Private vs Shared vs En Suite- Semantics

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Madeleine's picture
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After 8 years this one request finally made me understand. A guest booked my last room for a holiday weekend. The room has a detached bath, which is not shared. The guest wants me to move them to a room with a private bath should one open up.

 Bathroom Type  Guest Thinks  Innkeeper Thinks
 En Suite

 In the room

(Or guest has no idea what it means)

 In the room
 Private  In the room  Not shared, outside room
 Shared  Ewww.  Shared, hopefully graciously
 Detached  Shared. Ewww.  Private, not shared, outside room

 

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What about Canadians?  Do they prefer private bathrooms aswell, or are they more okay with shared bathrooms?  I'm just wondering if it's an all around thing, or specific areas thing.

Madeleine's picture
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Olga wrote:

What about Canadians?  Do they prefer private bathrooms aswell, or are they more okay with shared bathrooms?  I'm just wondering if it's an all around thing, or specific areas thing.

Europeans are less likely to balk at the detached bath. But, that is getting less true as the years go by. Canadians are a lot like Americans in wanting an en suite bath and not a detached.

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It does depend. En suite is definitely prefered by older folks versus younger folks. 

One of my ad sources is almost entirely phone calls for people who want en suite for a cheap price at the last minute.

That's the reason that I'm on the wall about renewing my listing with them, almost all the calls and emails are of this type.

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Proud Texan's picture
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Though we have private bathrooms attached to each room,  we also have an outhouse on the property.    How should we describe that?

That reminds me of a famouse book:  "Fifty feet to the Outhouse"  by Willie Makeit  and Betty Don't.

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Proud Texan wrote:

Though we have private bathrooms attached to each room,  we also have an outhouse on the property.    How should we describe that?

That reminds me of a famouse book:  "Fifty feet to the Outhouse"  by Willie Makeit  and Betty Don't.

I have a a two seater outhouse on my current property, you can "go" with a friend.  It is original to the property before they had indoor plumbing or reliable indoor plumbing anyway.

 

gillumhouse's picture
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I grew up with a 2-seater out back. My Daddy's name was Never Round Tuit. When we moved to town, he put in the cistern and septic tank (and bathroom) for the renters. The worst part was the spiders big enough to saddle.

 

Then there is the other famous book - Under the Bleachers by Seymour Butts

Madeleine's picture
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Weaver wrote:

Proud Texan wrote:

Though we have private bathrooms attached to each room,  we also have an outhouse on the property.    How should we describe that?

That reminds me of a famouse book:  "Fifty feet to the Outhouse"  by Willie Makeit  and Betty Don't.

I have a a two seater outhouse on my current property, you can "go" with a friend.  It is original to the property before they had indoor plumbing or reliable indoor plumbing anyway.

 

We didn't have a 2-seater in our last house, but we DID have 2 separate his and hers outhouses attached to the shed, which was attached to the house. Our 'Y2K bathroom' we called it.

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I've always have used the term Private bath for my connected bathrooms.  Never occured to me that some may think they are detached until now.  I do have ensuite listed mainly for Euro guests but many Americans question it. 

For those it seems that they think the bath is IN the room, maybe seperated by a curtain - NO wall!  I know of one of these in our region & no way would I want that so I can understand.

Maybe Arkie is right, don't try to shorten it to private, detached,....  spell it out for all to understand.   But then, these people would have to read.  

Madeleine's picture
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I use 'en suite' because every HGTV show now uses that when talking about the bathrooms. 'Hallway bathroom' or 'en suite bathroom.' That show is filmed all over the country with realtors using those words. Just plain folks are being edumacated in droves. 'And here's your en suite...'

If all the bathrooms were in the rooms, I would have a sweeping statement at the top of the rooms section and in every description. I would say either 'en suite' or 'bathroom in the room' altho that DOES make ME think there is no wall. Just the way I read it.

Sure people ask. But I think that if they READ the descriptions or look at the room chart they see the distinction and they dope slpa themselves and say, 'THAT'S what it means!'

Joey Camb's picture
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I get to the point sometimes when I think do they need a floor plan? ie measure the room do a scale plan for each one with bathroom and put it next to the room pictures? not that they will read it

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

I get to the point sometimes when I think do they need a floor plan? ie measure the room do a scale plan for each one with bathroom and put it next to the room pictures? not that they will read it

I have that but it requires that you click a link to see it. The page itself doesn't get much traffic. I may just append it to the bottom of the rooms page at some point.

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Madeleine wrote:

camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

I get to the point sometimes when I think do they need a floor plan? ie measure the room do a scale plan for each one with bathroom and put it next to the room pictures? not that they will read it

I have that but it requires that you click a link to see it. The page itself doesn't get much traffic. I may just append it to the bottom of the rooms page at some point.

I like the idea of a floor plan being part of each room's page.  Not everyone understands words as well as pictures.  Sometimes when you are trying to sneak a peek or rez at lunch you don't have the mind set to interpret the words and as they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

I intend on having both a floor plan and a property map as part of the room pictures, so they don't have to click another page it will just be part of the slide show, you can highlight each room for each page so they know exactly where that room, and or bathroom is in relation to everything else.

