The story of Hotel starts in England, with the name of the engineer Denys Fisher, the inventor of Spirograph toy. Through the 60's and 70's Fisher and his company, designed and developed many toys and board games, including Hotel.
The game was officially released in 1974, sold inside a formal black box. The game consisted in a hard-cardboard board where up to four players had to move their small colored cars. Each turn they had to try to buy lands and build different buildings with the aim to create full hotel chains.
The content of the game was this:
30 hotel entrances
30 cardboard buildings
8 Leisure facilities
8 Cardboard Title Deeds MB money
4 cars (in 4 different colours)
1 standard die
1 planning permission die
Various banknotes of this denominations: 50 - 100 - 500 - 1000 - 5000
The game shared many rules and particularities of the much more famous game Monopoly. Effectively the object of the game was very similar, and for this reasons many pointed out Hotel to be a clone of Monopoly. I think the aim of Fisher was to create a simpler and more attractive version of Monopoly keeping the philosophy of the game. His great idea was to include real 3d hotels, which involved the players who could see it grow with their eyes, taking form and expanding, giving them a visual idea of what they were owning. Furthermore the rules of Hotel were more easy and smart. The most simple definition of Hotel was "a modern version of Monopoly".
Denys Fisher Toys was then sold to Palitoy which was subsequently bought by Hasbro. Fisher continued to work with Hasbro in developing new toys. Hasbro in the meantime had bought also the company of Milton Bradley, the first pioneer of board games.
In 1986 the first "modern" version of Hotel was released, published by MB. It brought the original rules with new fresh design, typically from the 80's. The parts were made of thicker cardboard, although the idea of making small holes over the board (where buildings had to be put), was taken apart. That was a pity because often happens that buildings fall down due to their light weight.
The game was translated into different European languages, including English, Italian, Spanish, German, and French.
The following year was released in the United States and in Canada a similar version. The buildings and the rules were quite the same but with a different and more "American" style.
These European and American releases made Hotel a huge success for Hasbro, even thank to a great advertising campaign; it was the its "golden age". Hotel received different awards like "1987's Game of the year" in France and "1988's Game of the year" in Canada in the category "Family games".
Through the years many different editions were released, like the travel version, the Las Vegas Edition, the Chinese and Korean versions, various non official PC adaptions. All these versions were still keeping the spirit of the first 1974 original game, and maybe that's why all over the world you can find fans of this great game.