The very first and most important “public duty” of the hotel is the duty to receive guests. But the duty is not absolute and is subject to lawful excuses. Hotels may generally deny accommodations to a prospective guest for the following reasons:
- if the person is unwilling or unable to pay for a room or other establishment privileges
- if the person is visibly under the influence of alcohol or other drugs or creating a public nuisance
- if the person’s use of a room or accommodation would violate the facility’s maximum capacity
- if the innkeeper reasonably believes the person will use the room or facility for an unlawful purpose
- if the innkeeper reasonably believes the person will bring in something that would create an unreasonable danger or risk to others
Generally speaking, to avoid liability for refusal to receive a prospective guest, hotels must reasonably believe a person is unable or unwilling to pay, plans to use the room or premises for an unlawful purpose; or plans to bring a potentially dangerous object onto the premises.