Welcome to Hungarian, then. :D
Postpositions are basically suffixes which started their own lives.
Other way around, generally ... suffixes are postpositions and other little words that lost their lives ... or settled down with other words, depending on which metaphore you like better.
Maybe a little early to be thinking about this, but I understand word order is quite flexible in Hungarian, so 1) is it correct to use 'Az autó vár a szálloda előtt'? and 2) how does this change the meaning, if at all?
1) Yes, it is. 2) It does change the meaning. As Hungarian is a topic-prominent language (if I googled it right, lol), basically whatever word you want to emphasize, you put it forward and that's the topic. You can also alter the meaning with intonation and word stress. Your sentence can have two slightly different meanings depending on which word you emphasize in speech: 1. Az AUTÓ vár a szálloda előtt = The car is waiting in front of the hotel (and not the bus.) 2. Az autó VÁR a szálloda előtt = The car is waiting in front of the hotel (and not flying.) But then again, you can also say this sentence without any word stress and it would be a simple affirmative sentence, with a similar meaning to the one above. Also, "A szálloda előtt vár az autó" is also correct, in this case it means The car is waiting in front of the hotel (and not the station.)
Is it alright I imagine postpositions as if 'szálloda' is in genitive case and as if 'előtt' is a location noun?...
I'll explain what I mean... I imagine as though there are unspoken particles (which I put in parentheses): "The car (in) the hotel('s) front waits"...
I am asking because that's the only way I can get the logic of the sentence into my head...
How do native Hungarians think of it?
I'm a native speaker, & I personally don't think of it that way, but if it's easier for you this way, go ahead. It may actually help you with the personal pronouns if they're taught in detail after possession is. (You'll see.)
What might confuse you a bit later on is that a few postpositions are used with the superessive (on the surface of) instead of the nominative. For instance:
- a szálloda előtt = in front of the hotel
- a szállodán át = through the hotel
But I guess you're supposed to have a good enough grip on the language by then to tackle this problem. :)
I don't think so. Before is a more temporal (time) word in modern English and isn't used as a synonym "for in front of" although you may see it in formal speech from a few hundred years ago. I wouldn't use that here.
In a previous question, it wanted parked and now it wants waits, but it could just easily be parked in front of the hotel as it could be waiting, and in the previous question.
Not every parked car is waiting, not every waiting car is parked. :)
Vár is literally "wait", so it should be translated as such. The sentence where you found "parked" most likely used a form of áll - to stand.
Waits is more temporary, as if the driver is in the car and waiting for someone to come. In these sentences are cars all seem to have a "sofer" so if it a car or a bus waiting in front I would understand it to mean something different from a car being parked in front of the hotel. Think about it this way: if you pulled up to a big hotel there wouldn't be enough spaces to park cars there. A valet would take your keys and your car and park it somewhere until you are ready to get your car back. I think of a szálloda is a real hotel, larger than a guest house or other smaller rental place which is a "panzió" There is an online Hungarian synonym dictionary here: https://szinonimaszotar.hu