100+ Essential Hotel Vocabulary Words in English [With Audio]
Whether you’re already employed or looking for a job in the hotel industry, it’s important to know the words and phrases used in hotels.
Having the right vocabulary will help you have a smooth experience at work and succeed in your career.
In this post, you’ll learn over 100 common hotel words and phrases so you can communicate effectively with hotel staff and guests from all over the world.
We’ll cover everything from making reservations and different types of rooms to hotel facilities and services for guests.
By learning these words, you’ll improve your language skills and feel more confident in your abilities.
- English Vocabulary for Working in a Hotel
- How to Learn Hotel Vocabulary
- And One More Thing...
English Vocabulary for Working in a Hotel
First, we’ll start with the types of rooms and beds that are available in a standard (regular) hotel.
Types of Beds and Rooms
Mattress and bed sizes vary from country to country, and from manufacturer to manufacturer (the company who makes the mattresses). Below are the standard U.S. bed sizes:
- Twin bed / Single bed — A twin or single bed is the smallest type of bed (around 39 x 74 inches), where one person can sleep.
- Full-size bed / Double bed — Nowadays, a full-size or double bed (around 54 x 74 inches) is usually for one person, but two people could sleep in it (very close together).
- Queen-size bed — A queen-size bed is bigger than a full bed (around 60 x 80 inches), and is usually shared by two adults.
- King-size bed — A king-size bed is the largest size of standard beds (around 76 x 80 inches), and can comfortably sleep two people.
Now that we know the bed sizes, let’s take a look at standard hotel room types. Be careful though, because these terms are used differently by different hotels. Check at your hotel to see what each type of room contains.
- Single room — A single room is for one person and usually has a full-size bed.
- Double room — A double room usually has space for two guests, with a full-size or queen-size bed.
- Twin room — A twin room usually has space for two guests but in two separate beds (twin/single beds).
- Triple room — A triple room can sleep three guests, either in one double bed and a single bed or three single beds.
- Suite — A suite is bigger than your normal hotel room. In fancy hotels, suites could even have multiple rooms. You might also see an executive suite or a family suite.
- Connecting rooms — This means that two rooms are connected together by a door going from one room directly into the other. Large groups of people or families might ask to be put in connecting rooms.
- Adjoining rooms — Rooms that are next to each other but not connected by a door.
Here are various features that hotel rooms might offer.
- Amenities — Amenities is just another way of saying “features,” often used in the hotel business. Hotel room amenities can include air conditioning/heating, internet access, a balcony and more. Hotel amenities can include a pool, gym, etc. (more on these later).
- Air Conditioning (AC) — Air conditioning (usually shortened to “AC”) keeps rooms cool when the weather is hot.
- Heating — When the weather is cold, heating will keep the rooms and hotel warm.
- Bathroom — This is the room where you’ll find a toilet, sink and shower. Most hotel rooms have their own bathroom attached (within the room).
- Internet access — If a hotel has internet access, it means guests can use the internet somewhere inside. They might have Wi-Fi (wireless internet), which could be free or cost money to use and typically requires a password to access.
- Wireless printing — This allows guests to print from their own computers to a printer somewhere else in the hotel (without being connected to the printer with a wire).
- Fan — Some rooms might have ceiling fans or electric fans to move air around and keep the room cool.
- Balcony — A balcony is a small outdoor space connected to the hotel room. Balconies are on floors higher than the ground level (second floor and higher).
- Patio —A patio is a paved area outside (on ground level) that usually has an outdoor table and chairs.
- Smoke-free — If rooms are smoke-free, it means that smoking is not allowed. Smoking and non-smoking are two other terms used to describe if smoking is allowed or not.
- Complimentary — This adjective means “free.” Often hotels will serve a complimentary breakfast (included in the cost of your room) or have complimentary shampoos and soaps in the bathroom.
Inside a Hotel Room
Here are some words that you might need to use when talking about the inside of a hotel room.
- Bathtub — A bathtub is in the bathroom, where people can wash themselves by taking a bath.
