The early city motels that you can find were built in the southwestern part of the United States. These were replacements for the tourist cabins and tourist camps that had grown around the highway system of the United States. Just like in the United States and in Canada, the development of city motels had largely expanded in the countries of New Zealand and Australia as well. Among the first motels in Australia are the Penzance Motel built in 1939 and located in Eagle Hawk, Tasmania; and the West End Motel built in 1937 and situated in Ballina, New South Wales. City motels had gained popularity in many other countries as well like Japan, Germany, and Thailand. However, in some countries the term “motel” often refers to low-end hotel or a cheap motel.
In Canada, camps and cabin are well-suited because of its winter season. With this, the variety and number of city motels had grown vividly after World War II. The peak of growth had focused on Ontario Highway 401, which started in the 1960’s. During the 1980’s, chains and franchises of city motels had expanded rapidly especially in the regions of United States and Europe. Because of the short tourist season and climate in Canada, outdoor swimming pools are usable for extra two months of the year. Also, independent city motels are often closed during the off-season because their operations would only incur loss.
In France, the chain accommodations of motel-style can reach up to three stories with stairwells and exterior hallways, and tagged as “one-star hotel”. The Louvre Hotel chain in France is being used to market the “one-star hotel” brand of this motel-style accommodation. In Germany, the use of “city motel” is used to define roadhouse hotel that is budget-friendly. There are also French chain of city motels in Germany that offer small Spartan rooms at lower price and with automated registration.
In Portuguese, the term “motel” normally refers to the love hotel or adult hotel with unique drive-up accommodation design for motorists. It includes amenities like non-standard shaped beds, over-sized beds, candles, in-room pornography, or Jacuzzi baths. Some styles of rooms are in honeymoon inspired suites. Such rooms are available for accommodation for as minimum as four hours and minors are not allowed for such kind of rooms. Another Portuguese term “rotel” is being used in Brazil since 1970. The concept is also the same.
In Italy, the term “motel” refers to short-stay hotels with luxury rooms and reserved parking. Such rooms can be rented for few hours as well. Since 1990’s the market segments of such rooms had shown momentous growth and became highly competitive. Until today, the idea of city motels is very popular for regular travelers or backpackers in Italy.
In South and Central America, the term “motel” refers to a place that is often associated with extramarital quirks and can be typically rented for few hours. On the other hand in Ecuador, any accommodation institution tagged with title of “motel” is associated with extramarital quirks. In Peru and Argentina, motels are for couples who look for temporary shelter or few hours of stay only. The décor of the rooms are based on amenities like king-sized bed, Jacuzzi, and dim lights. In other countries with Spanish-speaking, motels are tagged in slang names like “telo”, “amueblado”, and “mueble”.
Despite the above mentioned connotations of the word “motel” in Portuguese and Spanish languages, U.S.-based chains of motels had acquainted to the original meaning of the term. Increasingly, some chains had dropped the term “motel” from the names of their hotel identity.