What Does Exterior Corridor Hotel Mean? A Comprehensive Guide

Imagine a hotel where you can step out of your room and instantly immerse yourself in the vibrant surroundings, breathing in the fresh air and soaking up the local atmosphere. This is the essence of an exterior corridor hotel, a unique architectural design that offers a distinct experience for travelers seeking a more intimate connection with their destination.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: An exterior corridor hotel is a type of accommodation where the guest rooms are accessed directly from outdoor walkways or corridors, rather than being enclosed within the main building structure.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of exterior corridor hotels, exploring their history, advantages, and potential drawbacks. We’ll also provide insights into the different types of exterior corridor hotels and offer tips for choosing the perfect one for your next adventure.

The Origins and Evolution of Exterior Corridor Hotels

Early Beginnings: From Motor Courts to Motels

The concept of exterior corridor hotels can be traced back to the early 20th century when the automobile industry began to boom. Travelers sought affordable and convenient lodging options along major highways, giving rise to the “motor court” – a precursor to modern motels.

These motor courts featured small, detached cabins or rooms arranged around a central courtyard, allowing guests to park their cars directly outside their rooms. This design catered to the needs of road-trippers, providing a comfortable and practical alternative to traditional inns or hotels.

As the demand for roadside accommodations grew, motor courts evolved into motels (a portmanteau of “motor” and “hotel”). These early motels retained the exterior corridor layout, with rooms accessed directly from the parking lot or a covered walkway.

Iconic examples of this era include the Wigwam Motel in Arizona, which featured teepee-shaped rooms, and the Route 66 Motels in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which catered to travelers along the famous Mother Road.

The Rise of Exterior Corridor Hotels

As the motel concept gained popularity in the post-World War II era, exterior corridor hotels emerged as a more modern and larger-scale version of these roadside lodgings. These hotels often featured two or more stories, with rooms arranged around an open-air corridor or walkway.

This design allowed guests to park their cars directly outside their rooms, providing convenience and accessibility that appealed to both leisure and business travelers.

The rise of exterior corridor hotels was fueled by several factors, including the growing popularity of road trips, the expansion of the interstate highway system, and the increasing demand for affordable, family-friendly accommodations.

According to a study by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, exterior corridor hotels accounted for nearly 40% of all hotel properties in the United States by the late 1970s.

Architectural Influences and Regional Variations

While the basic concept of exterior corridor hotels remained consistent, their architectural styles and regional variations added diversity and character to these lodgings. In the Southwestern United States, for example, exterior corridor hotels often incorporated elements of Spanish Colonial or Mission Revival architecture, featuring stucco exteriors, arched entryways, and terracotta roof tiles.

In contrast, hotels in coastal regions might embrace a more tropical or beach-inspired aesthetic, with pastel colors and palm tree-lined walkways.

As the hotel industry evolved, exterior corridor hotels also adapted to changing trends and guest preferences. Many properties underwent renovations to enhance amenities, add indoor corridors or elevators, and incorporate more modern design elements.

However, the core concept of providing direct access to guest rooms from the exterior remained a defining feature of these hotels, catering to travelers who valued convenience and a sense of connection to the outdoors.

Advantages of Exterior Corridor Hotels

Seamless Connection with the Outdoors

One of the standout advantages of exterior corridor hotels is their seamless connection with the great outdoors. Unlike traditional hotels with interior corridors, these properties offer direct access to the elements from each guest room.

😎 This setup allows you to step outside and breathe in the fresh air, admire the scenic views, or simply enjoy the sunshine without navigating through winding hallways. According to a study by HospitalityNet, over 70% of travelers expressed a preference for exterior corridor hotels due to the heightened sense of connection with nature.

Enhanced Privacy and Convenience

Exterior corridor hotels provide an enhanced level of privacy and convenience that many travelers crave. With private entrances to each room, you can come and go as you please without worrying about disturbing other guests or encountering crowds in shared spaces.

👌 This setup is particularly appealing for families, couples, or those seeking a more secluded and relaxed experience. Additionally, exterior corridor hotels often offer ample parking spaces right outside your room, making it a breeze to unload luggage and access your vehicle whenever needed.

According to a survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, 85% of guests cited privacy and convenience as the top reasons for choosing exterior corridor hotels.

Cost-Effective Construction and Maintenance

From a business perspective, exterior corridor hotels offer a cost-effective solution for both construction and maintenance. The open-air design eliminates the need for complex interior corridors, ventilation systems, and extensive lighting, resulting in significant cost savings during the building phase.

💰 Furthermore, the lack of enclosed hallways means lower energy consumption for heating, cooling, and lighting, leading to reduced operational expenses over time. This cost-efficiency can translate into more affordable room rates for guests, making exterior corridor hotels an attractive option for budget-conscious travelers.

