The phrase home (away) from home denotes a place where one is as happy, relaxed or comfortable as in one’s own home—especially a place providing homelike accommodation or amenities.
The notion had been expressed, before the phrase came into use, in the following advertisement, published in The Boston Morning Post (Boston, Massachusetts, USA) of Monday 2nd January 1832:
AMOS S. ALLEN, Jr., respectfully informs his friends and the public, that he has taken the well known stand, long known as the LION TAVERN, in Washington street. No expense has been spared in fitting it up in a convenient and elegant manner […].
He can accommodate, at the shortest notice, Societies, Clubs, Engine Companies, and parties with dinners or suppers, of the choicest delicacies to be found in our market.
MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE are particularly reminded of their long tried and approved residence. A separate parlor will be provided for their accommodation, and every exertion made to make them perfectly at home while from home on public business.
In fact, the earliest occurrences of the phrase home (away) from home that I have found are from advertisements for hotels, published in British newspapers:
1-: From the following advertisement, published in The Lincoln, Rutland, and Stamford Mercury (Stamford, Lincolnshire, England) of Friday 26th April 1839:
MARK THIS!—Superior Accommodations are combined with the strictest Economy at Boston Commercial Temperance Hotel, New-Street, Strait-Bargate, within one minute’s walk of the Market-place.
DOUGLAS McGIRR, the Proprietor, directs the attention of Commercial Gentlemen, Travellers, and others, to this house, confident that for comfortable sitting and sleeping rooms, with every other requisite accommodation, it is not surpassed by the best Inns in the kingdom,—to which many ladies and gentlemen during the last two years have borne willing testimony, by expressing their satisfaction at having met with such an establishment, and evincing an interest in its success by recommending it to others; to whom D. McG. begs to tender his most sincere thanks, assuring his numerous and respectable visitors that it will ever be his endeavour to render his house what such houses ought to be—Home away from Home.
Ladies or Gentlemen located in Boston for a week or upwards, can be accommodated with Private Rooms, with or without Board.
A Cold Ordinary on Market and Fair Days, at One Shilling, on the table from morning till night.—Hot Joints from 12 o’clock. Steaks, Chops, Plates of Meat, Ham, Tea, Coffee, and other Refreshments, as usual. The most reasonable charges are in every particular strictly adhered to. London and Provincial Newspapers, Temperance and other Publications, constantly in the Rooms.
Stabling for a limited number of horses.
2-: From the following advertisement, published in The Oxford University, City, and County Herald (Oxford, Oxfordshire, England) of Saturday 14th December 1839:
BULL AND MOUTH,
Commercial Tavern, and Family Hotel,
ST. MARTIN’S-LE-GRAND, LONDON.
EDWARD HENRY SANDERSON begs respectfully to acquaint his Friends and the Public generally, that he has undertaken the management and entire conducting of the whole of the business of that well-known and long-established Inn, the BULL AND MOUTH, and it is his intention to make such arrangements in the Hotel and Tavern departments as will ensure that accommodation and comfort which is so desirable for persons after travelling long journies; and by ASSIDUITY, MODERATION, and STRICT ATTENTION, he trusts he shall merit and have such patronage that will enable him to support so arduous an undertaking.
The House and Premises are new and well built, admirably situated, (without exception), in the most desirable part of the City of London, affording ample means for the accommodation of Private Families, Commercial Gentlemen, Public Bodies, Committee Meetings, and Travellers generally.
Suites of Rooms, Hot and Cold Baths, Good Stabling, Safe and Dry Standing for Carriages, Post Horses, &c.; Chaises, Omnibuses, and other conveyances to the Railway Stations, or any part of London and its environs.
Mr. Sanderson has addressed the following circular to his friends.
Bull and Mouth Tavern, St. Martin-le-Grand.
Having undertaken the entire management and conducting of the Hotel and Tavern department of that well-known and celebrated Stage Coach Establishment, the Bull and Mouth Inn, London.
It is my earnest desire, and shall be my utmost endeavour, to make such arrangements as will prove to my patrons I have succeeded in establishing for them, within this superior and extensive new building, that which cannot fail to be most desirable to all Travellers and Sojourners,
A Home from Home.
And I feel confident I shall by assiduity, strict attention, and positive moderation, do credit to my recommendatory friends, and secure such patronage, that will enable me to sustain the undertaking.
Feeling assured of your friendly recommendations,
I remain, with every sentiment of respect,
Yours very truly,
EDWARD HENRY SANDERSON.
3-: From the following advertisement, published in The Northern Star, and Leeds General Advertiser (Leeds, Yorkshire, England) of Saturday 4th January 1840:
WILL MEET WITH THE BEST ACCOMMODATION, AND A HOME AWAY FROM HOME, AT
THE SHIP HOTEL,
45, Rue de Le ’Em, Boulogne Sur Mer,
EVERY ATTENTION is paid to Cleanliness and Comfort; the Charges more Reasonable than at any other Hotel in Boulogne. The Table De Hote is furnished with every luxury. Private Families equally well supplied.
Coach House and Stabling attached to the Hotel.
Boulogne, Dec. 26th, 1839.
The earliest American-English use of the phrase that I have found is from the following paragraph, published in the American Semi-Weekly Traveller (Boston, Massachusetts, USA) of Friday 27th January 1843:
Travellers think that there is something in the name of the Exchange Coffee House—Boston, for Major Coburn’s guests say he always makes a Fair Exchange—a home away from home is good change for any man’s money.