Please sign in to post.

British hotel bathrooms - compensating for lack of outlets

Hi all.

My husband and I will be in London this spring and recalled from our last trip, hotel bathrooms do not have outlets and as such,
a blow dryer cannot be used in front of the bathroom mirror. Fortunately during our previous stay, I was able to use an area near our bed that had both a mirror and outlet.

The different hotel into which we are booked this time may not have such a convenient configuration and in fact, a Trip Advisor reviewer complained about having to use the microwave door as a mirror since it was close to an outlet.

Although I believe a 22 volt extension cord would take care of my dilemma, I have yet to find one that is not extremely long and not industrial strength.

Suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Posted by
3206 posts

It’s been our experience that most hotels have outlets and hair driers in the room. It has seldom been a problem.

Posted by
5 posts

Hi and thank you for your response.
But I am asking is since no outlets are allowed inside British hotel bathrooms where there is a mirror, what options (ie extension cord) are available so I can use an outlet in the actual room that may not be conveniently located next to a mirror.

Posted by
25725 posts

There is a reason that UK bathrooms do not have power points in them. Using an extension cord to short cut the safety features is bypassing what is not there for your health. Most hotel rooms have both mirrors and power points, in the sleeping room.

The same with apartment rentals - the laws are the same.

British people dry their hair in hotel rooms in the same way that they do at home: by using a mirror in the bedroom, either a full-length wall mirror or a mirror over a dressing table. You will find both in most hotel rooms.

As Emma says, you will generally find the hairdryer in the drawer of the dressing table, and plenty of electrical points by the mirror over the dressing table.

For some reason this seems to confuse American tourists, who think that piece of furniture is a desk ;-)

No British homes have power points in bathrooms either: drying hair is something we do in the bedroom not the bathroom. I genuinely find the notion of trying to dry my hair in a room that is damp & steamy following a shower to be very odd indeed.

Embrace the cultural difference.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you for your responses, Emma and Nigel.
The Citadines is not a quirky hotel so I am confused as to why the Trip Advisor reviewer complained about having to use a microwave door as a mirror! Not my style! Thank you for clarifying with regards to the desk/dressing table and possible outlet in the drawer!

Posted by
1767 posts

I can’t think of a number of hotels I’ve stayed in that did not have a convenient plug near a mirror Have you considered bringing a mirror. Probably takes up less space and is more useful than an extension cord

Posted by
2156 posts

There was a hair dryer in my bathroom at the Hotel Caesar...can't recall if there was a plug in there for any other electrical items as I don't use anything besides a dryer.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you for all of the responses! I honestly didn't expect so many so quickly for a "vanity" issue.
The travel mirror is an idea that I will consider if for no other reason than peace of mind.

Posted by
3524 posts

Hmmm? I stayed at the Citadines Covent Garden - Holborn in 2016. I don't remember any issues with drying my hair, so there was either a dryer in the (tiny) bathroom or it was out near the very large mirrors.

I was in a studio. The microwave was on a low shelf under the counter. If I'd had to use it for a mirror, I would have had to sit on the floor. After I was done, I would've had to call the desk to get someone to come get me off the floor.

This link is to an apartment similar to mine. It says the hair dryer is in the bathroom.

I hope you're not planning to lug a hair dryer to England. That 2016 trip was for 6 weeks and was to England and Scotland. There was a hair dryer everywhere I stayed. There were plenty of outlets, and yes, I did encounter many dressing tables with mirrors above them.

Posted by
5 posts

Hi Lo from Tuscon!
We are staying in the 1-bedroom and hope that it offers more than a tiny bathroom!
I am new on this site but if you are able to private message me I'd appreciate any feedback
you have about the hotel. We stayed at a Paris location several years ago (new at the time)
and loved it. Thank you!

Posted by
9779 posts

If the person in Trip Advisor said they had to use the microwave door as a mirror, then they probably didn't look very hard for a plug.

The only plug you will find in the bathroom is for a shaver.

Posted by
4539 posts

If you need a mirror to dry your hair, bring one.

I’ve learned to dry my hair without a mirror. Try it sometime. You might think you need a mirror because you are in the habit of relying on one. You may do fine without one.

Posted by
4364 posts

It depends where you're staying. Larger, chain hotels (particularly the American ones) often have a hairdryer in the bathroom attached to the wall. I've never had a reason to use one but I would imagine their efficiency would not be as good as a normal domestic one.

I'm not sure if you can buy hairdryers that utilise the shaver socket, I wouldn't have thought the issue was that important to warrant purchasing one so perhaps there's no market for them.

Posted by
1063 posts

JC, most hairdriers are rated around 13amps, shaver sockets are rated a lot lower than that, plus a 2 pin round plug wouldn't have a fuse in it.

Posted by
932 posts

Not sure why several people had to give explanations of why there is no outlet in the bathroom. That doesn't solve her problem.
OP, I totally feel your pain. Most hotels I've stayed at have NOT had a mirror near an outlet -- in both the UK and Europe. I have many memories of having half my face in a mirror or trying to blow dry my hair across the room from the only mirror. It is SO frustrating! I finally bought a small mirror (and one side is magnified which is also handy!) that folds so it stands on its own. It's not as nice as having a full size mirror, but if I configure it just right, it works. This conversation had me searching online and I may have to buy a new mirror.... This would be PERFECT!

