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What is the difference between a hotel, a hostel, and a B&B?

11 May 2024

Navigating the realm of accommodations can be a bit like deciphering a language with its own set of terms. Understanding the nuances between the various types of establishments can save you from unexpected surprises, particularly when it comes to factors like pricing and comfort.

The objective of this post is that, when you are looking for a place to stay, doubts such as: what difference exists between a hotel and a hostel? If I have a tight budget, is it better to stay in a hostel or a B&B?


A hotel is an establishment designed to comfortably accommodate travelers and usually meals, entertainment, and various personal services for the public

There are several categories to classify the type of hotel according to the degree of comfort and services it offers to its guests: luxury or basic. Perhaps the best-known system is the star system. There is also the classification method by diamonds and by letters.

The criteria for assessing the category of a hotel vary depending on the country. Therefore, a three-star hotel in Spain may not be the same as one with the same rating in France. Even so, objective criteria such as the size of the rooms, the bathroom, whether they have a television, telephone, alarm clock, wifi connection, gym, pool, etc., are always used.

Bed & Breadfast and Inn

A Bed&Breadfast (B&B), like a hotel, are also intended to provide accommodation for travelers from all over the world, but at a more affordable price because they are of inferior category.

To a large extent, the services offered by B&B are the same as those of hotels: cleaning, towels and sheets, internet… Sometimes the differences are slight, and in some cases, the services surpass those of hotels. In these situations, due to the size of the rooms, they cannot be considered as such.

B&B usually feature a cozy ambiance with a limited number of guest rooms. On the flip side, inns tend to be larger, offering a greater variety of rooms. A distinguishing factor between the two lies in the personalized touch commonly found in bed and breakfasts, enriching the guest experience.


Hostels are usually budget accommodations where beds are rented in shared dormitories, unlike B&B and hotels, which are always private. There are mixed rooms and also only for women or men. Services such as the bathroom, kitchen, or living room are also usually common. However, there are hostels that have private rooms, in which case, the price may be increased.

Due to all these characteristics, staying in a place like this is a well-valued option among younger travelers. And, in addition, it fosters interaction among them.

As a summary, we’ll show you a table that gathers the main differences and similarities between each type of accommodation.

HotelB&B Hostel
PriceGenerally higherCan vary, often mid-rangebudget-friendly
PrivacyHigher levelModerateShared
AmenitiesExtensive, including room serviceLimited, may include breakfast onlyBasic amenities
AtmosphereFormal, professionalCozy, intimateSocial, communal
ServicesFull range, concierge, etc.Personalized, family-like atmosphereLimited, self-service
FlexibilityStrict check-in/check-out timesCan be more flexibleOften flexible
InteractionLimited with other guestsModerate, chance to meet hosts and guestsHigh, communal areas
MealsUsually on-site restaurantOften included, home-cookedLimited, communal kitchens

We have talked about hotels, B&B, and hostels. But there are many more options related to this topic. For example, motels, aparthotels, or tourist apartments. Today’s travelers can find a tailor-made alternative according to the trip they are going to make. Therefore, one more excuse to pack your bags and get on a plane, train, or car to continue living new experiences.

Now that you are clear about the differences between hotel, B&B, and hostel, you can book your accommodation on Trabber. Furthermore, when you perform your search, you can filter among the different types of establishments.

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