The History of Lodging

History of Lodging

Since time immemorial human beings have traveled-whether in search of food, to explore new places, or to trade items. As such, the history of lodging is an interesting one, from the Lascaux caves in France to the thermal baths in ancient Greece. No matter the reason for traveling, travelers sought places to rest and rejuvenate.

In about 4000 BC, the Sumerians, an enterprising group that settled in Mesopotamia, near the Persian Gulf, saw the need to provide lodging facilities to people who came to trade what they offered, from the grain to the beer and craftwork. They built taverns to cater to the tired travellers looking for a drink of beer and a chance to interact with the locals. Besides the taverns,  they also established junction points for long-distance travelers to stop and rest. In Persia, the lodging facilities were called khans, in Rome, they were called tavernas, and in China, they were called relay houses.

Resting facilities were bare and only provided for shelter.

In AD 705, the first and oldest hotel in the world was opened in Yamanashi, Japan. This hotel is known as Nisiyama Onsen Keiunkan. The second oldest hotel in the world, which was originally said to be the oldest, is known as Hoshi Ryon. It was founded in 718 and still has the Hoshi family operating it, 46 generations later!

Between the 1600s and the 1700s, inns made an appearance, especially in England and most parts of Europe. They were particularly popular amongst the pilgrims thanks to the rise of Christianity.

Besides Christianity, the Industrial Revolution also played an important role in the rise in inns around Europe. Coach inns also made an appearance around the 1750s, with the middle-class travelers wishing to explore major cities and stop whenever they desired.

The 1800s brought in the railway lines and with their entrance came relatively “modern” lodging facilities, dubbed as hotels. Hotels by railway stations cropped up. In 1829, Tremont House opened its doors in Boston and shaped the face of the “hotel” as we know it today. In its folds, travelers enjoyed indoor plumbing, complete with toilets and baths!

With the entrance of the automobile industry, more and more roadside hotels also cropped up. Motels emerged to cater to the travelers and were a hit in the 1920s. They were small cabins where travelers could stop and rest.

Although hotels appeared around the 18th century, with the Industrial Revolution, population explosion, and urbanization, at the turn of the 20th century, the lodging industry as we know it today began taking shape. Giant hotel chains such as the Ritz and the Hiltons stepped in to get a piece of the hospitality pie.

Today, there are numerous lodging options to choose from. There are the guesthouses, the hostels, the motels, hotels, lodge and even private homes, all with a common goal of providing travelers with accommodation and sometimes food on their journeys.

If you are considering accommodation and meals then a hotel is a safe bet but if you only need short-term accommodation with no food provided then a lodge is ideal.

The earliest travelers were the traders, the government officials, and the rich. Today, with affordable travel and accommodation facilities, many people are traveling the world and so the lodging industry is there to cater to different walks of life!