Posted by
1064 posts

Well, I am glad for an explanation I had no idea about. I don’t use a hair dryer when traveling so had not noticed the lack of such IN the bathrooms on my first trip. However on my second trip, my friend very definitely did use one - usually an hour or more earlier than I would normally wake up. :) I just put it down to “old” buildings, since they all were. Oh well. :) At least now I know to expect the same when we are back next summer.....

Posted by
4364 posts

Not sure why several people had to give explanations of why there is no outlet in the bathroom. That doesn't solve her problem.

The problem was solved by explaining to the OP where she was likely to find the hairdryer.

Posted by
3173 posts

Suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you in advance for your
assistance.

Every hotel and B&B I've ever stayed in England (including London) has had a mirror in the sleeping area (bedroom) with an outlet for the hairdryer near a mirror. Since you are concerned about that and I understand that, just email the property to verify that your room will have access to an outlet near the mirror for the hairdryer.

Posted by
932 posts

I don't prefer to blow-dry my hair in a steamy bathroom either. But in American hotels, I often blow-dry my hair in the bathroom because sometimes that's the only place where a mirror and outlet both happen to be. So I guess when Americans travel, they may be surprised the first time they travel abroad when they don't see an outlet in the bathroom. I remember blowdrying my hair in a hotel room in London where I could only see half my head in the mirror. It was a PIA. I finally learned to bring a mirror with me on my trips overseas so I can sit anywhere in the hotel room.
But it's a smart idea to just call/email the hotel before going so you know whether you will need to improvise! In fact, I may do just that for our upcoming trip to London.....

Posted by
1009 posts

Many hotels in the UK now, have an outlet for hairdryers. However, the flats I've stayed in don't, as others have said, most Brits just dry their hair in the bedroom by a mirror.

Interestingly, I've always seen outlets in bathrooms on the Continent. I think Bill Bryson talked about this in his book about the history of the rooms in the home-can't remember the name.

Posted by
20 posts

I have had this experience - no mirror near an outlet! I solved that problem by going to the Pound Store and buying a small mirror (about the size of typing paper) and Command Strips. Voila! A wall mirror! £2 and I'm in business!

Posted by
2624 posts

Every hotel and B&B I’ve ever stayed in including London, there has been a mirror and outlets in the bedroom. I wouldn’t stress over something so minor.

Posted by
1 posts

I suggest bringing a makeup mirror that can stand on its own, not one that you have to hold.

I just came back from a trip to England. We stayed in 3 different vacation rentals and 1 hotel room, not a single one had a normal outlet in the bathroom. In the hotel room there was a ‘dressing table’ / desk in the room, there was a mirror and an outlet. Do not count on finding an outlet near a mirror in a vacation rental.

I have traveled to many countries, and this is the first time I am en encountering this setup. Has there really been so many hair dryer induced accidents in bathrooms to make it a law?? I am used to being able to dry my hair right after the shower, especially in a cold country. I want to have access to both a good mirror with good lighting and also have access to a sink. Besides, every woman knows that a lot of hair fall on the floor while brushing and drying hair, it is kind of disturbing to me to have all this hair end up in other places of the house, and on the clothes you put on. Doing it in the bathroom before getting dressed is preferred.

When I traveled with friends recently, I found myself having to complete my other bathroom routine before leaving the shared bathroom, getting halfway dressed and then finally being able to dry my hair somewhere else in the house, luckily it was not winter. Then, other people in the group will enter the bathroom and you are blocked from re-entering.... you cannot add hair products etc until you are allowed back in the bathroom. With all the places we staid in, the only other sink was in the kitchen.

Posted by
9779 posts

You will not find electric outlets in any hotel bathroom in the UK. It is against the law. You will only find shaver outlets.

It has nothing to do with hair dryer accidents but more with the conceptt that water and electricity don't get along.

Posted by
3465 posts

not a single one had a normal outlet in the bathroom

Well, in the UK, a normal outlet will never be found in the bathroom. They just don't do things that way.

They look at electricity differently than we do in the US. Maybe it is the 220 V vs 110 V power supply. We have ground fault interrupters on the electric circuits that go to wet places like the kitchen and bathroom which allow the use of electrical devices in the bathroom, outdoors, around pools, and other wet places without fear of electrocuting ourselves. They have fuses in the plugs and no outlets in places considered wet.

Posted by
2624 posts

I have been in many, many hotels and B&Bs through out the UK and have always had a hair dryer and mirror in the room. Have never been concerned about not having one.

Posted by
1063 posts

"I have been in many, many hotels and B&Bs through out the UK and have always had a hair dryer and mirror in the room."

