Posted by Ric Garrido

How small is too small for a comfortable hotel room?

I have stayed in hundreds of hotel rooms. I have lived in hotel rooms at around 2,000 square feet of multi-room living space. I have had hotel rooms where I had to get up and move from my chair to let Kelley pass by me to walk around the bed.  The average room size in the US is about 325 square feet according to Bjorn Hanson in a Kitty Bean Yancey article three years ago in USAToday. Bjorn Hanson (bio link)is one of the most frequently cited experts I see on hotel industry statistics and trends.

Tight Quarters in the Amsterdam Ramada

Tight Quarters in the Amsterdam Ramada

 

Last week I stayed in a 325 square feet room at the Westin Westminster.

The room had a standard closet, bathroom with tub, shower, sink, and counter, bedroom with a King bed, two nightstands, a dresser with tv on top, small desk and desk chair, little table surface, upholstered chair and ottoman. All the essentials were present, but not much extra space to lounge around in between the furniture. Exchanging the chair or desk for a couch would have been an even tighter fit, but would have offered expanded seating for two.

Denver Westin Westminster

Denver Westin Westminster

 

 

Think 13’ wide x 25’ door-to-window as the average 325 square feet room. Within the space is the bathroom.  A big bathroom is a real treat and a way to improve a small room space.

Do most people even comprehend room size when making a hotel reservation?

I thought about some of the small hotel rooms where I have lived over the past few years and I came up with four examples of functional rooms in a small space (some more functional than others). They always have the essentials.

Design is a big factor for making a small room a comfortable environment.

#1: Singapore Changi Airport, Ambassador Transit Hotel, approximately 75 square feet; 100 sq. ft. with ensuite bath.

These rooms are still low priced at $68.27 Singapore Dollars (about $47USD) for a room with bathroom or as low as $41.20 SGD (about $28.40USD) for a room with a shared toilet/shower down the hall. The showers were down the hall in the fitness room area of the hotel floor and consist of individual locked shower stalls comparable to what you would find at an upscale gym club. The photos on the website look like the rooms are more stylish than shown in my Singapore Airport Transit Hotel photos from 2003.

http://athmg.com/index.htm

Singapore Changi Airport Ambassador Transit Hotel

Singapore Changi Airport Ambassador Transit Hotel

The hotel had a TV and clock and coat rack hangar.

 

 

 

Singapore Changi Airport Ambassador Transit Hotel

Singapore Changi Airport Ambassador Transit Hotel

 #2  Ramada Hotel Amsterdam, approximately 125 square feet.

This room had lots of cool and the perfect room for a July bed-in watching Tour de France.

Amsterdam Ramada

Amsterdam Ramada

The TV was mounted on a wall of carpet over the foot of the bed.

Amsterdam Ramada Hotel TV over bed

Amsterdam Ramada Hotel TV over bed

 

 The shower stall doubled for luggage storage when we were not cleaning.
Amsterdam Ramada Hotel shower stall

Amsterdam Ramada Hotel shower stall

Admiring the clear sink takes up at least 30 minutes of your daily room time:

Amsterdam Ramada Hotel clear sink

Amsterdam Ramada Hotel clear sink

#3  Golden Tulip Amsterdam Art, approximately 160 square feet.

This place was a bit off the main tourist track and seemed to have more Dutch guests then central Amsterdam hotels.  Centraal train station was about a 30 minute walk east along Haarlemer Straat.

This room actually had enough space to move and sit comfortably. I had one night solo and the room was much better suited for one person rather than two.

Golden Tulip Amsterdam Art couch in room

Golden Tulip Amsterdam Art couch in room

The Amsterdam Art room was about 10 feet wide yet had space for movement and standing and even exercising.

Golden Tulip Amsterdam Art bed

Golden Tulip Amsterdam Art bed

A TV and full desk counter rounded out the room.

Golden Tulip Amsterdam Art room desk

Golden Tulip Amsterdam Art room desk

Creative design made this one of the smallest, yet fully functional rooms for a hotel stay.

