Photo by Erick Palacio on Unsplash

European hotel rooms can be vastly different from American hotel rooms. Before you travel to Europe, it is crucial that you be ready for the possible differences. Many people love the thought of going to Europe but are not happy when they get to their hotel.

Most American travelers have any idea what to expect from European hotel rooms. You would think that hotel rooms of the same category all over the world are basically the same.

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.

European Hotel Rooms: 5 Ways They Are Different

It is hard to generalize as Europe is made up of dozens of different countries. Each country has their own idea of what a hotel room should contain. However, this is a general guideline to help you be prepared for your room.

1.European Hotel Rooms Are Usually Smaller 

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 cheap room. In Europe, most rooms are NOT as big as Motel 6, they are normally very tiny. Many times, your room may be smaller than your closet. 

If that is the case for you, please don’t 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


2. There May Be A Bidet In Your Bathroom

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 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. At the time, 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. He thought that was disgusting. 

 There is usually a towel next to the bidet, so please don’t get that towel mixed up with your face towel. That. Is. Just. Nasty.

3. Not All Rooms Have Alarm Clocks

This was something many people don’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, this is a dope one from Amazon. 

Make sure you set the clock to the local time. Also, in Europe, clocks are set to military time so after 12pm, it will be 13:00 (1pm), 14:00 (2pm), 15:00 (3pm) etc. until you get to 00.00 (which is midnight). 

4. The Beds May Be Much Harder Than You Are Accustomed To

When I was working as a tour manager, I had to learn really quickly how to be comfortable in a hotel room bed. 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. Many beds in Europe are a bit harder than you may like. If you aren’t ready for that, you can be a bit disappointed.



5. The Shower May Be Challenging

The shower may be difficult to figure out. It 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. Why? Because many hotels have temperature gauges on them so you can choose how hot you want your water, which is not something you typically find in The United States.  I didn’t realize that the first time until AFTER 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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  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.

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