Yes, I've seen them quite often when I used to use hotels on work assignments but they are always "hard-wired" into a fused spur and not a normal mains socket.

https://media.rs-online.com/t_large/F2227819-01.jpg

Posted by
1767 posts

None of you ever stayed in a hotel where there was no usable mirror for the hair dryer but trust me I have

I solved the problem by going to boots and buying a portable folding mirror that I used for the rest of the trip

Posted by
279 posts

In the last few years my wife and I spent four or five weeks in the U.K. She was always able to dry her hair in front of a mirror. It was at times a pain in the rear, but always doable. Not something that she spent any time complaining about.

Posted by
623 posts

None of you ever stayed in a hotel where there was no usable mirror
for the hair dryer but trust me I have.

So have I. In the UK. One time, in a B&B in York, the room had just been completely renovated (the new bathroom was lovely!), and the wall mirror they'd ordered for the bedroom where you'd dry your hair, hadn't yet arrived. I managed, IIRC by using the glossy turned-off TV screen as an impromptu mirror. It wasn't a big deal. I'm sure if I'd fussed they would have improvised something for me; they were very helpful about everything during my stay. (The Bar Convent, highly recommended, just saying.)

Also, at least at my hotel/B&B price point, I never assume that there will be a hair dryer provided or that it will work. Last year at the last minute I tossed my little dual-voltage travel-sized hair dryer into my bag when leaving for London. So glad I did! For some reason the hair dryer provided in my hotel room, would shut itself off after several seconds of operation. I never figured that out, or got it to work correctly. But my own hair dryer, set to the proper voltage of course, worked flawlessly. I reported the issue to the front desk and wasn't encouraged by the response, so I was doubly glad I could ignore the carppy hotel dryer for the rest of my stay. (It was odd, because I've stayed at that hotel before and never had that kind of problem. Oh well.)

Posted by
3532 posts

If for some reason you can't find a useful extension chord in your local mega-store, take a look at the world's department store. I found a six-foot chord on Amazon for around a dollar a foot in about 30 seconds. Nigel is right; there will be at least one outlet in your bedroom. But it may be under the bed or behind a cabinet and already choked with light chords. The item I mentioned had three outlets, too, good for your electronic gizmos to recharge. Be sure you have the proper three-prong plug adapter for the outlet. With a set-up like this it's wise to be grounded. (Well, that applies to everything in life.....)

Posted by
92 posts

We are leaving this week for BOE. I just checked all of our hotels and all provide hair dryers. You can check with the hotel website or just find them on Expedia.

Posted by
651 posts

Am i missing something here? Why does it make any difference if your hairdryer/mirror combo is in the bedroom or bathroom? Though the idea of a hairdryer in the bathroom is scary, keep thinking of the Mel Gibson film where he electricutes thimself dropping the hairdryer in the bath!!! Now what what was in called?
Got in What Women Want😀😁

Posted by
571 posts

Small cramped bathrooms and sparse, inaccessible outlets are all part of what makes British bathrooms cute and quaint. If that is not what you want, then stay at a modern hotel.

Posted by
8293 posts

So, some things in foreign countries are not the same as at home. Who knew?

Posted by
5966 posts

Yes, sounds like one of those cultural differences. Americans prefer to do grooming in the room with toilet and shower, whereas Brits prefer to use the room they dress in.

Posted by
1414 posts

I actually got used to drying my hair at a dressing table in a room other than the bathroom. I found I could leave make up and other things there and it was faster than when my husband and I shared the bathroom.

Posted by
2624 posts

I really don’t understand the big concern about not having an outlet in the bathroom. It’s a law in the UK no outlets in the bathroom. If you get to where you are staying and there isn’t a hair dryer (which
is highly unlikely) do two things 1) ask your host if at B&B or front desk at hotel if they have one or 2) go to a chemist and buy one, it’s that simple.

Posted by
31 posts

*"If for some reason you can't find a useful extension chord in your local mega-store, take a look at the world's department store. I found a six-foot chord on Amazon for around a dollar a foot in about 30 seconds. *

A 240v 50hz extension lead into a bathroom, some would call that living on the edge, most would call it barmy - one belt from that and its goodnight Irene.

Not advisable.

Thommo.

Posted by
1033 posts

I don't think any replies had this suggestion: if your room doesn't have a convenient mirror, prop your smartphone up on the desk in selfie camera mode and use the picture you see to help guide your hair drying. Not as convenient as a big mirror, but it should work in a pinch.

Yet another useful thing that these technological marvels can do (and another reason to travel with them).

In a similar vein, has anyone else taken a picture of small print that you can't make out so that you can enlarge the photo and read the type?

Posted by
4364 posts

In a similar vein, has anyone else taken a picture of small print that you can't make out so that you can enlarge the photo and read the type?

I just put my glasses on.

Posted by
25725 posts

In a similar vein, has anyone else taken a picture of small print that you can't make out so that you can enlarge the photo and read the type?

I do that sort of thing all the time - then I erase it before it has a chance to get backed up to Dropbox.

Posted by
3173 posts

gsfix4, when you emailed the hotel to ask about whether the bedroom has sockets close to a mirror so you can blow dry your hair, what was the response?