Hotels VS Guesthouses

Beach Palm Trees Riviera Maya

Some people are still unsure as to the differences between a Guesthouse and a Hotel when selecting accommodation. I researched it too and did not find much information, certainly not in the form of a blog or article, mainly as question and answer forums, and so I thought I’d clarify this for you today.

A hotel has many rooms, (even hundreds) where as a Guesthouse has only a few but have to both provide the essentials to satisfy the travellers needs. A guesthouse is more homely, as it is usually operated by a proprietor who may even live on the premises. Therefore, there is more personal interaction with each guest.

However, according to today’s grading systems around the world, most Guesthouses have en-suite bathrooms (or at least offer a private bathroom) to qualify for a higher grading in the same way as Hotels. In fact the general rule of grading is 1-5 and have the same requirements for both Hotels and Guesthouses. That is to say they both should supply adequate facilities to qualify.

For example, for an establishment to obtain 4 Stars, they have to provide the following basics:

  • Daily Room Cleaning
  • En-suite Bathroom
  • High quality Beds and  Furnishings
  • Quality Linen and Towels
  • A Digital Safe
  • TV and Satellite
  • Personal Hairdryer
  • Wooden Coat Hangers
  • Full Length Mirror
  • Internet Access
  • Provide basic Toiletries- Soap, Toilet-Paper & Amenities
  • Fresh produce for a choice-filled Breakfast

Small hotels have about 20 rooms and can be more intimate than the chain hotels with hundreds of rooms. A guesthouse can also have between 4 and 16 rooms, but I would like to note the main differences in a table for easy reading.




  Many rooms and large public areas,  and parking spaces   A few rooms and smaller public  areas and parking spaces
 24 hour Service  14-16 hour Service
 Bigger facilities, like Bars,  Restaurants, Spa, Gym, Swimming  Pools, Shops  Smaller facilities: Not usually a Bar  or Spa or Restaurants, although  some do have these as well as  swimming Pools.
  Fully licensed to sell alcohol   Not all fully licensed to sell alcohol
  Little interaction with other Guests  More interaction with other Guests  and the  Owners/ Managers
  More impersonal   Intimate and cosy
  Usually more expensive   Usually more affordable
  Sometimes pay for breakfast   Breakfast included
 Sometimes pay for Concierge    services   Concierge services usually  included.
  Usually pay per item for the mini  bar and for in-house movies   In-house movies are usually free  and in some guesthouses the mini  bar is included
  No Personal Attention  More Personal Attention
  Some have evening meals included  Not many have evening meals  included
 Room Service and Wine menus  Room Service not usual
  Most accept Children and offer  facilities for youngsters   Do not always accept Children and  offer less facilities for youngsters

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