- Shower — Showers allow people to wash themselves while standing up. The shower head is the part that sprays water and the drain is on the floor, where the water leaves. Most bathtubs have showers in them, but a standing shower is in a smaller space by itself (without a bathtub).
- Towel — People use towels to dry themselves off after taking a shower or a bath. There are also hand towels, which are smaller, and a bath mat —a towel or small rug you put on the floor to stand on.
- Robes — Some hotels provide robes for guests to wear after they shower. They’re also called bathrobes .
- Toiletries — Toiletries are small personal items you might use in the bathroom, such as shampoo/conditioner (for washing hair), soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste. Many hotels offer free toiletries in small travel sizes.
- Hair dryer — Most hotels will have an electric hair dryer for guests to use to dry their wet hair after washing it. In standard hotels, hair dryers are attached to the walls with a cord. These are also called blow dryers .
- Sink — The sink is where people wash their hands. The faucet is where the water comes out. A guest might complain that the faucet in their bathroom is leaking (water is dripping out when it’s turned off).
- Soap — Soap is used to kill germs and bacteria when you wash your hands. It can be either liquid (stored in a soap dispenser) or a solid bar. Some hotels have both hand soap and body soap .
- Lamp — Lamps provide extra light somewhere in the room. Guests might tell you that a light burned out in their lamp, meaning it needs a new light bulb .
- Executive desk — Some rooms might come with a desk to sit and write or work. These are sometimes called executive desks (just a fancier name, often used in business suites).
- Kitchenette — This is a mini-kitchen where people can prepare basic food, usually with a sink and microwave . Many hotel rooms have a mini-fridge (small refrigerator) that has some beverages (drinks) and snacks inside. If guests eat the snacks and beverages, they have to pay for them when they check out.
- Coffee machine — Coffee machines in hotel rooms allow guests to make their own coffee in the morning. Guests might need more filters or coffee grounds if they run out (use them all).
- Curtains — These usually hang from a curtain rod to cover a window. Curtains can be pulled open or closed to let sunlight in or keep it out. In a more modern hotel room, the windows might have blinds instead.
- TV — Most rooms have a TV with a remote control (small hand-held device used to change the channel or volume). The TV remote might need new batteries from time to time. Some hotels have a listing of the local TV channels. There are also often pay-per-view channels or movies, that guests are later charged for.
- Safe — This is a small box locked with a combination or key where guests can keep valuable items locked and secure.
- Cot — This is a small bed that folds up and rolls on wheels, so it can be moved into rooms when an extra bed is needed.
- Pull-out sofa — This is a couch that can pull out into a sofa bed.
- Armchair — This is a more comfortable chair with rests for both of your arms.
- Linens — These are cloths such as sheets on the bed, pillowcases to cover the pillows, a blanket to keep warm or a comforter (the thick blanket on top of a bed). Sheets have a thread count , which tells their quality/smoothness.
- Iron and ironing board — When clothes are wrinkled, guests can get rid of the wrinkles by using an iron with an ironing board.
- Private jacuzzi — This is a hot tub somewhere inside or attached to the room. “Private” is the opposite of “public,” and means that this jacuzzi is just for the people in that room.
Hotel Features and Services
- Turndown service — This is a service that has housekeepers go into the room and remake the beds. They might put a mint or chocolate on the pillow to show the bed has been “turned down.”
- Bar — Here’s where you can order drinks and sometimes food. Some hotels have their own restaurant where guests can order full meals.
- Brochures — These are small pieces of paper that advertise local attractions such as water parks and museums.
- Airport shuttle — Some hotels have shuttles or large vans that give guests free rides to and from the nearest airport.
- Parking — Guests will want to know if there’s a parking lot where they can park their car, and whether or not it’s free. Fancy hotels might have valet parking , where guests drive up and get out of the car, and a hotel worker parks it for them.
- Continental breakfast — This is a light breakfast, usually included with the cost of the room, and served in a common area like a dining room.