 

Joey Camb's picture
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we have an access statement which tells you (its required by law here) how many steps to each floor which rooms are on each floor, how many steps into the building etc. However can tell by my web site stats no one is looking at it!

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I was following a tipper truck down the road the other day and on the back was a whole list of safety instructions in tiny print and I thought to myself I bet some there's some health and safety rule that says all trucks have to have this on and I bet no-one who ever uses the truck bothers to read them.

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Weaver wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

I get to the point sometimes when I think do they need a floor plan? ie measure the room do a scale plan for each one with bathroom and put it next to the room pictures? not that they will read it

I have that but it requires that you click a link to see it. The page itself doesn't get much traffic. I may just append it to the bottom of the rooms page at some point.

I like the idea of a floor plan being part of each room's page.  Not everyone understands words as well as pictures.  Sometimes when you are trying to sneak a peek or rez at lunch you don't have the mind set to interpret the words and as they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

I intend on having both a floor plan and a property map as part of the room pictures, so they don't have to click another page it will just be part of the slide show, you can highlight each room for each page so they know exactly where that room, and or bathroom is in relation to everything else.

 

I love that too, for myself I like to pick the location of the room moreso than the amenities! Someone told me yesterday after seeing two of our king beds that the inn they always go to has full size beds in every room, as it is an historic inn, and they wanted to keep the beds the same as the era. This person was tall, and said it was difficult. 

So besides bed size, that is the main focus of how I choose a room, like a sunrise side of the house. Thinking about Arkie's recent stay in a room with no windows, I would have had a revolt, I could not do that. I know MOST of our guests close the blinds and never look out, but I do! I want to see out! A change of view is important.

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Weaver's picture
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JB - I am with you, I like to see the sunrise, even when on vacation.  In working on the potential design for the owner's part of the "place" I am sighting it so my bedroom faces East.  I want the morning sun!!!

The view is worth so much, even if the silly guests never look out the window, they know it is there.

I have known people who only want rooms next to the stairs, or those that want to be at the end of the hallway, or those that want east or west facing rooms.  I think a floor plan of a multi room inn is vital to the guest's understanding of how the place is set up.

I am going to have it for the cabins and the main lodge as well.  It just helps get a sense of the place for the guest, IMVHO.

 

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We have a situation that fits somewhere in between ensuite and detached.  The entire suite is comprised of a bathroom, dressing room, private hall, bedroom and walk-in-closet.  No one else goes in the area, which is on the second floor, or through the area, although the private hall between the bedroom and bathroom has an open staircase with banister that the guest must walk through to get from the bedroom to the bathroom.  We clearly state this in all of our promotional material and I describe the set up whenever I take a booking for that suite.  99% of our guests do not have a problem with the set up because there is only one other suite in the house and they rarely even see the other couple until breakfast.  Still, a few do not like the set up, or perhaps have misunderstood that the bathroom is part of the suite but detached from the bedroom and private. 

I am not about to say that the bathroom is down the hall (even though the hall is part of the suite) and stress the fact that the entire suite is a private area with no one else going through the area. 

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Madeleine's picture
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We just stayed at a place with a layout like that. The owners finally got so tired of the grousing that they built a wall so the suite is now fully enclosed behind it's own locked door. Bedroom, living room and bathroom all debouch from the now enclosed hallway.

I wouldn't have a problem with a detached bath in it's own private hallway.

Just had a call for that room and I showed the guest the floor plan online and walked her thru it. She had to ask her DH but called back and said it was fine. I think the picture helped them see it clearly.

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If it says detached also add "across the hall" or something.

As I have always said ensuite is not a term that most in the USA know, why make things difficult!

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This whole thing got the brain cells functioning. I just added in bold re the shared bath this bathroom has a deadbolt lock for when in use - and only the innkeeper has the key. Perhaps this will quell some misgivings.

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Its not just the USA have had to fight all over to get Private External Bathroom ie not in room for the 2 single rooms we have that are not ensuite. In the UK the term ensuite is generally understood so thats not a problem.

What is more of a problem is a lot of accommodation booking sites use the terms hotel and accommodation interchangably ie boo kin.com which you can see clearly from the picture its not a hotel and from the information you can clearly see its not a hotel but they use the phrase "would you like to book this hotel?" and so on.

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I refer to one bathroom as private ensuite. I have it everywhere with the two that share that it is shared bath. I have the photo of that bathroom labeled as Shares with ____. However, I also state that if they want the queen (of the shared) as a Private bath, if they pay the private rate we will not rent the other room. It does get me guests I would have lost otherwise and it gives me an extra $15 for the room.

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I think en suite is becoming more understood by Americans, but many don't know what it means, and won't know within our lifetime. Don't use the term in America without further explanation.

They certainly know what shared means. Ewww.

The terms to avoid most (without full explanation) are private and detached, as they will almost always lead to misunderstanding.

Apparently, a lot of guests know to ask questions about the bathroom situation at a B&B.

