FAQ: Questions about hotel bathrooms

We get lots of questions about what to expect in Barcelona's hotel bathrooms. Here are the most frequently asked.

Also see:

What are Barcelona's hotel bathrooms like?

Bathrooms in most hotels in Barcelona are not too different from your typical North American or European loo. Usually, the toilet, shower or tub and sink are all in the same room.

However, you may come across a bathroom that is split, with the toilet in one room and the shower and sink in another. This is especially common in non-hotels (pensions, hostals, hostels, B&Bs) and in older buildings. You’ll also find bidets are common in bathrooms in Spain.

In Barcelona, lavatories are on the small side, as are rooms. If a sizable bathroom is important to you, it’s best to book at a three-star hotel.

What are "shared bathrooms"?

Many times in budget non-hotels (pensions, hostals, hostels, B&Bs) you’ll note a price difference if the room has a bathroom en-suite or shared. If it’s shared, you share with other rooms. This means you’ll be walking down the hall to use the commode at night, and waiting for the shower in the mornings. Of course, how busy the communal WC is really depends on how many people are staying at the hostal, and what the hostal's guestroom-to-bathroom ratio is. It’s a good plan to ask ahead of time how many rooms share how many bathrooms.

Most travelers who stay in rooms with shared restrooms bring plastic flip-flops for the showers. While youth hostel bathrooms are usually "school"-style, with many stalls for showering and toilets, in hostals and pensions the set up will be more like a household washroom. In fact, many pensions and hostals are located in what were once large apartments.

Do hotel bathrooms have showers or bathtubs?

Showers are generally more common in hotel bathrooms. You may find an occasional tub in a hotel, but not usually in a hostal. Then again, would you really want to take a bath in a shared bathroom at a pension? Probably not.

Another factor: space. As we mentioned in our questions about hotel rooms, there simply isn't much space in Barcelona's hotels (or private residences and shops). Showers make more sense because they are smaller.

This can also lead to uncomfortable situations. If you’re 6’4" tall and beefy, you may feel cramped in some of the showers, or feel that the shower head is too low for you. Luckily, most of the time shower heads are the retractable sort, solving this issue.

Do hotels provide hair dryers?

Again, this differs from hotel to hotel. Most will have a hairdryer available either in the bathroom or at the front desk. Don’t be surprised if you have to ask for it and then return it.

At hostals and pensions ask ahead if they have hairdryers and do not expect to find one in your room. If you bring your own hairdryer make sure to also have an adaptor or power converter (which brings us to the next question....)

Will my appliances (from the US or other countries) work?

That depends on which voltage they run on. In Spain the voltage is 220-240V, and in the US it’s US 110V. So, appliances that can handle between 110V and 240V will be fine. Always check first.

What will not work is the North American plug, which is a different shape than the Spanish plug. For this you will need an adaptor. The best bet is to buy a kit that has both adaptors and converters so that you are covered no matter what volts are thrown at you.

Should I bring my own towels?

You don’t need to tote a towel if you’re staying in hotels, which will always have large towels and hand towels.

In general, pensions, B&Bs and hostals will have a towel for you. However, you may want to have a backup towel, just in case you don’t like what they’re offering.

You must bring a towel to a youth hostel or rent one from them (if they provide this service). If you plan to travel on a shoestring in non-hotels for some time in Europe, a quick-drying backpacking towel is a practical thing to pack.

About the author: Regina W. Bryan is EuroCheapo's Barcelona-based correspondent. Read her reviews of hotels in Barcelona and her regular posts in EuroCheapo's Barcelona blog.

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