Just out of curiosity, are the rooms in the RS-booked hotels generally the smallest that the hotel offers, when you are booked as a double? Asking in case I want to upgrade for the few days before or after, and also just out of general curiosity. Looking at the hotels and wondering which room category we will be in (i.e., small standard, standard, small comfort, etc.)
Best to ask RS staff as it applies to your specific tour.
RovingCarole, to answer your question- No, not necessarily. On numerous tours we’ve had various sized rooms. I can recall having 2 bedrooms on a couple tours. Size of rooms can vary from “standard” on up…
I've only been on one RS tour and so my sample size is small, but my experience was that in several locations the hotel was small enough that our group filled up most of the rooms and so I suspect on some locations you may get any of the above. Our guide did make a point of keeping things fair by switching the rooms up so we all got a taste of different ratings. The exception was some of the hotels if there was no elevator. I knew my wife and I would be getting the top floor no matter the rating and some of our more senior members would get a lower floor; that was fair. I can say we were only disappointed in one hotel on the trip but we were told that the usual hotel on that tour was unavailable due to renovations. You may sacrifice some comfort or quality in some locations in order to be closer to the action, and it is worth it.
Our final destination was in Nice and it was a chain hotel, but very nice. I had tried to contact the hotel in advance because I wanted to add a couple of nights, but I couldn't get a response. I finally contacted someone at RS to ask what category of room I was staying in so I could book it online and then worry about trying to keep the same room once I got there. I was politely told that info was confidential-I got the impression from the conversation that they didn't want me knowing the rate RS was paying. I ended up choosing a different hotel with an ocean view.
BUT --- in generally --- all of the rooms in the modest, medium sized hotels that are used by the tours tend to be smaller than the standard American hotel room including the bathroom. That is just the why it is. The RS tours do not get push to the basement or the fourth floor attic. The rooms are adequate but you will not hold a party there. It is just a place to sleep. All will be adequate for that purpose.
I got the impression from the conversation that they didn't want me knowing the rate RS was paying. I ended up choosing a different hotel with an ocean view.
Even if you knew the category, you wouldn't know what RS was paying. Tour companies don't pay the listed rate. A lower rate is negotiated due to the number of rooms booked for the year.
Hotel rooms tend to be smaller in Europe. Remember one trip to London in college where my friend had reserved the rooms at an expensive hotel near Russel Square. ( believe it’s the Kimpton now) Room was the size of a closet AND right over the ballroom where they had disco every night. I lasted 2 nights before saying “ enough.”
Went out on my own and found a small hotel. Got a ground floor room with 2 beds and window for 1/2 the money. It’s now the pricey Montague on the Gardens. Things definitely change in 40 years.
Oddly enough I’ve learned to appreciate compactness and at 63 Bayswater in London ask from room 105. It’s small and for a solo traveler perfect.
So yes do be prepared for smaller rooms.
Even if you knew the category, you wouldn't know what RS was paying.
Tour companies don't pay the listed rate. A lower rate is negotiated
due to the number of rooms booked for the year.
That's what I thought as well. Pricing was the only explanation I could come up with why the RS rep was being so secretive.
My situation is slightly different than yours in that I am a solo traveler and get the single supplement. I generally expect my rooms to be tiny but sometimes I'm surprised!
"The rooms are adequate but you will not hold a party there."
I'd agree with this somewhat although I've had instances where my single room was immense (thinking of a couple of my rooms on the Belgium and Holland tour) and could have been a party venue, lol! The bathroom in my room in Hallstatt, Austria could have been a party venue as well, lol. I sometimes think as a single I get a better room when I arrive a night or 2 early. I'm NOT sure this is true but sometimes it feels like you get a better position.
BTW, in some locations other tour members and I traipsed around and looked at everyone's rooms - usually because of the decorations, etc. All individual with some cute and fun while others were plain weird - that would be my room in Delft with the round bed/fuzzy orange spread/huge snake painted on the ceiling over it plus a mural of a little aboriginal boy staring at the occupant in the shower, hahahaha!!
From talking to the tour leaders and some of the hotel staff, I learned that the rooms are sometimes only assigned by name when we get there. The hotels have other guests booking rooms too, and they likely want to keep things flexible. RSE may just know they have a block of rooms, but not which ones. And yes, we've seen some great variability, as some of these hotels (never a bad one, mind you) are in older buildings that needed lots of creative remodeling. BTW we've emailed hotels for extra nights before the tour, and they've always known without being asked to keep us in the same room we'll have for the tour. And the rates were lower than the on-line rates. You'll find that the hotels (especially the first and last) have been working with RSE for a long time, and know what to expect.
