A hotelier is a person who oversees or manages a hotel. He or she may be the owner of the establishment, the chairperson of the board that operates the hotel, the chief executive of a hotel location or chain, or the general manager of the hotel.
A Brief History
From Hotels: a brief history By Jacques Levy-Bonvin
From antiquity to the Middle Ages
The history of hotels is intimately connected to that of civilisations. Or rather, it is a part of that history. Facilities offering guests hospitality have been in evidence since early biblical times. The Greeks developed thermal baths in villages designed for rest and recuperation. Later, the Romans built mansions to provide accommodation for travellers on government business. The Romans were the first to develop thermal baths in England, Switzerland and the Middle East. Later still, caravanserais appeared, providing a resting place for caravans along Middle Eastern routes. In the Middle Ages, monasteries and abbeys were the first establishments to offer refuge to travellers on a regular basis. Religious orders built inns, hospices and hospitals to cater for those on the move.
The start of the hotel industry
In France, at the beginning of the fifteenth century, the law required that hotels keep a register. English law also introduced rules for inns at that time. At the same time, around 1500 thermal spas were developed at Carlsbad and Marienbad.
During this epoch, more than 600 inns were registered in England. Their architecture often consisted of a paved interior court with access through an arched porch. The bedrooms were situated on the two sides of the courtyard, the kitchen and the public rooms at the front, and the stables and storehouses at the back. The first guide books for travellers were published in France during this period.
In the nineteenth century, hotels take over the town
The industrial revolution, which started in the 1760s, facilitated the construction of hotels everywhere, in mainland Europe, in England and in America.
In New York first of all, and then in Copenhagen, hotels were established in city centres.
At the beginning of the 1800s, the Royal Hotel was built in London. Holiday resorts began to flourish along the French and Italian rivieras.
In Japan, Ryokan guest houses sprang up. In India, the government-run Dak bungalows provided reliable accommodation for travellers. The Tremont House in Boston was the first deluxe hotel in a city centre. It offered inside toilets, locks on the doors and an "à la carte" menu.
The twentieth century: the age of prosperity
The early years of the twentieth century were rich in new hotels which rapidly became prestigious.
Edouard Niiermans, the "architect of palaces", transformed the Villa "Eugenie", the summer residence of the Emperor Napoléon III and his wife Eugénie de Montijo, in 1900. In 1905, he built l'Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz. In 1913 his "Négresco" was opened in Nice, in the presence of seven kings!
From A short history of hotels: Be my guest The Economist, Dec 21st 2013
Traditionally hotels were glorious illusions. In the 1930s George Orwell worked as a plongeur, or kitchen dogsbody, at Hotel X in Paris. In “Down and Out in Paris and London” he described how French grandeur existed a double-door away from kitchens in which filth ran “like the intestines through a man’s body”. Prolonged exposure to hotels’ artifice could induce madness. The billionaire Howard Hughes lived for years in suites, growing claw-like nails and peeing in jars. But for short-term guests, the theatre was fun.
The uniformity and ubiquity of today’s hotel chains may owe more to “1984”. Employees speak from memorised scripts. Rooms are identical, their windows sealed. The poor are excluded unless they work there. Little wonder that hotels attract rage. There have been 18 big terrorist attacks against them since 2002; from Kabul to Jakarta angry young men have bombed five-star establishments and machine-gunned their guests.
So next time you fix your wake-up call and slip beneath sheets that are folded according to a manual, ask yourself what you are getting into. Are you are a robot in a corporate dystopia? The pampered exploiter of a global underclass? Or, these days, you might be participating in a bold, worldwide social experiment.
- "The Hotelier"
- Hotel Management
- page 137 of Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry By Stanley Turkel
- 10 Richest hotel moguls in America
- Cool hotels with illustrious owners
this project is a HistoryLink project