It is common for hotels to fly various national flags over the entrance:

flags hotel

How do they choose which flag to fly on a given day?

  • Does it indicate where most of their guests generally come from?
  • Or perhaps it shows what guests are currently staying in the hotel?
  • Or is it simply a way of showing off their 'international' clientele, even if few nationals from a given country stay there?
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  • 2
    1. How is this a travel problem? 2. Why do you suppose all hotels follow the same protocol?
    – choster
    Aug 23, 2016 at 22:01
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    @choster 1. it's a question (potentially) encountered by every single traveler who has ever stayed in a hotel 2. If they're not following a specific rule, then that's the answer
    – JonathanReez
    Aug 23, 2016 at 22:08
  • @choster Similar question: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/14653/…
    – JonathanReez
    Aug 23, 2016 at 22:09
  • Sometimes if there is a convention on in the hotel (particularly if it's some sort of fan convention) at least one of the flags will be replaced with the convention flag. Aug 24, 2016 at 8:29

1 Answer 1


Each hotel will probably have their own policy for which flags to fly.

At the Plaza hotel in New York City:

Five flagpoles protrude from the hotel. As you face the building, the first pole on the left is reserved for the American flag. The Plaza hotel flag flies on the far right, and next to that is the flag of the parent company, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.

As for the remaining poles, some flags are flown in honor of foreign dignitaries staying at the Plaza. Fifth Avenue parades are reflected as well: the Irish flag for the St. Patrick's Day parade, the Puerto Rican flag for Puerto Rican Day. Groups having functions at the hotel also have their flags flown.

On busy days, the Fairmont and Plaza flags are taken down to make space for other banners, but the American flag is rarely touched. On slower days when there is nothing specific to raise a flag for, the Plaza flies the flag of an uncontroversial country, often Canada (Fairmont is a Canadian company) or Britain. More than 100 flags are on hand, including those of foreign countries, American states, and organizations like the United Nations, Red Cross and Marine Corps.

(source: crainsnewyork.com)

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    The rule that the US flag is on the left is probably more or less universal for US-based hotels - while the flag code isn't enforced, not displaying it or displaying it in a different position would probably generate controversy that they don't want among certain segments of the population.
    – Random832
    Aug 24, 2016 at 17:47

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