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Star Lite Motel, Dilworth, Minnesota, USA.

Motels (a contraction of motor hotels dating from 1925) are self-contained accommodation establishments for people who are typically travelling using their own vehicles. Often there is a parking space very close to the entry to the motel guest's bedroom and, typically, there are no public or common reception rooms to entertain guests or a lobby.

Typically, rooms have a private WC, wash handbasin and shower/bath with direct access from the bedroom ("en suite") but see France below.

Motels are generally thought to have first spread with the highway expansion of the 1950s but the very earliest motels pre-date this period by more than 30 years in the United States!

Formule 1 hotel next to E4 motorway in Jönköping (Huskvarna), Sweden


Has pioneered the use, in budget chains of motels, of common ablutions that are cleaned automatically by built-in machinery after each use.

In these budget motels, the rooms are typically very basic and small with a small desk, a television (with cable and international channels dependent on location), a double bed (or a double bed with a single bunk above), and a sink. There is no toilet or shower in the room; facilities are provided by single-person showers and toilets accessible from the common hallways which are automatically self-cleaned after every use.


Most motels in Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji and New Zealand include a kitchenette equipped with cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery together with a table and at least two chairs, a microwave, cooking rings, toaster and fridge.

In North America these type of motel rooms which offer opportunities for self-catering are called "efficiencies".

South America[edit]

Tucumcari blueswallowmotel.jpg

In Central America and South America, a "Motel" (in Mexico, Motel de paso) is often associated with extramarital encounters and rented typically for a short time (15 min to 12 hr depending on the participants' stamina). In Ecuador and Brazil, for example, any establishments including "Motel" in the title are probably specialising in extramarital encounters.

Major brands[edit]

  • Best Western
  • Comfort Inn
  • Econo Lodge
  • Holiday Inn
  • Hotel Formule 1
  • Marriott
  • Super 8
  • Travelodge

See also[edit]