Introduction:

Staying in hotels is a very common experience, both on holiday and when away on business. And because English is now the international language, the majority of hotels in the world have staff/employees who speak English and information that is written in English. So, it is important that you know the meaning of words and phrases which are commonly used in them.

In this first of two online exercise on hotels, you will learn and remember the essential English vocabulary for staying at hotels and in hotel rooms (the place where you sleep). You will also learn the names of the different eating options you can have at hotels.

This exercise is useful for not only staying in a hotel but for also making a reservation. In addition, this exercise can be both used by people staying at hotels (guests) and people who work hotels.

When you have done this exercise, you should do the second part of the exercise. In the second part, you'll learn the English names of the different types of rooms and the different services and facilities in a hotel.

To learn the English phrases used when you arrive at a hotel, do our exercise on 'English vocabulary for arriving/checking in at a hotel'.


Exercise: Describing a hotel

Read the following conversation between the manager of a hotel and a new employee. The manager is explaining to the the new employee how the hotel works and what they have to do.

From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.

Manager:'So, you will be working here in reception near the entrance of the hotel. Your main responsibility is to speak to and help the hotel's guests. These are our customers and they pay to stay here. So you should be polite.'

New Employee:'So, when a new guest arrives and they want their key to their room, they want to check in, I have to take their name and information and then give them their key?'

Manager:'Yes, but you need to see first if they have a reservation here. Most of our guests book their rooms through the internet or by phone before they come. So their names will be on the computer system. But you have some people who want a room and haven't booked a room or made a reservation before they arrive. If we are fully booked, there are no rooms available, then you apologise and say that there are no rooms. If there are rooms available, then take all their details and information and check them in.'

New Employee:'Does the hotel provide meals to the guests who have a room?'

Manager:'Yes we do. There are four different options for meals. Some of the guests will have paid for a room and full board. This means that breakfast, lunch and dinner in the hotel are included in the price/rate they paid. There is also half board. This means that breakfast and dinner in the hotel are included in the price they paid.

We also have some guests that have paid for bed and breakfast, where breakfast in the hotel is only included in the price they paid for the room. There are a few guests who have paid for room only, where no meals in the hotels are included in the price they have paid. If they want breakfast etc..., they have to pay for it.'

New Employee:'So 'room only' is a different name for self-catering?'

Manager:'It's similar but different. 'Self-catering' is where the room has a kitchen in it where the guests can cook their own meals or food. None of our rooms have a kitchen inside of them, so we don't offer 'self-catering'.'

New Employee:'Ok, I understand. I have a question. What happens if the room isn't ready when the guest arrives at the hotel?'

Manager:'If the room is being cleaned or is still occupied, then politely ask them to wait in the lounge. The lounge is the place near reception with comfortable sofas and chairs where the guests can relax, read a newspaper or have a drink.'

New Employee:'Ok.'

Manager:'If they don't want to wait and would prefer to go out of the hotel, then offer to store or keep their luggage and bags, so they can visit places without carrying them.'

New Employee:'Ok.'

Manager:'When the room is ready and the guests want to check in, then you have to take all their details, like name and address and then check their ID. Then give them the room key.'

New Employee:'And when they check out at the end of the time they are staying in the hotel?'

Manager:'When they are checking out/leaving the hotel, you need take the room key from them and give a copy of their bill. The bill is the piece of paper that shows how much money they have to pay us. After that take the money off the guest and say goodbye.'



Quiz: Hotel essentials vocabulary part 1

Below is a definition/description of each of the words/phrases in bold from the above text. Now fill in the blanks with one of these words/phrases in bold. Only use one word/phrase once and write it as it is in the text. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.

1. When breakfast and dinner in the hotel is included with the price of the room, is    

         

Half board:
(noun) 'half board' is when the guests at a hotel are given/provided with two meals (breakfast and dinner/evening meal) to eat at the hotel where they are staying. The meals are included in the price/rate they are paying for the room. 'half board' often follows the verbs 'to stay', 'to pay for', 'to book/reserve' and 'to be', e.g 'we have booked half board'. In Spanish: "media pensión".

