A hotel is an establishment offering a paid hosting service, generally for short periods. In its definition of the hotel, the hotel rating agency World (World Hotel Rating Agency - WHR) requires that there be a reception. Hotels often offer several other services to their customers, such as catering, a swimming pool or childcare. Some offer conference services and meeting rooms and encourage groups to hold conventions and meetings.

Etymologically, the term means any hotel building to receive guests. If they are passing, we talk about tourist hotel. But the term hotel can also apply to mayors of major cities (City Hall), hospitals (Hotel Dieu), the mansions ...

Hotels differ from motels in that in the latter, access to the room is from the outside, while in hotels, access to the room is usually from the inside, which can increase the safety of customers and provide a more upscale setting. However, in France, several chains Motels (Campanile, Balladins, Formule 1 and Ibis some) use the term hotel.

In Australia a hotel may also serve alcohol and food, usually in a casual setting, but does not necessarily offer of accommodation. Generally used the term "pub" or "bar" in other countries for this type of establishment, but these terms are considered synonyms in common usage in Australia.

In India, the word "hotel" can also refer to a restaurant since the best restaurants have always been located near a good hotel.

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