The hotel riddle

This isn't a hotel

When is a hotel not a hotel? When it’s a pub.


You might well be baffled when the man inside tells you he only serves beer, despite the big sign outside reading H O T E L. But he’s right and you’ll have to carry on to the nearest backpackers.

The bewilderment stems from the days when Australian pubs traditionally offered accommodation for the weary traveller. The local drinking hole was often the only official place to stay for miles around and, in cities, a place to look for budget beds.

A classic Sydney pubWith the modern age and the advent of cheap motel chains, many pubs have stopped offering rooms but they still keep their traditional name. Unless you see a sign clearly advertising rooms or accommodation, the name ‘hotel’ on a pub guarantees nothing other than a refreshing drink.