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Half board:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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2. A different way to say the 'customers' at a hotel, is    

         

Guests:
(noun) A 'guest' in this context means the 'customer' who is staying at a hotel. In the English-speaking world, hotels always call their 'customers' by the name 'guests'. 'guest' is also used in formal English to mean somebody invited to person's house or to a special event (e.g. a wedding, a party etc...). For example, 'he had 100 guests at his birthday party'. In Spanish: "huéspedes/clientes".

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Guests:

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3. A phrasal verb that means somebody leaves a hotel and pays for the room, is    

         

Check out:
(phrasal verb) The infinitive is 'to check out'. It has many different meanings. In this context it means to give the room key back to the hotel reception/front desk, pay the bill for the hotel room and leave. Normally, hotels tell their customers/guests that they have to 'check out' before a certain time in the morning after their last night in the hotel, e.g. 'all guests must check out by 11am'.

It is normally used as an intransitive phrasal verb (it has no direct object), e.g. 'we'd like to check out, please'. The opposite of 'to check out', is 'to check in', which means to arrive at the hotel, register/give your details and get the room key. In Spanish: "irse/pagar".

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Check out:

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4. A phrase that is used to tell a customer/guest that their room is not available for them to occupy/enter yet, is    

         

Room isn't ready:
(phrase) This is a commonly used phrase that the hotel staff/employees at reception/the front desk tell guests who want to check in and occupy their hotel room. It's a politer way of saying 'you can't go to your room yet'. The normal reasons why a 'room isn't ready' is because it needs to be cleaned or it is still occupied by another guest/customer. To be polite, this phrase normally follows 'I'm afraid that the' or 'I'm sorry, the', e.g 'I'm afraid that the room isn't ready'. In Spanish: "la habitacion no está lista".

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Room isn't ready:

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5. A different way to say 'reserve' a hotel room, is    

         

Book:
(verb) The infinitive is 'to book'. This is a very commonly used verb that means 'to reserve'. It is used for hotel rooms, tables at restaurants, flights and meeting rooms in an office, e.g. 'I'd like to book a room for the 26th of June, please'. The noun for this verb is 'booking' which means 'reservation'. A lot of people learning English confuse this verb with the noun a 'book', which is an object/thing which people read. In Spanish: "reservar".

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Book:

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6. A different way to say 'bags' or 'suitcases', is    

         

Luggage:
(noun) 'luggage' means 'bags' or 'suitcases' that are used to carry clothes and personal objects when people are travelling to a different country or place on holiday or a business trip, e.g. 'I'm only in Paris for two days, so I don't have a lot of luggage'. It is an uncountable noun, so you can't say 'a luggage' or '2 luggages'. Instead, you use 'piece of' in front of the noun, e.g. 'I have 2 pieces of luggage'. In Spanish: "equipaje".

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Luggage:

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7. When only breakfast in the hotel is included with the price of the room, is    

         

Bed and breakfast:
(noun) 'bed and breakfast' is when the guests at a hotel are given/provided with one meal (breakfast) to eat at the hotel where they are staying. Breakfast is included in the price/rate they are paying for the room. 'bed and breakfast' often follows the verbs 'to stay', 'to pay for', 'to book/reserve' and 'to be', e.g 'we have booked bed and breakfast'. A 'bed and breakfast' or 'B & B' is also the commonly used name for small and cheap hotels or 'guest houses'. In Spanish: "alojamiento y desayuno".

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Bed and breakfast:

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8. A piece of paper that shows how much money somebody has to pay for staying in a hotel, is    

         

Bill:
(noun) A 'bill' is a piece of paper that a customer/guest receives when they are checking out/leaving a hotel. It says how much money the customer/guest has to pay the hotel. Normally, the 'bill' is itemised (it lists/shows details of the cost of the room, phone calls made in the hotel and services and products used and consumed). In restaurants, people also receive a 'bill', which shows how much they have to pay for the meal/food. But, in restaurants in North America, this is called a 'check'. In Spanish: "factura".

