I Don’t Understand European Hotel Twin Beds!

It’s not often I request a room with twin beds nowadays:

  • I’m usually traveling alone, in which case I prefer a king bed (there was a brief time where I preferred having a room with two beds, but y’all ruined that for me pretty quickly)
  • Generally speaking you have better chances of an upgrade when booking a room with one bed, since that’s the configuration of most suites/premium rooms

That being said, I’m presently on an extended trip with my friend Matt, which hasĀ taught me a lot about European hotels and how they seem to approach twin beds.

Generally speaking, when I think of a room with two beds, I picture a setup similar to what we had at the Sheraton Stockholm:

Twin-Beds-5

Regardless of the size of the beds, it’s nice to have a bit of separation between them, ideally in the form of a nightstand. That setup just makes sense to me.

Next we checked into the Grand Hyatt Berlin. I had booked a room with two beds, and at check-in we were asked whether we preferred a room with one bed or two beds. We expressed a preference for the latter.

We went up to our room, and found the following bed:

Twin-Beds-1

I know sometimes Europeans get creative with this stuff, so Matt lifted up the sheets, where we saw that while there seem to be two bed frames, there was only one mattress and one blanket.

Twin-Beds-2

We reported this to a front office associate, who was perplexed, as it was supposed to be a room with two beds. She called someone to see if the bed could be turned into two beds. Apparently it couldn’t be.

So we were assigned a “true” Club Twin room, which looked like this:

Twin-Beds-4

Admittedly that’s more separation than the previous room (though you still can’t fit an apple between the beds), though the two beds still share a head board.

Twin-Beds-3

Matt wasn’t impressed when he inspected the separation (though I believe he added about two inches to that measurement, as one might expect).

Twin-Beds-6

So of course this is totally minor, though I find it interesting nonetheless. Wouldn’t it make more sense to put a night stand between the beds, rather than have night stands on each side of the pushed together beds?

And I can’t figure out why so many hotels in Europe do this:

  • Does anyone who books a room with two beds prefer for them to be like an inch apart?
  • Or is this simply done so that the room can pretty easily be converted into a king bed room, given that the two beds share a head board?

Regardless, color me puzzled!

Comments

  1. This sort of reminds me how cruise ships work, where every king is really just two twins and can be converted easily. However when I have seen it done in that capacity they usually rearrange the night stand and push one of the beds to the side to add a little separation.

  2. Ben, maybe the receptionist thought you two were a cute couple traveling together. šŸ˜‰
    But European hotels are strange. I always book double rooms as they still have single rooms, which have an individual bed and are usually tiny.

  3. I guess higher end hotels would expect guests to have their own room, and are not catering for family/buddy market.

  4. This is so common in Europe that it doesn’t even faze me any more. Can be awkward but as they say: When in Rome…

  5. I’ve had several hotels like this and it also puzzles me but I believe it’s their style in Europe. In Istanbul, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon and several other destinations I’ve been I had the same set up as you. Couldn’t really grasp it at first but it’s common for Europe to have their twin bed set up how it is. Mix feelings here & each hotel has their set up.

  6. Had a similar situation when traveling with my brother at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Requested twin beds and they were twin beds but pushed together (not even room for an apple). Each night we separated them and put nightstand between them and each day housekeeping rearranged them and pushed them back together and put nightstand on the side.

  7. Please run a caption contest on the last picture with Matt. Without any context, that photo looks like it could be some fun.

  8. Hey guys,

    the explanation is quite easy:

    – Double Room: 2 mattress with no space between them or 1 bed in king size
    – Twin Room: 2 mattress with some space between them ( normal, queen or king size )
    – Twin Room with separated beds: That’s what you have to ask for šŸ™‚

    hopefully i could clarify our european way *biglol*

    Steffen

  9. I travel with my teenage son, so REALLY prefer twin beds. I always book a twin room. I’m happy enough if the beds are next to each other, but have separate bedding (so I’m ok with the definition by Steffen above). But I’m always perplexed when the front desk happily announces that they’ve “upgraded” me to a king bed instead of the twins. That really doesn’t make my son very happy. I’ve made more than one hotel remake the beds into twins, and that’s why I requested them in the first place!

  10. I’d just be ecstatic to get a top sheet instead of just a fitted sheet and a duvet cover with incredibly hot insert. And fully functional non-governed A/C. I can dream!

  11. My partner and I are on our European Vacation, we started in Munich, we stayed at the Sheraton Westpark and I wanted a king size bed, when we got to our room we found out it was two twins put together.. We were informed that their hotel does not have a “true” king bed.. So far we are finding this out, we are at the Sheraton in Salzburg, was upgraded to the Presidential Suite, and the big is two twins together… This is going to be an interesting trip….