 

 

Golden Tulip Amsterdam Art bathroom

Golden Tulip Amsterdam Art bathroom

The bathroom was large for the small room. The bathroom actually had a separate tub and shower.

 

#4  W Sydney, bi-level loft approximately 350 square feet (rebranded and is now BLUE Sydney, a Taj Hotel)

This hotel was a funky W with lots of character built in a remodeled Sydney wharf building.

W Sydney living room (2003)

W Sydney living room (2003)

 

The W Sydney guest rooms were only about 8 feet wide.

 

W Sydney (2003) desk and dining area

W Sydney (2003) desk and dining area

 

 

 

Stairs led up to the loft bedroom and bathroom.

W Sydney bedroom in loft

W Sydney bedroom in loft

W Sydney loft bedroom

W Sydney loft bedroom

The bathroom had a rooftop view usually occupied by seagulls.

W Sydney bathtub

W Sydney bathtub

The attention to detail was apparent throughout the room to make the use of the limited space and maintain easy mobility within the space between furnishings.

W Sydney loft room skylight

W Sydney loft room skylight

A total room size below 300 square feet can feel claustrophobic to me.  I was reading a description of a grand deluxe room at the Westin St. Francis, San Francisco and the size was listed as 200 to 360 sq. ft. That is quite a range of room sizes for a $280 per night room – before taxes. 360 square feet in a high ceilinged room can feel cavernous. 200 square feet is going to be much closer to a small standard sized hotel room. The lowest cost rooms at the St. Francis Hotel are listed as 145 sq. ft. with a double bed and no view and range from $109 to $229. 

Most rooms in upper upscale hotels like Hilton, DoubleTree Crowne Plaza, Marriott, Renaissance, Westin, and Sheraton will be somewhere in the 300 to 400 square feet range. Closer to 300 is more probable than the 400 square foot range. 

I think 400 square feet is a good number for when a room starts to feel comfortably sizeable for a hotel stay. 500 square feet feels like a substantial upgrade and allows two people to have some private space. 600 square feet to 800 square feet is feeling suite. Over 800 square feet and you have scored a hotel “living” room.

I really enjoy a room over 400 square feet and closer to 500 square feet has a real feeling of hotel spaciousness. In the past month I have stayed in several hotel suites in the 700 to 800 square feet range and that feels comfortable when I am away from home; sometimes downright luxurious.

When you have a small room the primary factor that can improve the stay is a room window with a view.

Full Moon in Amsterdam viewed from Ramada Hotel

Full Moon in Amsterdam viewed from Ramada Hotel

 

5 Responses

  1. [...] Golden Tulip hotels are fine and I do not hesitate recommending these hotels to guests. Actually, I did include a little piece with photos of the functional and well-designed little space of my Golden Tulip Amsterdam Art 160 square feet room in this June 2009 Loyalty Traveler blog post. [...]

  2. I look forward to read part 2…. When will you publish it?

    Comment by Salim Girala on February 13th, 2012 at 9:43 am
  3. I spent June-July of 2009 driving 5,000 miles to take my wife from Monterey to Santa Clara California for six weeks of daily radiation treatment. I didn’t get around to part two.

    I assume part two was going to be large rooms.

    Here is a piece I wrote in August 2009 about the W San Francisco.

    My Square Foot – Are Hotels Like Men?
    http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2009/08/30/my-square-foot-%E2%80%93-are-hotels-like-men/

  4. If uneducated people around the world continue to have babies, this is the way all of us will live by 2050. I don’t mean how all hotels will look. I mean how homes and apartments will be designed and all of us will live.

    Look up environmental sustainability and help support birth control measures and education in Europe and America as well as around the world. Babies are not “cute”; they are future adults who will require water and living space, and this world is limited in both and running out.

    Comment by Pro Sustainability on July 14th, 2012 at 9:16 am
  5. Helpful info. Fortunate me I discovered your web site unintentionally, and I am shocked why this accident didn’t took place earlier! I bookmarked it.

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