Hotels and accommodation
In this B1 Intermediate Vocabulary Lesson, you will learn about various types of accommodations, the terminology used to describe their features, and the adjectives commonly used in reviews to detail experiences in hotels and other lodging options. Check the pictures and read the descriptions below to improve your vocabulary related to travel and accommodation.
Types of accommodation
There are many different places that people stay when they are travelling. Below is a list of some of the most common types.
1 A hotel has many rooms where people stay when they are travelling. They can vary in price, facilities, and standards, with some being quite expensive and luxurious and others being cheap and very basic.
2 B&Bs (short for Bed and Breakfast) are much smaller than hotels. They can be situated above a pub or even in someone’s home. Breakfast is included in the room’s price; that’s why it is called a B&B.
3 Vacation rentals (US) or holiday lets (UK) are flats or houses rented out exclusively for holiday use. Guests have private use of the home and all its facilities.
4 A guest house is a small, private place where people can stay temporarily, similar to a hotel, but usually smaller and cosier. It’s often a part of a larger house or property run by the owner or host. People stay in guest houses for short-term accommodation, like during vacations or business trips.
5 A homestay is a type of accommodation where one stays in a room in someone’s home. The purpose of a homestay is for the traveller to learn more about the local culture and to experience family life firsthand, so most homestay guests have meals with the family and get to know them on a more personal level.
6 A resort is a hotel with a pool, restaurants, shops, and other recreational facilities. Meals and entertainment are included in the price of the accommodation.
7 A lodge or a cabin is a small house in the mountains or the country, usually with more than one bedroom and cooking, dining, and outdoor facilities. A cabin often refers to a place that is smaller and in a more remote area than a lodge.
8 A youth hostel is a cheaper type of accommodation, usually favoured by young people trying not to spend much money. Guests usually share large rooms called dormitories with several other people.
9 Motels are similar to hotels but are designed for travellers with their own vehicles, so they are usually situated at the side of a motorway or busy road, and they always include parking facilities.
Adjectives used to describe hotels and accommodation
Many adjectives are often used to write hotel reviews and describe hotels and accommodation, and the staff that work in them. Here’s a list of some of the most common adjectives.
Staff / Service
Attentive staff listen and patiently handle guests’ requests. Friendly staff make guests feel welcome and go the extra mile to help. Helpful staff give advice and offer solutions. Conversely, rude staff have bad manners and aren’t polite. Inattentive ones don’t listen to people or respond to their requests. If a hotel doesn’t have enough staff for guest needs, it’s considered understaffed.
Guests naturally expect rooms to be clean. When a room is at its ultimate level of cleanliness, we describe it as spotless, a term so extreme that it cannot be used with modifiers like very or quite. In contrast, an untidy room is messy and not very organised. A room covered in dirt particles is termed dusty, whereas dirty simply suggests it hasn’t been cleaned recently. If surfaces like carpets or sheets have unremovable marks, we say they are stained.
Guests enjoy a spacious room, allowing them to move freely and relax. Conversely, a cramped room is small and offers little room to move, making it less comfortable for visitors.
A modern décor suggests the hotel keeps up with contemporary design trends, creating a fresh atmosphere. Using the word great indicates high appreciation for the décor style. On the other hand, old-fashioned is a word we use to describe a place or furnishings that are not of recent style and probably need changing.
Comfort is paramount, so comfortable furniture ensures guests can relax without any discomfort. In contrast, uncomfortable or tatty (old and in poor condition) furniture might negatively affect the guest’s satisfaction.
If the mattress is firm, it’s solid and not too soft. We use the word crisp to describe sheets when they’re very clean, straight, and appear to have been ironed, which ensures a restful sleep. However, bedding termed overused or worn shows evidence of having been used a lot and is, therefore, not in good condition, which can affect the quality of a guest’s rest.
A quiet or peaceful environment is calm and free of noise, perfect for relaxation. However, a noisy place is full of loud or unpleasant noise and affects the guest’s overall experience very negatively.
We also have several adjectives that can be used to describe the location of a hotel. Convenient means a place has everything guests need (restaurants, transport links, entertainment, etc.) nearby. If its location is central, it is in the middle of a town or city. However, if a hotel’s location is inconvenient, it might require extra effort or travel.
There are also certain words that we can use to describe the price of a hotel, hostel, restaurant, etc. Cheap is the opposite of expensive, whereas reasonable and affordable mean the price is fair and easy to afford. On the other hand, if something (a hotel, restaurant, etc.) is overpriced, it means that it’s expensive and has poor value for money.
Tasty and delicious are adjectives used exclusively for food. Tasty means that something tastes good, and delicious is the extreme form of tasty, so if a meal was delicious, the food was very, very good. In contrast, if food is tasteless or bland, it has little taste or flavour.
In general terms, if a place or a stay is described as amazing, great, or incredible, it indicates high satisfaction and a memorable experience. However, a disappointing stay was not as good as we thought it would be and has, therefore, left us with a negative impression.