Origins of ordinary things: Hotels

Hotels are the best alternative for accommodation when people travel away from their homes. The word “hotel” is derived from “hôtel”, a French word whose original connotation was a hospital-like place that provides care and accommodation to frequent visitors.

Although people use hotels now more than ever, they began to exist a long time ago. Even during the earliest civilisations, there were facilities for providing rest to travellers. For instance, Lascaux caves found in France are believed to have provided accommodation to people from a different tribe. According to Customer Alliance, a travel consultancy, the caves possibly date as far back as 15,000 BCE.

In early Greece, travellers were not given a place to sleep for the night. Rather, they were offered thermal baths so that they could recuperate their bodies. This is according to Hipmunk, a media platform. In early Rome on the other hand, the privilege to have good accommodation in a mansion with a good bath while away on the road was preserved for high-ranking government officials.

During the Middle Ages, convents became popular places for travellers to find accommodation on a regular basis. At the same time, people began to open inns and guesthouses along trade routes. They would provide meals and places to sleep for both travellers and their horses. This is according to Hospitality Net, a media platform on hospitality.

The most famous story about an inn is one that took place in the Biblical times, during the birth of Jesus Christ. Mary and Joseph, who had travelled to Bethlehem for a census, were denied a place to stay because, the inn-keeper said, there was no room. Because of this, Jesus was born in a manger.

While building permanent hotels began around 1200 AD, the hotel industry did not begin to thrive until around the 15th century. The Grand Hotel which was opened in London in 1774 was, according to Customer Alliance, the first establishment to be referred to as a hotel.

By the 16th century, many hotels had been built in Europe and as such people began to advertise their amenities in guidebooks. According to Hospitality Net, a media platform on hospitality, when the industrial revolution began in the 1760s, hotels were constructed in different parts of the world, mainly in Europe and America.

Because of increased interaction of people from different parts of the world, there are now countless hotels around the world. Some of them are found in the remotest places because people go there to get away from the fast-paced cities.

Hotels are of different sizes and offer varying services depending on the amount of money that one is willing to pay. Currently, the biggest hotel in the world as par the Guinness World Book of records is the First World Hotel found in Malaysia. It has 7351 rooms. The highest hotel is the Ritz-Carlton in Hong-Kong China at an altitude of 484 meters above sea level.