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Is it correct to use the word ‘number’ meaning "hotel room'?

Thanks in advance.

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  • In the right context it works. In the wrong context there could be confusion.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 27 '15 at 11:51
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In an appropriate (though sometimes necessarily extremely contrived) context, most nouns can replace most other nouns. There are a number of natural contexts in which number can replace hotel room without causing any confusion, and some speakers will actually do this:

As far as I know, the president will be staying in number 1. - No, he won't. Since number 1 is hard to secure,he has been assigned to three contiguous numbers on the fifth floor.

Have you cleaned number 5 yet? - No, since the guest was still present. But two guests on the second floor left early, so I got their numbers done earlier.

Is this your room key? - No, it's actually for a different number.

But in most contexts this doesn't work at all:

Hello, we would like a number for two until Sunday.

I have booked a number at the Hilton for you, Sir.

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You book a room, you don't book a number.
It's therefore more common to ask “Can I have the key to room 30, please?” especially in a large hotel than “Can I have the key to number 30, please?” The first is idiomatic, the second is only grammatical.

Examples:

Room 101 is a room introduced in the climax of the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.

Room 148 Through an anonymous warning, Mike eventually learns of the Dolphin Hotel in New York City, which houses the infamous "Room 1408." Interested, yet skeptical, Mike decides to spend one night in the hotel although manager Olin (Jackson) warns him strongly against it. Mike has a series of bizarre experiences in the room.

Room 222 The TV series focused on an American history class at the fictional Walt Whitman High School in Los Angeles, California ...

Room 237 Danny asks if there is anything to be afraid of in the hotel, particularly room 237. Hallorann tells Danny that the hotel has a "shine" to it along with many memories, not all of which are good. He also tells Danny to stay out of room 237.

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Talking like this :

Which room do you have?

The number 4.

will be understood.

But if you are trying to contact the owner of the hotel to describe a problem in the room number 5, I think you should not save your words.

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  • 2
    This doesn't really answer the question, nor does it represent natural English speech patterns. Apr 27 '15 at 10:59

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