- Room service — This is a service that lets guests order food or drinks and have it delivered to their hotel room.
- Catering — Some hotels offer catering services, meaning they can be hired to cook and serve food for events.
- Buffet — A buffet consists of many different kinds of food, and guests serve themselves. For example, your hotel might offer a breakfast buffet or a dinner buffet .
- High chairs — Family-friendly hotels will have these for toddlers (very young children) to sit at tables. Booster seats are set on top of chairs/benches so younger children can sit higher up and reach their plates easier.
- Ice machine — This is a machine where guests can get ice to use as they need. They’re usually in the hallways on each floor.
- Vending machine — These are machines where guests can purchase candy, snacks or beverages with coins.
- Wheelchair accessible — This means that people in wheelchairs can get around the hotel, usually with elevators and ramps (inclined/tilted ground instead of stairs).
- Fitness/workout room — This might also be called a gym , and is a place for guests to exercise. There might be treadmills or free weights in the room.
- Swimming pool — This is a place for guests to swim, and could be indoor (inside the hotel building) or outdoor (outside).
- Jacuzzi / whirlpool / hot tub — This is a small, very hot “pool” of water with bubbles or “jets” that adults sit in to relax.
- Spa — A spa for relaxation might offer massages or a sauna (a small room filled with hot steam).
- Laundry — Hotels might offer laundry service, meaning they will wash guests’ clothes (for a fee). There could also be coin-operated laundry machines, where guests can wash their clothes themselves by putting coins into the machines.
- Dry cleaning — This service cleans clothes that can’t be washed. They’re marked as dry clean only .
- Business center — This is a place where guests might be able to use computers, make telephone calls, send faxes or make photocopies.
- Pets allowed/pet-friendly — This means that pets are allowed in the hotel. If pets are not allowed, most hotels will still allow service animals (used to help people with disabilities).
- Ski storage — Hotels near ski resorts might offer a room or place for guests to safely store their ski equipment.
Getting Around the Hotel
- Main entrance — These are the principal (main) doors to enter the hotel.
- Reception — This is where guests are greeted, which comes from the verb “to receive.” It’s often called the front desk .
- Lobby — This is an area shared by all guests of the hotel, usually on the ground floor near reception. It’s a common meeting place so there are often chairs/sofas and a bathroom.
- Banquet / meeting room — This is a large room used for big events, such as conferences or weddings.
- Elevator — This is a small space that raises and lowers guests between floors once the doors close and they press a button. It’s called a lift in British English.
- Stairs / stairway — These are steps so guests can walk up to higher floors in the hotel, or down to lower floors. In an emergency, everyone should use stairs instead of elevators.
- Hall(way) — This is a long passageway with doors on either side, which open into rooms. It’s also called a corridor .
- Emergency exit — In case of a fire or another emergency, some doors will be marked “emergency exit,” which lets you leave (exit) the hotel quickly.
- Manager — The manager is in charge of many people who work in hotels. Guests don’t usually interact with the manager unless there’s a serious problem.
- Receptionist — This person is found at the front desk/reception. They answer the phones and greet the guests.
- Concierge — A concierge helps guests with needs such as arranging travel, booking local tours, calling taxis, etc. In this well-known scene from the movie “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” you’ll hear the line, “This is the concierge, sir!”
- Bellboy / bellhop / porter — These are all names for the person who helps guests carry their suitcases/luggage up to the room.
- Housekeeping / housekeeper — These are the people who clean the hotel and its rooms. If guests don’t want housekeeping to come into their rooms to clean, they can put a small sign that says “Do not disturb” on the doorknob of their hotel room.
- Tip — This is a small amount of money (in cash) given to bellboys or left in the room for housekeepers at the end of your stay to thank them for their service.
- Uniform — Most hotels will require workers to wear special, matching clothes called a uniform.
- Staff meeting — This is when staff meets at a specific time and place to talk about work topics.
- Booking a room — This is the same thing as reserving a room.
- Making a reservation — Guests will ask to make a reservation (book a room) when they’d like to stay at the hotel.
