Toilets, Tubs, and Bidets (Part 2)


Bathing is necessary and we tend to take it seriously. I mean, how many of you go more than a day without a bath or shower? Well that’s a whole different story in Europe, where daily bathing has just come into vogue in the past few decades. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood on crowded subways or buses and have been stifled by body odor. It makes me want to gag just thinking about it. So… it’s no wonder that not much thought goes into planning European bath and shower facilities.

Today, most newly constructed two star hotels in Europe have private baths locate en-suite. Most all three star hotels (old and new) have private baths en-suite.  That simply means sometime in the past ten years, a hotel owner has taken an already small room, with no bath or toilet facilities, and installed a room with a sink, toilet, and tub or shower. Now you’ve got a room with en-suite facilities that is smaller than it was originally. But for American travelers, those en-suite facilities are essential.  So, here is my “run down” on bathing in each country.

ITALY- Just last week I was checking out some hotels in Italy and ran across a bathroom that had a sink and toilet, then on the same level there was a curtain dividing the shower area. Now having the shower on the same level as the rest of the room is common for Italy. I often laugh because in an Italian bathroom, it is possible to go to the toilet, brush your teeth, and take a shower all at the same time. Well this particular “shower area” had a bidet sticking precariously out from underneath the shower curtain too. Talk about multitasking!

FRANCE- Bathrooms are generally small in France.  As with Italy, many of the hotels have retro-fitted bathrooms into already small bedrooms.  Most often you’ll find a shower, sink, toilet and bidet.  Newer purpose-built hotels now come equipped with modern showers and sometimes even tubs.

SPAIN- Think of Italy without bidets.

GERMANY and AUSTRIA- Bidets are not common here and you’ll also find a better selection of tubs.  In many of the larger cities that were destroyed during WWII, you’ll find relatively new and modern hotels featuring bathrooms similar to those back home.

UK- Like France, many of the UK’s hotels are older properties dating from a time when en-suite baths were not common.  You’ll find city center hotels similar to those in France.  The UK is loaded with B&B’s.  These are often private homes located in rural areas that the owners have opened to rent out a room and breakfast.  These offer a great value and are usually fixed with up-to-date bath facilities.  Although it is still common to find “bathrooms-down-the-hall” in B&B’s it is usually well publicized so you won’t be caught off guard.

IRELAND- Here you’ll find mostly up-to-date hotels and B&B’s.  Yes, there are exception, so be sure to look at the sales literature or website before booking.

Now certainly there are exceptions to all rules.  Every country mentioned sports fancy four and five star hotels with huge rooms, marbled baths, and air conditioning.  You’ll pay a lot extra for this style, but for some it is worth it.  I hope I have given you enough insight to select a hotel that meets your needs while traveling in Europe.


Read Part #3 of this article (Bidets).

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