Chain hotels

One of these rooms is just like the others...

A Holiday Inn outside Trieste, Italy
A Holiday Inn outside Trieste, Italy.
You know the drill: they're styled in that bland, international cookie cutter decor; they've got a set of guaranteed amenities; and their networks are spreading around the globe.

These are the chain hotels—Hilton, Radisson, Intercontinental, Hyatt Regency, Marriott, Sofitel, Motel 6, Days Inn, Howard Johnson...

Chain hotels by parent group
Best Western
• Accor (Sofitel, Novotel Mercure, Etap, Ibis, Formule1/F1)
• Marriott (Marriott, Renaissance, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, Residence Inn, Springhill Suites, TownePlace Suites)
InterContinental (Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Indigo, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites)
• Starwood (Westin, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, W Hotels, Le Meridien, Aloft, The Luxury Collection, St. Regis)
• Carlson (Radisson, Park Plaza, Country Inns & Suites)
• Wyndham (Super 8, Days Inn, Ramada, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Wingate, Travelodge, Microtel, Baymont Inn)
Choice Hotels (Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Clarion, Sleep Inn, Econolodge, MainStay Suites, Rodeway Inn, Cambria Suites, Ascend, Suburban Extended Stay)

Chain hotels by price category
• Inexpensive motels
Extended-stay/all-suite hotels
Wait. Did I just type Motel 6 and HoJo's? Yep, we've exported our low-end chain hotels around the world just like we did our Starbucks and MickeyDs.

(Actually, technically speaking, Motel 6 is now part of the French hotel conglomerate Accor, but the whole standardized cheap-o furnishings, paper-thin walls, and leaving-the-light-on-for you schtick remains the same.)

With a chain you know exactly what you're going to get ahead of time. I've always felt that sucks all the fun out of the spirit of travel, but that's just me. Some folks adore the predictability that a chain property offers them.

Even more importantly, if you have loyalty points from your business travels or an airline or credit card rewards program, you can often spend them at these chains while on vacation and slice out a major portion of your travel budget.

The discussion of chains below divides them up by umbrella brand (so you'll know which loyalty program works across various brands)—but if you're just looking to compare across different brands within a general price range, check out the same info divided into cost categories using the list in the box to the right.

Major hotel chains in Europe and around the world


Best Western (www.bestwestern.comPartner)

A Best Western hotel overlooking the gondola parking lot of Venice, Italy
A Best Western affiliate overlooking the gondola parking lot of Venice, Italy.
Best Western is the one (happy) exception to the cookie-cutter rule that dominates chain hotels. Best Western has followed a somewhat different tack in expanding abroad.

For the most part, rather than building new hotels to mirror their U.S. ones, Best Western has merely partnered up with existing hotels all across Europe—and we're talking four-star properties here, often historic ones to boot.

So you get all the Best Western amenities you'd expect, and on the plus side the building might be a 17th century palazzo in the heart of the historic center, or some grand hotel edifice from the Belle Époque era of Grand Tourists, or overlooking gondolas bobbing in a canal of Venice (as in the picture above to the right). Neat.


Accor Hotels (

Logo_Accorhotels_blue_88x31The French company that runs Motel6 in the United States has a chain hotel for every price range in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and Africa, as well. They operate 15 hotel brands; here are some of the most wide-spread and useful:


InterContinental Hotels (

Book Early and Save up to 20% Off Your Next Stay!Intercontinental is another mighty chain consisting of more than 4,400 properties (with a staggering total of 647,000 rooms) in 100 countries on every continent. Still haven't heard of them. They operate under the signs of some very familiar brand names—for example, Holiday InnPartner. If you earn Priority Club Rewards Promotion points at any one, you can use them at the others.

Partner Marriott (

Marriott - Choose from 3,500 hotels worldwide.More than 3,500 hotels around the world—with a focus on the United States, but also in 67 other countries. The group is divided into some 18 hotel brands, mostly in the middle to higher end categories, chief among them:


The Wyndham Hotel Group (

Cendant HotelsWyndham is the parent company for a gaggle of some 6,500 hotels of many major, familiar and popular brands spread over all price ranges—though they tend to the affordable end. Some of the most popular motel and inexpensive hotel brand chains are here, and you can use Wyndam Rewards Points interchangeably at any of them:

And, yes, many hotels in those famed chains are also found in Europe. There are RamadasRamada in Bologna, Italy and Paris, France; Days InnsDays Inn in London, England and Belfast, Ireland; and (believe it or not) not one but TWO HoJosHoward Johnson on the Mediterranean isle of Malta.


Starwood (www.starwoodhotels.comPartner)

Starwood is better known by its brand names—Sheraton, Westin, W, etc.—a collection of some 1,041 (largely) upscale hotels, roughly half in the Americas and the rest in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. You can earn and spend Starwood Preferred Guest points at any property.


Carlson (TK)


Choice Hotels (

Another mega-congolmerate of instantly recognizable budget motels, economy brand hotels, and all-suite extended stay properties. Among the brands:

Hotel chains in the U.K. and Ireland

Premier Travel Inn (

Combined site of Travel Inn and Premiere Lodges, which are a bit like a Motel 6, but clean, decent (thin walls, though), and the price is usually excellent for expensive spot like Great Britain. I particularly like the London Southwark, which is attached the the venerable Thameside Anchor pub.

Travelodge (

279 budget hotels throughout Great Britain priced from just £26 per room per night.


Thistle Hotels (

33 hotels across the U.K. starting at £39 per night (and a handful in Asia), with 11 in London alone (those start at £69).

Jurys Doyle (Ireland, elsewhere;

Some 35 inns across Ireland, from three-star moderate hotels to four- and five-star properties in Dublin and elsewhere.

Other European budegt chain hotels

Motel one (Germany, Austria, Belgium, Scotland) -

An inexpensive chain (from €49 to €69 per person) of retro-chic hotels, with an early 60-style mod look in tones of chocloate, gold, and turquoise. Currently 39 hotels spread over in 16 major cities across Germany (Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Hamburg, Leipzig, SDusseldorf, Essen, Weisbaden, Saabrucken, Stuttgart, Nurnberg, Dresden, Magdeburg, Kassel)—plus Austria (Salzburg, Vienna), Belgium (Brussels), and Scotland (Edinburgh, from £69).

chic&basic (Spain, Netherlands) -

Just what the name says: stylishly modern but inexpensive hotels (from €92 for a double), more basic hostales (from €54), and apartments (from €85) in Barcelona, with a few also in Madrid and Amsterdam.

Room Mate Hotels (Spain, plus USA, Argentina, Mexico) -

Contemproary and designer-y yet inexpensive rooms (from €75 double) in Spain—Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Málaga, Salamanca, and Oviedo—plus Miami Beach, New York, Buenos Aires, and Valntina, Mexico.

Jolly (Italy)

Country Inns & SuitesPartner (UK)

Park PlazaPartner (UK, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary)

RegentPartner (Croatia)

Minotel (

Tours Under $995 G Adventures

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in April 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.