I've been on 2 Rick Steves Tours and traveled as a "single supplement" both times. The rooms really varied by the hotel. In some hotels I had double size beds in rooms that were the same size as the other tour members rooms and lovely views. Some hotels , usually the city ones, tended to have fairly luxurious rooms. A few of the smaller hotels I ended up with a single bed in a slightly smaller room. There was only ever one room that I had a problem with (odor), and when I brought it to the hotel's attention, I was moved into a better room immediately.
Both times that I added additional days at the beginning of the tour, I contacted the hotel and picked the type of room I wanted and was assured that I would be able to stay in that room when the tour started. I ended up with a lovely room with a balcony looking right out at the Chapel Bridge in Luzern. I really enjoyed that!
I don't think that the Rick Steves booked rooms are the smallest that the hotel offers. They are usually quite nice and the hotel goes out of its way to be hospitable since RS tours bring them quite a bit of business.
I've been on three RS tours and paid the single supplement for all three. Room size/categories varied across all trips - there were times when I got the largest room in the hotel (almost a triple) and at other times, I got a small standard/single.
My experience is like Pam's. @Pam, we have stayed in some of the same hotels on the same tours - maybe even the same rooms - just different times!
As a solo traveler, I have had small single rooms as well as huge ones. While I usually get to Europe before the tour, I am not always in the same location where the tour starts. I have arrived early in Venice and Munich and was able to stay in the tour hotel. In Munich, I was allotted a single. I think it is because the hotel was especially full for Christmas markets. My rates were not cheap, but I liked the location and the hotel and not having to spend 1/2 day moving was worth it. Venice, I had a small double once that I was able to stay in and a larger double the other time. I do not perceive that RS guests are ever slighted. Sometimes I get stellar rooms and sometimes not, but I must say the stellar rooms stand out in my memory!
Oh, in Munich, one year I was told nothing was available pre-tour until I persisted and emphasized I was with the upcoming RS tour. Then, a room became available. Of course, it was Christmas market time and quite full. I was happy with my little room - quite stylish and efficient.
Not sure this was helpful.
I've been on 2 tours and the rooms were never really small, even the singles my MIL had. Sometimes they were huge! Being that my husband and I were some of the youngest on the tour and active we usually got rooms with more stairs, which made sense. The quality of the rooms - balconies, views etc... - was distributed among members throughout the tour.
We’ve done two. The Turkey Tour and the 21 day best of Europe. Most of our rooms were the same size and or larger than in the US. A few were really tiny in Italy, mostly. I think the tiniest rooms were in Rome, Cinque Terre and Venice out of the 21 days. Our room in Paris was tiny too. All were doable though.
What tour are you taking?
We’ve done 5 RS tours over a span of years and my personal impressions are that as Rick ages, the hotels they choose are getting more upscale. We’ve had standard-sized room and large-sized on all our trips;someone actually did invite the whole tour to their room in Positano for after-dinner drinks. We’ve never had a small room and we’ve had those when traveling on our own. We do know that the best rooms get cycled through the group as we go along.
The rooms vary in size, sometimes a lot. I have had rooms that were so small I almost could not turn around without knocking things off the surrounding shelves (the Lime tree in London). Others have been so large that were nearer to the size of my apartment with plenty of excess space (the one in Hallstatt). All of them were booked as a single supplement rooms. Others have had large balconies or other space large enough to have a party in (not mine, but others on the trip).
As far as what average size you get, that would depend first on how large of a room you have reserved which is based on how many people are traveling as part of your group. Rooms in more densely populated parts of the world (large cities like Rome, London, and those) do tend to be smaller.
Regardless, you will have enough space to relax in and enjoy your stay.
Thanks for all the information. I have traveled quite a bit through Europe, so I am familiar with the trend of small rooms, but was just curious about the tour situation, as it's my first. Now I know! Thanks everyone.
In Stockholm, we arrived 3 days early and stayed at the tour hotel. On the last day, we asked if we’d be able to keep the same room when the tour started. The desk person said “sure, but you'd get a bigger room with the tour.” We were lazy and kept our original room.