  12. Hi!

    Clearly the 1st room isn’t what you asked for.
    The 2nd room is quite standard for europe. Especially in the Netherlands.

    My problem is the other way around and had this situation yesterday when we stayed in a hotel in rotterdam. I made a reservation for a double bed for me and my husband.
    When we got up to the room it were 2 singlebeds pushed against eachother with no space(just a crack between the matresses) in between. But both beds had wheels. So every time someone came too close to the crack between the matresses the beds rolled away and there was a huge gap.
    So it defenitely wasn’t a romantic hotel stay šŸ˜‰

  13. I recently had this situation at the Park Inn in St Petersburg Russia. My friend and I called the manager and they took us to view several rooms till we finally got one with two twin beds. Of course I had to literally separate the beds apart.

  14. It’s all in the interests of conversion. If you have a room with two queens, (as is common in the US), although it is not ideal, it can be used by a couple who want to share a bed. With two singles, this isn’t possible, so the hotel must be able to convert. The smaller the room, the smaller the gap between the two beds!

    Some European hotels (independents, in my experience) have gone for the option of one king and one single. This takes up less space than two queens and is suitable for use as either a twin room or a double, with the added advantages that it requires no conversion and can also be used by three guests if that configuration suits them.

  15. I experienced this on a trip to munich- 1 headboard 2 beds. This was awkward because I had a guy come over from a Tinder match. When we met he was standing 6 foot 6, to my surprise. This, combined with the beds’ dimensions, caused some awkward sex.

  16. I’m actually surprised that your first “king” bed wasn’t two mattresses with a single topper/fitted sheet to give the illusion of one bed. This is how I’ve often found European hotel rooms, and rather makes sense from a convertibility standpoint. Two frames with one mattress makes me thing there was simply a sale on twin bed frames when the hotel was built.

  17. If we’re going to see a picture of Matt with a bed, I think we agree we would prefer to see a picture of him *in* the bed…. stop teasing.

  18. Relatedly, when booking a hotel room I often see bed type as a “preference”, with the note that preferences cannot be guaranteed.

    This is insane to me. When traveling with someone else, bed type is not a “preference”, it’s a requirement…

    It’s as silly as having your checkin date being a “preference” that cannot be “guarenteed”.

    Sometimes I wonder what I’m actually booking, if these things are considered “preferences” by the hotel.

  19. Lol… very common in EU, even high end hotels like Conrad does the same!

    While in Langkawi (Malaysia), I stayed in Dayang Bay Service Apt which listed a “2 bedroom suite” and it turns out to be two rooms side-by-side with no connecting doors but instead two separate entries and DIFFERENT cards! One is a studio and the other is a one bedroom suite! So, that becomes TWO bedroom suite!!! Lol…

  20. @Sarah, YES! What is it with the lack of a top sheet? This has been a trend the last few years, and I hate it. I do have a good track record of having them bring one up and re-make the bed, but then I’m inconvenienced and have to tip, AND am made to feel that I have unreasonable expectations.
    Top sheets for Everyone!!

  21. Ben,

    This story is a riot … I couldn’t stop laughing.
    I’m born in Berlin, lived there 20 years, and now live in both the US and Germany.
    So do let me comment.

    First of all: There must have been some serious misunderstanding.
    ‘Us Germans’ (I’m both US and German) do understand the concept of space between beds etc.
    It’s usually the easiest thing to book a double room with a ‘double bed’ or ‘two separate beds’.
    That’s why I’m saying it must have been a misunderstanding.

    However:
    ‘Our American concept’ (I’m speaking as the US guy now) of ‘double beds’, ‘twin beds’ etc. is an absolute chaos. And it’s crazy unreliable too. I am 6’6″, and the list of questions I have to work through over here in the US to make sure that I can get some decent sleep in a hotel – read: make sure I’ll have a right sized bed – is ridiculous.

    Anyway … next time you’re in Berlin, get in touch, and I’ll get you what you need šŸ˜‰

    As always, many thanks for your blog.
    I always enjoy reading it.

    Mark Seelig

  22. @ most everybody re ‘twin beds’
    Folks … please get this …: ‘Twin Bed’ is an American idea. Europeans try to adapt to it, but they don’t get it.
    Just as – forgive me for saying this (I am German-American, and I’m 6’6″, so I suffer whereEVER I go šŸ™‚ …
    so, forgive me, but: Americans do not get that the rest of the world may NOT entirely GET the American way, ok?

    If you want two seprate beds, ask for ‘two separate beds’. Do NOT ask for ‘twin beds’
    Good luck šŸ˜‰
    Mark

  23. @ Tony

    Dear Tony,

    Forgive me, but I just can’t get over your and other folks’ troubles here.
    The whole thing is a riot ;-), and I can’t stop being amused to the max.
    (I am a 6’6″ German-American, born and lived in Germany enough time).

