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Many people love the thought of going to Europe but are not happy when they get to their hotel and realize that they didn’t have any idea what to expect from a European hotel room. You would think that hotel rooms of the same category all over the world are basically the same.

What do I mean by that?

Well, if you are accustomed to a 3 star hotel in the USA, do you think the same standards will be held in Europe? Well, I’m here to tell you that the standards are completely different and unless you are ready for the differences, you will be a bit surprised when you walk into your hotel room.

I’m talking about Europe but it is hard to generalize as Europe is made up of dozens of different countries that all have their own idea of what a hotel room should contain. However, this is a general guideline to help you be prepared for your room.



Many hotel rooms in Europe are really small, especially if you are comparing them to what you may be able to get in America. At a Motel 6 you can get a decent sized room for pretty cheap. In Europe,  most rooms are NOT as big as Motel 6, they are normally very tiny and as many of my guests told me, “My closet is bigger than that room!”

That may very well be the case for you, but I don’t want you to think that means you aren’t getting your money’s worth. Smaller rooms are just the norm in Europe. Below are shots of my hotel room in Madrid, I took these two pictures while I was standing in front of my door and then standing in front of the bed.

European hotel rooms

European hotel rooms

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Many people (especially us Americans as we normally don’t use a bidet) have no idea what to do with a bidet (it’s pronounced bih-day). The bidet is normally right next to your toilet and there usually isn’t a lid on it. There are usually one or two places where the water can shoot up and clean you off, and there might be a couple of knobs to control the hot and cold water. A bidet is basically a way to clean your arse after you…shall we say…empty your nether regions in the toilet.

I will never forget when I was living in Spain and talking to a Spanish friend of mine about my lack of liking bidets because I just didn’t see the need. He could not understand how I didn’t use one and he asked, “Well then how do you clean yourself after you go?”

Toilet paper and wet wipes have worked wonders all these years, thank you very much.  

I don’t see the need to use a bidet personally but in case you want to use it, you will know what it is. Oh, there is usually a towel next to it, please don’t get that towel mixed up with your face towel. That. Is. Just. Nasty.



This was something many of my guests couldn’t understand, how a room could be without an alarm clock. Well, it isn’t standard so please make sure you have your phone or a travel alarm clock. Yes, you can use a wake-up call but I don’t like to rely on those as I have stayed in hotels where the call never came.



When I was working as a tour manager, I had to learn really quickly how to be comfortable in a hotel room bed as being sleepy while tending to the needs of 50 people is no bueno. So, sleeping on a hard, soft, lumpy, clumpy bed doesn’t bother me at all. But many beds in Europe are a bit harder than you may like, and if you aren’t ready for that you can be a bit disappointed.



The shower may be difficult to figure out and/or may only be a removable nozzle that you have to hold. I stayed in one hotel in Paris where I had to give an explanation to the guests about how to use the shower because no one could figure it out. Sometimes there are multiple knobs that are a bit tricky to navigate and other times there is no place for you to put the nozzle except in your hand while you shower.

 In one hotel room I literally took about 15 minutes to figure out how to get the water to come out at a warm temperature (because many hotels have temperature gauges on them so you can choose how hot you want your water) but not before I had tons of water sprayed all over me. Yeah, that was fun.


Have you ever been surprised by a hotel room? 

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Some people travel. Roni IS travel. For over 20 years she has been traveling the world and now shares her unique insight with her worldwide audience on her blog, Whether you have never gotten on a plane or are a seasoned traveler, the expertise and insider knowledge she shares on her blog will help you make your travels an adventure. No where else can you find the uniquely helpful ins and out given to you by someone who has lived overseas for 4 years, speaks fluent English, French and Spanish, and works for a major airline. And guess what? She’s also a licensed elementary teacher and has an MBA.


  1. I agree, rooms in Europe aren’t as big as the rooms in USA but it doesn’t mean you will not be comfortable with it. Trust me, it’s undeniably comfy! Also, I do bring my own alarm clock whenever I’m in Europe!

  2. Interesting, that’s really good to know that the rooms are smaller so I’m not disappointed when I do go visit Europe. Thanks for also explaining the little quirks of the rooms that would have been a little tough to figure out.

  3. To get comfortable does not depend upon the size of the room. Whenever i travel to Europe with my hubby we really get comfortable rooms.
    The rooms in pictures also seems to be comfortable.

    • The room was very comfortable, just small and many aren’t expecting such a small room. Hence, my post to help manage expectations. Thanks for reading my blog!


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