I guess the thing to do is, don't go for brevity here. Include a full and clear explanation of each room's bathroom setup in all descriptions of the room:

  • private bathroom in the bedroom
  • bathroom located across the hall, for use by this room only
  • bathroom across the hall, shared with occupants X other room(s)

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Madeleine's picture
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I get pretty wordy with the detached bath: private bath, not shared. Across the hall from the room. You get the key to lock the door. We provide bathrobes.

Absolutely no one thinks I'm telling the truth about the bathroom not being shared. What I'm looking at? Using the bedroom as a new entryway into the attic to put a room up there with an en suite bathroom AND it's own lounge where the staircase goes up, so a 2-floor room.

The bathroom would then be that spare bathroom everyone always thinks we have when they show up at 11 AM and want to check in. We would turn off the water to the shower and just leave the sink & toilet operational.

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Madeleine wrote:

I get pretty wordy with the detached bath: private bath, not shared. Across the hall from the room. You get the key to lock the door. We provide bathrobes.

Absolutely no one thinks I'm telling the truth about the bathroom not being shared. What I'm looking at? Using the bedroom as a new entryway into the attic to put a room up there with an en suite bathroom AND it's own lounge where the staircase goes up, so a 2-floor room.

The bathroom would then be that spare bathroom everyone always thinks we have when they show up at 11 AM and want to check in. We would turn off the water to the shower and just leave the sink & toilet operational.

You could sell it as the "penthouse suite".  And you get bonus guest lounge and bonus early check in!  Whoo hoo win win.  Run to the bank and offer your first born!

 

 

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Weaver wrote:

You could sell it as the "penthouse suite".  And you get bonus guest lounge and bonus early check in!  Whoo hoo win win.  Run to the bank and offer your first born!

 

 

I should just borrow the money from my first born...

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Madeleine wrote:

Weaver wrote:

You could sell it as the "penthouse suite".  And you get bonus guest lounge and bonus early check in!  Whoo hoo win win.  Run to the bank and offer your first born!

 

 

I should just borrow the money from my first born...

You raised him right if he has that kind of money hanging around.....when you are done with his check book, send him my way I have a few hundred renovation projects I am about to take on. 

Madeleine's picture
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My first born has purchased 3 houses in the past 3 years and renovated all of them into apt units. He is renting out 8 units at the moment. To get to that point he has lived very small. Saved almost every dime. He works at a place with a restaurant (actually a LOT of restaurants that are VERY high end) so he gets his lunch & dinner for free. Breakfast is fresh fruit. Health care is covered. He has an allowance to take classes at the local (well-known) uni. He doesn't own a car. His hobbies are hiking and bar-hopping (where he knows everyone and only pays tips, he is VERY good tipper). He is a kind, generous person and I have no idea who raised him! Eye-wink

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 Don't forget I think you yourself have experienced it, a private bath ON ANOTHER FLOOR! I have seen that numerous times at inns. 

Madeleine's picture
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No, I would NEVER do that! The room would be on the third floor and would have the private bath newly added right along with it! So, room and bath on same floor, attached! The 'old' bedroom would now be a sitting area for that room. And the old bathroom would now be the 'extra' bath. Stairs would go up to the third floor thru the old bedroom, so the sitting room would also have the stairs in it, like a lot of living rooms do.

Just a matter of running electricity, water, sprinkler system. Easy peasy. Not. But I can dream.

gillumhouse's picture
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I read it as the lounge (sitting room) would be on the ground floor and the room & bathroom would be on the second floor. What used to be the detached bath would then become the bathroom early check-ins are always looking for.

Weaver's picture
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Here's one for you, I was surfing looking at various web site evaluating what I liked and what I didn't as I am making notes and prepping for mine. 

Please explain what the innkeeper was thinking with this one

"Bath: En Suite, Detached"

After some double and triple looking at the photos I figured out the sink was in the room and the shower and toilet were stuffed in a closet across the hall.  Nowhere did they explain this.  You had to be Sherlock Fricking Holmes to figure it out.

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Weaver wrote:

Here's one for you, I was surfing looking at various web site evaluating what I liked and what I didn't as I am making notes and prepping for mine. 

Please explain what the innkeeper was thinking with this one

"Bath: En Suite, Detached"

After some double and triple looking at the photos I figured out the sink was in the room and the shower and toilet were stuffed in a closet across the hall.  Nowhere did they explain this.  You had to be Sherlock Fricking Holmes to figure it out.

There is no accounting for idiots. En Suite is french for "in the room". And sorry, but a sink in the room does not make the bathroom en suite. That is pure deception and the end result will show up in the reviews.

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I saw one B&B that had marked it's bathrooms as being "semi-private" which I realized instantly was shared, two to a bathroom, but I wondered how deceptive it was to potential guests. 

Breakfast Diva's picture
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When we bought the b&b 11 years ago, we realized quickly that we needed to change all the promotional material which described the bathrooms as 'ensuite', to 'private bath'. No one seemed to know what 'en suite' was! 

Of course, 'private' means different things to different people. I can't imagine the frustration you have with the issue of 'private but not attached to your room'. People just don't get it, and probably never will.

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