    Most Americans just do not GET that there are other concepts of bedding in other parts of the world. I do not mean this in a dismissive way; Germans don’t get stuff over here (in the US) either.

    But instead of puzzling these poor Germans with ‘King’ and ‘Queen’ etc. … just say what you want šŸ˜‰
    Good luck,
    Mark

  24. ABOUT THE MYSTERY OF DUVETS, TOP SHEETS ETC.

    Folks,
    This is the most fun article on this forum in a long time …
    Ok … let me start with some credentials here:
    I am a 6’6″ German-American, born in Berlin, lived long enough in Germany and the US to be sufficiently familiar with the bedding troubles when traveling. Too hot, too cold, too short, too small … yes, I know it all!
    And, as a former basketball player I ruined enough beds with boards at the end because I still dream of the slam dunks I did many years ago, crashing my feet against that board.

    But now the serious stuff:
    Europeans, particularly Germans, DO NOT DO top sheets. Why …? Because it’s considered a lack of hygiene. Why …? Because what Americans do with the top sheet is exposing the cover/duvet/blanket to direct skin contact.

    So: If you travel, please do not expect Europeans – let alone Germans – to REALLY GET what you mean when you talk about ‘twin beds’, ‘top sheets’, ‘King size’ etc. Just say what you want in simple terms, like:
    I am 6’6″ and I am a hot guy, so I want two separate beds that are minimum my length, I want a blanket not too warm, and I want one EXTRA SHEET. Do NOT say ‘top sheet’! They do not know what a ‘top sheet’ is.

    Good luck,
    Mark

  25. Buddy Dive Resort in Bonaire furnishes all rooms with two twin beds, and accommodates requests for a king bed by using king sized sheets. The most often heard complaint about this scheme is that the beds are not always the exact same height, and there is a crack between mattresses! As a part of the pre- arrival email notes, guests are asked whether they prefer twin or king beds! Certainly, it makes room assignments easier!

  26. THE LANGUAGE BARRIER

    Here’s one more comment for all those getting stranded in the wrong room with the wrong beds in Germany.
    Assuming that most or all of those commenting here booked their rooms using the English language, here’s some additional challenges that you will very likely run into.

    You’ll probably find these ridiculous, but trust me, they are true (I taught business and conversational American English to German company management for many years).

    If you talk about a ‘twin bed’, your generous German hotel clerk will remember from his classes what twins are and will conclude: These two people are basically the same and want to be VERY close, i.e.: small bed.

    A ‘King size’ bed must be for someone who thinks he’s a king … we must give him lots of thick pillows, a thick duvet, an overheated room with lots of plush covers etc. etc.

    A ‘top sheet’ for any German hotel clerk would mean a sheet of very fine special quality, so they will wreck their brains how to get that, or will simply say ‘verri ssorri sir, ve don’t haf zat’.

    And for Ben next time in Berlin, if you want to make sure, do memorize this phrase:
    “Ich haette gerne ein Doppelzimmer mit zwei separat stehenden Betten”
    (I’d like to have a double room with two separate beds).

    Anyway … you all know by now where this is going …
    Right!: I’m about to open a consulting business for successful bedding.
    And I’ll stop now too.

    Thanks for everyone’s patience and Ben’s humor in posting my comments.

    Mark

  27. Typical Americans expecting everyone to conform to their standards. When you visit another country don’t expect them to fall to your feet. Different countries have different phrases for certain requests. For someone who travels so much you certainly are very naive and selfish

  28. I love the Matt trip posts, campy and fun!

    My 2 cents is you should have stayed at the Sofitel Ku’Damn my favorite hotel in Berlin.

  29. This was one great post!
    I must say Matt’s inspection, measure-taking and apple-gaping (or the lack of it in this case) cause me to LOL!
    Thanks Lucky.

  30. @David

    Matt’s new blog:
    One Magnum at a Time

    Referring to his obsession with…champagne, of course.

  31. Mark F. says (August 30, 2015 at 5:07 pm):
    “Its Berlin. They donā€™t like things to be separated anymore.”

    That’s comedy gold, right there! Well done Mark F.

    I’m assuming Matt’s the unlucky fellow who gets stuck with the bed for nasty, while Ben retires to the unsullied one. Poor Matt.

  32. Hi Ben,

    I’ve been enjoying reading your trip reports a lot. This is the first time I’ll be posting a comment.

    The kind of twins you have shown here are called “Hollywood Twins” – twin beds that are side by side. Sometimes the bed could have one bed frame (of a king-size) but have two separate mattresses, bed sheets and duvet. In this case you seemed to have got two separate bed frames.

    Hirofumi

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