Are Hotel Properties With Exterior Corridors Becoming More Popular?

Lodging for weary travelers seeking to find a place to rest for the night has existed for centuries — but over the past couple of decades or so, new construction of hotel properties whose rooms have exterior entrances — that is, doors which lead directly outside instead of an interior hallway — had waned considerably for a variety of reasons.

Are Hotel Properties With Exterior Corridors Becoming More Popular?

Those reasons include — but are not limited to:

  • Ambiance. Hotel properties with outdoor corridors give the perception of cheap or inexpensive. When was the last time you stayed at a luxury hotel or resort property whose rooms had exterior doorways to an outside corridor?
  • Safety. Committing burglary, robbery, drug deals, and other crimes by nefarious individuals is purportedly significantly easier to do when the room has a direct entrance from the outside rather than having to enter through a main lobby with a manned front desk.
  • Comfort. If you need to go to the main lobby or other area of the hotel property, you are required to brave the elements of the outside between your room and your destination. A warm and dry hallway is usually preferable over traipsing through the snow when the temperature is 40 degrees below zero.
Quality Inn exterior corridor

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

“The percentage of exterior-corridor rooms has dropped from 24 percent of total supply in 2006 to 16 percent in 2010,” according to this article which was written almost nine years ago by Elaine Simon for Hotel Management. “This number is decreasing because of two main reasons: No franchisor is actively building exterior-corridor properties and these types of hotels are more likely than other types to be taken out of the system.”

However, motel and hotel properties with exterior corridors appear to be increasing in popularity in recent years: room rates are usually less expensive; they are typically built of better construction than newer buildings; many of them are conveniently located next to the exit ramps of highways; they evoke nostalgia of the golden ages of road trips from decades ago; they are easy to renovate…

…and some guests believe that staying at motel and hotel properties with exterior corridors are safer and more convenient during the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic — especially with the way they have been marketed recently, as some lodging companies have purposely edited their official Internet web sites to include that their accommodations are equipped with exterior corridors.

“With the spread of the coronavirus, being germ-free and having more open windows and less closed-in spaces are elevating exterior-corridor properties above their competition. And as hoteliers fight for their share of fewer travel dollars, they need any and all ammunition in their corner to bring in guests”, according to this article written by Laura Koss-Feder for Hotel News Now, which is now CoStar News. “Exterior-corridor hotels have a situational advantage during the COVID-19 pandemic, by giving the guest the ability to reduce touchpoints, avoid elevator rides, and be a more self-contained traveler.”

FlyerTalk member Hawkeyefan opined: “I think outside access Hamptons (heck, any brand) are REALLY attractive right now. I’ve always loved the motor hotel concept. Right now, you can avoid having to don masks in the lobby, check in online, and go right to your room, never having to use masks on property at all, and avoid scowling faces. Win…win.”

However, not all FlyerTalk members agree.

“Maybe in Florida but not California. At virtually all outside corridor hotels I’ve been in California, the lobby is still indoors, and masks are required there. (There may a tiny percentage of lower-end motels — lower-end than Hampton — that may have a walkup window facing outside for checkin, but they’re very rare.)”, argued FlyerTalk member sdsearch. “And if you say ‘any brand’, lots of other brands with outside corridors don’t allow you to check in online or use your phone as the room key, so that’s why you have to go into the lobby to check in and that why it matters if the lobby is indoors and masks are required indoors in that area.”


Baymont by Wyndham exterior corridor

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

Perhaps motel and hotel properties with exterior corridors do evoke nostalgia and are less expensive at which to stay — but I do not agree with the argument that they are safer during the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic.

Since long before the pandemic was officially declared by the World Health Organization, I have maintained that properly washing your hands on a regular basis — but not often to the point of being obsessive compulsive — is quite effective in the prevention of contracting illness in general. Coupled with staying away from the nearest person at a reasonable distance, your chances of contracting many diseases — including the effects of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — are significantly reduced.

I may not be a doctor, but I speak from experience, as I have not been ill — not even caught a cold, influenza, or other illnesses — in many years.

I rarely liked staying at a motel or hotel property with exterior corridors — and I am not about to purposely seek one out for my next lodging stay.

Please click here for a complete list of articles that are posted at The Gate which pertain to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

All photographs ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

6 thoughts on “Are Hotel Properties With Exterior Corridors Becoming More Popular?”

  1. martin says:

    Exterior corridors may be OK if you are arriving at night and leaving the next morning,
    but if you are going to be spending any time in the room, being able to open the curtains and letting daylight in,
    without having folks walking by the outside corridor and peaking in is preferable.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That is an excellent reason to avoid rooms with access to outdoor corridors, martin, as I prefer to open the shades or curtains to let the daylight in — no matter where I am.

  2. Carl WV says:

    There have been times I felt better being able to just look out and see the vehicle right there, I also feel people are less likely to mess with a vehicle that’s a few feet from the owners door. Some of this goes back to when I was on work trips and didn’t want to lug everything of value into the room.

    There is also a lot less concern with braving the elements if you want to head out and get food or run other errands. I seen a lot of hotels (Holiday Inn, etc.) that had quite a hike to parking.

    There is also the nastalgic side. As a youth all the family trips I ever took were motels (first floor usually), rather than hotels. I now think of those whenever I’m at an outside corridor property

  3. Kate says:

    Omg, I agree washing hands when out and about is a very good practice. I think it does prevent many colds and flus and I did that regularly before COVID. But you aren’t suggesting that this is a comprehensive answer to COVID , I hope? And you do realize your anecdotal experience of one is not science? I listened to a cousin on a zoom last night announce she would never get a flu vaccine because she is healthy and walks five miles a day. Mystifying. Are you opposed to masking during a pandemic? It’s so tragic the unnecessary deaths we have suffered.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      No, Kate. I am suggesting that hand washing is part of the comprehensive answer to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

      Of course my anecdotal experience is not of science — but when something works well for years, I cannot simply ignore it…

      …nor will doing what I do hurt anyone else if they at least try it.

      I still see many people not wash their hands at all in public washrooms and elsewhere. Do those actions actually help resolve the pandemic?

      As long as I am distanced from other people and wash my hands on a regular basis, I do not wear a mask. I only wear one when required.

      As for unnecessary deaths which have been suffered over centuries, I can cite examples continuously 24 hours per day and still not be done by next week — this is the latest example:

      …but that is a whole other discussion…

  4. stogieguy7 says:

    It depends on the setup of the motel/hotel. The traditional ones with people walking by your window are very annoying. On the other hand, the kind where your room opens outside to the parking area where your car is can be most convenient. There’s a Comfort Inn (somewhere in Canada) that I’ve stayed at several times that has ground floor rooms with an interior hallway – but with a sliding door that leads outside to a parking area (and there’s a small buffer between the patio and the parking area.

    We usually stay there when on a road trip, so backing the car in and bring in luggage through the back door is SO convenient. I go out of my way to stay there. And it’s Canada, so I have little concern of being victimized by crime anyway.

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