Hotel Rooms in North America vs Europe – What’s the difference?

Samantha Barbagallo  ·  28 / 7 / 2017

Traveling to Europe for the first time can be a major cultural shock. Aside from the differences in cuisine, architecture, climate, and language, you may be surprised to know that European hotel rooms differ greatly from the hotel rooms you may be accustomed to back home.

To help ease your transition, we have put together a short and helpful guide to the major differences to expect in hotel rooms in Europe vs The United States. 

Hotel Ratings

European hotels have the same ratings as the USA (1-5 Stars) and as expected, the hotels get more expensive the higher the star rating. If you are on a budget, we suggest looking at 3-star hotels. They are generally of a good standard with the expected amenities included and if you travel with Go Real Europe, you can guarantee their location is in the center of the city.

4 Stars are great for those who enjoy comfort and style, often offering high levels of service and many facilities similar to a 5-star hotel. If you are celebrating a special occasion or preferring to splash out, a 5-star hotel will guarantee the highest level of service, amenities and beautifully designed suites and rooms.

* Unfortunately, Go Real Europe does not work with any grade below 3-stars.

Room Size

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Unlike large cities in North America, European cities are often very compact, with buildings dating back to hundreds of years. Therefore, the rooms are often smaller than what you would find back at home.

We suggest you prepare for a little less space than what you are used to. While it isn’t the standard for all hotels, most of the old world charm hotels are in historical buildings which can sometimes mean smaller rooms. Of course, Go Real Europe are happy to accommodate travelers who simply want more space but bear in mind that more space can often mean a higher cost for a hotel.



Unless you have checked yourself into a hostel/dorm room, most European hotels of 3-star and above offer rooms with private bathrooms.

Bath or Shower?

The size of bathrooms can vary greatly and it is not standard to have both a shower and bathtub in every bathroom, therefore if you have a preference it is good to check at the time of booking. You may often find a shower over the bathtub in smaller hotels, while 5 stars will most likely have them separated.


Unless otherwise stated, most 3 star hotels and above provide towels. However, the major difference compared to the USA is the size of the towels. In Europe, hotel towels often are very small compared to the large sheet towels you find back at home. Therefore we suggest requesting additional towels if needed.

An extra toilet?

That strange flat looking toilet with a nozzle is called a bidet. Its purpose is not as a second toilet but as a “wash basin for your private parts”. Hotels would not appreciate it if it was used as a secondary toilet. We also don’t recommend using it to do your laundry!


You may be shocked to find out that not all European hotels have elevators, unlike North America. Again, many of the hotel buildings are very old and some city regulations do not allow for buildings to be modified to be able to add an elevator. So if an elevator is a critical requirement for you, be sure to check with your travel consultant whether a hotel has one before booking. Otherwise, use the opportunity to work off those extra calories from all the delicious foods you’ll be trying! And remember, if you need help with your luggage, reception staff can organize it to be brought to your room for you, just remember to tip the staff member as a small thank you!

If the hotel does happen to have an elevator (most modern hotels do), you can expect small elevators with a capacity of 2 or 3 people. If you have tons of luggage, you may need to make multiple trips. You may also find that even in hotels with elevators, you may still be required to walk up a few steps at the entrance or another random point in the building. 



A very common difference between European hotel rooms and American hotel rooms are the beds. It is very normal in Central European hotels to find two twin beds pushed together to form a larger double size bed. They can sometimes share a top sheet and blanket, while in other hotels you can find separate bedding and mattresses for each bed.

If this arrangement is not appealing to you, make sure you confirm at the time of booking your preferred bed arrangements. 


If you plan on bringing any electrical items with you, please remember the voltage in Europe is twice what it is in the USA. Check which voltages can be used with your items. If it can handle 230v, then all you will need is a plug adaptor. If not, you will need a special converter to use the item without destroying it. You can read more about plug adapters and converters on our packing tips here.

Hair Dryers

Most 3 star and above hotels have hair dryers in their hotel rooms. While some have them installed in the bathroom, others have the stored away in the wardrobe or bedside draw if you need them, so you do not have to bring your own. If you’re unsure if your hotel provides them, check before booking. 


Almost all these days these rooms provide kettles or tea and coffee making facilities in your room. If not, you will often find free coffee or tea facilities in the breakfast room. In some hotels, you may even be lucky enough to find Nespresso Machines and free snacks! 

If you have specific requests or accommodation needs, please let your travel consultant know in advance before they confirm your hotels. They are always happy to discuss options with you to try and make your stay as comfortable as possible. 


Packing Tips for Central Europe
Concerts, Operas, and Ballets Dress Codes in Europe
A Guide To Public Transportation and Taxis in Europe

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