During the Roman Empire there were several facilities. Along the roads and within towns there were taverns and inns to satisfy the needs of travelers and local people. In the XVI century, in the middle of the decay of feudalism, taverns and inns offering accommodation, food and drink became an every day reality.
Inns, generally small, offered rather rudimentary accommodation including horse stables. Taverns only offered food and drink, generally to locals, but did not host guests. Apart from beer, bars offered refreshing drinks, and food, though rarely. Laws were introduced to control prices in inns and taverns, as a way of guarantying the quality of services. By mid XVI century taverns and inns grew in importance as a result of the development of commerce in Tudor’s England. Roads and rivers continued to be essential for trips, and thus inns were built in key points along rivers and in towns near roads. Inns became larger and some had capacity to lodge up to a hundred travelers and even offered individual rooms, though sharing rooms was the usual case. Inns had big stables for horses and carts, as well as roomy patios that served as stage for night entertainments, such as theatrical representations of Shapeare’s or Marlowe’s plays. In the XVII century stagecoaches became a pretty fast means of transport. Inns offered hospitality and the possibility to change horses to continue the journey till the following stop. Stagecoach services were established in the main roads that joined the capital with provincial cities. Some of this services belonged to the very owners of the inns. In the XVIII century stagecoaches became the major means of transport, at a time when commerce increased the necessity to move from one place to another. However, trips were still extremely slow and long journeys entailed several stops to stay the night. The XVIII century witnessed the development of leisure facilities such as baths, which were first created with therapeutic aims, but later became places for social gatherings and holiday. The levels hotels reached were due to the necessities derived from the ever increasing frequency of wealthy travelers. The transport of travelers did not grow because of social aims or leisure, but rather because of commerce and necessity.
Coastal facilities grew during the second half of the XVIII century given the popular belief on the therapeutic features of sea baths.
During this period part of the first hotels and lodging houses were built in ports and beaches. The appearance of the locomotive and the extension of railways in the XIX century revolutionized transport and afforded coastal cities an extraordinary growth. The broad working population living in industrial cities could, for the first time, reach holiday sites easily and at reasonable prices. Hotels and lodgings were built by the thousand. Huge hotels, in some cases very luxurious, were built in cities, and above all in terminals. They often belonged to the very same railway companies which offered prestigious accommodation services to the most well-off travelers. Some of them where huge buildings with over half a million beds. Other businessmen devoted themselves to the creation of big luxurious hotels in the capitals, such as the Savoy, in 1889, and the Ritz, in the turn of the century. Competition between hotels brought about an improvement in service and an increase in comfort. New buildings offered residents and occasional clients delightful food prepared by French chefs. Hotels turned into social centers for private meals and banquets for groups. The XX century automobile boom came hand in hand with a development that paved the way to modernization of traditional road inns, and increased access to places where numerous hotels and inns were to be built. In the second half of the XX century, automobiles and airplanes became key means of transport. This created new types of hotel service demands.
Hotel complexes and city hotels tend to be larger, specially when they are meant to satisfy the needs of international travelers. This types of hotels usually target a particular consumer market. In general, they can be classified according to the level of services offered and their prices adjust to the spending power of the segment of the population they target. There is a great variety of hotels for those who travel by car; from luxurious rural mansions with elegant restaurants, to modern and inexpensive motels offering accommodation and plain services. Tourist associations and consortiums furnish consumers with diverse information on hotels and prices, making choice easier. Competition between facilities and hotel groups helps maintain the level of prices for the different services offered.
Restoration models were subject to deep changes in the second half of the XX century. Before World War II eating out was an activity which was relegated to the most wealthy classes. Since 1950 popular restaurants offering food at affordable prices grew spectacularly. Public transport has extended the tradition of eating outside home. Today cheap food is offered in a wide range of premises such a restaurant chains, bars, and typical foreign or specialized restaurants. Hotels went through a special boom in the 1980’s after an increase in consumer choices and the successful introduction of new services such as delivery. With the incorporation of women in the workforce food outside home and delivery became more affordable. The future development of hotels depends largely on the evolution of the economy. However, certain social factors, such as women, have a noticeable influence. This factors, together with the increase in the number of trips may push the hotel industry towards a greater variety of services and quality offered to their clients, within their evolution.
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