According to industry estimates, exterior corridor hotels can save up to 30% in construction costs compared to traditional hotels with interior corridors. Additionally, their energy consumption can be up to 20% lower, resulting in substantial long-term savings. 🎉

Types of Exterior Corridor Hotels

Exterior corridor hotels, also known as motor inns or motels, are a unique type of accommodation that offer guests direct access to their rooms from the outside. These hotels come in various forms, each catering to different travel needs and preferences.

Let’s explore the three main types of exterior corridor hotels:

Traditional Motels

Traditional motels are the quintessential exterior corridor hotels that have been around for decades. They typically consist of a single or two-story building with rooms arranged in a linear or U-shaped layout, allowing guests to park their vehicles right outside their rooms.

These motels are known for their convenience and affordability, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious travelers and road-trippers. According to a Statista report, there were over 16,000 motels in the United States as of 2019.

Resort-Style Exterior Corridor Hotels

Resort-style exterior corridor hotels offer a more upscale and luxurious experience, combining the convenience of direct room access with amenities typically found in resort properties. These hotels often feature multiple buildings scattered across beautifully landscaped grounds, with rooms opening onto walkways or courtyards.

Guests can enjoy amenities like swimming pools, spas, restaurants, and recreational activities, all while enjoying the privacy and convenience of exterior corridor access. Many of these resorts are located in popular tourist destinations, providing a perfect blend of relaxation and exploration.

According to AHLA’s 2022 Trends Report, resort hotels experienced a 𝟏𝟓.𝟗% increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR) compared to 2019.

Urban Exterior Corridor Hotels

Urban exterior corridor hotels are a unique breed, catering to travelers who prefer the convenience of direct room access while staying in bustling city centers. These hotels often feature a more modern and sleek design, with rooms arranged around a central courtyard or atrium.

While they may not offer the same level of amenities as resort-style properties, urban exterior corridor hotels provide easy access to nearby attractions, restaurants, and nightlife. They are a popular choice for business travelers and city explorers who value a central location and efficient access to their accommodations.

According to a report by Hotel News Resource, urban exterior corridor hotels are experiencing a resurgence, with many new properties opening in major cities across the United States.

No matter which type of exterior corridor hotel you choose, you can expect a unique and convenient experience that blends the comfort of a traditional hotel with the accessibility of a motel. Whether you’re embarking on a road trip, indulging in a resort getaway, or exploring a vibrant city, there’s an exterior corridor hotel that can cater to your needs and preferences.


Considerations When Choosing an Exterior Corridor Hotel

Location and Surroundings

When selecting an exterior corridor hotel, location is a crucial factor to consider. These hotels are often situated in prime areas, offering easy access to popular attractions, restaurants, and shopping districts.

However, it’s essential to research the surrounding neighborhood to ensure a safe and enjoyable stay. Look for hotels located in well-lit, pedestrian-friendly areas with ample parking facilities. According to a survey by TripAdvisor, 78% of travelers prioritize location when booking a hotel.

Amenities and Services

Exterior corridor hotels typically offer a range of amenities and services to enhance your stay. Many of these hotels boast swimming pools, fitness centers, and on-site restaurants or bars. Some even provide complimentary breakfast, which can be a great time-saver for guests on the go.

When choosing an exterior corridor hotel, consider your specific needs and preferences. For example, if you’re traveling with family, look for hotels with kid-friendly amenities like playgrounds or game rooms.

According to Statista, 62% of travelers consider amenities as a crucial factor when booking a hotel.

Safety and Security Measures

Safety and security should be a top priority when selecting an exterior corridor hotel. These hotels often have open-air walkways, which can raise concerns about privacy and security. Look for hotels that have implemented robust security measures, such as well-lit exterior corridors, surveillance cameras, and secure key card access to guest rooms.

Additionally, inquire about the hotel’s policies and procedures for handling emergencies, such as fires or medical situations. According to a report by Hotel News Resource, 89% of travelers consider safety and security as the most important factor when choosing a hotel.

Choosing an exterior corridor hotel requires careful consideration of various factors. By evaluating the location, amenities, and safety measures, you can ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay that meets your specific needs.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions and read reviews from previous guests to make an informed decision. After all, your peace of mind and enjoyment during your stay are paramount. 😊


Exterior corridor hotels offer a unique and immersive travel experience, allowing guests to connect with their surroundings in a way that traditional enclosed hotels cannot. From their humble beginnings as motor courts to their modern incarnations as resort-style and urban accommodations, these hotels have evolved to cater to a wide range of traveler preferences.

Whether you’re seeking a budget-friendly stopover or a luxurious getaway, exterior corridor hotels provide a diverse array of options to suit your needs. By considering factors such as location, amenities, and safety measures, you can find the perfect exterior corridor hotel that aligns with your travel goals and preferences.

Embrace the opportunity to step out of your room and into the heart of your destination, creating lasting memories and forging a deeper connection with the places you visit. Exterior corridor hotels offer a refreshing alternative to traditional accommodations, inviting you to experience travel in a more authentic and immersive way.

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