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KangaGirl Sep 16th, 2004 08:14 PM

Room for one - is it large enough!

I have noticed that a lot of people have made comments on the size of the hotel rooms in Italy (being small).

I am currently trying to research hotels in Rome, Florence and Venice (see message "Searching for a room with a view), and I have asked for a double room for single use. Would these rooms offer enough... room? Has anyone travelled Italy alone before?

Any comments would be great.



BTW: If you check my message "Searching for a room with a view", my ideal cost per night would be anything up to 240euros.

Patrick Sep 16th, 2004 08:26 PM

While many Italian hotel rooms are very small, many are fairly roomy. There is no general way to tell how big a room might be other than checking out recommendations and guidebooks, etc. Even then, because some people had large rooms doesn't mean yours will be. European hotels frequently have various room sizes and they may all be at the same price.

But I'm even more confused by your other question. You're asking if a room that is made for two (a double room) will be too small for one? Not likely, since it is made for two! Am I missing something here? If you simply mean will it be smaller than you like, well, I'm not sure how anybody can answer that unless you give a specific hotel, and even then one person's "too small" is another person's "delightfully cozy". But I think you are smart to reserve a double room for one. If you get what is simply a "single room", it was probably dubbed that because it couldn't possibly accomodate two people.

Cicerone Sep 17th, 2004 12:45 AM

I think your instinct is right to try to get a double room for single use as single rooms can be really small. Fax or e-mail each hotel you are considering and ask what their average room size is for the type of room you want (single, double room, junior suite, etc). Hotels have this info and give it out all the time. In older hotels rooms may vary in size so ask for a range, in newer hotels room types should all be the same size. Anything under 20 square meters is small IMO even for one person, but fine for a night or two. You may be charged more than the single room rate when using a double for single use. I travel alone often in Europe (I live here) and it is not a problem, nor do hotels mind giving you a double room for single use as long as you are willing to pay for it.

TopMan Sep 17th, 2004 01:25 AM

One BIG problem seems to be figuring out what a person (especially one who posts) considers "small" or "large." Almost as bad as trying to figure out what "charming" means...and we've even had a poll that went into that with widely-varying results.
If you can get a hotel to tell you the measurements of a room, and some of them actually DO tell you the measurements, particularly on their websites...but those are often listed as "average" sizes.

One other alternative would be to request to SEE the room once you arrive (admittedly after the fact) and then if it isn't large enough, try to prevail upon the hotel to give you are larger room.

Good luck.

degas Sep 17th, 2004 03:46 AM

Big enough to do what? Play touch football?

You should be okay with a double room for single use. Most people don't spend enough time in a hotel room for it to be a significantly adverse factor.

isabel Sep 17th, 2004 04:24 AM

Of course it depends on what you consider small and how much space you require. I stayed in 4 hotels in Italy this July as a solo traveler. One 2 star, two 3 stars and one 4 star. None of them had a view I might add. The two and four star rooms were almost exactly the same size, the four star was actually smaller (but nicer furniture and art work, etc). They were all big enough to spread out my stuff and move around in Ok but I couldn't have had a party in. One of the three stars was a double for single use and it wasn't really any bigger than the singles (just the bed was bigger). So the answer is, you never know.

cmt Sep 17th, 2004 05:01 AM

I've stayed alone in many rooms in Italy. Since I don't usually book hotels far in adavnce, I rarely have a choice between a true single and a double used as a single. Some hotels give a choice, and the single is cheaper; others just fill according to availability, and the double is provided at the price quoted for a single. Some hotels don't have singles, but use their smallest doubles for solo travelers.

I have always found the doubles used as a single very comfortable and certainly large enough. Obviously, some are nicer than others, but none of them have ever been too small. The true singles can be pretty small in cities. Sometimes in an inexpensive hotel in a small town that has only one hotel, the single can be pretty big. Only once was a room unbearably small, and that was in Il Chiostro di Pienza, a highly rated hotel where the doubles provided for two people were In my single there wasn't even room to wheel my luggage alongside the bed, there was no chair or table, and I had to put my next day's clothes and books and clock on top of the TV, which I rarely use anyway, and the mattress was broken on my side. It was one of the worst, or possibly the worst, hotel room I've ever had. I think the room had been a monk's closet.

cmt Sep 17th, 2004 05:05 AM

Some words "fell off." Correct the above to read:

"...a highly rated hotel where the doubles provided for two people were large and luxurious. In my single there wasn't even room...."

Christina Sep 17th, 2004 11:12 AM

This is a problem in many hotels, although I don't know Italian custom. However, that is usually what I want, also, as I travel alone but don't want rooms billed as "single rooms". Unfortunately, in almost 90 pct of the time, if you specifically say double room for single use, you do not get a normal-sized double room, but one that is essentially a single. I have learned from experience to only request a std. double room. You usually do not need a superior double room, which will be larger, that's the difference.

