it and is in a fit condition to receive it.

Hence, a hotel must provide food and lodging to a traveler on payment, but the hotel has the right to refuse if the traveler is not presentable or is not in a position to pay for the services.

Alternatively, a hotel may be defined as an establishment whose primary business is to provide lodging facilities to a genuine traveler along with food, beverages, and sometimes recreational facilities on a chargeable basis.

A hotel is thus an establishment that provides paid accommodation, generally for a short duration. Hotels often provide a number of additional guest services, such as Restaurants, Bars, Swimming pools, Healthcare, Retail shops, business facilities like conference halls, banquet halls, board rooms, and space for private parties like birthdays, marriages, kitty parties, etc.

There might also be a minibar containing snacks and drinks, and a tea and coffee-making unit with an electric kettle, cups, spoons, and sachets containing instant coffee, tea bags, sugar, and creamer.

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Dipayan Mondal
Dipayan Mondal

Dipayan is the author of this blog. He completed his hotel management degree from GNIHM, Kolkata. And he is very passionate about the hospitality industry. And right now, he is working as a successful hotelier in a 5-star hotel.