hotel bed and breakfast vocabulary

Using English at a Hotel

Hotels vocabulary concerns all the useful words and phrases you might need when staying at hotels. Hotels and B&Bs have their own special vocabulary related to the type of accommodation and the services available.

When staying at a hotel where English is the main language, you will need to make yourself understood when checking in, checking out and asking for information.

Explore our list of hotels vocabulary and phrases related to staying in bed and breakfasts for when you are travelling. Whether you are staying in a hotel, bed and breakfast, hostel, motel or another type of accommodation, we hope our hotels vocabulary will be useful.


General Hotels Vocabulary

Hotel – hotels can be small boutique establishments or large chains (e.g. Holiday Inn). Hotels usually have a restaurant and bar, so you can eat there at night

Bed and breakfast (also called b & b) – B&Bs are normally smaller and cheaper than hotels. They are usually independent establishments offering breakfast but no evening meal option

Hostel – In the UK, hostels are normally the cheapest option and these often offer dormitory style rooms with multiple bunk beds. Youth hostels are ideal for young people backpacking. In Europe, hostels are often more like B&Bs and have individual bedrooms and can be high quality


Motel – Motels are traditionally hotels next to a road, such as a motorway. They are usually a cheaper option than a hotel.

Check in / Checking in – this is a verb and a noun and refers to arriving at the hotel, registering, paying any deposit and getting your keys

Check out / Checking out – this is a verb and a noun and refer to leaving the hotel, signing out, paying any outstanding bill and giving back your keys

Full board – hotel offering accommodation with all meals included

Half board – hotel offering accommodation with only one main meal per day

Star ratings – One/two/three/four/five star 1*, 2*, 3*/, 4*, 5* – Star ratings are indications of the quality of a hotel from the lowest (no stars) to the highest (5 stars). One star hotels are budget options with basic facilities, while 5 star hotels offer the highest level of service with all luxuries (or they are supposed to!)

Single room – a bedroom with one single bed (for one person)

Double room / King room – a bedroom with a double bed or king-size bed (usually for two people)

hotels vocabulary - hotel room

A typical double room in a hotel, featuring double bed, chair, desk and TV

Twin room, triple room – a bedroom with two single beds or three single beds (for two or three people)

Suite – a large bedroom with sitting room, table and more facilities

Floors: First/second/third/top floor, penthouse – the highest floor of a hotel is often called the penthouse. The best room in the hotel is usually the ‘penthouse suite’

Balcony, terrace – outdoor areas accessible from your hotel room

En suite – a private bathroom accessible from inside your bedroom

Bathrooms: Private bathroom, Shared bathroom, Shared facilities – a bathroom can be private (for your use only) or it can be shared with other guests

Mini bar – a small fridge in your hotel room containing drinks and snacks (it is often very expensive to eat/drink items from the mini bar)

Room service – a service in hotels where you can ring reception and ask them to bring food and drink to your room. There will often be a separate room service menu

Views: Sea view, city view, mountain view – the view from the windows of your room can look out over the sea, the city or the mountains (or if you are unlucky, perhaps a brick wall!)


Hotel facilities can include:

Reception – the place where you check in /check out and ask any questions. This usually has a large desk and is always attended by a member of staff (a receptionist)

Bell boy – in some large and grand hotels this is the lift attendant

Porter – the person who carries your luggage / bags and shows you to your room

Concierge – the person who helps with various issues in a hotel, booking tickets and making reservations etc.

Other general hotel facilities:

Fire escape, wheelchair access, car park, lift / elevator (American)

hotels vocabulary - reception

A reception in a hotel is usually staffed 24/7


Useful Phrases for Hotels

Phrases you may want to say
Do you have any vacancies? Do you have a curfew?
I have a reservation What time do you serve breakfast?
I’d like to make a reservation/booking Can I get room service?
I booked online I’d like a single/double room, please
Do you have a lower rate for children? Is breakfast included?
Does the room have air conditioning? Could we have an extra bed in the room?
I’d like to check out Is there anywhere we can leave our luggage?
Do you allow pets? What time does the bar close?
Where are the lifts? Does the hotel have any laundry facilities?
Phrases you may hear
How long will you be staying for? Could I take your credit card details, please?
What kind of room would you like? What time will you be arriving?
Would you like an en suite room? Do you need a smoking or non-smoking room?
Can I see your booking reference? Could you fill in this registration form, please?
Would you like a wake up call? Breakfast is from 7am until 9am
Check out is before 11am Here is your room key
Enjoy your stay! Your room is on the second floor
Notices you may see
Lifts out of order Please make up the room / Please clean the room / Room ready for service
Please do not disturb Reception
Please wait here Please wait to be seated/served
Out of service Wet floor
Ring for assistance Executive / Junior suite
No smoking Fire exit
Lounge Bar
Dining Room Please ring the bell for service

Share your thoughts on hotels vocabulary

For more useful phrases for when you are travelling and staying away from home, please see our vocabulary for restaurants and pubs and also our page for travel and transport vocabulary.

Can you think of more useful hotels vocabulary?

Are there any phrases you have seen or heard when staying in a hotel that you found confusing?

Share your thoughts on hotels vocabulary in the comments!


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