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Bill:

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9. When a hotel has no rooms available to stay in, it is    

         

Fully booked:
(adjective) This means that all the rooms in a hotel are either 'reserved' or have customers/guests in them. It's a different way of saying 'we have no rooms available'. 'fully booked' is used with the verb 'to be', e.g. 'I'm afraid that we are fully booked next week'. This is also used with the same meaning for restaurants, i.e. 'there are no available tables'. In Spanish: "completo".

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Fully booked:

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10. When no food or meals in the hotel are included with the price of the room, is    

         

Room only:
(noun) 'room only' is when the guests at a hotel are not given/provided any meals to eat at the hotel where they are staying. The price/rate they are paying is only for a room. If they want to eat in the hotel, they have to pay money for each meal they have. 'room only' often follows the verbs 'to stay', 'to pay for', 'to book/reserve' and 'to be', e.g 'we have booked room only'.

This is similar to 'self-catering', but 'self-catering' means that you have a small kitchen in the room where you can cook and eat your own food. With 'room only', there is no cooking facilities in the room. In Spanish: "alojamiento solamente".

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Room only:

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11. The public area in a hotel where people can sit down and wait for people or relax, is called the    

         

Lounge:
(noun) The 'lounge' is the part of the hotel where all guests and their visitors can sit down and relax. Normally, 'lounges' are near the reception/front desk in hotels and have sofas and newspapers to read. If your hotel room isn't ready, it is common for the hotel receptionist to suggest that you wait in the 'lounge'. In Spanish: "salón/sala".

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Lounge:

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12. When breakfast, lunch and dinner in the hotel is included with the price of the room, is    

         

Full board:
(noun) 'full board' is when the guests at a hotel are given/provided with three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner/evening meal) to eat at the hotel where they are staying. The meals are included in the price/rate they are paying for the room. 'full board' often follows the verbs 'to stay', 'to pay for', 'to book/reserve' and 'to be', e.g 'we have booked full board'.

'full board' is commonly offered by hotels which specialise for people who are on holiday. Some holiday hotels and resorts (big hotel for beach holidays) offer/provide 'all inclusive'. This is where all meals, drinks and activities are included in the price/rate the guest/customer pays for the room. In Spanish: "pensión completa".

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Full board:

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13. A phrasal verb that means to arrive and register (give your details) at a hotel, is    

         

Check in:
(phrasal verb) The infinitive is 'to check in'. This means to get the key to the hotel room when you first arrive at a hotel. When you 'check in', you register/give your details (name, address etc...) to the person at the hotel reception. When you have 'checked in', you will receive your room key. It is normally used as an intransitive phrasal verb (it has no direct object), e.g. 'we'd like to check in, please'. The opposite of 'to check in' is 'to check out', which means to give back the room key, pay the bill and leave the hotel. In Spanish: "registrarse".

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Check in:

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14. When no meals in the hotel are included with the price of the room and you can cook your own food, is    

         

Self-catering:
(noun) 'self-catering' is a type of hotel room which has a small kitchen (cooking facilities) where you can cook and eat your own food. It also means that no meals (breakfast, lunch or dinner) are included in the price you pay for the hotel room.

Although, some hotels have self-catering rooms, it is more common when renting houses and apartments for holidays. Most hotels provide 'room only'. This is where no meals in the hotel are given/provided, but there are no cooking facilities in the room. 'self-catering' often follows the verbs 'to stay', 'to pay for', 'to book/reserve' and 'to be', e.g 'we have booked self-catering'. It can also be used as an adjective, e.g 'self-catering apartments'. In Spanish: "piso/habitacion con cocina propia".

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Self-catering:

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15. The place in a hotel where you check in and check out, is called the    

         

Reception:
(noun) The 'reception' is also called the 'reception desk' or the 'front desk'. It is the place in a hotel where customers/guests check in, check out, leave or pick up the room key etc... The person who works at the reception, is called the 'receptionist'. In Spanish: "recepción".

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Reception:

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Practice

Now that you understand the new vocabulary, practise it by creating your own sentences with the new words/phrases.