An inn is an old fashioned term for a place where travelers seek lodgings for a night. It goes back quite a bit in time where inns were first established thousands of years ago as the Roman’s built their road system. They figured that people using those roads would also need somewhere to stay along the way on long journeys and the inn as we know it was born.
Back then, an inn was a place where you could rest, and also somewhere that you could get food. They had stables in the back for your horses to stay and instead of there being a lobby like we see in hotels these days, back then, you would have to knock on the door and the owner of the establishment, the innkeeper would answer the door and see if you were suitable to be allowed entry.
As we became more industrialized, more inns began to spring up, but they followed closely the routes of the transportation of the time. That is, if guests would be traveling by stagecoach, the inns would be on main roads that were frequented by the stagecoaches on their routes. When trains became the norm, they would only stop at select places along a route, and that is where you would find inns. People would get off the train and need somewhere close to the station to stay.
Today, with everyone owning a car or two, and freeways the popular way to travel, what do you see at most exits on the highways? That’s right, they are full of hotels of every description. The same philosophy holds true like it did all those years ago, inns, hotels, motels and even bed and breakfast establishments need to be where the travelers will be.
Nowadays of course, the word inn is sometimes just a part of a hotel company’s name, other times they don’t use the word at all, but instead are known as motels or hotels depending on the level of service they provide. Gone are the stables and instead we see parking lots for our ‘horses’. While it may have changed a bit, the main idea has stayed the same for centuries.
Some country pubs in Europe are still called inns as they always have been. They are more just a place to grab a drink with friends rather than to stay, but the history remains the same.