I know some hotels give slight price breaks for single use of a double room, and that's when I have told them I was single--to get the lower price, thinking it could just be for lesser services. Unfortunately, some hotels that bill separate single prices for double rooms really are giving you the same room that would be called a single in other hotels.

I think Spain, for example, has a law that hotels must offer a lower price for single occupancy of a double room. However, when I booked in a Madrid hotel recently through a helpful local agent, he told me that if I wanted a regular size double room, I'd have to book at the double price, not the single occ. for double room price, or I'd get a smaller room.

Ultimately, the only way to tell for sure is to ask the hotel the size of the room, but if there is no price difference, I wouldn't tell them it was single occupancy. There are a very few hotels I've been in which had decent sized "singles", but they were very rare.

Eloise Sep 17th, 2004 12:30 PM

You win some, you lose some. I wouldn't lose sleep about possibly getting a smaller room if I ask for a double room for single use.

The law in Spain is that a double room for single use goes for 80% of the price of the double. In the paradors of Zamora and Leon, I got lovely large rooms at that rate as well as at good hotels in Madrid and Seville. In Burgos, I got what was probably a small double (it was also the cheapest hotel I stayed at).

In Italy, I have sometimes reserved a single and been given a (smallish) double at the same price. On the other hand, at an agriturismo in Sicily, I got a huge double room -- at least 15 x 30 feet, with ceilings at least 15 feet high and with a private terrace -- for 20% more than each of two people would have had to pay for the same room, i.e., I paid 62.40 Euros for a room that costs 104 Euros for two people, a discount of 40%.

As I said, you win some, you lose some. I frankly don't think it's worth the trouble to try to "outwit" the hotel's management.

travdog Sep 20th, 2004 06:42 PM

You might try and get a specific recommendation from someone who has stayed in a particular hotel, if you're really worried. The first time I went to Europe by myself, I had a very expensive room in a 5 star hotel that had a bathroom that was so small that I literally had to turn the water off in the shower if I wanted to lather my hair. In other words, there was literally no escape from the water because the shower was so tiny. (And, I'm a "huge" female just over 5 feet.)The bed was so close to the wall, that I had to walk sideways into the room. My advice is to relax and enjoy yourself. Odds are that you aren't going to have anything that small. And, even if you do, you'll probably cope if you can maintain a good sense of humor about it. I clearly remember laughing so hard in the shower, I was afraid I'd be thrown out by the management. Ten years later, it still makes me laugh. That's the beauty of travel; I couldn't remember half of the spacious rooms I've stayed in, but my memories of the "dollhouse" are vivid.

alice13 Sep 21st, 2004 05:22 AM

How much room do you need? Have travelled solo Spain and Italy quite recently - why book a double for twice the price? As long as I have a window - cool!! En suite - yes please! And location - top of the list ... But size?
I would really like to know why you consider it so important.

Patrick Sep 21st, 2004 05:43 AM

We all have different levels of comfort while traveling. While some people claim they don't spend much time in their room and as long as they have a cot and a toilet, that's all they need, there are many, many more of us who DO like a little more comfort when we travel. Please don't put down people or question their motives just because they like a little comfort or luxury on their trips. If KangaGirl wants more room than just enough to turn around, that is her right. This is no different than the differences between people who are perfectly happy grabbing a loaf of bread for lunch and a quick sandwich for dinner in Paris as opposed to those who travel to dine.

socialworker Sep 21st, 2004 07:29 AM

HI Kanga--sorry I did not read all the posts, so if similar info is already here, I apologize. If it says "double room for single use" it is still a double, therefore meant for two people to use. When we went to Italy w/son, we booked him separate single rooms that *were* singles and some were only slightly larger than a good sized walk in closet and all had only a single bed.

Christina Sep 21st, 2004 10:47 AM

I like a nice room, it makes a huge difference in the quality of my vacation. Why? Because I like staying in a nice place and not feeling claustrophobic. The same reason I like living in a nice home, that's why. It's my money, so what. The difference in cost isn't that great. There are many people on Fodors who feel the necessity to rent entire apts on short vacation stays, claiming they need more space. That's more of an extreme than wanting a decent sized room, as I don't do that.

And I do think it is worth it to try to outwit hotels, always. YOu have to, unless you just want them to stick you with what they think they can get away with.

Really, the only way to know is to ask a particular hotel, as there is not going to be one custom that covers all hotels -- there's no rule. I would say a double room for single use should be okay if you don't care about the room size that much. Some hotels will give you a regular sized double room (and some may not have much variation), but others do not.

A lot of people don't really understand the dynamics or pricing here. I do because I've done this a lot and you do not pay double for a double room over a single room. At least, I have never seen that kind of pricing, so it is not common. YOu pay perhaps 10-25 pct more. You usually only pay about 10 euro more for a regular double room over a "double room for single occupancy". I did pay a little more for that in Spain when I booked a regular double room, (because they require a 20 pct difference) but that's because the room really was more like a double vs. single in the hotel I stayed. An extra 10-20 euro a day is not important to me at all.

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