I have own and run Hotel and motel both so i will try my best to explain best i can. There is lot of myth and confusion about Hotel and Motel. Actually, there is no rules or law governing to it and so its more depends whatever owner want to call it to his Lodging facility.
Before i answer let me tell you that Lodging is best word to use for both MOTEL, HOTEL & INN.
First, The most important, Lodging that offers on-site restaurant are Hotel. Any lodging provider who has on-site restaurant & pub CANNOT BE CALLED MOTEL.
MOST (not all) hotel are typically are more then one story. whereas, most Motel are either 1 to 2 story.
There is big myth that any lodging that have inside entrance are HOTEL and vice versa.That's utterly wrong. Yes, it's true most Hotel have inside entrance except few. But it is also true that thousands of lodging that have inside entrance are Motel. For example, Best western, days inn, econolodge, la quinta, comfort inn, hampton inn, Holiday Inn etc they all are motel and NOT hotel UNLESS they have on-site restaurants. Hotels are independent also and Franchise also - althought majority of them are chain. I know few hotels that have outdoor entrance but have on-site restaurant, lounge, etc. so whats really difference between them......
well it is the restaurant if it is on-site or not. If it has restaurant/bar it's Hotel. If it doesn't have then its MOTEL. Hotels are USUALLY large like more then 80 rooms and Most are usually smaller in size less then 80 units.
Another things, now a days, technology and competition has grown so much that even mom & pop small motel offer all the amenities of big Hotel except of restaurant. So if someone says motel have less amenitites its wrong. Almost, more then half of small motels and almost all bigger motels now offer hi-speed internet ....this may come shock to you but its true.
I own 1 non-chain Motel in carthage offers everything that you expect at Bigger chain from swimming pool, morning cont. breakfast, in room hi-speed internet, business center - fax copy and free internet service for guest use in office lobby, every sigle room with sofa or recliner, fridge microwave in all rooms, hair dryer in all rooms but it is still the MOTEL and i computer with Best Western which is also a MOTEL with inside entrance. We offer everything they offer plus more. They don't have fridge microwave in all rooms but we do. BUt it is still a Motel not Hotel just because it has inside entrance. I recently sold a Motel (Comfort Inn) in michigan that has indoor entrance and only about 12 year old.
Lodging that runs on hourly rate.....are motels but should call prostitute house. They are always in a high crime area.