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A friend and I are going to visit Edinburgh. Since we are travelling from different locations and my stay is shorter, we booked different hotels. While booking her room, we searched together. I always use the "private bathroom" filter on booking.com and we did the same.

She booked the room and surprisingly received the below information. I don't know if that information was available anywhere before the process was completed.

Please note that the room is not en suite, but there is a private bathroom just across the corridor.

Although the reservation was non-refundable, the hotel accepted our cancellation request without charging anything. We are all good now, but I'm concerned about future bookings.

AFAIK there is no "en suite" filter on booking.com. How can we avoid that situation?

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    Hmm, it does say "each room has its own separate bathroom" but that wording is arguably ambiguous... – Mark Mayo Nov 12 '19 at 0:32
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    You can probably avoid this issue by picking modern purpose-built hotels. From its web site, the hotel in question is a converted Georgian townhouse. – Patricia Shanahan Nov 12 '19 at 0:37
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    I'd understand the listing's text as saying that the room does have a private bathroom (that is, guests in other rooms cannot use this bathroom), but that the room's private bathroom is not located within the room. This is confirmed by their response saying the bathroom is "just across the corridor." – DavidSupportsMonica Nov 12 '19 at 1:05
  • The hotel appears to be 2-star rated, you could probably avoid it by choosing a minimum 3-star – Traveller Nov 14 '19 at 10:36
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This is very rare, probably too rare for the major booking systems to handle. I've only come across it in old buildings that have been converted to hotels, especially before en suite rooms were the norm, with the en suite added later. It's because there are only so many changes that can be made to the building structure.

Even within that particular hotel there may be a mixture of rooms where they could add an en suite and rooms where they had to do things differently, so it's only after a human reviews the booking and the actual rooms available that they can let you know.

Overall, you probably can't know, except from reviews (and those that go into enough detail may be from other rooms where the bathroom is en suite). Purpose built modern hotels shouldn't have this issue, but if you want to stay somewhere more interesting that doesn't help much.

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  • Usually in the room descriptions it is mentioned as en-suite or as private, or as shared. The three different classes usually have different prices. – Willeke Nov 12 '19 at 11:12
  • @Willeke if there are individual room descriptions, then yes, that's usually true. That doesn't help much on a search page though (I've just put a sample search in booking.com to check). IME shared bathrooms are more common than this intermediate situation. The hotel's listing linked by the OP says "Each room has...its own separate bathroom", which isn't all that specific. – Chris H Nov 12 '19 at 11:42
  • I agree it's very rare. I have never experienced a private bathroom which isn't en-suit and I have travelled extensively. I think you got unlucky more than anything – Bee Nov 12 '19 at 13:36
  • I have met private, not en-suite bathrooms several times, each time the room was shown as the cheaper of the options within the hotel. – Willeke Nov 12 '19 at 20:29

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