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Kayce Strader

Many people use the words “hotel” and “motel” interchangeably, but there is a history behind the words that gives a clue to the lodging available. Hotel is a French word for public residence, and now typically means an inn of higher quality. Motel is an American invention from the 1920s that played on Hotel with a new twist – an added motor. With Americans traveling more and traveling further in their autos, it became the new norm to stay short amounts of time at an inn before hitting the road again. A motel sign let you know you could motor right up to your room door and be ready to leave again quickly. While the habits and expectations for each are strikingly dissimilar, the only key difference in a hotel and a motel is the location of the room doors – inside or outside.

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