"The station is close to the hotel."
Translation:La estación está cerca del hotel.
How do you know when to translate "to" as "a" and when to translate it as "de"? I thought "de" was just used to mean "from", and it wouldn't be proper to say "the station is close from the hotel".
So at first, I was taking the corrections as "al" was suppose to be used when needing the masculine form not feminine. Hotel is a masculine word so why isn't this answer accepted?
"Al" is used when there is a contraction "a+el". In this sentence the preposition is not "a", but "de". So here the contraction is "de+el = del". It will be more clear with an example:
"Va [a el] hotel" -> "Va al hotel"
"Viene [de el] hotel" -> "Viene del hotel"
Note that the sentences without contraction are grammatically wrong.
Unfortunately, you cannot always translate prepositions that easily. There are a lot of location adverbs that are followed by the preposition "de". For example: cerca de, lejos de, encima de, debajo de, detrás de, delante de... That is why you need the contraction when after the "de" there is the article "el". You can consider "to the hotel" = "al hotel" when you are talking about direction (I go to the hotel = Voy al hotel).
More or less the same that I wrote to @Jamevay. You can consider "from the" = "del" when talking about direction but not always. The adverb "cerca" only accepts the proposition "de".