"The bank is next to the hotel."
Translation:El banco está al lado del hotel.
While "to the hotel" seems to make more sense. Spanishdictioary.com appears to show "al lado de" as a somewhat idiomatic phrase that hangs together. The three words almost always come with one another, and generally mean "next to". In "al lado de (el) hotel". The "de" and "el" of course come together as "del" hence "Al lado del hotel."
I'm not fully sure, but I believe that both 'al' and 'lado' are always together to form the meaning 'next', therefore you can't write 'lado' on its own.
An example of this in English: 'Ice - cream'. Both 'ice' and 'cream' are always written together for the meaning to actually be 'ice - cream', you can't just write 'cream' on its own because the words 'cream' and 'ice - cream' have completely separate meanings.
Just like this, you can't write 'lado' on its own, you have to write 'al lado'.
Hope this helps.
This is the best answer on this thread. Thank you. It wouldn't be grammatically correct to say "El Banco está al lado el hotel" or "El Banco está al lado de el hotel". You'd use the contraction del (de + el) in this instance. De is typically used to express possession and one's place of origin, especially when you speak about where you’re from. It's also used to express direction/position, such as "cerca de", "al lado de", "encima de" or "de arriba".