- Vacancy — This means there are still rooms available in the hotel. Hotels might have a “Vacancy” sign to show they’re accepting new guests or a “No Vacancy” sign when they’re full.
- Credit card — Most hotels will ask for the guest’s credit card number to reserve the room. They may also need to provide the card’s expiration date and security code (the three digits on the back of card).
- Conference / convention — Often hotels host conferences or conventions, which are large meetings a day or several days long with people from all over the state, country or even world. Conferences usually include a banquet (a formal evening meal with speeches).
- Wedding party — When people get married and their guests travel for the wedding, they can usually reserve many rooms for a special deal (lower price). When the wedding guests call the hotel, they should mention that they’re with the [Names] wedding party to get the lower price (and be put in the correct room).
- Check-in / check-out — When guests arrive at the hotel, they check in to get their room key. On their last morning, they check out to pay their bill.
- Key card — Most hotels use key cards (that look like credit cards) instead of an actual key to get into the room. Sometimes the magnetic strip on the card gets damaged or deactivated so that it won’t open the door correctly and needs to be replaced.
- Deposit — This is money that is paid before guests actually stay in the hotel. It’s often used to reserve (hold/save) their place, and there are policies (rules) about what happens to the money if they cancel their reservation.
- Room number — Guests need to know the number of the room where they’re staying. The first number often corresponds to the floor where the room is (for example, room 208 is usually on the second floor).
- Morning call / wake-up call — At many hotels, guests can ask that hotel staff call them at a certain time to wake them up, instead of relying on an alarm clock.
- Noise complaint — A noise complaint is when a guest tells the hotel reception that the guests in a room near theirs are being too loud or noisy. You may have to deal with this and ask the noisy guests to be quieter.
- Invoice — This is a piece of paper with a guest’s total charges (expenses) that they need to pay when they check out.
- Tax — One line on the invoice will be for tax, a percent of the total expenses that goes to the local/national government. In the United States, the state tax rate is different from state to state.
- Damage charge — If guests break or ruin something in the room, they might need to pay a damage charge. If a deposit was made, this type of expense might be paid for from the deposit.
- Late charge — If guests check out later than the check-out time, they could have to pay a late charge.
- Signature — Sometimes guests need to sign their name on an invoice or credit card receipt. Ask for their signature.
- Customer satisfaction — If guests had a great stay and were happy with the service, they are satisfied customers with high customer satisfaction.
How to Learn Hotel Vocabulary
Go on a Virtual Scavenger Hunt
You can use hotel websites or travel booking sites like Expedia or Booking.com to learn new words through this fun game. In a scavenger hunt, you have a list of things that you have to find within a certain time.
But in this version, you don’t have to go anywhere. Just print out this post and search for the words from the list on hotel websites. When you find a word, mark it on the list and read the sentence or section it’s in to understand its meaning.
Challenge yourself by setting a timer and see how many words you can find in five minutes. Keep practicing until you find all the words!
Watch Authentic English Media
You can learn new vocabulary and practice your pronunciation and listening skills by watching authentic English media. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Travel vloggers. These “video bloggers” often talk about the hotels they’ve stayed at, restaurants, local attractions and other travel-related subjects—topics you’ll likely discuss with hotel guests. For example, check out the videos by Jessica Olivia Travels or ViaTravelers.
- Comedy skits. There are a few funny Saturday Night Live skits set in hotels like this one about checking in and this one about checking out. They make fun of (joke about) how these processes can sometimes take longer than the guest may prefer.
- Movies and TV Series. Try watching movies or TV shows that take place in a hotel. The Wes Anderson film “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and the hugely popular TV series “The White Lotus” on HBO are two great options.
- FluentU videos. For shorter, more digestible content, you can use a language learning program like FluentU. Just search for “hotel” to find hotel-related video clips and vocabulary.
By learning these essential hotel vocabulary words, you’ll be able to deliver excellent guest experiences and communicate clearly at work.
Try to memorize a few terms each day and you’ll soon have them all down!
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.